Every time Midwest Drift Union visits Kil-Kare, four things are for almost certain: there will be rain, an energetic crowd, intense tandem battles and a solid amount of destruction. This year proved no different, with the third round of the 2016 series ending in dramatic fashion while shuffling the points bracket to a two-way tie for first.
The morning festivities included the usual routine, with tech inspections, tire mounting, last minute preparations and the drivers meeting under the pavilion.
The “evil pumpkin” layout was no stranger to most drivers, though there were still a handful taking their inaugural Kil-Kare plunge.
Speaking of plunge, rains the night before gave the first run group of drivers a water obstacle to negotiate.
Much like the Kite Eating Tree from Charlie Brown, Kil-Kare tends to eat cars left and right, earning it the nickname “Kil-Car.” This year proved no different, and took its first bite out of Jason Turner’s Cressida.
Shane Whalley managed to lose his front and rear bumper covers on consecutive passes after contact with the wall.
Many drivers dropped a tire or two in the infield grass coming off the bank, but Chance Crooks took it a step further and simply removed part of that area.
These antics brought our staff member T.R. Scrivner out to initiate a different kind of sweeper.
Tandem practice was almost as intense as the competition itself, with Mike Feiock and Matt Lynch previewing a battle that would turn into the spectacle of the night.
It almost always rains for a brief stint when MDU visits Kil-Kare, but this was the first time it rained off and on all day, even if it wasn’t pouring down. The adverse conditions means some drivers got to qualify in the dry, like Stu Kelly.
Those who ran later, like Mike Feiock, had their go in the rain. Despite the damp track, Feiock would nab the top qualifier spot.
“Qualifying was scary,” he said. “This track does not lend itself to rain driving. Pretty much any banked course is sketchy in the rain.”
Top sixteen kicked off with Feiock taking a relatively easy win over Ali Ahmed in a battle of Mazdas old and new, with round two newcomer and winner Noah Michaels taking his S13 (now sporting a new color) to victory over long time MDU competitor Adam Ouziel.
With the rain starting to fall once again, “Dan Of All Trades” Perlenfein took his Lexus “SC350” to his first time in top eight with a victory over the E46 of Dan Nikov.
Steve Topping would battle Lynch next, with the patriotic E36 going back on the trailer while Lynch’s S13 would go on to see the next round.
The Stu Kelly/Geoff Donati battle went one more time after no advantage on the first run due to mistakes by both drivers. On the second run, Kelly’s impact with clipping points and a dropped tire would put Donati through to top eight.
After an unusual circumstance where Josh Durnell failed to appear for competition, Hooman Rahimi got a by run into top eight.
Chance Crooks and his 350Z were on the offensive in their battle against Shane Whalley, but the GTO got the nod to top eight.
Rounding out the first elimination round was Alec Robbins against Drew Meyer, a battle that ended up going OMT after both drivers had understeering issues in their first set of runs. Robbins got the win on the second go round after Meyer ran an unfavorable line off the bank.
In the first battle of top eight, it was the rotary of Feiock taking the win over the LS of Michaels.
The ridiculously fast S13 of Lynch proved too much for Perlenfein, as “One Speed” Lynch took his rocketship to the final four.
Rahimi’s first real battle was against Donati, but the rookie of the year contender was shut down by Rahimi’s Z.
With one ROTY contender defeated, Robbins carried the torch on a win over Whalley to find himself sitting in the final four.
In the first final four pairing, Lynch bumped Feiock on the bank, causing slight damage to the RX-8’s quarter panel. But it was the next run which made the entire event come to a screeching halt.
On his initiation into the bank, Lynch’s car went high and the tail end caught a k-rail, lifting the car in the air and causing it to ride the wall for a few yards before coming to a stop at the base of the sweeper. In the process, Lynch broke both driver side wheels, lost the front left tire, damaged the subframe and caused an obvious amount of cosmetic damage. Luckily, Lynch walked away unharmed to the cheers and applause of the crowd.
“My dad goes ‘you drive that thing like you stole it,’ and I did, right into a wall, almost over everybody’s head,” Lynch said after the accident. “I might be able to fix it,” he added optimistically. “I’ll still try to make Virginia, but you might see me in a (borrowed) Mustang.”
Feiock was able to avoid getting tangled up in the accident.
“I was behind him and watched it all happen,” he said. “I felt like we went in a little weird, lower than I thought we should have down close to the infield. I buzzed the rumble strips, and when he entered I felt like it was a little bit later than he and I had normally been doing, and obviously that was a bad recipe because he ran out of track real quick. I don’t know if I saw it coming or just decided to grab a little e-brake before it happened, but if I didn’t, I would have been right there with him. I got lucky as far as I’m concerned.
With Feiock’s spot in the finals now solidified, neither Rahimi nor Robbins could place lower than third, which turned their final four battle into one where the loser would take that very position. Rahimi’s contact with Robbins was the deciding factor in their set of matches, netting him the bronze.
“I had a great time and wished I would have advanced, but things happened and I’m happy to be top three,” Rahimi said. “That’s the first time I’ve been on the podium at this track. I’m excited because it’s one of the first tracks I had a lot of problems with in the VQ so it’s kind of like a redemption for me because having the V8 now I can plant it where I want it.”
In the final battle under the lights, the Robbins pulled off a win over the MDU OG, catapulting him up the points rankings where the pair now sit in a 125-point tie.
“I knew that was going to be a tough deal,” Feiock said. “He’s put on a pretty good show this year, especially for being a rookie. He’s very impressive in that truck. It looks basic but performs very well. We had a difference in speed which led to me making some mistakes and it worked out in his favor.”
Robbins was understandably excited about the outcome, especially with the fact he ran the day without an e-brake due to it acting up.
“It feels awesome,” Robbins said. “Those last couple sets of runs were amazing, but Hooman and Feiock had been killing it all day, they’re so consistent and fun to drive with.”
Round four will take place at Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania, Virginia on October 15. This will be a unique event as both MDU and U.S. Drift will conclude their seasons together by running a top 32 bracket with 16 drivers from each series on opposite sides, boiling down to a finale between the East and Mid-coasts to determine the best driver between the two.
2016 MDU Round 3 Competition Results
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