Vegas ProAm has held 2 of their rounds on the outside road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this year. At this track, there’s not much one can do about the layout to keep the action close to the spectators and pits, except run the previous competition course backwards. Round 4 Vegas ProAm was an exception, because LVMS had repaved the entire track just days before drifting was scheduled. This gave Nick Dizon of Vegas Drift an opportunity to throw routine out the window, and design a layout that was guaranteed to make drivers reconsider their style and techniques.
In order to switch things up, Nick wanted to get away from the typical high speed, long sweeping turn style of layouts that we American drift fans have gotten used to. So, taking advantage of the freshly paved road course, Nick decided to utilize rarely used portions of the track that have been rough over the past few years. His goal was to toss the big power, high speed advantage out the window, and bring lower speed, technical drifting commonly seen in Japan to our boys at Vegas ProAm. Pictured: Ernie Fixmer, Tommy Suell, and Ray Berlo explain the course.
Drivers adapted well, learning what line worked best for their power. The goal of eliminating a high power car pulling away from a car with half the power, had been accomplished. Driver skill and finesse would be the name of the game on this track layout at round 4.
Once noon rolled around and practice had completed, a quick drivers meeting was held to give drivers and idea of what the judges were looking for. Once everybody was on the same page, qualifying started.
With a considerably smaller attendance at round 4, most drivers who signed up had qualified. Formula Drift Miami ran on the same day, and some regular attendees were away for FD duties.
The Top 16 drivers had been chosen. It was going to be exciting to see these guys get door to door on such a low speed and technical course. Below is a photo and score of every driver who registered for Vegas ProAm Round 4.
1. Blake Olsen – 92
2. Brandon Patterson – 89.2
3. Cameron Moore – 89.1
4. Alex Heilbrunn – 87.2
5. George Kiriakopoulos – 87.1
6. Matthew Dale – 84
7. Dylan Hummel – 83
8. Travis Avery – 78
9. Dino Child – 76-2
10. Frank Cundari – 76.1
11. Jr Faber – 74
12. Rob Carlsen – 73
13. Kasey King – 72
14. Ethan Hunter – 70
15. Waylon Deno – 67
16. Cameron Eisenman – 66
17. Traverse Hilsabeck – 65
18. Shawn Smith – 63
19. Spike Chen – 62
20. Wesley Moya – 57
21. Riley Fremont – 0
22. Trent Beechum – 0
23. Brian Saip – 0
24. J. Cavidad – 0
|Qualifying Position||Driver Name||Score|
The battles would play out like this in Top 16.
Top 16 Battles
Blake Olsen vs. Cameron Eisenman
Blake Olsen on lead, Cameron Eisenman spun out behind him. On Cameron’s lead, he went off track while Blake kept it close with a good run. Blake Olsen moved on.
Travis Avery vs. Dino Child
Travis Avery put a large gap between him and Dino Child on their first run. On the second run, Dino also made a gap between him and Travis. The judges felt that Avery’s run was better despite the gaps both drivers put on each other, and he moved on.
Kasey King vs. Alex Heilbrunn
Alex leading, he was straight on entry and also went off track before the finish line. On the next run, both drivers were given the go, but Heilbrunn stalled at the start line while King ran the course unaware he wasn’t being followed. It was a confusing moment, but judges wanted the drivers to run one more time. Both King and Heilbrunn fell behind while the next pair ran.
Rob Carlsen vs. George Kiriakopoulos
George Kiriakopoulos really felt the heat that Rob Carlsen was bringing on the first run. Only inches from George’s car at times, Rob gave one of the most impressive chase runs we’ve seen in Vegas. Come time for the switch to lead, Rob was chased by George in a similar fashion. Judges called them to run one more time, which would take place after Kasey King and Alex Heilbrunn ran their second battle.
Kasey King vs. Alex Heilbrunn (OMT)
Despite driving with a broken leg, Alex Heilbrunn has managed to bring Kasey King to this one more time battle. Alex leading, he was able to put down a really connected run with an impressive style toward the end of the course. Kasey King knew he had to leave Alex in the smoke on the next run. Kasey made an awesome lead run and created a gap between him and following Heilbrunn at the end, and earned the judges approval to move on.
Rob Carlsen vs. George Kiriakopoulos (OMT)
It seems like these 2 drivers were mirroring their first battle on this OMT. George laid down a smooth line and navigated the clipping points, but Rob couldn’t be shaken and kept it nice and tight right behind him. On the last run of this battle, Rob took his lead run and put a gap on George while maintaining a good line, and the judges were finally able to choose a winner. Rob Carlsen moved on.
Brandon Patterson vs. Waylon Deno
Patterson, having most likely double and a half the power of Deno, makes a lightning fast run and leaves a large gap between the cars. Being on a course that was meant to bring out driver skill instead of rewarding power, Waylon was able to give Brandon a run for his money, keeping his little Nissan 200sx swinging perfectly between the clipping points. Brandon Patterson kept it close, but the judges were undecided and called them to run one more time.
Dylan Hummel vs. Frank Cundari
Hummel rocketed away from the start on his lead, leaving a gap between him and Cundari. Frank Cundari trying to catch up, pushes a little too hard and dipped off track at the finish. Come Cundari’s lead, he gave it all he could with a great run, but Hummel couldn’t be shaken and took the win.
Brandon Patterson vs. Waylon Deno
Both drivers performed exceptionally on the first run, with judges giving the advantage to Brandon Patterson. Waylon Deno piloting his smaller and less powerful car, drove a nice line on his lead, but was unable to phase Brandon Patterson. Patterson moved on.
Cameron Moore vs. Ethan Hunter
With Ethan Hunter on the follow, Cameron Moore made it to the finish with no errors. Hunter made the mistake of straightening on the entry while following Moore. On the second run, Hunter made up for the error on his follow and put a huge gap between him and Moore, causing Moore to play catch up and losing control of his car toward the finish. Judges see these as equal errors, and call for a one more time.
Matthew Dale vs. Jr Faber
Dale leading, both he and Faber had great angle coming off the entry, but Dale pulls away mid course and puts a gap between the both of them. Faber’s chance to redeem himself came on his lead, but he pushed too hard and spun at the first clipping point, leaving the judges no choice but to award Matthew Dale the win.
Cameron Moore vs. Ethan Hunter (OMT)
Cameron Moore on the lead, he was able to drive clean with Ethan Hunter right behind him, but slightly slid off track before the finish. Switching it up, Ethan Hunter makes his lead run, but spins out at the last clipping point, giving Cameron Moore the win.
Travis Avery vs. Blake Olsen
Blake Olsen took lead on the first run of this battle, laying down a good line, but unable to shake Travis Avery from his rear. Avery makes a good run on his follow, causing Olsen to error and go off track at the finish. Travis Avery took the win.
Kasey King vs. Rob Carlsen
Kasey King left no survivors on his lead run, with Rob Carlsen losing control and correcting near the finish. With Rob leading, Kasey King also fumbled at the end, leaving a gap between both cars, but the judges decided King’s runs were superior to Carlsen’s, and King moved on.
Brandon Patterson vs. Dylan Hummel
Brandon Patterson took the lead on this run, but quickly lost his follow car with Dylan Hummel taking the first clipping point too fast and going off track. Hummel leading, Brandon Patterson kept it close, and Hummel went off track at the finish. Brandon Patterson moved on.
Cameron Moore vs. Matthew Dale
Cameron Moore would lead Matthew Dale at the beginning of this match-up. Despite improving greatly this year, Matthew Dale pushed too hard at the end and straightened behind Moore. Dale leading, he was unable to make Moore flinch behind him, with Moore keeping it nice and close. Cameron Moore wins.
Travis Avery vs. Kasey King
In a battle of Colorado boys, Travis Avery lined up against Kasey King and lead first. Both guys drive an exciting run, with Kasey having a slight advantage from his following. On Avery’s follow, he able to apply the pressure to King enough to leave the judges in his favor, giving him the win.
Brandon Patterson vs. Cameron Moore
Brandon Patterson was quick and precise on his lead run, creating a small gap between him and Cameron Moore at the end of the course. On Moore’s lead, Patterson would not allow the same to happen, keeping it close to Moore, which impressed the judges enough to earn him the win. Brandon Patterson moved on.
3rd Place Battle
Cameron Moore vs. Kasey King
Cameron Moore completed a really good lead run, but Kasey King kept it right on his bumper. Attempting to outperform each other on the next run, both drivers end up driving alike, leaving the judges no choice but to call them to run one more time.
Immediately going into the OMT run, Cameron Moore and Kasey King performed a nearly identical pass as the battle that earned them a OMT. Do or die, Kasey and Cameron give it their all with an impressive textbook tandem run. The judges believed that Moore was outperformed, sending the previous podium winner home and giving King 3rd place on the podium.
1st Place Battle
Brandon Patterson vs. Travis Avery
After working their way up a ladder of stiff competition, Brandon Patterson and Travis Avery would face off in the final battle of Vegas ProAm Round 4. Patterson took off on his lead run, leaving Avery pushing hard behind him and spinning out right before the finish. Travis Avery would call a 5 minute competition time out. Avery’s FC RX7 would succumb to damages to one of the steering tie rods. Brandon Patterson would take the win after Travis Avery gracefully bows out of the competition.
After a hot, windy day of great drifting, 3 gentlemen earned the privilege of standing on the Vegas ProAm Round 4 podium
1st – Brandon Patterson
2nd – Travis Avery
3rd – Kasey King
It seems like Nick Dizon knew what he was doing when he decided to run a different style layout for round 4. We witnessed drivers who had previously dominated Vegas ProAm, fall victim to a course that required a completely different driving style, forcing them to adapt. Brandon Patterson continues to dominate the 2014 Vegas ProAm season, holding on to the first place position with a whopping 402 points, 146 points in front of 2nd place Spike Chen. Kasey King sits in 4th place, while Travis Avery seems to come out of nowhere like a bandit, jumping up to 8th in points. Congratulations to all.
Come join us at Vegas ProAm Round 5 on September 20 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. You don’t want to miss next year’s Formula Drift drivers making Vegas Drift history!