With snowflakes falling in the late afternoon at Gateway Motorsports Complex during what seemed to be the coldest Midwest Drift Union event in the series’ five-year history, an abbreviated competition led to Mike Feiock returning to the podium for the first time in years, and Brian Peter being crowned the 2014 series champion.
Feiock found himself on top of the qualifying order with a qualifying score of 95 and entry speed of 71 mph.
“I’ve been struggling with the new car and finally got it dialed in and built a lot of suspension parts for it over the last month and it’s paid off so much,” he said.
Alfaro grabbed the second spot with a score of 86 and just a tick lower on entry speed at 70 flat.
And rounding out the third spot was Peter with a score of 83 and speed matching Feiock’s.”
“My first qualifying run was my worst of the day,” Peter said. “We had been sitting there for a long time and my front tires were super cold and I totally messed up the first turn and ended up going off course. Second run I felt was pretty good, but I didn’t expect to qualify third, I expected to qualify maybe. That was a big surprise.”
And with the amount of cage-less cars and breakages, the decision was made after the post-qualifying meeting to go straight to a top eight.
After Feiock defeated Evan Steiner in the first match, Dan Sommer would do much the same to Alfaro in their pairing, getting the win and moving on to the final four.
That would bring Crangle and Peter to the table, with the 2JZ-motivated FC soldiering onward.
“On the second turn, just like I did in qualifying, I bobbled and lost speed and I think he checked up a little too much and he messed up behind me and that sealed it,” Peter said.
The final battle of top eight was between David Mesker and his E36 and Mike O’Mara and his beloved S13; the green machine would see itself moving one step closer to the podium.
“He beat me last time and this time we had an identical situation,” O’Mara said. “Both times we went one more time, and the cards fell in my favor this time. He drove really hard and this time I came out on top.”
Feiock went on to defeat O’Mara, sending the green S13 to battle Sommer’s S13 in a battle for third.
“My favorite thing was driving with Mike Feiock,” O’Mara said. “I’ve been running this course for seven years now and I’ve never been pushed to run it that fast. It might have only been a few miles per hour faster than normal, but that was everything the car and myself had. Even though he beat me, it was a good time.”
That meant Peter was up against “Danger” Dan Sommer for a spot in the finals, in which the win was ultimately taken by Peter after Sommer went in too hot and lost control, narrowly avoiding a collision.
O’Mara was able to easily clench third place (thus defeating one of his employees at Nocturnal Motorworks) after Sommer experienced mechanical issues.
“Unfortunately I think he blew up a turbo or two and had no boost coming off the line so after the first run he decided to throw in the towel which is not what I wanted,” O’Mara said. “I was really hoping we’d get a one more time like three times in a row and it didn’t happen. I guess we’ll have a lot to talk about at work on Monday.”
“I never in a million years thought that it would happen,” O’Mara said of his podium finish. “I’m usually happy just to qualify and go out and have a good time. I never thought I’d beat Dan, I was excited about that too.”
“This was my first time running an entire MDU season after watching from the sidelines last year,” he added. “I’ve had this car six or seven years. I’ve had a lot of other cars in between but can never bring myself to get rid of this one. It’s been through a lot of design changes; SR, V8, 1JZ and keeps evolving with me as the years go on. I’ll always have a soft spot for this car.”
And with that it was down to the finals, where it was definitely a Goliath vs. Goliath match between Peter and Feiock.
“It was so exciting and those were my two best runs of the day,” Peter said, ultimately being defeated by his good friend. “I know I got really close to him through the final big sweeper and felt like I did my best. In the final run, I knew he stayed with me and he’s always really fast. He was really great on the entry and I thought it was going to be a one more time. I was planning on what to do with my tires and they said they had a verdict. Honestly, whether I got first or second, the way qualifying went, I was so happy to be against Mike and I’m thrilled for him to get the win. I think it was well deserved.”
Feiock echoed those sentiments.
“Those were some of the most fun runs I’ve had in a long time and I’m really glad I was able to have a good time with Brian,” Feiock said. “This was the first time we’d ever competed against each other and it feels really good. And both of us being ex-Formula D drivers putting on a pretty good show made my weekend. Actually going into the finals I really didn’t care who won as long as Brian and I put on a show.”
Feiock said next year he intends to continue refining the car and possibly run some U.S. Drift events.
“I’d like to drive with those guys and I had some experience there at Street Life Tour,” Feiock said.”I just like driving with people who are as good or better than me because it brings us all up.”
With a huge points lead going into round five, Peter had already clenched the championship and his Pro 2 license, but the season finale also saw two other drivers awarded a license.
One of those was St. Louis’ own Dan Sommer.
The other driver comes from the other side of the state in Kansas City, who would be none other than Rolando Alfaro.
Congratulations to all of the drivers for a great season this year, and especially to Brian Peter for winning the championship!