Round 2 of the Whiskey Garage Drift Series was a tough round for the competitors, but a very interesting and exciting evening for the diehard drifting fans of Albuquerque, NM. The perfect springtime weather leading up to the event had everyone chomping at the bit to get back to the track, but the day of the event, a huge storm rolled in complete with rain, hail, high winds, and freezing temperatures. Tires were persevered rather than slayed, but the slippery conditions still had the drivers smiling ear-to-ear.
With windshield wipers on, the drivers hit the track before sunset to hone-in their lines and feel out what little traction was available. In these conditions, finesse is key.
Smooth transitions and throttle control keep the car facing in the right directions while still hanging the rear-end out.
The storm broke a few hours in to practice which brought everyone some relief.
As the sun set, the track had begun to dry in some spots which sounded like good news, but for the drivers it offered yet another challenge during the pivotal time of qualifying. On average the scores were lower than usual, but some drivers really shined in the tricky conditions, especially those with lower horsepower cars.
Once qualifying was over, the drivers were given a break to change tires and make adjustments if they were needed for the upcoming tandem battles. When Top 16 began, the drivers gave one another extra room so their pride and joys didn’t turn in to missile cars. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some close calls.
The battles for the podium were exciting as always. Skilled drivers like Darren Madrid and Ethan Hunter methodically worked their way through the tiers, and when pitted against each other, they put on a great show.
Both drivers held great lines, but Darren bobbled which let Ethan advance.
The next battle would decide 3rd place and who would advance to the final round. It was Lucas Harari versus Ryan Serna going at one another run-after-run. Both drivers made small mistakes, but Lucas came out on top.
The final battle for 1st had everyone on edge. Ethan’s consistent driving coupled with his high-horsepower V8 had the advantage over Lucas’ mild 240SX. On Ethan’s lead run, he was able to put a large gap between the two, but both ran clean lines. Lucas knew he had to push himself to hang with Ethan. The next run, both drivers took the high line through the wide sweeping banked corner, which few dared throughout the day. Lucas held great angle and kept his foot in the throttle while Ethan kept close proximity, but as they approached the bottleneck, Lucas got swept into the danger zone, which ended in disaster.
Medically speaking Lucas was fine and he walked away from the crash, giving Ethan the win.
The support and comradery in the drifting community are amazing. Everyone helped Lucas out after the crash and the night ended with smiles and cash prizes.
Round 3 of the Whiskey Garage Drift Series is this weekend Sunday, June 21st at Sandia Motor Speedway.
– Tim Walsh