LOVE YOU ATLANTA!!! – Formula Drift Round 2 at Road Atlanta

Braselton, GA – Round 2 of Formula Drift was set at beautiful Road Atlanta. I love this track. It’s fast and technical. It brings out the vulnerabilities in your car and you. My favorite part of this track is the fans. Of course I love them because a huge group of them are cheering for me. Remember, Atlanta is my home town and I started drifting there for the first time in the Atlanta Braves Turner Field parking lot at DGTrials events back in 2005. Last year the crowd was huge and very Rowdy, this year was no exception. Armed with posters, megaphones and beer, my people were out of control and I loved it. I always get tons of support in Atlanta and that makes the event my favorite of the tour.
Also, I am working with to have local shelters out at the events and this was the first event where a shelter came out. It was cool to meet Bill from Humane League of Lake Lanier. He was really excited to be at the event. I think it went well because was pretty happy.
Road Atlanta Booth
First of all, getting to Atlanta was difficult due to the transmission of my truck pretty much grenading. It’s a manual, so all the guys had was 5th gear. I didn’t experience it, but imagine starting out in 5th towing a 2car enclosed…I heard the clutch was smoking. I am glad I wasn’t there to see it L .
We get there, set up and get to driving. As usual, RoadA is causing some trouble. Grip is always hard to get for me. I can tell how the car is hooking up during the launch. I was getting a lot of wheel spin off the line. I made some adjustments and it was better.

HOW TO (my way):I take off down the hill, shift up to 4th and initiate…straight to ebrake and lightly feather the brake to slow down for the clipping point 1. Its down to 3rd and back on throttle through clipping point 1 and up the hill to the outer clip 2. Brake hard for clipping point 2 going up the hill and either shift down or stay in 3rd. Either one is fine, but the car lags a bit in 3rd, so I chose to shift to 2nd. Now you shoot into the horseshoe and aim for the edge of the track, trying your best to barely hang that RR tire off the track but not touching the dirt. This next step is critical, stay at the edge of the track until you have a clear shot of the next clipping point at the top of the hill out of the horsehoe. Throttle it hard to get your speed up, or feather it to get the speed up of your grip is not enough. Speed is key because if you shift to early (low speed) your car will bog in the next gear and you will straighten. Just because you hit the rev-limiter doesn’t mean it’s time to shift here. You shift and get into gear and start flying down the hill towards the left hander. You want to start with shallow angle to stay off the outer rumble-strips, they bit and bit hard. At the left-hander, if you go too fast, throw a little more angle in to slow down and setup for the last right turn. If you over shoot this last turn and go off course, you will destroy your suspension on the reverse-rake-rumble strips. I had the course down pretty well, I was just in-between gears somewhat and didn’t have the speed I wanted. I really need different gearing to get the wheel speed up a lot more than it is.
RoadA is fast, technical and pretty hard to master. This makes its pretty sweet when you get some good qualifying runs and make the show on Saturday. I struggled with grip during practice and a few minor mechanical problems. I shifted in 3rd going down the hill and broke my 5th, 6th gear lock-out….and of course miss-shifted into 5th. It was an easy fix with the help of the Megan Racing guys grinder and a little bit of time. I got a chance to get some in-car video of some practice runs. I look like crap, but I am usually my worse critic. I scored a 61 my first run and I wasn’t happy. I found out my entry sucked. My next run I threw it in pretty hard and ran a good run, scored a 73. This put me in 18th place overall and paired my up with the 14th place guy, JTP. OK, so JTP got a zero his first run and laid down a conservative 2nd run to ensure he was in the show. This put him in 14th place and paired him up with me……awesome. Qualifying mid pack should ensure running guys that are equal with you, nope, not this time, I get the winner of Long Beach and the leader of the series, JTP. I knew I had a small chance to beat him, no one is perfect.
I line up for top 32 against JTP. I knew he was much faster than me down the hill, so as soon as the last light lit, I took off, jumping him off the start really hard. I’m start slamming gears to get down the hill. Just as I get to the entry, JTP flies by me and we both initiate. I got him sort of close. I run a line behind him and he leaves me going down the hill after the horseshoe. No biggie, I did a clean run the best I could do.
He follows me and of course he is on me pretty tight. The win goes to JTP. He told me this was revenge for me beating him about 4 years ago during NOPI Drift….honestly, I would have rather had this win. I owe him one now. Now it’s off to West Palm Beach where no one has the advantage of experience. See you in Florida.

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Brad @ groundwerks Garage
Sams Auto Land
Byron Hill
Alexander Grant vinyl help
Marty for help on the track and trailer storage
Sean Smithson
Mark Lenardon
and my girlfriend Susan