I was pretty excited to get back in my Falken Tire S15 after coming back from an awesome trip in Japan. Plus I was eager to finally compete in my car this time around since I did not get a chance to during the previous Las Vegas FD round. This was due to the fact that I had to give up my S15 to fellow Falken teammate Darron McNamara who’s engine seized up in the Sears Auto / Falken Sky before qualifying. He was leading the series for 1st place, so upon Falken’s request, I had to sit that round out and root my team on from the stands. Unfortunately Darron had a lot of trouble drifting my S15 and ending up spinning and not driving good enough to qualify into the top 32 for that Vegas round. That made 2 of us with zero points for that round.
So come Seattle round, I am all excited to drive my S15 again, but unfortunately I had to fight some chassis gremlins that plagued me all weekend at Evergreen Speedway. My first lap out a hiem joint mysteriously breaks on the rear control arm and had to spend a bunch of practice time fixing and readjusting the car’s alignments and settings to get the car to handle correctly. Later on in the event, ended up hitting the wall slightly during my last run of Friday night practice which tweaked the alignment even more. So next morning, I had to wait through most of Saturday’s practice session for the car to get realigned. Luckily I got a chance to get one practice run in to see how the car felt before going into Top 32 tandems.
The car felt a little loose but pretty decent on that one practice run. Nevertheless I was pumped up for competition and got matched up with Chris Forsberg in Top 32. I followed first and then lead. I knew he was going to drive pretty clean so I just stuck with him during the main banking and closed in on him at the exit of the bank. But right when I went to get back on the throttle to run with him into the infield, the car wasn’t able to hold its angle at that speed and just came around on me. To top it off, on my lead lap, the tranny ended up not downshifting into 3rd on that same bank exit. And just like that, my podium pursuit in Seattle came to an end.
I was really happy to have Falken’s newly acquired chassis engineer, Mike Kojima, around the whole weekend. He help me adjust the Falken S15 back into spec during all of the misshaps. Without him, I probably would not have been able to even drift the car much. Mike’s level of expertise brings a new level of professionalism to the Falken team. I am looking forward to working with him again for this Sonoma round so that I can redeem myself for this past round.