Seattle is definitely one of the toughest tracks on the Formula Drift schedule. Getting the car set up right is difficult because the first outer zone is very high speed, yet the infield area is very low speeds and often pretty slick. So it is a balancing act between too much grip on the bank and not enough from OZ3 throughout the course.
This issue carried over to qualifying where our first run scored low and sent us having to make a second run. Luckily we were able to put down a good 2nd run and get in the show.
On Saturday our first battle paired us up with a heavy hitter, 3X champion James Deane. That morning I woke up sick and fought with a stomach bug and headache through practice. However, I was able to lay down some of my best runs of the weekend and felt good about my driving going into competition.
Chasing first- my run started out great, I was able to keep close proximity on the bank and stay high with him. Coming off OZ1 was tricky all weekend getting the timing correct and I came off slightly early, making a steering correction then aiming for outer 3. In front of me James tossed it too hard at OZ3 and spun out. I was able to stop and avoid contact which felt great going into our second run. I hadn't had many great leads but I knew that all I had to do was complete a smooth lap and get the win because he was sitting at a deficit with an incomplete. So I did just that, not going too hard the walls and just made a nice smooth lead run while James put the pressure on in the chase trying to force me into a mistake. I knew that I had the win but at the finish line as we sat, the judges reviewed the replay and noticed my front wheels had understeered coming off the bank in my chase run and decided to incomplete my run based on that. Which left them to judge solely based off of our 2nd lap. Because I held back in some areas on my second run under the impression that I was sitting at an advantage already, James got the win. It was very confusing and frustrating but all we can do is learn from it and move on.
We have been having great luck in competing in grassroots events the past month, getting 3rd place at Riverside Drift in New Jersey and 1st place at the SRD $10k shootout in Fargo, ND so we are going to carry that energy into the last 2 rounds of Formula Drift at Utah Motorsports Campus and Irwindale Speedway.
WORDS: Alec Robbins
PHOTOS: grandschemeviews | FormulaD
NST - NonStopTuning
NST - NonStopTuning