As always, Josh Mason opted for the proper removal of his hat to the crowd. No theatrics, just business.
As the announcements moved further up the line towards first place qualifier, drivers became a tad more… extravagant.
Of course, Micah did something else. That’s the thing; he will go just that extra bit over the previous entry.
Due to the low number of drivers, the Top 16 started with 4 bye runs in the brackets. As nothing much happens in bye runs, we’ll be skipping those. Additionally, despite other runs taking place between One More Times, for the sake of storytelling I’ll group them together.
The first true battle of the night saw Pablo Cabrera in his green S13 coupe pitted against Tony Cisneros in his black S14. Cabrera led the first run, and while the green S13 initially made good distance on the bank, Cisneros was able to keep more speed through the transition and latch on to the sweet spot behind Cabrera’s quarter panel; keeping a distance of no more than two lengths, albeit at the cost of angle.
It was then Cisneros’s time to lead. Contrary to Cabrera, the S14 just couldn’t break away in the same manner the S13 did on the bank. Additionally, about halfway around the bank, I heard Cisneros’s revs die down briefly, the slowness forcing Cabrera to tap the brakes. However, I’m unsure if it was something as simple as a missed shift, or a cheeky tactic such as putting the clutching in. Whichever it was, it wasn’t enough to ensure a victory for either driver, resulting in a One-More-Time.
Once again, Cabrera led Cisneros from the starting line. Again, he broke away on the bank, but this time kept the distance until deeper into the final spiral; Cisneros also holding more angle and better proximity compared to their initial run.
Cisneros led yet again. As both cars rode along the bank, Cabrera kept inching closer and closer, almost as if challenging Cisneros to let off again. Coming around the transitional clipping point, the S14 just couldn’t break away. And as they approached the final apex of the spiral, the pressure finally made Cisneros crack. Straightening out and heading right for the media box, the S14 driver stood on the brakes, missing it by no more than a yard.
It was decided then and there, Cabrera would be moving on.