Holley’s LS Fest(link is external) is an event near and dear to our hearts. We attend every year for a chance to witness drag racing, autocross and drifting, all in one weekend and all cars featuring an LS or LT engine. This is where Dirk Stratton comes into the picture. Two years ago, at the 2015 Holley LS Fest, we saw a grey C6 Corvette ripping through the gears at Beech Bend Raceway with a trail of white smoke behind it and we were blown away. It was refreshing to see a Chevrolet chassis dominating in a motorsport series comprised almost solely of small Japanese cars, so we have been keeping our eyes on the driver, Dirk Stratton, ever since.
As it turns out, he has grown leaps and bounds since we last saw him at LS Fest. That year, in 2015, he won the Midwest Drift Union Championship which earned him a spot in the Formula Drift Pro2 series, only one tier below the big dogs of Pro1. He competed in the ‘16 season of Formula Drift (FD) and came in a very impressive 4th place in the overall series points which earned him the prestigious “Rookie of the Year” title.
Dirk is now positioned to compete in the FD Pro2 series again in 2017, although his “Rookie of the Year” title did earn him a license to compete in Pro1. “You know, I just think my team and I should compete another year in Pro2 in order to refine a few things and continue to grow. We hope to enter the Pro1 series in 2018 as a better team and I’m confident we can dominate,” Dirk told us.
So, within a matter of just a few years, Dirk climbed the ladder from the grassroots level of drifting to a professional level, competing alongside some of the best drifters in the world. We were intrigued to find out how he got here and how he progressed so quickly, so we gave him a call to learn more about his story.
There was no stopping Marc Landreville this year. The Canadian driver of the Perry Performance Nissan S14 240SX crushed nearly every opponent he faced in 2016, cleared virtually every hurdle by a huge margin. At Round 1: Road Atlanta, he qualified first and finished second. At the following event, Round 2: Orlando, he improved, earning top qualifier and the top step of the podium. In Texas for Round 3, he stumbled a bit, qualifying third but winning the event. And for the season ender at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz., it was another perfect contest – number-one qualifier and the round win.
Inspired perhaps by the 2016 Formula DRIFT (FD) Pro Championship grand finale this Friday and Saturday at Irwindale Speedway in California, and as we wait for our shooter’s photo gallery from this past weekend’s FD Pro2 season ender in Arizona, we decided to pull together a little gallery of photographer David Karey magic over the course of the year showcasing the eight drivers who earned their Pro licenses for 2017. The list includes Marc Landreville, Jeff Jones, Andrew Lewis, Dirk Stratton, Dan Burkett, Ryan Litteral, Nate Hamilton, and Matt Madrigali. Congratulations to all of them – here’s a few notes on each of their respective 2016 seasons.