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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Formula Drift Rd. 3 Homestead

 What a crazy adventure Formula D has been so far. Losing team members at Round 1, the car not steering at all till round 3, charging issues, overheating issues, break up issues, then more team issues. To say running a Pro level team at an amateurs budget is taxing, wouldn't be putting it it in the correct category enough.

Peep the video by Jesse Wood from

After our adventures in Atlanta, the car went to Raw Brokerage and Dan tore the front end apart to find out what was causing all the steering issues that had been plaguing us from the get go. He got the front end sorted and aligned while we were home, as well as fixed a few issues with the 350z axle set up we were testing. Needless to say that setup won't work, and may have destroyed my diff sadly.

Jesse and I set off for Florida at 4am on Monday, and were drunk by around 8am. Good times were had traveling and after our layover in the complete wrong direction (SLC), we landed in Orlando around 4:30pm. Tommy was nice enough to scoop us up, take us go karting, and let us stay at his house. Tommy is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I cannot thank him enough for everything that whole week! We even went mosquito fishing in a leaky canoe.

We tested at OSW thanks to Pat Goodin setting us up some time to test, and Matt Coffman was there testing as well. The car started overheating almost right away, and had somehow lost 1 gallon of coolant... We filled it back up and off I went getting the most seat time in the car I have had all this season. The car felt 1,000X better than it ever had, and I know we can tweak it to make it better.

 After that, Jesse and I picked Aoki up at the airport, met with Michael from Studio one, and then off we went to Miami. Sadly Aoki got some bad news mid way there, and had to leave back home the next day. Dan From Raw was suppossed to help as well, and ended up having a baby (Congrats!!!), so for the start of this round of FD it was just and I manning the show. I think we did pretty good that practice day considering Jesse is the media dude. Lucky for me, the people in FD are awesome, and Tyler Wolfson lent a hand during practice, and qual both days changing tires and what not. <3 you guys!!! Antics were had and goodtimes rolled. Raw Brokerage even closed shop and headed down to help out on Friday, so big thanks to you as well, you rock.

Practice on the course was tough with the 380 HP we ended up turning the car down to. It was full tilt boogie all the way into 3rd, then quick flick and e-brake, to hold shallow angle and let it eat as long as it could, to grab a ton of e to get it to the next corner. It started raining about half way though practice and I was able to learn the correct line, and had it pretty dialed all things considered. The rain stopped however about 1/2 an hour before Pro II qual and the track conditions were rather different than I expected. On the long ebrake haul at the end of turn 1, I straightened something fierce as the car gripped up and snapped back on me. Needless to say, I think I scored a 16? Tied with Tyler Wolfson for 17th place. He beat me out by 1 style point. Needless to say, I was finally able to destroy copious amounts of Hankook tires this round, and boy do those things have grip for days.

 Next day, practice for Pro. I was somehow able to link the course in the complete dry, and it felt really good. Not award winning good, but I had just done a full 4 hour practice the day before, and now I had ran an hour of practice in the dry and finished the course. I ran my first run, and ended up getting a 49. My first qualification score in Formula D. Not the best score in the world, but a milestone nonetheless. I was ready to give it hell for run two, and blew a boost hose off the line before I could even start. Autocross award goes to me this season.

Lucky for me Hankook is an awesome sponsor, and goes far beyond just providing tires to the team. They really treat us like family, feeding us, changing tires, encouraging us, providing the awesome spotter guides for the autograph signing and even letting us hang out in the AC during the sweltering Florida heat. We did some interviews with the models and the section will be in the video above! On top of they they were nice enough again to let me put my car in front of their tent. Thank you for everything guys!

After watching a fun event, we went home tired but fulfilled. The car made it all the way through an event, I got a full qual lap in the books, and learned a lot.

We spent sunday heading to Orlando with Fredric Aasbo (dat jawline), to hit up OSW for aftermath. We hung out, watched some rad water taps and dropped the car back off at Raw. That next day, Aasbo, Jesse and I spent the morning on jestskis racing around, chasing dolphins and having a blast. Thanks Fredric for carting us around all over Florida and being an all around rad guy.

See you next time for White castle fueled antics!

Insert fire shot here:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Formula Drift Rd. 2 Atlanta (better late than never!)

If you don't feel like reading, at least peep this Round 2 Jesse Wood edit :) It also has an appearance by officer dan at the Radium Engineering booth!!!!

As we scrambled to get the car ready in time for round 2 (the steering rack I ordered while still in long beach hadn't arrived yet), I got a text message from Matt Field asking if I could round up some track time at Motiva Speedway. I made a few calls and dialed in tome time for us that Monday.

On the rollers at Motiva

Matt Field

Keith (with Jesse filming) and I

Chris Mills
We were having problems with the car not centering, and being a pain in the ass to turn in general. We had tried to make changes the night before in Aokis drivway, but with no real way to align it we were just guessing. On top of that, we built a sick tire rack for inside the trailer with Aoki and his dad using old sign posts that were in his backyard. Can't thank them enough for how awesome they are!!

We hit the track monday after the dyno session at Motiva, and ended up making more changes which made the car unpredictable and harder to drive. We decided to try and find an alignment place in Atlanta when we got there.

We packed up the trailer, and Andy and I set off with Field and Mills on the 25 hour jaunt to Road Atlanta. After the long drive and good times caravaning out there, we hit up Gran Turismo East on recommend from the man and legend, Andy Sapp. Hoping we could make do with what we had we went to the track for Thursday paid practice the next day.

We headed out for practice and I got a few laps in with the car not feeling so good steering wise. I couldn't complete a lap, and was starting to get a bit disheartened. I made my way to the front of the line for my 4th or so run, and the car just died. We pushed her back to the truck and jumped it, then headed to the pits to see what was up.

The alternator wasn't putting out more than 8v or so, and luckily we had a spare. Which happened to also be bad. Perfect! With no real way to keep the car on we sent some crew to grab a nissan quest alternator and parts from home depot to make it work and called Thursday practice a total miss.

Aoki and Andy busted out the new alternator in pouring rain right before we went out for the first rounds of qual. They gave everyone a lap to see how slippery the track was, and boy was it. 360 on entry for my practice lap, and my first qual run I spun going up the hill. Second qualifying run and after a pep talk from Aoki, I headed down the hill. At this point the steering issues had gotten so bad I had about 3/4 turn each side lock to lock. I entered shallow, and made my way up the hill, where the car bounced off of the lock I had and spun me the wrong way... I cannot express how frustrating it is to drift a car that doesn't turn. And seemingly so, we had built the only s13 in existence that did not turn. The motor from the Emphasis missile car is still in the formula d car, so thanks to those guys for being cool about it!


The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with the awesome Atlanta fans and diagnosing the front end issues we were having. I have always wanted to drive this track, and didn't really get the satisfaction I was looking for from it. I hope to see it next season.Since my crew could tell I was bummed, the chipped in and got me a suck 20% less cake. <3

Suck 20% less cake

And now some random fun shots from the trip!

Waffle House water spill.

Bojangles is yummy as I remember

Keith's #1 saying

I love Radium!!!