2012 Drifting Season look back- Streetwise Drift’s 2012 season of events has been filled with many action packed and fun filled Drift Days, (G.A.C.S.) Grassroots Amateur Competition Series Events and of course the always exciting and wildly popular Pro AM Competitions. Metric tons of tires, race fuel and car parts have met their demise at what has been one of the most epic seasons for SWD, its drivers, partners and fans.
SWD and its hard working crew have diligently catered to packed driver fields and overflowing wait lists. Drivers are coming from as far as TX & MD, Florida and even Puerto Rico. The momentum of this season just keeps moving us ahead. We are excited about the results of everyone’s efforts this year. The cooler months are coming and SWD’s final stop for the East Coast Pro AM Competition series lands us at Virginia International Raceway for the 2012 Final on September 29th . More drift days are coming up and the season finale planned for Nov 3rd at Z Max Raceway with Stance Nation and ISO will put a nice cap on the 2012 season.
2012 Season Happenings and Events Look Back.
Metal in Motion, G.A.C.S. Rounds and Drivers Days!
Soo many great days of drifting have gone down over the last few months . They go by fast but are always well captured by our Media Parnters and the great #’s of fans that come out to watch and enjoy the events. Metrolina Expo is where SWD got its start. It continues to be the local drivers #1 choice of venue when it comes to shaking down new set ups or coming out to throw down in the G.A.C.S Competitons and Drift Days
Stay Committed – Just Kiss her!
Concord Motorsports Park. Our Little Wall NJ – This Venue has more to offer than meets the eye. The 1/4 mile banked oval with its 1/5 mile interior track is known to be one of the more challenging places for drivers to commit to running at. It’s a bit risky with its unique lay out. There are various course options to run and the banking makes it a ton of fun. But if you or your equipment are not ready to commit there is always going to be the option of getting a little too intimate with the three foot concrete walls. Many drivers, both new and seasoned, have enjoyed the challenge this track represents at the “Kiss the Walls” event. Some pushed its limits a bit too far and got caught up in the moment. To date only a small hand full has found its walls to be unforgiving. This includes SWD’s founder Brian Phillips and one of his favorite local drivers Kesean Cornish. This entire facility has massive potential and appeal to do drifting right there. We look forward to hosting more events at CMP going forward.
Points results of each G.A.C.S. round can be found here: http://www.streetwisedrift.com/?page_id=165
Great Shots from of our G.A.C.S Events and Driver Days
Drifting Camaro SS’s with Dale Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya!
Without a doubt, this Commercial Shoot/ Demo clinic is one of the best examples of how SWD has grown in the last few years of operations. A special blend of relationships and pooling of knowledge led to one heck of a day of Drifting with two of NASCAR’s best drivers. There was a relatively short period of negotiation with the good people in General Motors PR and Performance departments. SWD was granted the use of two brand new 2012 Camaro SS’s for use in a partnered commercial for Target Stores and Degree Antiperspirant. After a few calls to SWD business shop partners CIN Motorsports and Mallett Cars Inc, we had the tires and top notch mechanical support on deck to pull it all together.
Earnhardt Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya took to the course layout and instruction provided by Brian Phillips and Doug Van Den Brink with reckless abandon. They did great at drifting the two livery wrapped SS’ considering the brief period of time we had to complete the task at hand.
You can see the final production video from this day here:
Pro AM – Four down, One to go, Down the road to the Pros we go!
Road Atlanta , Braselton GA
East Coast Drifters have stepped up to the plate in 2012 – More Drivers than in any other time or place have entered the ranks of Pro AM with SWD – The Rd 1 Pro AM event at Road Atlanta had a Packed field of 38 Teams – 20 others had to sit this one out – waitlisted due to the time constraints of the already busy FD Road to the Championship RD 2 Pro event. One of these days we may just have to rent the place all to ourselves to run a full 2 day Pro AM with a Top 32 Comp. Man that would be awesome! Newcomers to the series were primed and ready to do battle on the famed Road A Hill.
Going up against new and seasoned veterans of Pro AM, driver Jason Jiovani won a well earned battle for Third against seasoned vet, Doug Van Den Brink. New comer to the SWD series and OG Drifter James Evans made quick work of the bracket pairings going rounds throughout the evening’s competition. It was Bill Stenger from South FL who took the spoils at end of the day running fast, smooth and consistent lines right to the top of the podium.
We just Love Palm Beach International Raceway – It’s Hot …Hot ..Hot…..
Rd 1 was out of the way and teams began to get a feel for what the field of competition has in store for them in 2012. A new course of direction and layout from Formula Drift at Palm Beach would prove to be the deciding factor at this Rd 2 event. There were many factors including battling the 90 degree heat, high humidity, changing weather conditions and a condensed time frame for practice and qualifying. The Pro AM teams would be pushed to the brink if they were going to advance. James Evans was in his groove with another 1st qualifying position in the V8 powered Sikky 350Z. Evans was hitting hard and going rounds against the competition. Nate Hamilton rode in from TX for his first showing within the driver ranks of SWD and pulled into a strong #2 qualifying spot. As the competition moved from heat to heat it was obvious that experience was to be the deciding factor. Doug Van Den Brink came from a high/middle qualifying position of 6th to advance through and take the win for the day.
Autopalooza / Z-MAX Race Way, Concord NC
Z- max is one of the largest facilities that SWD has access for use – Boasting an almost ½ mile long and 1/8th mile wide perfectly flat and groomed surface. This leaves a lot to be imagined as far as course layouts go. This round of Pro AM would be set up much differently than in the years past. Starting at the far end of the facility brought entry speeds upwards of 78 mph into a sweeping power over right hand entry. That entry led into a left turn /rear clipping zone sure to pucker up the best of drivers. This is likely due to the 150’ tall concrete based light pole that sat just a few feet away from the zone. After the sweeper entry and rear zone, a front clip transition point was the next challenge to hit. Get off your line and you would miss the front clip causing drivers to wash out. Nail it and the big finish right turn out in front of the crowd is going to pour you out nice and clean for a big cloud of tire smoke and cheers. The newly sealed surfaced proved that suspension set up and tire pressure would have to be put at the top of the “must check list” for the teams. Let’s not forget to mention the 104 degree + heat index and 115 degree track temps. Ron Ewerth in his supercharged Titan V8 powered Infinity G35 was showing off some of his best driving of the season. Ron earned himself a #1 qualifying position but had to take a bow for 2nd place to South Carolina Pro AM Driver Adam Seaman. Seaman and his LSX powered S 14 charged hard all day against a crowd of Pro AM Drivers that had been gunning for podium finish, the big check and a drink of that cold Champagne. Jason Jiovani, a driver that has run at this venue in past years, beat the heat and once again found himself going rounds against Dong Van Den Brink ..“Again”. An uncharacteristic hick-up from Doug Van den Brink resulted in a spin. This opened the door for Jiovani to win the consolation round for Third.
RD 4 “Run the Line” / Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord NC
One could say that this event claimed more cars than a busy repo office during the recession. This course offered up a downhill off camber 75+ mph entry into a Loooooong right hander against an area with only 10’ of run off until you met up with a guard rail. It was named “Run the Line” for a reason so you better “run the line”. Conditions at Rd4 could not have been more perfect. Drivers had use of the famous Nationwide Garage to stay cool and covered while preparing between practice, qualifying and the competition rounds. Fan amenities were in place, NOS Energy was on site dishing out tons of the go juice. Todd Phillips was chatting away on the PA and there was even a NASCAR Driving School sending cars out at over 160mph on the big track. The place was filled with homage to V8 power.
The coolest weather of the summer and partly cloudy skies had moved in. Things were feeling great for the drivers and the SWD crew was ready to pull off yet another epic event at a fantastic venue. Enter Turn one. One of the most hair raising moments for a driver, team, spectator or organizer is to lay witness to an off course impact. By the time the 2nd or 3rd car made contact it was obvious that people were feeling a bit anxious. We have been running this same course for three years- twice in the rain! The guard rails aren’t going to move. There really isn’t any other way to run it. Let’s move on.
We ended up with a strong top 16 field of drivers set for the competition round. There was so much time burned up early on with clean up that we could not do the planned Top 16 practice. The drivers were still ready to go. Competitors were driving harder and harder during the lead runs and followed closer and closer around this now infamous course.
The battles for advancement were close. The Elevated Judges Tower gave a bird’s eye view of any and all errors made as teams went rounds against their paired competitors. It was obvious that the top qualifiers were making quick work of the field. Doug Van Den Brink with a #1 Qualifying spot, Nate Hamilton #2 and Dan Savage #3 would all take their positions on the podium respectively at the end of the final round.
Pro AM Season Points Standing Can be found here: http://www.streetwisedrift.com/?page_id=171
Checkout these great Vids From the last 2 rounds of the Pro AM and AM events-
Our Media partners represent some of the best talent in the area and do a great job at capturing all the elements one can expect at an event! Big thanks to all of you!
-The Purse and the Prize
So what is the meaning of all this madness? Hard work and performance brings the reward right? SWD Competitors get to enjoy the extremely nice venues, a highly competitive, sanctioned and a well organized competition format. We also bring the fun at our wide open drift days, but that’s not all. There are spoils for being the best. SWD offers a 500.00 purse for the podium winners at each of the G.A.C.S events plus some pretty cool custom trophies to boot.
At the Pro AM level it’s a bit more. The SWD prize purse for each event is $3,250.00. The prize is $1,500.00 for 1st Place , $1,000.00 for 2nd Place , and $750.00 for 3rd Place. In addition to the primary purse, the winners are also awarded a contingency from our Partner “Enjuku Racing.” This includes $500.00 for 1st Place, $300.00 for 2nd Place and $200.00 for 3rd Place. That’s over 20,000.00 a year that teams have a chance at putting back in the coffers for winning.
As a Formula Drift Pro AM Affiliate we build the next Pro’s of Drifting. An FD Pro License is granted to the top 4 points leaders at the end of the season, so if you look at SWD from the bottom to the top you will see there is a direct path. You can start as an Amateur driver and hone your skills at the G.A.C.S and Drift Day events. Once you are ready to step it up you can get your car prepped and dive into Pro AM. If you prove your salt in Pro AM, then you could end up with a Pro Formula Drift License one day.
As we move through the rest of the 2012 season and into planning for 2013 we hope to identify more support from both endemic and non endemic parties to sweeten the pot for the drivers in 2013. There is a lot of value that SWD and the drivers in the series have to offer. We believe that with the right support from the right partners SWD can and will achieve more together than ever before.
Some insights from SWD’s founder Brian Phillips
Drift Day’s, G.A.C.S. events and Pro AM…..?
“Growing Drivers one event at a time, providing an opportunity for drivers to participate in an environment that fosters growth of skills with a competitive element ” This is the key thing that SWD’s leadership would want people to understand. It’s why SWD got its start back in 2009 and continues on today. “We started out running just amateur oriented events in 2009. A year later we found ourselves in the mix of Pro AM working with Formula Drift to build the Next Pro’s of drifting. It’s been a great challenge to undertake doing both and watching the drivers progress through the ranks of our events to move into the high stakes and highly competitive Formula Drift Series. It makes all the hard work worth it.
There is always a challenge….
“ Well….Yeah but it’s really the drivers that meet it. Right now there are 4 drivers that were licensed through the series in the 2010 /11 seasons that are now competing in Formula Drift this year. Chris Ward – GA., Patrick Goodin – FL., Jeremy- Lowe – FL. and Zoltan Hadju- FL. It has been great watching these guys over the last couple of years come through the SWD series to move on and follow their passion for competition and drifting in FD. We can’t wait to see where their careers go.
What is the biggest challenge for drivers that want to go Pro or get into Pro AM?
“Budget, focus and patience – FD competition is no cake walk when it comes to the level of drifting the pro teams accomplish and what FD has built into their competition format. Six or seven years ago things were a different story. Drivers could come in with what used to be considered a well prepped and competitive Pro AM car and give the top 16 in FD a solid run for their money. But now the bell curve is much higher to reach. Even the curve from Amateur to Pro AM has risen to new levels. It’s a direct representation of the growth of competitive drifting in the US. You have to build your program, stick with your program and step up your game on a lot different level to be competitive these days. It requires a lot of patience and sacrifice.
It’s not just about Pro AM….
The culture of Drifting has to stay true to its roots so the talent that is out there can grow. This is why we will always run our local / regional drift days and the Grassroots Amateur competitions. We are blessed to have access to some great facilities nearby. Each venue we use offers drivers a different environment to learn in and pushes the limits of their cars and abilities. We have seen a lot of people getting into drifting over the years around here. We all have a great time together at the events – It’s like a big family – and we all do our best to embrace and help each other out.
SWD Track Layouts. Some say they just love ‘em!
Course design has always been fun for me. I spend some time behind the wheel at the events so having a fun layout and setting a challenging course to try and master is always the goal. There is an optimal line that drivers must find on every track we set up. Most times I usually have it pretty well mapped out in my mind how it’s going to go. For me it’s a process that combines visualization first and then mixing that vision with the performance elements drivers want along with what the crowds expect. “High Impact” is key. Entries should be fast, sweepers should be technical, and exits should be rewarding for all the participants. Getting drivers out of 2nd gear and pushing themselves to go faster and harder is always the goal.
Looking ahead to 2013, SWD is excited about our current partnerships and some new alignments that have come to the table. The events will be even better for the fans and the drivers with the addition of some new technology and some other fun elements. Our access to new and improved venues and the addition of some much needed resources will help us grow further to meet our goals. We strive constantly to serve the drivers, fans and partners that support us in our mission .Thank you all for all of your support.
See you at the next event!