Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Formula Drift New Jersey Recap: Words from Matt Field

This past weekend was a thrill having Matt Field back on track for another Formula Drift spectacle. Some of may have already heard that the car didn't fair too well in Florida. Matt's S14 was plagued with fuel system issues that ended his single qualifying session with a low score eliminating him from the Round 3. Instead of packing up, Matt, his family and crew made the best of the weekend by troubleshooting the car until issue was repaired. Their commitment  paid off as he hit the ground running hard at New Jersey's Wall Speedway. Only here will you be getting the words, straight from Matt...

Rolled the car out of the rig on Thursday morning after a fun night in New York City. I figured out the fuel problems that kept me from competing in Florida. I started making adjustments on the car that I believed would help me on the intense and rough surface that is Wall Stadium. I went out for practice and right away, I felt good. I was able to run high on the bank and hold a good line through the inner course. With tweaks in air pressure helping me to gain traction with the 615k's, I began to have a very competitive line. Thursday ended on a good note with me and my spotter being very pleased with my runs. We brought the car back to the pits and began prepping it for the next day. 

Friday came along and the car was ready, I was ready, but the weather was not. It rained all night and the track was flooded. They were cleaning it up all morning and by the time we rolled out for practice there was only a few standing puddles with 80% of the track wet and the bank almost dry. It was strange running an almost dry bank then transferring onto an icy slick, wet infield. The sun was out so the track was drying out quickly. Almost everyone was spinning out and could barely make a lap the track was so slick. After a few hours it began to dry up just in time for qualifying. My first run was just ok, scoring a 63.1 which got me into the Top 32 but much lower on the list than I wanted to be. For my second run, I knew I could go for it and with the increasing grip level on the track I was able to throw it down and score a 72.7 which put me in 16th in qualifying for the day. There were only 35 cars that entered the event and only 31 got points. With all the crashes and changing grip levels of the track, Wall Speedway showed us how tough of a track it can be. I was ok with my qualifying position, not happy, just ok. I know I could have done better. During the drivers meeting there was basically a monsoon that forced everyone back into their trailers. It took the Need for Speed tent and threw it on the power lines. Yes, it was that crazy of a storm. They canceled top 32 practice and added time to Saturdays morning practice.

When Saturday morning practice started up I knew the track would be different, no rubber left around the bank and loss of rubber on the infield made this once again a slippery, tough course. I wanted to take it easy in the beginning laps of practice. With a few laps under my belt the unexpected happened and the wall got the best of me. I slid up too high on the bank and scraped the rear and it pulled the front into the wall. Broke a tension rod, bent the LCA and screwed up a wheel along with a bunch of cosmetic fiberglass. We got it fixed in time to do ONE practice run, which I took it very very easy on. I was the first pair in the top 32 round because Ryan Tuerck (#1 qualifier) got a buy run because there were only 31 scores. It was me against Kenneth Moen. He was driving for Samuel Hubinette in the Challenger. I was unsure how the tandem would go. I have never run tandem with such a big car before. When we rolled down to the line I was to lead first. On entry, I rode right up the the top of the bank scraping my rear bumper on it and I hit it just soft enough where I was able to maintain drift. Coming off the bank, transitioning across the start finish clipping point, Moen hit my rear 1/4 panel, spinning me out. We lined up for our second run. I was to follow him. We took off and I noticed that we were initiating a lot slower than I usually would have. This confused me because I thought that 840hp monster would have taken off on me. I got a little over aggressive on the bank and got caught down low. I was able to come off the bank and close the gap to nothing going into the first inner bank. We were door to door with inches between us. Going across the middle section with all the jumps he pulled from me, but I caught back up going into the last inner bank and finished strong, right behind him. The judges awarded the round to me; the hit was too much for him to make up. We’re going into top 16 baby!

Top 16 rolled around after a lot of fiberglass repairing, trying to get my car to look like a car again. I was to go up against the #1 qualifier, Ryan Tuerck. On my follow run I started to gain on him on the bank and I closed in a little too close coming off the bank and had to slow down so much that it threw my entire line off. I almost over rotated into the first inner bank and had a correction. I’d have to throw it down like no other in order to even get a chance for a One More Time. I pushed a little too hard in my lead run and over the jump section in the middle of the course, my car caught air and when I landed, I spun out.

 I had a great time at this track, I really enjoy drifting on it, the fans were great and the car performed well. I can’t wait for Evergreen.

No comments:

Post a Comment