Round 3 of the Whiskey Garage Drift Series hit the track hot and heavy on June 21st, bringing the sounds and smells of drifting back to Sandia Motor Speedway. The previous two rounds were won by new faces to the New Mexico drift scene, so the locals brought their A-game to restore the balance.
Throughout the afternoon practice sessions, drivers were dialing in their 3rd gear entry into the first corner. Everyone was looking solid and initiating much earlier than events past.
During practice, ride alongs were allowed so friends and family could enjoy some violent driving from the hot seat. From the looks of it, the passengers were enjoying themselves quite a bit.
With the setting sun, practice time also dwindled. Drivers were given time to make last-minute adjustments and prepare tires for qualifying.
The quiet storm that is Daniel Wright was my personal favorite performance of the evening. He and all 90 horsepower pushing his relatively stock 240SX, consistently put down clean runs. When it came time to compete, Wright managed to eliminate some seasoned drivers with exponentially more power and grip.
Here Wright was pitted against Jeff Osborne in the battle for a position on the podium. Even though Wright was putting out more sparks than smoke, his consistent driving netted him the win.
With two feet firmly planted on the podium, Wright’s uphill battle was about to get steeper. The two men in his way of 1st place were Ryan Serna and Darren Madrid, both forces to be reckoned with.
The matchup between Wright and Serna was the best battle of the event. Serna was taking notes on Wright’s performance and knew not to underestimate him. Wright’s consistency gave Serna the confidence to stay glued to his door run after run. While both drivers laid down perfect runs, it would be Serna who would advance to the final due to the close proximity he was able to maintain.
The final bout between Darren Madrid and Ryan Serna had every spectator, eliminated driver, and event worker on their feet in anticipation. Both drivers left the starting line with a bit of tire chirp and then a footful of throttle as they drag raced down the straight. Bang, second gear. Bang, third gear. The two flicked their 240s in unison deep in to the first corner with a trail of tire smoke. Serna ran a little wide and dropped a tire or two in the dirt, causing Madrid to open up a gap. While Serna did everything in his power to make up ground, he was unable to close the gap.
The second run was a thing of pure beauty. There is just something awe inspiring about two talented drivers maintaining a controlled slide so close to one another, it would make your average person brace for impact in terror. No contact was made as they danced through the manji section and out the last sweeper, riding the wall and banging rev-limiters within feet of the crowd.
That one small mistake by Serna was the decider, and the judges awarded Madrid the win. Order has been restored as the locals filled the podium for round 3.
Congratulations to Darren Madrid, Ryan Serna, and Daniel Wright for their awesome performance and for holding it down for Albuquerque.
Round 4 of the Whiskey Garage Drift Series will be held on the evening of July 17, 2015 at Sandia Motor Speedway.
– Tim Walsh