Ken Gushi is more than just one of the nation’s top competitive drifters. An Okinawa native who was raised in Southern California, Ken is also became the youngest drivers in the Formula DRIFT championships by the time he turned 16. Ken Gushi will be participating next week at Formula DRIFT’s Streets of Long Beach event (enter our giveaway for a pair of tickets!) and we caught up with the driver to learn more about racing, what it’s like being a competitive driver and food. Yes, food. We’re kind of obsessed with eating here at 8Asians. Check it out!
What are the most common misconceptions people have about you or about your racing?
People always think I am rich and balling out of control. I am a struggling student off the
Your father’s love of racing was a big influence in your life. Tell us a bit about your dad (Tsukasa Gushi) and what sorts of things he does to support you. Is there anything that you want to do/achieve for your father?
I love my father and everything he has done for me. We do not speak much, but when he does, the words are so deep and heavy. The one thing I can say about my father is that he can be very hard-headed but his intentions are very kind. He is one of the reasons why I want to fight harder to win.
What’s the best part of about being a competitive racer?
The one thing I enjoy most about competitive racing is that it keeps you on the edge. I can also apply what I learn on the track to real-life situations. Do I speed up or slow down? Sometimes you can get around faster if you slow down. That applies to life too.
What’s the most difficult part of about being a competitive racer?
The most difficult part about being a competitive racer would have to be time management. Most of the time, I find myself struggling to commit to anything else outside of racing. That includes school, friends and relationships, and sometimes family. But would I trade it for anything else? Hell no.
How does being an Asian American affect you as a competitive racer? (Do people make “bad Asian driver” jokes with you?!)
No one dares to make bad Asian driver jokes with me. They know I will run them off the road if they make a remark about my driving. Hahahaha, totally joking. But in all honesty, I have never heard anyone comment about my “Asian” driving style. Besides, when I drive locally, I like to relax with my seat all the way back, and give in a little lean. I don’t have the typical “nose-on-the-steering-wheel” posture. What do they call my driving style? The gangster-lean??
If you hadn’t gotten into competitive drifting, what else might you have done with your life?
I would have finished school much sooner, probably living a normal, non-sideways life. My life is amazing. I have a great job with Scion, great team with RS-R, the best fans, my loving family and friends, and that alone makes me very happy. But if it wasn’t for my parents sacrificing so much for me, I would have never seen this great life.
What are people most surprised by when they meet you in person?
Uhhhhh, that I can actually talk? Most people have the misconception that just because we are competitive drivers, we do not talk to our fans. Dude, are you kidding me?? I love speaking with my fans. I love meeting new people, catching up with old people, and having myself surrounded by great energy at all times. Also, I speak English. Hahaha.
Ok, you’re from the Asian food capital of Southern California. Tell us about a good hole-in-the-wall place to eat in the San Gabriel Valley and why it’s worth checking out?
If it is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant you are looking for, check out Ducks Curry and Spaghetti on Las Tunas and Muscatel in San Gabriel. It is a family owned local Japanese food joint that I hit up every now and then. Awesome katsu-don they have there. Also, if you are in the area, make sure you eat at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. YOU’VE NEVER HAD IT?!?!?!? OMG. Please go now. You are missing out. Make sure you try their juicy pork dumplings.
Enter our giveaway for a pair of tickets to Formula DRIFT’s Streets of Long Beach event here! The contest is over – thanks to everyone who participated!