Where to begin... This weekend was incredible. Beyond words, outstandingly amazing. Thank you Charlie, the Justdrift crew and the judges for one hell of a weekend, and once again, i'll throw out the largest possible thank you to Jim, Brian and James from Car Crafters and Guthrie Racing for making traveling to drift events a reality, without their help, I would be stuck doing the same old thing on the same old track. Ok i'll stop now :)
Day 1 - Practice
7am, Saturday morning. Arrive at Willow springs, and haphazardly make our way to Horse Thief Mile (Seemed noone from the track knew how to get there) and after backing the rig up almost a quarter mile to get to the correct turn off, we made it to the paddock.
Unload the cars amidst the 40+ others, have a quick drivers meeting where this track is explained to be rather difficult. Charlie asks who hasn't been here before, Jim and I raise our hands... Jim and I are both in group A (first run group of the day) lol. Begin all day runs of 1/2 hour each.
We helmet up and meander on to the track, heading up for the first warm up lap.
- Holy smokes this track is steep.
- Holy smokes this track is narrow.
- Holy smokes this track feels like a roller coaster.
- Holy smokes this track is amazing.
- Holy smokes this track really does separate the men from the boys.
After doing it completely wrong for all of the first practice session (including a few off road excursions), I notice the car is cutting out bad during acceleration (more on that later), and end up just dealing with it being 150+ HP low again lol.
Right after initiation
2nd practice session, I finally start to figure out how to run this track, and make one complete linked run at the end of my session. It wasn't pretty and my line was horrible, but damn it felt good. Fast forward 4 more run groups, and after talking with Ryan Bell (fellow top drift driver), I iron out some kinks and am feeling nice and consistent with my entry, line and speed.
For those that have never driven this track, here is a written visual from my perspective.
Come around the turn at the bottom of the hill, accelerate uphill full throttle in 2nd gear, all the way to the top (both hill and gear). Initiate hard using weight transfer and e-brake, bringing the car as close to full lock as possible. Immediately get back into throttle, hitting a very late apex clip point around the first hairpin. Drive a rather awkward line, as far as you can get down the hill on the straight, bringing the rear tires to the very outside edge of the asphalt (but not off). If you don't get far enough down the hill here, your run is already over. Find the clipping point further down the hill on the outside of the straight, lift slightly and transition hard, then right back on the throttle for just a moment. Too much throttle here, and you go off the track at the bottom of the hill, too little, and you end up in the dirt on the inside of the bottom hairpin or not making it and straightening out. For me, most of my runs would include e-braking pretty hard to drag myself outside to hit the clips on the next hairpin. Back on full throttle, hit the inner clip, then as far outside, fast transition, then outside again, to hit the last inner clipping point, finishing the run.
Day 2 - Qualifying
2 quick practices to get back up to speed and make sure everything is still dialed. Drivers meeting to go over the line, clipping points and other things. Car is way down on power now, worse than the day before. Brian, checks out the spark plugs right as group A is qualifying (now going by numbers, thank goodness im 45), and finds the ceramic on 3 plugs is broken off. We make a quick run to Auto Zone, and pick up new plugs, throw them in, and i run up to balcony and it feels amazing again.
My qualifying runs are upon me. I lay down a decent first run, nothing too aggressive, just to get one in the books, then do almost the exact run again. For the third I let it hang out, aggressive entry, used the whole track, hardly had to e brake the downhill, stoked on that run.
Qualifying run - Getting outside!
Drivers meeting. 50 dudes, all waiting to hear the news on who would make top 16. Feeling pretty nervous at this point, Jim sadly spun all 3 runs due to horrible rear tires, and the crew was back at the trailer.
They start reading off names. 16th,15th,14th, 13th,12th,11th,10th, still no Dan Brockett, getting pretty worried at this point,9th,8th - my name gets called. So stoked. So beyond stoked. Wishing my Mixie was here to celebrate with me ;)
Made it :) I decided to look the wrong way for this pic lol.
Day 2 - Tandem
I line up for tandem John Jimison, have a shitty lead run, and a shittier following run. We get one more timed. I have an amazing lead run, and straighten out first thing when following... I have so much to learn about tandem its not even funny lol.
This is a slight indicator of the grade of the track... Pretty steep.
The decided to suck, and straighten out.
I have talked your ears off, on to the pics!
Results after 2 rounds!
Round 2 final results, top 16 in bold!!!
|Car #||Driver Name||Points||Round 2 Rank|
|16||Enrique Mendoza jr||70||8|
|23||Tyler K Xiong||18||24|