The Journey to FormulaDRIFT PRO2: The Drift League Season Opener
From left to right; Rome Charpentier, Daryl Priyono, and RJ Contreras prepare in the cold pits.

By Nick Weycker

When one thinks of Southern California, they think of palm trees, golden beaches, blue skies, and warm weather. On a certain Saturday at the ever-beloved Irwindale Speedway, none of these were to be found. Raindrops hit the screen of my phone as I checked the temperature; 40 degrees at 8 AM. It was decided then; Round 1 of The Drift League’s 2019 Season was going to be in the cold and wet, a distinct contrast from the entire first season.

After a driver’s meeting thankfully held indoors, the first practice was to begin.

Meliton Villamor’s S14 lies in wait.

With the rain still pouring down, it was less a drift practice and more a slip ‘n slide with bumper cars.

While the lower powered cars found some semblance of grip across the banks and the touch-and-go, the big V8 powered cars were having difficulties, stabbing the throttle and letting off, only to stab at it again.

Rome Charpentier’s Imagine Garage E36 babies the throttle around the touch and go.

Standing in a three inch deep puddle in the center of the track, I just had a feeling that disaster was going to strike; the Irwindale Luck had grown hungry in the off season.

Unfortunately, I was proven correct.

As RJ Contreras entered the second inner bank, upon reaching full lock the rear end came around, pirouetting the Big Duck Club E36 into the wall. As he was still at full lock, the impact ripped the wheel off, taking the arms with it.

RJ’s E36 on the trailer after the impact. Note the disconnected oil cooler and lack of a FL assembly.

However, practice soon resumed. Run after run, the drivers visually improved, learning how their powerful, twitchy cars made for the big bank handled on a near flat rainy batch of asphalt.

Josh Mason delicately pedals through the final corner.

And in fact, practice did go well for a few runs.

Shawn Hartum pushes his FD RX-7 through the touch-and-go.

Then, disaster struck once again.

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