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HTL ProAm Round 2 Recap

Category : Events

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Last weekend, I finally got a bit of a break from traveling and went drifting at Englishtown for HTL ProAm Round 2. We ran the back course, which is basically a right turn, going up over a hill blind, then a left sweeper, and slow right hairpin to finish off the course. The challenge here is extending your drift from the first right turn to the left sweeper without straightening since there is a long distance between the two turns. You’re also coming out of the first turn blind, so you have to know where to transition to be able to link the course without seeing the next turn.

I’ve driven this course before but never with this latest iteration of the car, so it took a few runs to get used to it. After trying to upshift to fourth gear going uphill after the first turn and flying halfway off the track, I decided to keep it in third since the track was too slow to be in the powerband in fourth. I was comfortable with the track after a few more runs. We had the normal qualifying session with two runs. I took it easy on the first run and put up a score. My second run was feeling pretty good, but I overshot the last turn and hit some cones and crap with the back of the car. That was probably a zero. Federals don’t really smoke unless you melt them, so I’m always trying to stand on the throttle for as long as I can before braking for turns to get the tires to smoke. Unfortunately, I stood on it too long and couldn’t slow down enough. So qualifying didn’t go so great, and I ended up in 12th place.

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I underestimated the competition for this event, and decided to just bring a bunch of crap used tires and give the car a lot more toe-in to compensate. The competition ended up being really good/fast, so I thought I might be screwed. In top 16, I went against Lee Alexander with a KA-T S14. He’s a great driver in tandem, and he “brought it” for this competition. We had pretty identical runs and got a OMT after the first set. He was initiating slower than me, so it was tough to enter close to him and still keep enough speed so as not to straighten out. The retarded amount of toe-in was also probably making it more difficult to keep from straightening off throttle. On the OMT follow run, he got a bit of a gap on me coming over the hill after the first turn, but I got right on his door going into the left sweeper, and stayed right on him the rest of the way. My tires were pretty much toast at this point after 3 consecutive runs, and I had no grip to pull away from him on my lead run, so he was on my door also. We got a second OMT! I followed him as aggressively as I could this time and got even closer. There wasn’t much else I could do but hit him. I was expecting him to follow me just as close, and we would just keep getting OMTs until one of us made a mistake or our engines blew up. He ended up making a mistake following me though, and I got the win.

There wasn’t much time to change tires, and I didn’t have any better tires mounted anyway, so I was worried for top 8. I went up against Landers next. I remember right before I got in my car, I checked the tires, and they were still smoking from top 16. Landers was having some issues with his car running out of fuel. I followed him first, entered close to him, and was closing in coming out of the first turn over the hill. He must have lost power because he straightened coming over the hill. I just missed his back bumper and threw the car inside of him with more angle to slow down and keep from hitting him. He kicked it back out again, and I held a major e-brake extendo to make it to the next left turn. We got there at about the same time, and I stayed close to him for the rest of the course. He may have also had problems when following me because I got a gap on him and got the win.

In top 4, I went against Nick. Brad Carlton told me not to get caught up on the entry because Nick was pacing himself. But when I followed him, he took off and entered super fast… haha. Unfortunately, he entered a bit too fast and ended up spinning out in front of me. I did a safe lead run and got the win.

In the final, I went against Tanner. I thought I was really done at this point since I now had 10 runs on these crappy used tires, and they weren’t doing much of anything. Tanner was on RT615s… lol. I led first and entered right behind him. I remember it being a pretty sweet entry. He got maybe a car length gap on me coming over the hill, but I got on his door under braking going into the left sweeper. I had to stay on a bit of a shallower line, but I managed to follow him really well. On my lead run, I think I slowed down more than he was expecting because I wanted to get a late apex on the first turn to be able to get as much speed as possible going up the hill. Not sure if he had a correction or not, but I could see in the mirror at the end of the course that there was a bit of a gap between us anyway. We came back to the start line, and I got the win!

Some videos from the event:

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