Race season is finally here! After an off-season of what has seemed like an endless winter and barrage of rain storms, Spring has returned and along with it the 2017 season of the Evergreen Drift Pro Am series. Evergreen Drift is part of the Formula Drift licensing Pro Am series and this year people will again be competing for a chance to win the opportunity to receive a Formula Drift Pro 2 license. I am extremely excited to be working side by side with my friend, and amazing driver, "Fast" Eddy Gonzalez for the 2017 season.
Previously piloting a Foxbody Mustang, Eddy moved on to a new chassis during the 2016 season, a 5.7L 2004 Pontiac GTO. However, it is now equipped with a refreshed and re-enforced engine, 66° angle kit custom fabricated by Chris Jeanneret Racing, custom CTS-V brake caliper kit from Bohnman Customs, Whiteline Suspension bushings throughout the chassis, BC Racing coilovers courtesy of iRace Autosports, and Triangle Tires, this goat is ready to take on the competition around Evergreen Speedway.
There is something about drift cars that just makes everything come down to the wire. Waking up at 6:00 am and heading to Monroe, WA in order to be at Eddy's by 8:00 am, it was crunch time to finish vinyl wrapping the GTO plus getting the necessary prep done before the cut off time for the drivers and media meeting. With the help of fellow driver and now crew member Brian Girard, from the DriftHau5 drift team, we completed the vinyl wrap just in time and made it to the track with minutes to spare.
Jumping back in the saddle is no easy task. It would seem that some drivers took more of an off season than others who were in attendance. Whether it was the track conditions, rusty driving, or sheer bad luck, it seemed like drivers just couldn't catch a break getting into the big show. With 6 drivers failing to put up a qualifying score there were only 16 left to do battle and get some points on the board for the season. Eddy put down 2 solid, back to back 77 point qualifying runs. This secured him a 2nd place seat going into the main event.
This Evergreen Drift Pro Am Round was combined with several other NASCAR events in what is called Fan Fest as Evergreen Speedway. This event gives spectators and fans an opportunity to get up close and personal with the cars and drivers which provides a great opportunity to interact on track. Many of the Cub and Boy Scouts in attendance as well as other children got lost in their imagination staring into Eddy's bight yellow American muscle GTO.
Even Batman made an appearance...
Back to Drifting
Eddy's first opponent in the Top 16 competition would be Oregon native Arie Abrams, in the Portland Speed Industries SR20DET powered S13. Suffering from transmission issues, Arie was showing difficulties transitioning into the 3/8th bank during practice and qualifying. The first battle got off to a rocky start with several errors being made by both drivers.
On one run Arie decided to lead when he was in the follow position, Eddy then knocked over the start line cones 2x's (1 more meant a DQ), and then the icing on the cake was when Arie misread Eddy's initiation and put a tire into his rear quarter panel.
Not the vinyl that I just finished wrapping!!! Why god! Why? Yeah Eddy your QP sucks but why the vinyl!
With Arie eventually straightening during one of his runs, Eddy was able to secure the win and move on to the Great 8.
In the Great 8 Eddy would face Patrick Heald, and his crazy Nitrous Express powered KA-T S13 with a fresh sparkly purple paint job.
During Eddy's follow run he kept losing forward bite and spinning tire. Combined with the lower line of Heald and the new N20 power adder, Eddy unfortunately couldn't keep pace with S13. With both drivers laying down respectable runs Eddy's day would sadly end here as Patrick secured the victory which moved him on to the Final 4, and inevitably the 1st place finisher for Round 1.
While it was not the start to the season that we had hoped for, there were still lots of positive takeaways after a great track day. Round 2 will be here before you know it so its back to the shop for more tuning and testing on the GTO.
Be sure to come out to Evergreen Speedway and support the Evergreen Drift series. For more information on how to follow Eddy's journey to Formula Drift please follow the links below.
Please enjoy the slide show below or visit the gallery here: http://www.i-nertia.co/p410091791