There’s no right or wrong as long as you follow your heart and build something unique to you by incorporating your experience, knowledge, time, and of course, your obsession for creativity and the insanity that we all normalize as automotive racing. Naturally, there is always an outlier though. A supposed anomaly that inherently demands everyone’s attention, and many know one of these outliers and his Japanese inspired build under the powerful pseudonym – Narita Dogfight. Like most everything though, there’s two sides to every coin and like most coins, there’s a face on one side. That face on the opposite end of NDF is Sean Lucas; former freelance photojournalist and writer during the heydays with Import Tuner magazine. Now years past, Lucas is the owner, operator, and curator of Narita Dogfight and its subsidiaries, amongst many other endeavors.
Everyone Has A Beginning
Like many before him though, his passion didn’t magically materialize out of thin air and Narita Dogfight didn’t happen overnight. Instead, the aforementioned unique individual began his exposure to the automotive culture through his father’s enthusiasm for top fuel drag racing throughout his childhood. A much younger Sean Lucas regularly attended NHRA drag events as well as the Winter Nationals during the pinnacle of professional drag racing at the local Pomona Raceway. A time when race car rockstars such as Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, and John Force were at the height of their careers, and likewise, were the authorities of drag racing that really pushed the sport to the peak of its phase through history. It’s when young Lucas cried during his first-time exposure to nitromethane that he became forever captivated with motorsport culture. Soon thereafter, he began participating in automotive workshop classes throughout high school, and eventually had his own car to smash through gears with during his hunt for the fastest straight-line speed. The aftermath? A lifelong automotive fanatic with one of the most stylish North American time attack Honda builds to date. More on that later.
Fast forward a few years and Sean, along with his close friends, embarked on a trip to Japan to culturize themselves in the Japanese automotive and non-automotive ethos. You know, the hub and mecca of insane dedication to the craft of building some of the world’s best cars. Yea, that Japan. And along the way for their adventurist excursion, they witnessed a dogwalker near Narita International Airport going through hell walking a group of indecorous dogs – basically, a pack of doggos with no clear sign of leadership. Then, without a doubt or a moment of hesitation, all hell broke loose and the dogs began fighting amongst each other while the dogwalker hysterically tried to maintain order. Of course, someone shouted in laughter, “look, it’s a Narita dog fight,” and like most great names throughout history, Narita Dogfight, a spur of the moment eponym, stuck and began its journey into what we all know it to be today. Though a passion project that began somewhere in early 2008, like most entrepreneurs and those crazy enough to embark on a frivolous journey of documenting motorsports, it was a hard struggle to find a meaningful purpose. However, Sean is one of the select few with the aptitude and tenacity to forego the hurdles. Two years later, in 2010, Lucas and Narita Dogfight found a purpose and the vigor to turn his passion into the realization of what it is today – an informational outlet for not only Japanese time attack, but also the passionate individuals around it.
As you read now, NDF is still the hub for keeping current with the Japanese time attack cars, individuals, and the lifestyle as a whole. Likewise, even though the sport of time attack (or time trial for the more proper minded) originated and was popularized in Japan, there still isn’t any other meaningful outlets that dedicate their purpose specifically to the people that continue to push and progress the sport in the small country. So, Dogfight is here to fill that void for the foreseeable future, and according to Lucas, “I continue to operate NDF because I really enjoy the people behind the sport. I tell myself it’s something I’d be doing even if I didn’t have the website; although I feel like that sentiment is waning the older I get (laughs).”
The Half Breed // Attack
Remember that first toy car that Sean was able to acquire and bang through gears as a teen? Well, it was a 1982 Volvo Station Wagon, so we won’t talk about it, haha. Instead, let’s look into his time attack build that he’s been developing for more than a decade. When you hear the Dogfight slogan, No Rush, he really does mean no rush. Unlike most of us enthusiasts, he’s an outlier. Which I believe I mentioned? Right? Right. When asked why he kept the car for so long he responded, “I honestly don’t have an answer for why I still have the coupe. I was never even really a big fan of the car, and instead, wanted a DC2 Integra or an EK Civic Hatchback. I guess it’s just become a personal challenge for me to make a fast, good looking 6th generation coupe. I feel like it’s almost there. Also, I don’t think anyone would ever buy it (laughs).”
Following the Japanese ethos, Sean’s exterior aesthetics is actually fairly simple, albeit, wildly beautiful to look at. Incorporating a C-West front bumper, Bomex sideskirts, and a Bomex rear bumper into the unfortunately unpopular coupe, he was able to really make the body lines of the car flow and really accentuate the lines where it counts. To tie everything together, he added his one-off Dogfight Bodyworks Japan Fenders, and also combined his Dogfight specials into the unicorn rare BattleCraft vented hood. Of course, like true time attack fashion, the car is also covered in one-off carbon pieces; rear window, rear quarter windows, sunroof, and the spare wheel well was cutout and covered in a carbon sheet. For the front side windows, a custom cut polycarbonate sheet which is better known as Lexan windows. For the most important modification to any car, he chose to run a solid collection of wheels depending on his mood: 17x9 +22 TE37s, 17x9 +35 Advan RZ11s, 16x8 +35 Volk Racing CE28s, or 16x8 +20 Type Cs. Regardless of his wheel choice for any given track day though, he always chooses to run the very competitive Nankang Motorsport’s AR1 tires (soon to hit the market in late Quarter 1 of 2019). The detailed aesthetics continue inside the car which is fully gutted with a custom welded cage for safety. For seating, there is no better choice than the Bride Gardis accompanied with a Sabelt 6-point harness and a custom fire suppression system (a cool bottle). To drive the car, he chose a Personal steering wheel which goes perfectly with the ergonomically excellent BattleCraft shift knob. Lastly, he chose to go with an AIM MXS Strada dash unit that is mated to a custom carbon dash piece. Oh, if you were wondering how he sees behind his carbon rear window; a nondescript high definition rear camera and monitor is seated closely to his shifter. A custom built B18 block and B16 head is kept perfectly cool with Koyorad’s Dual Pass radiator and 16-Row oil cooler as well as running E85 for stability and extra power. With power though comes a need for stopping power, and APG Performance provided that well-balanced stopping force with their 6-Pot front calipers, 282mm front rotors, and APG Race front brake pads that is well modulated with Honed Developments brake booster delete kit.
The only certainty for the future of his 2000 Honda Civic is to finish the exterior for both aesthetic and aerodynamic balance, and to add a custom side exit exhaust system. Eventually. Remember, No Rush is the name of the Dogfight game. However, the future of Narita Dogfight, like everything in life, has its reservations for what may happen. In my opinion, NDF is here to stay as long as the Japanese time attack community is alive and well. IF, however, the scene fades then I’m hopeful the website will be kept around as an archival piece that harbors over a decade of memories for future generations to enjoy. Regardless, here’s what Sean Lucas has to say, “I’m trying to focus on 80R over consistent site updates (80R Magazine/Book). The genre of racing we cover is very limited in the sense that meaningful events only happen 2 to 3 months out of the year. It’s a big push in the winter, and a pretty big lull through the rest of the year. I could cover events here in the US that happen year-around, but that’s not really the point of the website (thenaritadogfight.com). I am looking into product expansion as far as Dogfight Bodyworks Japan goes in Chiba, and Kristian (@studytuned) and I will be working on a few projects together. In the future, if I decide to stop updating the site, I’d still like to publish an annual book with updates on the Japanese time attack sport.” On a more personal note though, “I’ve had many plans, but they all seem to slip away eventually; mostly my doing. I’ve had opportunities to advance in my career (day job) but have forgone them to give myself the flexibility of advancing NDF. They aren’t decisions I’ve taken lightly, and who knows, maybe I could be wrong. Not many people get to see the sacrifice that goes into trying to make a successful business, but they are very real, and most of the time they suck. I’m just going to keep doing my best at whatever I do, and hopefully something will come along eventually that will let me know where I’m supposed to be.”
“Like anyone, there are people at the top of their industry that I admire, but I’m lucky enough to have some incredible close friends that inspire me almost daily. Both big picture ideas and just being a better person overall. The things they are able to do and the outlook they have on life are admirable to say the least. Likewise, we’re all wired in this day to compare ourselves to others. If you surround yourself with the right people, those comparisons will serve as inspiration to improve yourself, and will often be backed by the encouragement of the same people that you’re comparing yourself to. Having people that inspire you that aren’t out of reach like celebrities provides an entirely different kind of push.” – Sean Lucas