Jarryd Wallace has taken a few knocks in his life—like losing his right leg below the knee to Compartment Syndrome while competing as a distance runner. But he took it in stride, so to speak, on the way to becoming a two-time Paralympian and three-time world champion. And one thing he never lost along the way was his sense of humor.
Enter: Jeff Wallace, Jarryd’s dad.
Jeff and Jarryd are very close—his dad has been his trainer and his biggest supporter through all the ups and downs. But Jarryd thought it’d be a fun Father’s Day joke to get his dad to test drive a new Toyota TRD Avalon.
But this would be one test drive he’d never forget.
Everybody knows the routine—the salesman climbs into the car, talks up the features, offers to show you a bit of “what it can do”. But, when your salesman is actually world-famous drift racer Ken Gushi, things take a turn for the…sideways?
“Jarryd Wallace wanted to surprise his father for Father’s Day so with Toyota Racing’s help,” Ken explains. “So we prepared an Avalon TRD to go sideways around Road Atlanta. The best part was Jeff was so clueless and didn’t have any idea of what was about to happen. The look on his face as soon as we pitched the Avalon sideways was priceless!”
Don’t think Jeff was legit surprised? Just watch the tape.
It’s no surprise that Ken was totally up for this Father’s Day prank—it was actually his own dad who taught him how to drift.
“When I was about 12 years old, my father and I got a hold of a Japanese anime series called Initial D,” Ken recalls. “In it, a teenager becomes a drifting legend—all while delivering tofu in the middle of the night through the dark mountain passes.”
It didn’t take but a minute for the drifting bug to bite them both. “Both my dad and I got instantly hooked. My dad had some rally experience in the past, so he thought it would be great to teach me some basics of car control on gravel. We took our AE86 to a dry lake bed and used bushes as clipping points to practice sliding around. At one point, we went to the dry lake bed every weekend because we were both so hooked on drifting!”
Just like most weekends for a 12-year-old, right? They always say to start ‘em young.
Back to pranking Jeff Wallace’s face off. Ken’s favorite part?
“The highlight was, of course, being able to rip the Avalon TRD sideways through Road Atlanta!,” Ken shares. “Massive sedans drifting sideways is a sight to be seen. The new Avalon is so aggressive looking and has caught my attention since it was introduced. Seeing Jarryd and his dad enjoy the moment was also a huge achievement!”
And guess what: you can get the 2020 Avalon TRD at your local dealer later this year. If you modify the handbrake lever and slap some stickers on the front, you’ll be ready to go!
And while driving, you can rock these custom TRD 40th Anniversary shoes. They’re available NOW in the Toyota Outfitters store! Ken Gushi has a pair and has been rocking them since the day he got them – his latest request is for a second pair!