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East Coast Drifting Championship Recap

Category : Events

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I went down to West Virginia last weekend to compete in Summit Point’s East Coast Drift Championship. It was a stand-alone competition they were hosting with a $5,000 purse, so I was hoping good drivers would come out, and I could get some practice. I couldn’t take any more vacation days from work, so I drove down Friday night and got there late, got a few hours of sleep, and then off to the track for practice in the morning. We ran the “bridge course” backwards, which is the same course Formula D ran when they came to Summit Point in 2007. The track is a lot of fun, and the first turn is the fastest I’ve ever drifted. It’s a long right turn that we were entering at around 95mph and holding around 75mph in drift.

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We had a lot of practice on Saturday. With some people crashing early and some skipping Saturday practice, there weren’t many cars on track. I got a lot of practice runs to learn the course. The car felt good, and I wasn’t lacking speed compared to others, so I didn’t change anything. Saturday went by with no problems.

I went out Sunday morning for practice and did a few lead/solo runs. Then, I decided to tandem behind people. A lot of guys were having trouble linking the first big turn to the second right turn and were basically jumping the apex of the corner or parking their cars with a lot of e-brake. I was following Alan and Lee. I think Alan slowed down, we all slowed down, then looked like everyone was good so I got back on throttle, Lee never got going though so I slamned into the back of his car pretty hard. Luckily his car didn’t seem to sustain much damage. Nothing structural got bent on my car, but the radiator got pushed back and cracked, and the core support/headlights/bash bar were junk.

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I spent the rest of the practice time pulling out the rad support and installing a spare radiator. I didn’t have any more practice, so my next time out on track was qualifying. I wasn’t worried about it because nothing was bent or broken with the suspension, so I knew the car would drive the same. But I was being a bit cautious hoping I didn’t forget to tighten something and that there wasn’t anything else damaged that I didn’t notice. I knew if anything broke on that 95mph entry, it would be really bad! My two runs were relatively conservative. I slowed down a bit more than the judges wanted coming out of the first turn, but otherwise they were good runs. I qualified 5th.

In top 16, I went against local dude Jorge Aguilar. It was his first comp, and he was having issues linking the track. I did a clean lead run, and on my follow run, he drove straight through the first turn and initiated at the second turn. I followed him and got the win.

In top 8, I was paired with Alan Brentzel. This guy has made a lot of progress in the past couple of years and has been performing well in XDC this year. When I followed him in practice, he seemed slower than me. I ended up giving him too much of a gap in the first turn when following but caught him by the end of the course. He had a good follow run, so we got a OMT.

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I initiated closer to him on the OMT run and was determined to get in his door going into the slower section of the course. It worked out well, and I was basically side-by-side with him towards the end of the track. I backed off at the right time, and gave him room to transition for the last turn while staying on him. It got a bit sloppy at the end since we both jumped the curbing on the apex. I got a sweet gift certificate for “sickest” chase run because of this. When I led, I went into the slower section of the track a bit too fast and had to get on the brakes more than usual to keep from going off track. Alan was staying in 3rd gear but had to downshift to second when I slowed down. He miss-shifted and straightened out so I got the win. I do apologize for that.

In the next round, I went against Lee Alexander. I did a good lead run, and he was about 1-2 car lengths back most of the way. He was entering the first turn slower than me, so it was tough to get right behind him and have enough speed to drift the first turn when following him. He ended up straightening coming out of the first turn as I was following him. I stayed sideways behind him and prayed that he would not get on the brakes… haha. He re-initiated, and we finished the run pretty close. I got the win.

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In the final, I would be going against the robot, Nate Brasz. I didn’t really get to tandem with him in practice, so I had no clue how fast he was, but everyone was saying he was super fast and not using the e-brake at all to extend from the first to the second turn. So I was confident I could drive it in there as fast as possible. I dropped the tire pressures a decent amount to try to get some extra speed. I went through the first turn maybe a car length behind him, then got on the brakes and was closing in on him entering the slower section of the course. Unfortunately, he slowed down a bit more than I expected, and I ended up swiping my left front headlight across the right rear corner of his car. I straightened out, then re-initiated and finished the run. Judging from the mark on my fender, I would have cleared him if I was two inches further back! Uggh. Anyway, I bent the radiator again, but it wasn’t leaking so I did my lead run. It was a solid lap. Nate seemed to take it easy on the entry and close the gap later. He got the win. I’m disappointed, but crashing into someone is always the most satisfying way to lose! And Nate’s car barely had any damage, so he was cool about it.

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I got my check and left as soon as possible dreading the drive home. 4 hours of sleep and back to work on Monday!

I also realized I drove all of Sunday on one set of tires. Sweet.

I have some work to do before DMCC Round 5 in two weeks. But thankfully this is the end of 7 straight weekends of competition for me, and I have one weekend off. I need to do some bending/welding on the front of the car and get a couple of new radiators, and the car should be good to go. I’m not planning anything fancy since this chassis only needs to last 5 more competitions before it becomes scrap metal.

Comments (3)

Clubloose on the 20th? Next time i won’t be on an open diff lol.. I broke it during solo practice, I don’t even knw how I qualified like that.

Haha. Wow, now I see why you couldn’t link it! I’ll probably be there on the 20th, not sure if I’ll be driving.

yea lol.. you should come, you can take my car out for a couple runs if you want..

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