Round two of the 2015 State of Drift championship series is in the books, taking place at Memphis International Raceway in 100+ degree heat. A field of twenty competition-ready drivers took to the pavement to see who would emerge as the champion and likewise shake up the points.
Matt Lynch made some impressive runs early on, but mechanical problems kept him from making the competition. The car has been in development for some time, and once all the bugs are sorted out, it will be a contender for podiums in both State of Drift and Midwest Drift Union competitions.
The St. Louis guys, as usual, came down to party. Richie Clouser’s S14 is one of the cleanest out there.
Speaking of clean, Jonathan Hurst’s 350Z was fresh out of the paint booth from being silver, and the green looks a hundred times better.
Chris Anderson’s S13 coupe was also looking strong.
Last year’s Midwest Drift Union third-place finisher and Formula D Pro 2 license holder Dan Sommer once again took on 1/3 of the judging duties, letting drivers know during the pre-qualifying meeting what he, and the other judges, would be looking for.
Austin Sorah grabbed the top spot, coming off a second place finish at round one. He found himself with a bye in the first round, ultimately being defeated by Joey Moran in top eight.
Round one winner Steven Fishel also netted a bye run, as did Midwest Drift Union points leader Charlie Quatmann and Joey Moran. This was all done in an effort to be able to run a top sixteen instead of going directly to a top eight, given the small number of entrants and, according to the judges, include drivers that otherwise wouldn’t have made the direct top eight cut.
And speaking of top eight, Jonathan Hurst (350Z) defeated Shane Rousan in top sixteen to meet (and defeat) Bryan Broberg, who had defeated Will Mueller in the previous round.
Fishel would advance past fellow St. Louisan Quatmann to secure his spot in the final four.
Erik So muscled his way past Richie Clouser in top sixteen and Matt Schroeder in top eight for a spot in the final four.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing that good, but I guess I was doing good to take the other people out because I just wasn’t feeling it,” So said. “I can’t follow that good at all. Where I’m beating everyone is my lead run. If they run a bad line I can’t follow them and I mess up.”
Disaster almost struck in the final four match between Moran and Hurst, with Hurst slamming on the brakes just in time to avoid an entanglement of 350Zs.
“I knew he was a little underpowered, and he had a huge straighten out of the first turn and I went ahead and tried to stay in it, he came back on course and we almost hit,” Hurst said. “He got a zero and I had the advantage, he spun again and got a zero so I won.”
Fishel would smoke out Moran to secure his third place spot on the podium, despite encountering problems of his own.
“It’s like an ECU boost cut,” Fishel said of his issues. “When it gets hot it just cuts the power. We’ll pressure test it, make sure all is well and probably upgrade the turbo. The last run when it was acting up, I figured if it’s going to run low I’m just going to crank it up and just try to get all I can out of it, but that just probably hurt it more though. I had high hopes. I was super upset when the car started losing power. I was so ready, but there’s always next time. It’s so fun to drive with these guys.”
The final battle came down to So and Hurst, and though So put up a valiant effort with a wounded (and underpowered compared to the 350Z) car, Hurst proved simply too much and took the win.
“I’m pretty stoked,” Hurst said. “I put a lot of time into the car and just had it tuned last Wednesday from having blown it up drag racing. I was pushing to make this event but we got lucky and came out good.”
Despite the third place finish, Fishel retains the points lead over now second place Hurst and third place Sorah. The third round of competition will take place at Smokies Stadium in Sevierville, TN on September 26.