ITE: 'Dealers should catch drift,' says Yokohama

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"Drifting is another opportunity for tire dealers to get into the sport compact business," Art Michalik, Yokohama Tire Corp. director of marketing communications, said at the International Tire Expo (ITE).

The sport -- in which drivers "slide" cars around tracks under controlled conditions -- is quickly gaining popularity, according to Michalik.

Yokohama will sponsor at least five drifting events in 2004.

"Tires are a huge part of what drifting is," and drifting enthusiasts "are not about the cheapest tire. They understand the importance of tires and are willing to pay the money."

Competitive drifters can burn through a new set of tires in a matter of hours, says Michalik.

Falken Tire Corp. and Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. also are involved in drifting activities.

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