After his crash in Round 3, I knew Josh Mason simply wouldn’t back down from attending Round 4, only being a point off from second place in the points battle. He cut and swerved and gunned his XXR Turbo LS Mustang throughout the course, putting down a 67.
First entering The Drift League at Round 3, Matt Piercy (aka Matt_mayhem_Piercy) had the odds stacked against him from the start. Unfortunately, his silver S13 spun out both qualifying runs, resulting in a zero-out; eliminating him before the competition really started.
Following Piercy, another newcomer took to the track. Jon Shaffer’s (aka instashaffed) first entry to The Drift League was at Round 4 in his LS swapped S14. Having seen him test at Adam’s Motorsports Park, I was properly excited to see what it could do on a track as varied as it is technical. He opted for the safer route, scoring a healthy 53 and ensuring a place in the Top 16.
Another S-chassis went up next. Zeroing out in his first run, Dan Stuke (aka Stuke Racing) was faced with a do-or-die. After a great qualifying run, I noticed his front end unusually low as he crossed the line. Pulling over on the bank, it was clear he had lost his front right coilover; his crew found a shorn tophat on the track. However, he had sent it regardless, taking a score of 70 back to the paddock.
Next up was points leader Rome Charpentier (aka RomeCP) in his Millennium Motorsports powered Imagine Garage E36. After a satisfactory first run, he went again, putting down a 79 and thus becoming top qualifier at that point.
Following Rome was Don Boline (aka DonShredda), who has been in The Drift League running since Round 1 all the way back in June. Like Shaffer, Boline took the safer route in his Concept Builders 350z, bringing a score of 44 back to the paddock.
Tony Cisneros (aka drifter116) was up next in his #116 Motorsports S14. For context, at this point there were less than 16 possible entrants. All one had to do was place a score for entry to the Top 16. Hence, Cisneros played it safe like a few of the drivers before him, satisfied with a score of 63.
Finally, a familiar E46 took position at the start line. Rumor has it, he doesn’t sleep between days of drifting; he waits. With a penchant for burnouts, breaking parts, and a questionable knowledge of what the middle pedal’s for, Micah Diaz was certainly one to watch. After parts failures, crashes, and bad luck took him out of the Top 16 from the past three rounds, I was hyped for a ‘hail mary’ for Round 4.
I was not disappointed.
First run left Micah with a score of 75, placing him 5th in the running. Of course, that wasn’t enough.
I was so stunned by his second run, I nearly forgot to write down his score into my phone’s notepad.
As he turned back into the paddocks, he brought back with him a score of 79, tying him with Rome Charpentier for score, yet placing above him due to having the better first score.
With qualifying shored up, it was time for the final driver’s meeting of the season.
Determination was in ample supply as Jeff Jones laid it all out, the drivers even unanimously agreeing on what the lead and follow car should do when exiting the spiral to avoid any post-run contact.
The Top 16 looked something like this:
1. Micah Diaz – 79 pts
2. Rome Charpentier – 79 pts
3. Amanda Sorensen – 77 pts
4. Margaritis Katsandis – 77 pts
5. Branden Sorensen – 76 pts
6. Dan Stuke – 70 pts
7. Josh Mason – 67 pts
8. Pablo Cabrera – 65 pts
9. Tony Cisneros – 63 pts
10. Carlos C. Estrella – 57 pts
11. Jon Shaffer – 53 pts
12. Don Boline – 44 pts
Then, it was time for the last opening ceremony we’ll see at a Pro Am Irwindale event until next year.