The 2014 Vegas ProAm competition season is officially over. Last weekend, we hit the road to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and joined Vegas Drift for round 5, which sealed the standings and fates of drivers who competed all year long. Coming into round 5, the season champion had already been decided by points, but everything beyond that was up for grabs.
Before we bring you round 5 coverage, lets go back in time and revisit event results from the 2014 season.
Round 1 – January 18, 2014. The weather was wonderful, and it was an absolute blast to attend an event without burning in the Vegas heat. Brandon Patterson held off a field of 50 registered drivers to finish in 1st place, Mike Fulkerson took 2nd, and Spike Chen finished in 3rd. Read round 1 coverage here.
Round 2 – March 8, 2014. Not having visited a drifting event in Arizona since 2007 for NOPI, round 2 was an exciting trip for us. Brandon Patterson repeated his round 1 result in 1st, Mauricio Ornelas made his first pro-am podium appearance since 2013 after spending a year in Formula Drift, finishing in 2nd place, and Spike Chen once again lingered in the shadows ready to soon pounce, with a 3rd place finish. Read round 2 coverage here.
Round 3 – April 27, 2014. Vegas ProAm headed back home to Vegas for round 3. Spike Chen finally pounced on his opponents and took his first podium finish of the 2014 Vegas ProAm season in 1st place. Cameron Moore swung down from the Northwest and took 2nd, and young man Riley Fremont came in from South Dakota to take 3rd. Read round 3 coverage here.
Round 4 – May 31, 2014. The freshly paved outside road course of Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a treat for drivers in terms of low tire wear and an exciting low speed, technical course planned out by Nick Dizon. Nick wanted to promote driver skill instead of the drag race style of driving that drifting has become in recent years. Brandon Patterson showcased his ability to adapt to slower speed courses and grasped 1st place once again, Travis “Road Boss” Avery kept a cool head and followed in 2nd, and Kasey King came in 3rd behind his fellow Coloradoan. Read round 4 coverage here.
After a long 3 1/2 months after round 4, Vegas ProAm returned to LVMS for one last round this past weekend, September 20th. While not the most attended event of the year, enough dedicated drivers made it out to give a few of the points leaders something to fight for. Judges for round 5 would be Forrest Wang, Odi Bakchis, and Andy Yen in the tower, and Tommy Suell and Ernie Fixmer on the outside of turn 1.
24 drivers had registered, but only 19 made qualifying runs. 4 had not qualified, so instead of a Top 16, we had a Top 15. 1) Brandon Patterson, 2) Cameron Moore, 3) Matthew Dale, 4) Kasey King, 5) Joe Tardiff, 6) Spike Chen, 7) Faruk Kugay, 8) Kory Keezer, 9) Riley Fremont, 10) Rami Serry, 11) Frank Cundari, 12) George Kiriakopoulos, 13) Travis Avery, 14) Dominic Harness, 15) Russ Baldwin.
Brandon Patterson vs. n/a
Brandon Patterson qualified highest, which would have put him against the 16th place qualifier. Since there was no 16th place qualifier, this meant he would get a bye run. It just so happens that his transmission exploded on his second qualifying run. Patterson would not make it to the line. His day was over.
Kory Keezer vs. Riley Fremont
Keezer takes the first lead of this battle, making a clean and solid run all the way through the finish. Fremont had technical with an injector on his new engine, and safely pulled off track while following Keezer. Competition moves on while Fremont calls a competition time out and deals with mechanical issues.
Travis Avery vs. Kasey King
Kasey King leads first, making a good entry and a good run all the way through finish. Avery bobbles behind King, slightly falling behind, catching up with an acceptable finish. Avery leading next, King bobbles behind in the same fashion as Avery had on the previous run. Avery finishes strong while King plays catch up. The judges say King straightened a little more than Avery had, and give Avery the win.
Joe Tardiff vs. George Kiriakopoulos
Tardiff leads Kiriakopoulos into the first turn with a really late entry. Kiriakopoulos falls behind, seemingly having motor issues. Tardiff completes a clean run, while Kiriakopoulos attempts to close the gap. Kiriakopoulos takes his lead, giving it all he’s got. Tardiff keeps it nice and close. Kiriakopoulos straightens coming out of the last turn, and Tardiff hits him, spinning out. Kiriakopoulos cruises to the finish with smoke coming out of the tailpipe. The judges award Tardiff with the win due to Kiriakopoulos falling out of drift, which most likely was caused by engine failure.
Kory Keezer vs. Riley Fremont (continued)
Coming back on track after a competition timeout, Fremont leads, but Keezer plays it safe with a clean follow. Judges hand the win to Keezer.
Cameron Moore vs. Russ Baldwin
Cameron Moore takes the lad on the first run, with a clean entry and run all the way through the finish. Russ Baldwin goes off in the first turn while following. On Baldwin’s lead, he corrects and straightens in the first turn, which causes Moore to straighten to avoid hitting him. Baldwin continues through the course, dips off track through the midway portion of the course, and finishes his run. Judges give Cameron Moore the win.
Rami Serry vs. Faruk Kugay
Kugay leading first, Serry falls behind while following into the entry. Kugay drops a tire midway through the course, while Serry closes the gap. Both finish together. Rami Serry takes his lead run, and Faruk Kugay gets really close with contact on entry. Faruk pushes too hard while following, and goes off course at the midway point. Rami Serry gets the win.
Dominic Harness vs. Matthew Dale
Matthew Dale takes his lead run, but straightens and shuts it down in the first turn. Dominic Harness, slightly behind, keeps drifting and makes it through the finish with a slight bobble at the end. Dominic Harness leading, he corrects in the first turn, Matthew Dale still going behind him. In the last turn, Dale straightens and the judges give the win to Harness.
Spike Chen vs. Frank Cundari
Spike Chen leading first, Frank Cundari falls behind. Both cars cross the finish, but Cundari seems to have slightly too much angle causing him issues controlling the car over the line. On Cundari’s lead, Chen also falls back. After a not so exciting and telling battle, judges call One More Time.
Spike Chen vs. Frank Cundari (OMT)
Heading straight into the OMT battle, Spike Chen leads Frank Cundari. Chen lets Cundari go ahead of him in his lesser powered car, but Chen catches back up at entry and makes a great lead run. Cundari takes his lead run with Chen letting him create a gap before the first turn. Frank has no angle on the first turn, seems down on power. Spike safely follows behind, crossing the line shortly after Frank and taking the win.
Kory Keezer (bye) vs. Brandon Patterson (broken)
Kory Keezer takes his bye run, with a silly entry and half spin, but recovering and driving through the finish.
Joe Tardiff vs. Travis Avery
Leading first, Joe Tardiff gets tapped by Avery who is pushing too hard behind him, but no deduction for contact. Despite the proximity of his follow run, Avery goes off course in the first turn on his lead, with Tardiff following him into the dirt. Both go back on course and finish the run. Joe Tardiff gets the win.
Rami Serry vs. Cameron Moore
Moore takes off with a huge lead, Serry falling way behind. Despite the gap, both drivers make a good run. Moore has a huge gap at finish. Flipping it around, Serry leads with Moore having great proximity on entry and around the first turn. Moore pushes too hard and goes off track mid course. Serry continues his lead run through the finish. Because of the major off course excursion by Moore, judges give Serry the win.
Spike Chen vs. Dominic Harness
Higher powered Chen leads Harness on the first run of this battle, creating a huge gap after the first turn, walking away from Harness all the way to the finish. Harness is allowed a huge lead by Chen on the next run, but Harness straightens midway through the course. Chen also bobbles and goes shallow on the last turn. Judges compare mistakes by both drivers, and give Spike Chen the win.
Kory Keezer vs. Joe Tardiff
Getting close to the finals, Tardiff starts off as lead car, running clean with Keezer on his bumper the entire time. On Keezer’s lead, Tardiff has to straighten to catch up halfway through the course. Keezer finishes with a gap on Tardiff. Kory Keezer takes the win to move on to the battle for first, and
Spike Chen vs. Rami Serry
Spike leading, Rami has a shallow follow line on the first turn. While playing catch up to Spike, who is increasing the gap, Rami pushes too hard and gets too close on the last turn, hitting and causing Spike to spin. Rami goes off course on the outside of the turn. The impact had broken a tie rod on Rami’s car, forcing him to forfeit and give the win to Spike Chen.
BATTLE FOR 3RD
Joe Tardiff (bye) vs. Rami Serry (broken)
Joe Tardiff takes a bye run, fist pumping all the way to the end, Rami Serry unable to find parts and time to repair his vehicle.
BATTLE FOR 1ST
Spike Chen vs. Kory Keezer
Chen leads, big gap from the first turn. Great run from both Chen and Keezer, but Chen puts a huge gap between the cars at the finish. Keezer takes the lead, Spike follows close after the first turn. Both drivers have a great run. Judges call One More Time!
Spike Chen vs. Kory Keezer (OMT)
In a OMT final, Spike Chen takes the lead and Kory Keezer falls slightly behind in the drag race to the entry. Keezer closes the gap in the first turn, but Chen increases the gap midway, and Keezer yet again closes the gap around the last turn. Keezer taking the last lead lap of round 5, pushes too hard and goes off course in the first turn. Spike Chen follows off into the dirt, but resumes on course and finishes his run. Spike Chen has just taken first place in Vegas ProAm Round 5!
Immediately, Vegas Drift officials went to work calculating how the podium ceremony would play out. Round 5 podium was in place, but points needed to be sorted in order to announce the 2014 season champions, and who would be moving on to Formula Drift with a Pro 2 license!
Once the points were calculated, the Vegas ProAm Round 5 and 2014 season podium ceremony was underway! Round 5 1st place, Spike Chen. 2nd place, Kory Keezer. 3rd place, Joe Tardiff!
2014 Vegas ProAm season champions. Overall Champion, Brandon Patterson. 2nd place, Spike Chen. 3rd place, Cameron Moore!
Brandon Patterson earns a Formula Drift Pro 2 license.
Kasey King finishes 4 place for the season, and also earns a Formula Drift Pro 2 license!
Spike Chen and Cameron Moore had earned a license at previous events, Top Drift and Evergreen Drift.
Well, the season is over, but a new year will soon be here and we will be right back at Vegas Drift with all our friends, old and hopefully new. We’ve enjoyed coming out to ALL the Vegas ProAm events this year, something that’s always been on our drift bucket list. Thank you to the Vegas crew for letting us do our thing, thanks for the fun times and awesome drifting, and see you all next year!