Next up, Branden Sorensen lined up next Don Boline. Branden led first, immediately breaking away on the bank by several lengths. It’s worth noting that by the time both cars were off the bank, I had a note in my phone reading ‘inactive chase?’. Progressing further into the course, Sorensen only made more and more distance on the Z. At this point, Don’s fate was sealed, unless by a stroke of luck Sorensen zero’d out, forcing a one more time.
Following that, Boline took the lead. The power difference became painfully clear just after initiation; there was no chance of the Z breaking away at all, let alone with the gusto the gray E46 had done just before. Even on the fastest portion of the track, Branden had to tap the brakes several times to avoid a collision. This only continued onto the infield, Boline only making distance on the E46 by cutting the track so hard he dropped all four wheels out of the inside line.
Sorensen takes the win and moves on.
After that, Mason’s gray Mustang took to the line against Estrella’s AE86. Mason was the first to lead, the sheer difference in power between the cars allowing the XXR Mustang to break away on the bank. However, going around the transition and coming into the spiral, Estrella made up a surprising amount of distance thanks to his lighter car. Getting as close as three lengths away from the Mustang, Estrella latched on, and kept the proximity until both cars crossed the line.
Estrella led next. Like Branden Sorensen vs Don Boline, the lower-powered car just couldn’t escape the higher-powered car on the bank. As both cars rode back up the slope to turn in for the transition, Mason held better angle despite being the follow car. Coming into the spiral the distance only grew smaller and smaller; Mason nearly tapped Estrella with his mirror as they came across the line.
Mason took the win.
Next was Dan Stuke and Jon Shaffer, in their S13 and S14 respectively. The MSpek Performance S13 took the lead first. Despite a boost and nitrous fed 2JZ-GTE living under Stuke’s hood, he simply couldn’t break away from Shaffer like he could to a lower-powered car. What he could do, however, was gain distance in his favor. Shaffer, of course, had to retain lots of angle to keep speed with the Stuke, and in doing so straightened out for a moment, zeroing himself out. With this, the only chance Shaffer had was if Stuke zeroed out as well.
Stuke’s spotter must have seen Shaffer straighten out, as on Shaffer’s lead run, Stuke played it safe. After all, all he had to do was not zero. That’s not to say Stuke didn’t go for it, however; he went no more than four lengths back from the blue S14.
Stuke takes the win.
Glancing at my screenshot of the bracket, I was genuinely excited. LS E46 vs LS E46, Margaritis in one, and Branden Sorensen in the other. The Greek led first, pushing his nitrous fed LS on the bank in an attempt to break away. However, Sorensen was right behind him throughout; the teenager going no more than two lengths at most behind the blue E46 throughout the entire course.
Sorensen was quick to turn around and line up; he essentially had it in the bag. True to his form, the gray E46 broke away on the bank from the blue one. However, in contrast to the runs between a heavier, higher powered car, and a lower powered, lighter car, Margaritis didn’t have a lack of weight to take advantage of in the infield. As a result, the distance could simply not be made, giving Sorensen the win.
Following the pair of E46s, a gray Mustang lined up against a highlighter-green E36. Rome took the lead first, his Magnusson supercharged and rowdy cammed LS enabling him to just break away from the Mustang after initiation, giving Rome a four length gap as they came into the infield. Asking Rome’s crew how he pulled away, I was told “Honestly, it’s the alignment. BMWs are designed to have more grip.” While Mason didn’t lose distance, he didn’t gain any in his favor.
Mason sped off from the line, hoping to gain whatever inches he could and turn them into feet on the bank. He nearly got away with it too, if it wasn’t for Rome and that pesky weight advantage. Initially gaining a few lengths on the bank, Rome slowly but surely gained proximity throughout the course; coming with a length as both cars went around the final apex.
Charpentier took the win.