TD ProAm Round 3
For Round 3 of the 2012 TDProAm series, Geoff moved the event from the Solano Fairgrounds to Stockton99 Speedway. This was Thunderdrift’s first time at Stockton and it was definitely nice having the event at a racetrack again. Many of the drivers had never drifted on a banked oval before so they were stoked to try something new.
The day started off the same as any other. After the drivers unloaded their cars it was time for the drivers’ meeting. You could feel the excitement as the judges explained what they’d be looking for throughout the day.
And Geoff explained that the drivers better be on their best behavior at this new track.
And just like that, the gates were open for practice. Tyler Wolfson was looking for a third podium to solidify his lead in the series.
Eugene Kretschmer needed to do better than he did in Round 2 if he wanted to take the lead back from Tyler.
Hot off his 2nd place finish, Lex King had his work cut out for him in Stockton.
Rookie Oregonian Matt Coffman was back with a new paint job and wild fender flares, making it now one of the nicer looking cars in the series.
After practice, everyone went back to their pits to freshen up for qualifying. It was go-time.
The drivers lined up and got into the zone.
The judges got into position and Joe found a good sniper’s nest.
Sean Hoover stepped it up and qualified 5th, his best of the year.
Alveen Gideon came in at a respectable 4th for the second time in a row.
After swapping his transmission and an axle after the demo at the NASCAR race the night before, Marcus Fry came back and qualified 3rd, also his best of the year.
After just missing the podium last time, Josh McGuire was back with a vengeance and qualified 2nd.
That left Tyler Wolfson as the number one qualifier. With that kind of consistency, getting on the podium for a third time would almost guarantee him the season championship. But of course, you can’t win based on probability. The pressure was on for him to prove he could do it.
While Formula Dread was training to be the next Doug Artus, Ry Moore was training to be the next Formula Dread. All he needs is dreads.
Maybe a beard would help too.
Lex King qualified 8th but that can’t deter a guy like him. After all, even Daigo Saito hasn’t qualified higher than 12th this whole Formula D season.
Eugene Kretschmer was very very excited to get 7th. That meant he was still in the top half of the bracket.
There were many different reactions to the way the bracket turned out.
Tyler Wolfson was ready to put in work.
While Tyler Xiong tried to be as stereotypical as he could possibly be.
And the judges made sure everyone was absolutely clear on the rules and the requirements of the course.
Apparently Alveen thinks newcomer Geoff Roark is a pretty cool dude.
He’s from Hawaii so he can’t be that uncool.
Matt Madrigali made it through practice without crashing and qualified 9th.
And Rob Webber had his best qualifying session of the year, coming in at 6th.
Starting off the main competition with a bang, Tyler Wolfson didn’t quite destroy Joe Amies, another newcomer to the series. It was a split decision but Tyler moved on.
Lex King and Matt Madrigali traded mistakes and went One More Time.
A bobble and and a loss of drift from Lex meant a Top 8 appearance for Matt.
Alveen pushed his Hachi to its limits and pulled a big gap on Geoff Roark’s more powerful FC, ending Geoff’s first ProAm experience.
Matt Coffman’s paint and flares couldn’t help him against Sean Hoover, who was being really consistent.
Josh McGuire and Jose Flores both had spins on their follow runs so they went One More Time.
Josh wasn’t going to let Jose get away from him this early in the competition, and showed him some of the best proximity of the day.
Henry Van had a chance to drop Eugene Kretschmer down in the standings, but a spin from the hachi kept Eugene in the running for the championship.
Both Marcus Fry and Joe McGuigan has a clean second run, but a spin from Joe in the first run meant a win for Marcus.
Rob Webber looked like he might lose it on the initiation into the bank, but Nick Bayati spun and gave Rob the advantage anyway. Both drivers had clean second runs, so Rob won the last battle of the Top 16.
Tyler Wolfson and Matt Madrigali both killed their lead runs but left huge gaps on their follow runs, leading to a One More Time. Matt cleaned up his gap when he chased but Tyler couldn’t catch up when they switched. With only a Top 8 finish this time, Tyler would have to hope for more upsets if he wanted to hang on to his lead in the series.
Sean Hoover probably still would have beaten Alveen Gideon even if it weren’t for Alveen spinning on both of his runs. Did I mention how consistent Sean had been doing?
Josh McGuire ran low on the bank on his lead run as Eugene Kretschmer straightened out behind him. When they switched, Eugene ran high on the bank, but McGuire turned on the proximity and took the win.
As Marcus Fry and Rob Webber took off, Marcus broke another axle, which then got lodged between his control arm and chassis, bending the control arm. He couldn’t fix it in five minutes so Rob won by default.
As the Final Four got underway, Sean Hoover kept doing his thing as Matt Madrigali struggled in front of him.
Matt bobbled on his chase run too but still had another chance at getting on the podium.
Rob Webber was staring at what could have been his first podium finish, but he spun on the bank when following Josh McGuire.
It was Josh’s battle to lose as they switched positions, but he kept it under control and Rob would have to take third place from Matt Madrigali if he could.
It wasn’t in the cards, as a pair of clean runs from Matt trumped Rob’s bobbles.
All Sean Hoover had to do was what he’d been doing all day.
But anything can happen in the final battle, and Sean narrowly avoided the wall as he transitioned off the bank.
He killed his lead run as Josh McGuire straightened out a bit behind him, but Josh’s mistake wasn’t enough to send the battle to a One More Time.
This was Josh’s first ProAm win since he joined the series in 2011.
It was also Matt Madrigali’s first time opening champagne. He almost shot his eye out.
Sean Hoover was happy enough finishing second. Maybe it’s because he also moved into the lead for Rookie of the Year. We’ll see if he can keep it up as the season comes to a close next month.
Marcus was in good spirits besides breaking his car again. Maybe he was just happy to not be soaked in ice water. That’s one the hazards of winning an event.
I’m pretty sure I was the sexiest cone-wrangler out there. Even sexier than the Sexy Mexi.
Tyler Wolfson was lagging on packing up his stuff and was one of the last guys to leave the track. Luckily that meant he was still there when the light got super awesome.
So where does all of this leave the series? Wolfson is not only still in the lead, but he expanded his lead from 8 points to 17 thanks to his high qualifying score and Kretschmer and King both getting knocked out relatively early. Kretscshmer is still holding onto second place, while Josh McGuire jumped way up to third from 12th, knocking Lex King down to fourth. Only 29 points separate the top four drivers, so literally anything can happen at Round 4. The top three drivers will earn 2013 Formula D licenses, with a fourth license going to a wild card driver. Who will get the wild card? Could it be Lex, if he stays in 4th? Maybe Sean Hoover or Rob Webber, for making huge improvements since earlier in the season. Marcus Fry could get it because of the dedication he’s shown by staying up all night fixing his car. Maybe Matt Madrigali since he’s been on the podium every event besides Round 2, only because he crashed out in practice. You guys will just have to wait and see!
Photos by Bohan, Ayala, and Wong