FORMULA DRIFT SEATTLE – PRO 2 Round 3 | August 4th and 5th
Whats up guys! Im back with my FD Seattle Recap for your reading pleasure.
After a long 4day drive from Florida I finally arrived to Seattle with my crew guy Justin. A quick stop by the track on Wednesday to drop the trailer off and take a track walk reminded me just how awesome this track was. I have not been to this track in 2 years since the last pro2 stop there in 2015. My last time out there I had some car troubles that prevented me from qualifying so redemption is what I was here for!
Thursday the whole crew arrived at the track early for pit setup and a quick once over on both my and Nate’s cars. After bolt checks and drivers meetings it was time to get behind the wheel. Seattle is a very fast track from the beginning but slows down quite a bit once the cars come off the main wall. First set of tires out was a feeler to get me into the groove of driving again since our last competition was about 3 months prior in Atlanta, We did have some days of car setup and testing but nothing really gets a driver in the proper mindset like the actual comp/qualifying days. Second set of tires now on the car and it was time to get the high line on the bank figured out. This is a rather intimidating thing as our entry speeds into the first turn are in the high 70s to lower 80s mph. I didnt quite get the line figured out on the 2nd set so 3rd set I decided to bump into my old friend the wall out there with the rear bumper just so I it knew I was back and town. Once I got the car up there and bumped the wall it was like a the flip of a switch and now I was in the groove on the high line and everything was coming together on the rest of the course in the second practice.
Befrore the first pass out the team and I noticed the track temps had cooled down a bit and that eant the car was going to have a bit more bite in it which may make it harder to keep the rear up on the wall. We made some adjustments to slightly loosen up the car some and im glad we did! First pass out netted me a score of a 82! Going into the second pass we again made a bit of adjustment to the car to loosen it up a bit as the track was still cooling down as the sun was setting. My second pass out I was looking to better my score and it wasnt as clean as a pass as I wanted it to be I did better my score with an 83! After the rest of the field had made their second pass we were called to a drivers breifing to go over the official results. I landed a 5th place qualifying position putting me up against Danny George again in the top 16. Danny and I had ran against each other in Orlando where I took the win so I was ready for battle again!
My first battle in Seattle was Danny George I was the higher qualifier so I was up to lead first. The track after practice had gripped up a bunch and unlike when it was time for qualifying the amount of grip we took out of the just wasnt enough. I wasnt able to get the tires spinning as much as I wanted on the run up to do the flick entry I had been doing before. So my entry was quite slow to angle and I was fighting the cars grip to keep it high on the bank but I did end up coming down early. From the start im not sure what happened with Danny if he didnt see the lights go out or what but I he had slept quite a bit on the line which gave me a very large lead gap on this run that he wasnt able to make up fully before the finish line. Going into my follow Danny got a gap on me on the entry that I was forced to take a shallower line on the bank to make up the distance. Closing the gap by the touch and go and really reeling him in just before the first inside clip, He made the mistake of going a bit wide on that first inside clip which ended up choking him off for the second inside clip. With no real room for him to get the car to transition around the second clip he had a moment of driving straight just as he passed the clip right before I made some slight contact with his rear bumper pushing him a bit just before the finish line. After a few mins of the judges reviewing the footage i was deemed the winner of the battle and advanced into the Top 8 where I would be up against Matt Vankirk.
This time Matt was the higher qualifier so I was due to follow first. We entered in high on the bank and I made the mistake of getting on the foot brake just a bit to much to keep the car higher on the bank for this pass which ended up giving Matt a chance to make some ground on me. I kept he car high on the bank behind him and did my best to make up the ground as well as I could. Going into the first front clip I attacked to make some ground and went a bit agressive and too shallow of a line and took out the first enter clip before making the final transition and finishing off the run. Now back at the start line it was me to lead and I knew I had to make this one count with my mistakes in the follow position. I entered high on the bank and stayed there Matt this time ended up with a bit of a lower line but good proximity to me. I filled the touch and go as well as the second outter zone and had a fast and tight line at the first front clip. Matt at this time did nearly a similar mistake to mine and went in a bit too agressive and bumped the inner clip just as I had one. I kept as much speed through the first clip as I could to finish the run out strong but ended up over throwing the transition causing me to nearly spin the car completely forcing me to pretty much “crab walk” the car through the finish line in hopes that it would be a full pull on the run. After a just a moment of consideration the Judges deemed my mistake on the lead run at the finish line was enough for me to hand Matt the win. Matt would later go on to the top of the podium with a first place finish here in Seattle at his home track.
All in all Seattle was a absoulte blast of the team and I, We were able to come back and over come our previous years bad luck of not qualifying and take home a 5th place finish!
I again want to thank everyone apart of the team for all of their hard work and efforts put into our program. By the current points standings things are looking good for me moving up to the Pro1 ranks next season and I honestly wouldnt be here with out everyones support. Texas is just a few weeks away so with a quick once over of the car we will be ready for battle in Texas with high hopes of a strong finish and moving up a few ranks in the series!