The old adage goes that in Florida, when you just start getting used to the weather, it will change. That was no exception for the first round of the Formula Drift Pro 2 Championship at Orlando Speedworld June 5-6, 2015. While the second tier drivers qualified in the dry, Mother Nature had other plans and would test the skills of newcomers and veterans alike. It would also be the first test of a brand new track for the Formula Drift Championships. While you’d like to think those with years of experience would end up on top, turns out the rookies would have something for them, and a driver that earned his license in a series that never experienced rain would take the win.
Orlando Speedworld is not a venue new to drifting. It actually holds regular events that guys like Pat Goodin, Chelsea Denofa, Alec Hohnadell, and others in the state of Florida have driven on. So, it’s not hard to expect drivers like Kelsey Rowlings to make it into the Top 16. However, drivers like Alex Youe, Pat Cyr, Kasey King, or even Kenji Yamanaka would be names from outside of Florida you’d also expect, but you’d be left scratching your head as they did not make it. Pat crashed while Kasey experienced car troubles, and Kenji just didn’t perform as we expected him to. Instead, we found names like Andrew Gray, Faruk Kugay, Brody Goble, and number one qualifier Alex Heilbrunn on the list. However, that number one qualifier shouldn’t be much of a surprise, as two of the five rounds of the Just Drift “Top Drift” series are done on ovals similar to Orlando Speedworld, though the “whoops” section in the middle was probably a new experience. Same goes for Brody Goble who drove in the Evergreen Drift Series, which ran exclusively on the Evergreen Speedway oval that Formula Drift will see after New Jersey.
Continue reading When It Rains: The Formula Drift Pro2 Championship Round 1 at Orlando Speedworld – June 5-6, 2015 By AMDrift.com
Orlando Speedworld is the third different Florida race track that Formula Drift has visited in the past three years, but it definitely has its own character. While Palm Beach International Raceway (2011 / 2012 / 2013) and Miami-Homestead Speedway (2014) both raced on modified road courses, Orlando Speedworld is a 3/8-mile banked oval that is bigger than Wall Speedway’s 1/8-mile oval (that will be the fourth stop on the Formula Drift circuit) and smaller than Irwindale’s 1/2-mile oval that will finish the season. The course is only two turns, but the uneven pavement on the infield that some have referred to as a ‘WOOPS‘ section similar to a motocross track is an added hazard drivers will need to plan for. The first banked turn is piloted clockwise with an outer zone along the wall for the entire bank. As the drivers exit the bank, an inner clip sits at the start of the infield. Drivers will transition from one direction to the other across the infield, stabilizing their car through the ‘WOOPS‘ section and hitting a second inner clip before ridding the second outer clipping zone around via the apron of the opposite turn in counter-clockwise rotation.
Ken Gushi topped a field of 38 drivers in qualifying in his GReddy Racing Scion FR-S with Matt Field earning second qualifier and missing the top position by only a single point. Ryan Tuerck, Justin Pawlak, and Tyler McQuarrie earned third, fourth and fifth qualifiers respectively, all also only earning one less point than the driver ahead of them.
In case you missed the event or the live Formula Drift Driftstream, here’s a play-by-play of how the top 32 tandem battles shook out.
Continue reading Top 32 Play-by-Play: Formula Drift Rd 3 Orlando Speedworld By Driving Line