Formula Drift Round 3: Palm Beach International Raceway


John Russakoff nixed the F20C for a K24 modified to be mounted FR.  The iVTEC engine makes 60 ft/lbs more torque down low and according to John is worlds better.

The new layout still promised one thing, enough speed to get enough momentum for the Inverted Entry. Every driver that did so either ended up in feast or famine, because if you lost speed or stalled after the entry, you were penalized. So while drivers dared to invert like sailors looking for rewards in the rocks out at sea, many other drivers were able to either capitalize on the mistakes of others or not fall for the reverse entry on their first run.

Chris Forsberg
NOS Energy Drink Driver, Chris Forsberg during Practice.

While he did not win the Retaks Insane Entry Award, Chris Forsberg did put down aggressive entries and consistent lines in his NOS Energy Drink 370Z to make him number one seed. Second seed, Darren McNamara of the Falken Tire Saturn Sky, was able to put down a great qualifying run on his first attempt, but he listened to the siren’s call of backwards entry on his second run. He was able to get inverted, but his overly aggressive entry cost him position for the second clipping point and he didn’t get close to the rear clipping zone prior to the last clipping point. His score of 80.0 still reflected what could have been if he was able to hold his line.

Walker Wilkerson
Walker Wilkerson getting backwards during practice.

Fatlace driver, Walker Wilkerson, who was pulling off impressive entries during practice, ran a conservative first run to get a score in. This was a smart move as on his second run, he went all out and tried for the backwards entry. All though practice he had been late in initiation and it would put his line far off where he needed to be for the second clipping point, so he knew he needed to enter early. He came in too early and, just as Matt Powers did at Road Atlanta, Walker hit the inside of the curb and broke a tie-rod end and bent his wheel. His first run earned him nineteenth seed.

Matt Powers
Matt Powers in his Need for Speed Nissan S14 240SX.

Speaking of Matt Powers, the Need for Speed driver was not feeling it as he indicated earlier in the article. While on his best run, he did go for a fantastic, but traditional entry. His speed was only good for five points, so he lost speed and this was evident as he was not able to hug up against the rear clipping zone. However, from the rear zone to the finish, he was able to gain speed and finish tight against the wall for a 68.0 and twenty-seventh seed and the disappointment was evident in his voice, “I just couldn’t get it together in time.”

Conrad Grunwald
While not able to snatch number one seed, Conrad Grunewald and his Hankook Tires Camaro did take the Retaks Insane Entry Award.

While not gaining number one seed, Conrad Grunewald in his Hankook Tires Chevrolet Camaro was able to take home his second Retaks Insane Entry Award. There is something with the Camaro chassis that is allowing them to get great angle like they are getting. While the mass of the car does explain some, there is something in the chassis that is a allowing both the Gardella and the Blu808 Camaros to go inverted and keep it going smooth. Conrad was able to secure seventh seed while Tuerck was only able to get fourteenth seed, as both drivers weren’t able to hit the rear zone right with their backwards entries. One of the better surprises of Qualifications was Ryan Kado in his 2005 Nissan 350Z, gaining a 22nd seed and his first ever Top 32, while not his favorite track, Ryan stated, “It is still a fun entry, you can still back it in there.”

Ryan Kado
Formula Drift rookie, Ryan Kado and his 2005 350Z had an impressive outing at Palm Beach.
Matt Field
With fuel pump problems plaguing him in Practice, Matt Field and his Fatlace 240SX could not put down a solid run in qualifications. This is his first failure to place in Top 32 this season.


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