Street Life Tour. 2011. from Mark Lenardon on Vimeo.

If I had to compare Street Life Tour to something else, I’d say the most accurate description would be a mini-Formula D event. Tons of people, a large car show, music, vendors and of course, awesome drifting, made it feel like being at the pro event I attended in Vegas just a month before.

(That’s Dustin Pizzino in the 240 and “T2” Mike Feiock in the FC)

The weather at SLT was beyond perfect, if not a bit on the chilly side. If I had one complaint at all for the weekend, it was the mind-numbingly loud “music” being blasted from the Scion stage in an adjacent field.

While standing along the wall of the first sweeper early in the day, chatting with Kris Hackenson and others, Matt Petty ran up the hill yelling “Kris! Is your car supposed to be on fire?!” before he, as Hackenson said, jumped into action like a “ninja wizard” with a fire extinguisher.

This prompted a very swift jog down the embankment and to Hackenson’s car, where it was discovered his fuse box had melted due to the dipstick having popped out and landing there. In addition to the fuse box melting in its entirety, there was significant damage to the wiring as well. In fact, Hackenson said he had to start his car with a screwdriver all day due to issues with the wiring for the starter.

Despite being unable to finish the day, Hackenson placed fourth in overall points, securing a Formula D license for 2012.

“I’m super disappointed actually,” Hackenson said of the overall season. “Fourth is whatever, but I have a feeling I could’ve done much better than that. I was surprised I got fourth after getting zero points for three rounds. I started off strong with a first and a second in the first two rounds, and then the third I blew up the motor in practice, the fourth driving an unfamiliar car and the fifth with all the gremlins.”

Hackenson said he’d return for 2012 in another S14; his current chassis has been active since 2007. He said he also plans to go to a rear-mount turbo LS1 setup, pushing a minimum of 650 horsepower.

Finishing the MDU season in third and also being awarded a Formula D license was Cody Tobe.

“As far as the overall season goes, I couldn’t be more happy with third,” Tobe said. ” Street Life Tour was disappointing. Nothing like not qualifying at your own home track. But I still managed to earn my Formula D license so I really can’t complain. Next year I’ll have a new setup with twice the horsepower.”

Placing eighth on the day and finishing the season second in the MDU standings was Bill “High Life” Cook.

“I’m just really super excited,” Cook said. “I love driving with all the East Coast guys. They’re definitely at a high skill level.”

Cook said that next year his team, Team Oneway, will concentrate more on working as a team, from running the same parts to attending more of the same events. He mentioned he’s got a potential new chassis in the works for next year as well, but details are under wraps. He added that his current S13 won’t be undergoing many, if any, changes before he heads to Irwindale next month.

“Team Oneway is gonna have fun,” Cook wrote on his Facebook concerning his attendance at the last Formula D round. “And when we have fun, we win. Just saying.”

Award for most heart-stopping moment of the day went to Nick Amaro, who took his S14 airborne coming back onto the banking from the infield section on what was his last practice run of the day.

“I did a third gear entry entry and saw that I was shooting shallow, tried kicking it out but was a no-go,” Amaro said. “I think I closed my eyes because I only had them open when the car was coming back down, then I saw smoke. I tried getting out and thought the door was jammed so I jumped out of the window. As for pain, nothing really hurt until later. My left shoulder and neck were sore but I’m glad it wasn’t worse.”

The accident essentially totaled the car.

“That chassis is pretty done for,” Amaro said. “My brother has a ’97 240SX; I’ll swap everything over into that.”

Patrick Cyr brought home third place.

Second place went to James Evans and the Team Sikky 350Z.

“It was my first time attending this event,” Evans said. “Mike and the crew at Zerolift put on a great event that was well organized and very well run. Great competition and had an awesome time with tandem runs on the high speed banking. Needless to say I will be back next year schedule permitting.”

With top eight beginning and the light fading, Dan Savage reenacted the Exxon-Valdez incident and covered the track in oil, with crews spending nearly 45 minutes removing the liquified dinosaurs so the last few runs of the night could take place. Despite the setback and significant drop in temperature, action resumed by about 9:45, with Mike Pollard emerging as the victor.

“I cannot explain the emotion that I felt when I realized I had won,” Pollard said, indicating he had been chasing the victory for two years. “Street Life Tour has always been a great competition and the level of driving is always high.”

Pollard said despite the win, the season overall has been rough.

“A couple projects fell through and I was left with a car with no motor,” Pollard said. “I’ve spent every dime and paycheck for the last two months to piece this car together and make Street Life Tour. Being my first time behind the wheel in three months, I had a lot of built up tension.”

Above, Pollard leads Evans one of the last runs of the night.

Taking home fourth and being crowned the 2011 Midwest Drift Union champion, as well as securing another Formula D license for the 2012 season was Brian Peter.

“For me, it was a big weekend and it was a great end to a great season,” Peter wrote on his blog. “It’s hard to end a competition on two losses, and I was disappointed that I gave up the wins to two drivers due to my mistakes. However, I was really hanging it out, so I wasn’t too hard on myself. I would rather go out on a loss in which I tried my hardest and pushed it one step too far than go out because I didn’t push it hard enough.”

From left to right, Brian Peter, Mike Pollard, James Evans and Patrick Cyr.

Head of MDU, Edgar Sarmiento, said the organization would be for sure holding four events next year, with bigger plans in the works to help grow the drift scene in the Midwest.

“We hope for a pro event to come out way soon,” Sarmiento said.

“Awesome job by our top drivers this year, staff, and thanks to all of our sponsors, including NOS Energy Drink,” he added.