TD ProAm Round 3 Part 1
As the halfway point in the season, Round 3 of the TD ProAm Championship was sure to be interesting. Would the points leaders widen their gap or would there be a huge upset? If points were missed there might not be enough to catch back up. Pro licenses would be on the line. It would be nail-biting edge-of-your-seat excitement to say the least.
As usual, Geoff and I headed up to Thunderhill the night before the event. We had to be there by 7am, but I’d rather sleep at the track than leave the Bay Area at 4:30 in the morning. Being the 4th of July, we got to watch fireworks on the drive up. Some dude was lighting stuff off in the middle of my street and causing traffic jams. Thanks bro. That green light in the center of the photo is a mortar that was launched from further down the hill.
Marcus Fry and current points leader Josh Kravitz were already at the track when we got there, but Marcus was sleeping so we kicked it with Josh for a while.
The Canon 50mm F1.8 might not be a fantastic lens, but it gets the job done. Geoff smiles and laughs as much as anyone, but he tries to look as mean and angry as possible in photos. I don’t know why.
I’d always wanted to take a super long exposure star picture, and now was my chance. This one is 7266 seconds at ISO50 and f/10 at 20mm. That’s two hours, a minute, and 6 seconds. I think it needs to be more like 4 or 5 hours to be really awesome though.
The next morning I was in charge of checking in the drivers and giving them wristbands. Apparently Josh didn’t know this so he was pretty surprised.
This was an all-new course, only ever driven by Luke Lonberger in a video we made last year. We weren’t even sure it could be done, since it would require really long drifts and Luke did it in his 700-hp turbo LS1 S14. None of the drivers had anywhere near that much power. We told the drivers we’d see how they were doing, and maybe change the course à la FD Florida. By the way, It was already 80º by the time practice started.
The grasshoppers didn’t care. They were just having fun going for ride alongs. I’m pretty sure this one stayed on John Corvinus’s car the whole run. Tromping around out in the grass, I swear I displaced 50 grasshoppers with each step. They were hopping around like mad.
Luke brought his speed gun so we could give the drivers speed scores the way Formula D does it. It was pretty interesting to see everyone’s speeds quantified, and how each driver’s speeds stabilized as they found the ideal line.
Datsun 510′s are really awesome, aren’t they? Even better when there are two and they’re matching.
Marcus has an LS1, Josh has a supercharged KA, and they’re some of the better drivers in the field. Not bad for a couple of rookies in the oldest cars in the series, huh? Marcus ended up qualifying 6th while Josh dipped to 8th after qualifying 1st and 2nd in Rounds 1 and 2.
Josh McGuire brought his new S14 project out and qualified 3rd in it. Two wheels in the air? Yes? Maybe?
Noah Welch drove his near-stock S13 to a 12th place qualification.
Joe McGuigan was back with new Fatlace graphics on his IS300. It’s shaping up to be a pretty sexy car, and by far the newest one in the series.
Joe was frustrated with the course at first, but got the hang of it after a while. At 7th, he met his goal of qualifying in the top half. Thumbs up!
Aaron Conklin had one of the most underpowered and hard to drift cars there, but he was the only one who liked the course. Unfortunately for him, everyone else voted to change it slightly.
He was doing better with the changed course and ended up qualifying 11th.
Ry Moore, TD’s Starter and Track Operations guy, was braving the heat along with me. At least he had a cooler with water for the second half of the day. I moved around too much and had too much gear to have a cooler too. Oh well.
Oh hey, there goes my Camry…Geoff spent a lot of the day driving around (with the AC on) taking care of business at the grid, back paddock, holding area, judges stand, etc. AC would have been sooo nice…
Gabe Stone was down excited to try out the new course. Sitting in 3rd overall after Round 2, he was one of the drivers who really had to keep it together today.
At 81mph, he had the fastest initiation speed out of everyone, and he was the only driver initiating before the judges could even see him. G for Gabe? No way. G for Gangster.
Mike Bratton was back after missing Round 2. I’m digging the giant Darth Vader head on his hood. LOL. Mike stunned everyone with a 4th place qualification, after he missed the tandem competition completely in Round 1 with a 24th place finish.
Adam Swan, not wanting to be put out of the competition by turbo problems again, came back with a sturdier package. Back on his usual game, the 2011 Super-Am winner qualified 5th with his key and NOS lanyard hanging off the back of his car.
Rob Webber would have won the sexiest car award for the third straight round if we had one. He was looking strong in practice but ended up qualifying 10th, his lowest of the season. Would he be able to regain those lost points?
Julian Jacobs was killing it like usual. Check out his headlights for night drifting at All Star Bash just a few days ago. Unfortunately he ran into engine issues and didn’t qualify. His issues were resolved in time for the tandem eliminations, so since there were only 12 qualified drivers, they voted that he could have the 13th spot and still get to drive.
John Corvinus and his Chuckles were making everyone else’s entries look bad. Watching John’s angle is unreal. He qualified 9th.
Luke, Ryan Kado, and Fabian Fernandez were the judges as usual. It’s a huge help having the same three judges every time, not to mention the fact that they are all FD licensed drivers who “graduated” from TD ProAm.
Jason Bostrom’s low qualifying positions in the first two rounds didn’t really match up to his high finishing positions and overall position, but this time he managed to qualify second. We’d have to wait and see what happened once tandem started.
After qualifying, Gabe was tired and sweaty. I think that’s worth putting up with for qualifying first and getting the Blu808 Insane Entry Award!
Jason wasn’t in nearly as bad of shape, but then again he only qualified second. That’s the difference between trying hard and hardly trying I guess.
Check out Part 2 here!