One thing I have always loved about motorsports is the paradigm of the sacrifices involved to conquer personal achievements along the way. One achievement that has eluded me for 6 years has been to successfully navigate the drift-course at Road Atlanta… specifically the entry into 10a, and linking the downhill section tracking out of the horseshoe back down to 10b (sans-manji).Perched at the top of the hill talking to my buddy Joshua Herron and my girlfriend Lieze Truter… I couldn’t help but ponder all the years of bad luck, broken parts, STUPID limp-mode, ecu problems. I’ve basically been cursed. Seriously.The duration of practice would unfold in much the same manner as the past… cursed. Even with a fully-functioning hydraulic e-brake – I still wasn’t acclimated to the point of total comfort. I even had another close call with a flat-spin in the narrow patch of grass between the track and the wall. My Yokohamas had SO much grip that they rocketed me right towards the wall. It scared me so bad I threw up in my mouth.When qualifying came around… we cranked the tyre pressures up around 60-65, and with some advice from Eugene, I came flying into 10a without my normal flick to set the car up. To my surprise… IT WORKED.With the entry checked off my list, all I had to do was get the car back down the hill out of the horseshoe. My buddy Mike Peters had called me a week prior and given me some advice on my line to help me do this. To my surprise… IT ALSO WORKED.Back down the hill I went, with just enough wheelspeed, momentum, and RPMs to get within reach of 10b. It would take a massive handful of that e-brake… but it would work.To say that I was excited would be a MASSIVE understatement. Hell… Cloud-9 still doesn’t quite describe it. I had been fighting this track for 6 years… and with the help of all my friends, Matt Foerst, Kieran O’Brien, Eugene Chou and Mike Peters… I was able to finally break my Road Atlanta curse. I ended up qualifying 8th, and was paired up with Jason Giovanni from Florida for top 16. On my lead-run… Jason straighted out, and on Jason’s lead-run… I straightened out. I think it should have gone OMT, but it didn’t – and Jason moved on. I was still so excited about my qualifying runs… that I didn’t even care that I got knocked out.I was able to hang out with all the DriftMechaniks/Team Rowdy dudes and just have a good time. These dudes are the best on the planet, and I dare anyone to attempt to prove otherwise.I don’t expect everyone to understand what a special moment this was for me. Tons of dudes rip this track every year with little trouble. I never thought this 3300lb car could get it’s 180 horses to push it through the track like this. I had it drilled into my own head that I couldn’t… and with the help of my friends… I did it.It is a moment I will NEVER forgetEVER.
I just stumbled on this old Jtuned snap from FD Atlanta in 2005. This was a big day, as it was the first time I would qualify to drive in the professional arena – and what better place to do it, than on my home turf in front of friends and family. It is crazy to think how insanely stock the car was. It has come a LONG way since then. I suppose I have likely evolved as a driver as well.This was a very memorable day for me. Drifting was fun, and still so pure. The professional element was all new and exciting. rnGood times indeed<3