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Lucas Oil's Matt Field Makes It To The Top 8 : Formula Drift Report
This was a long week, but totally worth it. With the car getting back from New Jersey Monday night at 11pm we had our work cut out for us. We were doing all the work out of Garage Autohero and there was a lot of work to be done. We brought up a assembled block with a crank and rods and pistons in it and had to switch everything over from my blown motor to this new bottom end. The motor exploding in Jersey really sucked, it took out 2 rods, cracked my block, wasted the crank, bent 2 valves, and wasted my cam. Improved Racing contacted me and sent me a new baffle for my oil pan. This is a trap door baffle so all the oil stays where it is suppose to. It looks like an awesome product and I couldn't wait to try it out. So with lots and lots of new parts we got my new motor together.
Lucas Oil took an interest and is now supporting my program so I know motor failure will not be a future issue. They provided us with some awesome break in oil that would speed up the process and a whole pallet of other great products. This was a good thing seeing as we only had a few hrs to break in the motor, get the car aligned, rebuild a bash bar, wrap a bumper, fix fiberglass, fix taillights, oil change, clean up and get back at a decent time to get some sleep before thursday practice. We finished everything and the car was set. Thursday practice was here and the car was ready, the crew and I had made it. The first few runs during practice we made major changes on the car. Dialing it in and getting the car to drive how I wanted. My spotter Dan and I were working on different lines around the bank to try and find the best one. As practice was coming to a close and I was rounding the last corner on the track, I clutch kicked and bam...the diff blew up. Luckily a friend had a ring and pinion for me and we swapped it in my diff and we were on our way.
Qualifying is always a stressful day. With practice coming first we dialed the car, and myself in. We were ripping practice so well that we actually pulled off early and started getting focused and ready to qualify. My first run was good enough to put me in the #1 qualifying position for quite a bit. After the first round of qualifying we ended up sitting really well. For my second run I tried to throw down a badass run. I ended up spinning off the end of the bank and we had to go with our first run. After it was all said and done we ended up 13th. Our best qualifying position this year. With this qualifying position I was to go against Taka Aono in the rounds of 32. We went out to the top 32 practice scission and continued to dial in the car.
We were feeling good going into top 32. My lead run was solid. High against the wall, close on the clips and Taka made a small mistake on initiation. We lined back up and were set to follow. He gaped me going around the bank but he smashed a little too hard and went 2 tires off coming off the bank. I closed the gap and leaving the second outer zone he spun and came almost to a stop. I bumped him and started drifting again. We had won. My first real victory all season. It felt great and we were in the main show. Top 16 here we come. The opening ceremonies started and we rolled out and were introduced. Did some doughnuts and play time was stopped and we lined up for go time. We were to face Jonathan Castro. He was looking good all weekend so we had to throw it down. I was to lead first and I laid down a solid clean run. I gapped him around the bank but he was able to close up on me on the infield.
My spotter told me my follow run had to be badass. I knew I could stick to him and that I was faster but on initiation I was going slower than I usually go so I had to clutch kick. This was weird for me because I never initiated that way all weekend. I said screw it and threw the car into the bank. I had to left foot brake and actually hand brake on the bank to keep from hitting him. Coming off the bank I got stuck underneath him and had to almost spin the car out and re-initiate. I closed back in on him for the finish of the course. I was pissed because I made a mistake, but the judges found him at fault for a strange initiation and for taking my line away. We moved on to the TOP 8 baby! My career best. We couldn't celebrate too early however, because we were to battle Rhys Millen.
When people would ask me who I was going against, and I told them Rhys, everybody told me the same thing. "Damn, he's fast dude..." Once again I was to lead because I was the higher qualifier. My lead was alright, I pulled off the wall a bit early and this gave Rhys momentum to close up on me pretty well. We both finished off the run strong and swapped positions. I knew his car was a lot faster than mine so I had him pace me till we passed the cone. After we passed the cone, he took off. I clutch kicked around the bank at least 4 times to try and keep up with him. The gap did not get too big and on the infield I closed proximity on him fairly well. The run was over and it was all up to the judges. They found Rhys to win and our day was over. I feel that I really gave him a run for his money. I didn't throw it away or anything, so this was probably the one positive thing about loosing. All in all, it was one hell of a week..
I would like to say thanks to: Lucas Oil Products, CXRacing, Blacktrax Performance, Parts Shop Max, Maxxis Tire, Rotiform, Lutz Performance, Sokodu Designs, AEM, Vex Motorsports, Swift Springs, Endless Racing, VIS Racing, OMG Drift, Daft Innovations, ACT, Fatlace, K&N Filters, Aermotive, TunerPlayground, Improved Racing and Grip Royal.