Continuing with Top 32, the next pair would be Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy/Nitto Tires Ford Mustang RTR and Chris Jeanneret in the STR Racing Nissan 240SX. Vaughn was able put all of the power of the Roush/Yates V8 down and pull far away from Jeanneret. It also didn’t help when Vaughn Talladega drifted Jeanneret and pulled a slingshot pass because Chris would have mechanical issues just before entering the bank.
If you wanted more proof that Dennis Mertzanis' ECU issues were holding him back, the run with him against Taka Aono in the Megan Racing/Hankook Tires Toyota Corolla should be proof enough. After having to go One More Time when Dennis failed to give chase in the judges’ view, Mertzanis pulled away from the start and Taka would straighten out, giving the win to Mertzanis.
Tony Angelo driving the US Air Force/Hankook Tires Scion FR-S and Odi Bakchis in the US Air Force/Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX would be up next. Odi would take the win, but after the event Tony pointed out a mistake that wasn’t caught by the judges on his Instagram feed. When Odi went super deep coming out of power alley, he did slightly pass him and this is normally against the judging criteria. The judges missed it, giving Odi the win but it would cost him a competition time out after popping the left rear tire.
Next would be Joon Maeng in the Lucas Oil/Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX and Conrad Grunewald in the Megan Racing/Hankook Tires Chevrolet Camaro. Joon would have a major mistake after Power Alley and straightened out, then before his lead run Maeng would use his Competition Time Out for repairs. While Conrad’s follow run was full of mistakes, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Zero Joon had and Grunewald was in the Top 16.
Jhonnattan Castro in the Pregresso del Banco/Hankook Tires Nissan 350Z and Fredric Aasbo in the Motegi Racing/Haknook Tires Scion tC would be next and mark the halfway point of the Top 32. Jhonnattan, who had been looking very good, made a mistake coming off the bank and hit the wall enough to just straighten himself out. It also damaged the car to the point where Castro had to shut down at the rear clipping point after Power Alley. That zero would give Aasbo the nod to the Top 16.
Kenny Moen driving the Lutz Performance Nissan 350Z would have an uphill battle against Tyler McQuarrie in the GoPro/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro. Tyler held the advantage with his lead run and then Kenny would put the nail in his own coffin by hitting the wall and going off course in his.
The surprise of the weekend was the failure of Daigo Saito. Not only did he have to use his second run in qualifying, but he would also eliminate himself against the Tomei/GTNet Subaru BRZ with a straightening out on the bank. Daigo’s lead run would be one of the best he ran that weekend, but it wasn’t enough to overcome his zero.
Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tires Ford Mustang and Ryan Tuerck in the Retaks Scion FR-S would have a Drift Alliance battle, but Tuerck Tuerck’d himself fighting a straightening out at the rear clipping zone after Power Alley and going off course. This gave Pawlak the advantage he needed and JTP moved on to the Top 16.
Pat Mordaunt in the Diamond Lighting/Yokohama Tires Lexus SC430 and Matt Field in the CX Racing/Maxxis Tires Nissan 240sx were next. While Matt tapped the wall and had a correction, Mordaunt made an even bigger mistake by straightening out. This advantage carried on with Field and he would move on to the Top 16.