|Darren McNamara’s Falken Tire ASD built Saturn Sky is perhaps the most powerful car in Formula D with a sprint car based all aluminum small block Chevy. This is not an LS but a full race version of the venerable small block.|
After disappointment at Long Beach, better luck was on Monster Energy Drink driver, Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s, side as he was able to put down a solid 12th place qualifying run and make it back into the running for a championship, so long as he performed well in eliminations. During Friday Night Practice, Dai Yoshihara and Kyle Mohan made contact with each other. With Mohan leading, Dai was driving fast and trying to out class Mohan, but Mohan’s car was much slower than Dai had anticipated. While Mohan’s car was cosmetically damaged, Dai’s car broke a front lower control arm and put the alignment out of specification. Luckily, his crew chief, Scott Dodgion, replaced the broken parts and team engineer, Mike Kojima with the assistance of KW engineer Chris Marion got the tweaked chassis back in spec as Dai’s car was repaired overnight and looked strong during Saturday’s Top 32 practice.
|Chris Forsberg seemed to uncharacteristically struggle with his new NOS 370Z in practice but got it all together in time for qualifying.|
After the smoke cleared from Top 32 Practice, it was time for Eliminations. First up was number one qualifier in the Hankook Tires Chevrolet Camaro, Conrad Grunewald, and number 32 qualifier in the Megan Racing and Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla, John Russakoff. What should have been a write off run for Conrad turned into a true David and Goliath round. With Grunewald leading, he came in fast and looked to be trying a repeat of his inverted entry qualifying run. However, he had too much speed and backed it in to the sand pit and gave Russakoff the first run.
|Despite an impressive and well publicized build, Luke Lonberger seemed to struggle with the big Corvette and once again failed to qualify.|
On Russakoff’s leading run, Grunewald gave everything he had and began a much better run and was able to get a better angle in turn 10a than Russakoff. As they entered 10b, Russakoff began to slow and went wide into the horseshoe. Running that slow and that wide forced Grunewald to slow and go wider in order to miss Russakoff, but that forced him into the grass as Russakoff also put a wheel off. This resulted in a win for Russakoff and would begin his quest of Goliath slaying.
|Canadian Patrick Cyr put on an impressive underdog performance in his little AE86. Although he looked shaky in early practice sessions, Cyr improved with each pass until he was driving quite well by qualifying.|
The battle of the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z driver, Kenneth Moen and the Helix Energy Drink driver, Mat Waldin, was next and intense! Both drivers put on such good runs, two one more times were called. On the second OMT, both drivers didn’t let up, as Moen was following, he kept pace and stayed right on Waldin but coming back down the hill from the horseshoe, Moen got too close to the clipping point and had to straighten up a bit, giving an edge to Waldin. On Moen’s leading run, his 350Z developed engine problems and shut down on him ending his run. Waldin also came to a stop, but was only doing so to keep up with Moen. Once he realized that Moen was broken, he continued to drive. This gave Waldin the win and he moved on to the Top 16.
|Dean Kearney continues to struggle to come to terms with the ex Hubinette Viper. We think the big car is exceptionally hard to drive.|
Next was the battle of NOS Energy Drink driver Chris Forsberg and Nexen/Megan driver Cyrus Martinez. With Martinez pulling too much angle while following Forsberg into the horseshoe, he had to straighten up. This along with multiple mistakes by Martinez granted the win to Chris Forsberg.
|Sam Hubinette just can’t get a break this year. Engine problems prevented the two time champ from qualifying again!|