What do I do now? lol
I’m leaning towards pulling out the right rear frame rail a bit and doing something like this:
I found this writeup on the event last weekend.
And here are a few pictures:
Lucy made me this awesome site to stroke my ego. I’ll be posting updates here and stuff I’m doing to get ready for next season. Enjoy.
After the Irwindale Pro/Am Nationals last week, Matt Waldin drove the rig with my car on board to Phoenix and flew back east from there. Matt, Damien, and I flew back out to Phoenix on Thursday for the final round of XDC. Friday was a practice day. The track was tricky so I tried to get as much practice as I could and put my Flip to use filming my runs:
The tricky part was an outside clipping zone on the main left turn sweeper, which led to a slow S-turn to finish the track. After flooring it from initiation through the main sweeper to get to the outside clipping zone, you had to get hard on the brakes, downshift, and transition into a slow S-turn. So I spent all day either going too slow and shallow on the outer clip or being too fast and flying off the track when it was time to slow down. I also missed the first practice session because I had no tires mounted, and there was a long line to use the tire changer.
On Saturday, there was some more practice before qualifying and competition. I took off the Federal tires that I had and put on Dunlops so the car would feel less grippy and would be easier to drive in addition to making more smoke for qualifying. I was still trying to drive the course well consistently, so I didn’t do much tandem practice, and instead just led the whole time so I could focus on the course. I think I did a total of 3 follow runs in practice all weekend.In qualifying, I recorded a conservative first run to make sure I’d get into top 16, and that worked out OK. On the second run, I got a lot closer to the clipping points and was more aggressive, but my angle was lacking. I qualified 5th.
After a quick tandem practice and top 16 intro, we went into competition. This was a night event, and it was super dark on the first turn entry and in the S-turn at the end of the track. Also, the lights were shining in your eyes at the end of the track, my night vision is terrible to begin with, and my windshield is pitted and scratched everywhere. So I really couldn’t see much, which made things interesting.
All of my tandem match ups went about the same. I just drove normal leading, but I was transitioning pretty late into the S-turn at the end of the track because I didn’t want to make the transition until I spotted the clipping zone/rumble strips (which I couldn’t see very well). I think that phazed some people since I was transitioning way later than they expected. On my follow runs, I tried to get a little jump on everyone off the line since I was, once again, getting destroyed on the straight. I could keep up with everyone through the first half of the course and seemed to close up substantially on people at the end in the S-turn.
In top 16, I went against Aaron Losey. I did my normal follow run, but he didn’t expect me to be that slow on the straightaway and I think had some issues getting into the first turn because of that. I followed him decently well and got the win.
Next, I went against Odi Bakchis, who won XDC Vegas and is an awesome dude. His car doesn’t make much power, so it was cool to actually be able to keep up with someone on the straightaway… haha. I think he made some mistakes behind me, and I had a pretty good follow run, so I advanced. I talked to him afterwards, and he told me he transitioned way before me into the S-turn and got screwed up since I was transitioning later when leading him.
In the top four, I was paired with Jeff Jones in the 4-rotor demon vehicle RX8. My lead run was decent, and my follow was good except I got a little sloppy when braking for the S-turn because I closed up on him much quicker than I expected to. I almost phazed myself but managed not to straighten or spin and finished the run close to him. We got a OMT, and my runs were cleaner this time. I’m not sure if he made a mistake or what happened, but I got the win. It was pretty difficult driving against this car, because I literally could not hear my own engine. I had to look at the tach to know when to shift.
In the final, it was me against Pat Cyr, which was awesome and meant I get a rematch from last week… haha. We were pretty evenly matched. He was a bit faster in the first half of the course, and I would gain on him in the second half. The first set of runs were close. I thought he had the win because I was driving shallow following him to make up some ground in the first half of the course, but I guess it was close enough that we got a OMT. I thought the second set of runs were even closer. It was a super fun battle, and I think both of us would have been happy to do another OMT. It felt awesome. We were talking after the battle, and neither of us had any clue who won.
We drove down in front of the crowd, and I was announced the winner!
Thanks to all the XDC dudes, Tim, Petty, Collins, Schneider, Brian, and Forsberg for making this series awesome all year.
The FD Pro/Am Comp was fun and pretty uneventful for once. Nothing major broke, and I didn’t crash into anything, which was awesome. Matt Waldin got the rig to California without incident, and I flew in Wednesday night. On Thursday, there was tech and a 2-hour practice session. The kill switch on my car wouldn’t come back on after it was shut it off in tech, which was nice. Everything was good though after installing another switch.I went at it like 80% in practice on Thursday just getting used to the track and seeing if I had to make any adjustments to the car. I knew I would have too much grip/not enough power to make it through the bank normally, so I got smaller tires for this event than usual. I got 245 DZ101s, which is like ice skating compared to 255 Federals that I use on normal non-banked tracks. I thought the DZ101s would be good for making some smoke too when the wheel speed was lacking on the bank. After the Thursday practice, I didn’t feel I was getting high enough on the bank or that I had enough wheel speed, so I loosened the car a lot more with 60 psi in the rear tires, shocks to full stiff, and reduced the toe from 1/4″ to 1/8″ total. It sucked in the infield because the car was so loose but was decent through the bank now.
On Friday, there was some more practice in the morning and qualifying at night. I just focused on trying to get high on the main bank and the infield bank but without crashing. I think I learned a lot about driving on banks/closer to walls this weekend, but I still kind of suck at it. There were around 25 drivers, so it looked like it would be tough to qualify, but everyone was phazing themselves, so I knew I would get in if I just made a clean run, which is what I did for the first run. On the second run, I was a bit more aggressive but still kind of low on the main bank and inner bank. The track had more grip at night, and it was even harder than normal to get high. I ended up qualifying 6th.
On Saturday, there was a short practice session and then the top 16 comp. I was running low on tires, so I didn’t practice much. All of the top 16 runs were basically the same for me. I would get destroyed off the line when following because I had 60 psi in my back tires with shocks at full stiff, and my car has pretty shitty power-to-weight ratio to begin with. So I basically won everything because people would screw up, and I would just do normal runs. In the first round, I went against Luke Lonberger in a V8 S14. It was pretty even. We got a OMT, and I followed him better on the next set of runs, so I got the win.
In top 8, I went against Kyle Pollard in a Corolla with S2000 motor. I think he had about 15 car lengths on me by the time we got to the bank. lol. Pretty embarrassing. A lot of people asked me if I was flooring it. Yes, I was flooring it… lol. So the judges made us redo that first run because they specifically said they want the faster car to pace the slower car. Pollard spun out on his lead run, so I got the win.
In the next round, I went against Pat Cyr. I expected him to be really fast in drift, but as we were coming off the bank, I was closing up on him a lot past the start/finish line clip. I basically got real excited that I was actually going to catch him and phazed myself. I threw the car into the inner bank too fast and too low and had to jump on the brakes to keep from hitting Pat, which made me understeer almost into the wall. I got it back sideways and finished the run but ended up losing because of that mistake.
For third place, I had to beat Fabian Fernandez in a KA turbo S14. I was out of tires at this point and my current tires were starting to get down to the cords. But I actually did my best two runs of the weekend getting high by the walls and having a decent line, in general. So that was cool to end the event well and get third place and my professional license.
The rig is in Phoenix now, and I’ll be flying out there Thursday for probably the last competition of the season. Big thanks to Matt Waldin for still taking my car out to Phoenix even though he crashed in Irwindale and won’t be able to drive this weekend. Also thanks to Brad for spotting and super secret setup tips and to Sean for changing that one set of tires and getting all sweaty.