**** GUEST BLOG – BY KEVIN LAWRENCE ****
Hey Everybody, Dropping in with my Formula Drift Texas Recap.
After an early arrival and setup on Wednesday at the Texas Motor Speedway, the crew and I were able to grab an early dinner and some sleep before our first day of driving.
Thursday morning was awesome the weather was actually very mild for what the temperatures have been in previous years and was immensely cooler than the previous round in Orlando, FL. We arrived at the track early to set up our pits and wait for a few last minute shipments to arrive at the track, tires and a new front bumper for me. Our tires arrived an hour or so before practice so we got them all mounted up and set off to the hot pits on the track.
In the drivers meeting, the Judges went over the new driving line and clipping point locations that they had set up for this round. I knew practice would be crucial to get myself and the car dialed in to fluidly connect the course with speed, angle, and style. After the first practice session I was still struggling with the first turn to get the car setup to enter the power alley, then onto the reach out to the wall. Before second practice we made a gear change in the differential to try and adjust wheel speed some to see if it settle the car more to my liking. This had me running all of the track in 3rd gear instead of 4th. The change helped some but it seemed the change wasn’t enough as I was hitting the top of 3rd gear during the power alley in the acceleration zone holding my speed down. With practice ending soon I decided to shift the car into 4th in that area to get the wheel speed back for the acceleration zone and then would have to later drop back down into 3rd to finish the track out. This at the time felt like the best option for the limited runs I had gotten for practice and decided to go into qualifying with this gear setup.
It was now time for qualifying and as I pulled up to the line I felt good and was ready to make my first pass. I was given the go and left the start line, spinning the tires of the car most the way on the run up I got the car up to 3rd gear and initiated into the first turn. I felt the car float out a bit wider than I had desired which by the time I got the car back on line was after the new first front clip and knew that I was quite a bit off of it so I did my best to just finish out the run as smoothly as possible. Score for this run was a 77 which was high enough to get me on the board but I wanted to better the score.
On my second run I was able to get the car setup better on the first turn and through the power alley but coming into the rear wall section of the track I felt the car coming in a bit faster than normal. I tried to correct this by adding a bit more angle to the car to slow down a bit and to keep from making contact with the wall. I got through the wall section but the amount of angle I put into the car had me leaving that rear zone too early causing an early arrival at the next inner clip. I knew at this point my line was severely off at this time and would have caused me to plow through the front clip and drop my front tires off track. I decided to not risk damaging anything on the car by doing this so I pulled the car straight and shut down for my run giving me a 0 for this pass.
My first pass scored a 77, giving me an 11th place qualifying position. Putting me up against Jeff Jones in the Top 16.
Friday started similar to Thursday we had a late shipment of tires arriving so we got to the track early to receive and mount up, then we wait for our time to drive after the Pro1 qualifying. After watching the pro1 guys kill it in practice and qualifying it was our time to drive. I got a few runs in during practice that felt great but of course when you push to get that one more run in something always goes wrong. I was able to make it to the line for a final pass and was following Dirk Stratton in his C6 corvette. The run started off great but after pushing through the power alley I put too much focus on the front clip just before the transition at the wall. Upon focusing on that I realized that Dirk was slowing down more than I anticipated and by the time I realized this and got on brakes it was too late. We made contact his left rear wheel to my right rear wheel is what took most of the impact. I limped the car back to the hot pits to assess the damage, Luckily it was just a broken toe arm bracket that is made to buckle under impact to save more valuable pieces of the car. After a quick 5min change of parts and alignment adjustment, I was ready for Top 16.
Top 16 I was up against Jeff Jones I knew after my crash in Orlando after our OMT call I had to up the bar a bit to get the win clean and clear. But of course when the adrenaline is pumping and the anxiousness of battle hits its hard to keep 100% focused and react as fast as needed. I entered in behind him aggressively to keep a close proximity with intentions to get closer, I started to gain up closer on him and upon doing so I thought I saw what looked like him about to rotate the car however it was just him making an adjustment to his angle. After my previous run in practice with Dirk, my reaction was he was going to spin and I was going to plow through him, I stomped on the foot brake but at the same time partially lifting off throttle which caused a large bobble and straightening on my end. At that time he was able to pull a gap on me to the finish of the run.
The second run was my turn to lead, Doing my best to not let my nerves get to me from the first run I set off to get that 100pt qualifying run. I entered the first turn where I had set my mark and got on throttle and out to angle through the first turn and upshifting into the power alley. I noticed I had gained quite a bit more speed in this area as I did in qualifying but was ready for it so just before the transition towards the wall I reached to grab a bit of handbrake to slow the car down a bit. Upon doing so I either bumped my shifter or it had not been fully engaged in the gear so when I clutched into handbrake and the transmission unloaded it popped out of gear into neutral causing yet another straighten. After finishing the run the judges awarded the win to Jeff who would go on to the great 8.
All in all, it was a great round I want to thank everyone who is a part of the team for all their help and continued support as we together grow and learn from these events and push to get to that top spot on the podium!
Kevin runs 17×9 et 25 Konig Hypergrams in the front and 18×9.5 et 25 Konig Hypergram wheels in the rear on his RB powered S-chassis. Kevin is a Konig Wheels sponsored driver and runs on the Enjuku Racing team competing in Formula Drift.