Formula Drift Pro/Am Nationals Irwindale

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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.

Formula D Irwindale 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.

Formula D Irwindale 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.

Formula D Irwindale

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.

Comments (2)

Congrats man!!!


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