Round 4 observations
1. JR Koenig has finally figured it out. For years I have seen him drive kind of timidly, but over the last couple events I think he has drifting more or less figured out. You can see confidence in his driving now, and consistency that was missing before. He is now a force to contend with that could win an event at any time, or take out the biggest drivers. At Round 3 you could see a sparkle of this starting, but at Round 4, for whatever reason, he is on fire. What specific thing makes me say this? He showed aggressive angle across the more difficult part of the track this weekend that requires a lot of commitment and confidence, down the center straight of the track. His car is consistent and well built, and doesn’t fail him. He has brought together most of the elements which are so hard to bring together, from driver skill, calm nerves, mechanical building ability, a job which can support it all, and the grit to do what you love when it takes a lot of work. Most people fail at least one of those items, probably mostly from being lazy lol.
2. Car setup could have drastically changed the results of this event. David Mesker won Round 4 despite his car setup. His car was fast, consistent, and really awesome, however it lacked gearing and wheel speed compared to the other cars he was going against. That meant in the center straight he couldn’t have much angle and was on limiter the whole time, holding him back potentially. Watching the comp unfold I thought for sure Fielding or Van Shellenbeck were going to take him down, because they had significantly faster cars throughout the track, by probably 5-10 mph, with better angle and wheel speed. They were able to go up a gear where Mesker could not, he was stuck in 3rd because his 4 speed dog box has too long of a difference between 3 rd and 4 th gears. Mesker proved consistency is more important at times though, and BARELY beat everyone. Basically he Harrisoned them lol. Van Shellenbeck was knocked out due to a mis-shift and only Fielding beats Fielding. Fielding was an interesting case of having an amazing BALLER run which had a huge mistake in it, which made the run all the more rad, but unfollowable by the chase car, giving the chase car the win. We have a rule where the lead car must run a solid lead lap which the follow car can cleanly chase, but Fielding went too wild and almost went airborne, and we can’t expect everyone to dive in after that. Anyways, wheel speed was important at this event, so the driver could have the resolution in the gas pedal to go for big angle at big speeds and get gap/catch the other driver.
3. Texas Motor Speedway is SOOOO fun. I hope this event convinced people the track isn’t scary, and that it is a super fast, high commitment track to play on. Everyone drove amazing, and the skill level in our series keep shooting up. Our drivers look like FD drivers from 10 years ago now, that is rad.
4. Here come the driver VLOGS!!! I see more and more of our drivers having VLOGS. These are rad, or cringe worthy, but I think they are a great thing. Ignore them if you don’t like them, but if you do, it gives you an awesome view into the driver’s struggles to keep drift cars operational. It gives you an awesome view into their helmet cams and stuff too, which is awesome. I love the ability to see what everyone is up to, please continue them guys! And keep making them better. I personally find creating youtube content a lot of fun, and I hope the drivers do too. Have fun with it.
5. Some of our Proam dudes are getting fast. Out of nowhere, guys like Paul McCoy have runs which are crazy fast, and I find people attempting to glue tires to their wheels and run 5 psi of tire pressure. It is funny to see dudes experiment and make wacky setups. In the past we saw drivers try this with little success, and now the cars are starting to get really fast as they figure stuff out. Fielding and Van Shellenbeck’s cars were super fast too. To the point it is going to be hard for guys to keep pace with them if they keep finding more grip. Hopefully we don’t start having a grip battle though, as I would love for everyone to stay with 265 Kenda’s so we maximize tire life and fun over ultimate grip, and so everyone stays roughly the same speed overall so we can have tight tandem. But Proam is pretty much unlimited, so we will see what happens. Van Shellenbeck was one of the fastest cars on KR20 Kenda front and rear, so it doesn’t seem to matter much yet anyways.
6. I am starting to get used to my 5.0 Mustang more and more, and DANG, this thing is rad. Full interior except racing seats and this thing can keep up with most of our pro am cars on track. Completely stock drivetrain down to the stock clutch, stock LSD, stock air filter boxes. Plenty of suspension bolt ons though, but nothing crazy. You could make one of these are really competitive pro am platform with hardly any more effort than I have made. The biggest limiting factor of the car at this round was too much grip, I had to run 60 psi in the tires to link the track in dry. The car felt rad.
7. Talking about grip, I keep finding myself tuning my car with simply air pressure everywhere. It is the easiest thing to adjust on the car, and I sometimes adjust it very regularly. 60 psi in the dry at TMS, letting some out as the tires wear down. 15 psi in the went at that track. 15 psi in the dry at the other parking lot events. Etc. I even just run the same compound on all my cars now front and rear, just KR20 all the way around. The Mustang gets 245 fronts and 265 rear, and the JZX gets 235 all the way around. I used to run sticky tires in the front, but I have come to love how the car reacts on the same tires F/R. I am trying to recognize and adjust the car by grip to eliminate or encourage different things in the cars. If you add too much front grip the car can pivot and spin out very harshly, instead of just scrubbing the front tires in certain instances. I find myself driving at full throttle more and more and just steering around, and not letting the car caster self steer when I release the gas pedal. The rear grip is starting to make WAY more difference in my driving than the front grip.
Thanks for coming out everyone, I had an amazing time! See everyone at Round 5! We will have a Proam battle like normal, TXSL, AND we are adding a one off MUSTANG BATTLE!!!! Should be exciting lol.