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XDC North Carolina Recap

Category : Events

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After DMCC in Mirabel, I went down to North Carolina for the last round of the XDC east coast championship. It took me all day to get down there on Friday because of the July 4th weekend traffic and an accident with a drunk driver… at 2pm. XDC was sharing the track with NASA for this weekend, and it seemed like NASA got 90% of the track time. We had four 30-minute practice sessions on Saturday. With about 25 drivers signed up for the event, that meant 2-3 practice runs in each session. I didn’t make any adjustments during the day and just tried to learn the track for qualifying. I got a total of about 10 runs on Saturday and was feeling pretty good for qualifying the next day. The track was straightforward and fun. The challenging part was being aware of where you were on the track and how much grip was there. There was a ton of grip on the racing line, and almost nothing off of it. So taking a really wide line like the judges wanted was difficult because you needed to go fast to get on the wide line, but there was no grip to slow down once you were up there. So keeping the car on the wide line and on the track was difficult. There was a lot of dirt dropping and off-roading throughout the weekend as people tried to slow down from the fast first turn to the slow second turn inner clip.

On Sunday, there was no time for practice, so our first runs on the track were qualifying. I went extra safe on my first qualifying run since I hadn’t made a run since the previous day. I put down a solid run and felt that I was in a good position to go for the top qualifying spot in my second run. I got through the first turn well, but I had too much speed coming into the inner clipping point on the second turn and was off the clip by a lot. I also went too fast on the last clip, missed that, and dirt dropped on the last corner exit. I pushed too hard on that run trying to be on throttle/going fast/making smoke, and it ended up being a sloppy run. We got the qualifying results, and I got 5th place. I was happy with that. It was higher than where I thought I would be.

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There was a quick top 16 practice where I got to tandem with people for the first time that weekend. I felt like I could keep up with everyone, so I was feeling confident. In top 16 battles, I went up against Nate Brasz. He’s a super consistent and experienced driver, and I think his car was back up to 400+ hp after having issues with it the last couple of rounds, so this would not be an easy battle. I led first and put down a good run, but he was on me pretty good, so I knew I had to get aggressive to win. I launched right next to him on my follow run and stayed next to him down the straight. He entered way early though and kind of messed up my initiation because I needed to be going faster to get on the high line in the first turn. So I was a bit shallow coming through the first turn behind him but was closing in on his door coming into the first inner clipping point. He went wide and dropped his rear wheels in the dirt. I think he was basically at 90 degrees at that point and almost stopped, so I spun my car to keep from crashing into the back of him. He somehow kept it going and didn’t completely spin. I wasn’t sure what the judges’ call would be on that one, but I got the win since it was his mistake that forced me to spin. Even though he lost because of his own mistake, it was still cool to beat Nate. I remember in 2009 or something when I drove way crappier, I said I would retire if I ever beat Nate Brasz… lol.

In top 8, I went against James Evans. He’s been driving well this year and has become a serious contender for wins. He also put a new engine in his Z, so he was making 550-ish hp now, I believe. I thought if I could keep up with him on the straight, I shouldn’t have a problem staying with him through the rest of the course. I followed first and jumped the start by a bit, but he still managed to get about a car length lead on me by the time we initiated. I closed up on him going into the slower section of the course and stayed with him close but wasn’t quite on his door. On my lead run, I tried to push hard to make him chase me and hopefully get him to make a mistake. Unfortunately, I got too high in the first turn out of the racing line, and the car just coasted forever with no grip. It was kind of ridiculous, and I was even thinking maybe James was on my bumper pushing me off the track or there was oil on the track because the car just kept going, and I couldn’t get any grip to make the corner. I totally missed the first inner clip and dirt dropped coming out of that corner. I finished the run, but with James following me pretty well and me dirt dropping, I ended up losing. I’m not too disappointed with my driving. I made a mistake, but it wasn’t anything retarded, just a result of pushing too hard and trying to get the most speed out of the car.

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