2010. Another year of drifting in the Northwest and beyond in the book.
This season experienced the progression, changes, challenges, and triumphs that make drifting fun and challenging. Hit the jump to take a moment with us to remember the accomplishments of this year.
This year was the fist time Evergreen ran a Drift School. This event was designed to teach drivers the basics on how to drift. With an all star cast of Formula Drift professional and Evergreen Drift ProAm drivers as instructors students were shown how to do doughnuts and figure eights in the morning. In the afternoon the students tacked the Evergreen 'School Course' so they could learn to initiate the drift and link it between multiple corners. The School course doesn't use the full 3/8ths bank so new drifters can focus on mastering the techniques on a safer, slow speed course.
The amazing thing about these schools is seeing how fast people get the hang of it. Many drivers who couldn't do a full 360 doughnut around a cone at the start of the day were drifting through multiple corners on the School Course by the end! David Hintz put together this great video of the event.
Competitive drifting has always been a big part of Evergreen Drift. With 2010 being the first season to have a full multi-round ProAm series the 3/8ths competition series was restyled as the Grassroots Championship. It's no secret that it costs a fair amount of money to build a car to tackle the 5/8ths and keep it in tires. The Grassroots series allows drifters of all skill levels and car preparation to compete head to head with an equal chance at getting to the podium for not much money.
While some drifters have no interest in competition the guys and gals that pull up to the line know that the thrill of putting down a clean run when it counts is rewarding and it shows in their rapid advancement in skill. While competition dictates that there must be winners and looser it's the challenge, drama, camaraderie, and excitement shared by drivers and fans alike that makes competitive drifting so addicting.
In 2010 46 drivers competed in three rounds for the Grassroots Championship. While there were many great battles and performances throughout the season there was one driver that piloted his lightweight turbo roadster so consistently with ultra close tandem chase runs that would always excite the crowd and defeat his competitors. With two first place and one second place finish Mike Lukomskiy
Some video from Grassroots round #2 by Gaelen Norman . . .
While 2010 is the third year Evergreen has participated in ProAm it will go down in history as the first year to have our own multi-event ProAm championship series. In 2008 Victor Moore got an invitation to ProAm Nationals and it 2009 we had a single round qualifier for Nationals sending 5 drivers down to Nationals. Formula Drift expanded the ProAm program to championship series at eight organization across the country.
Evergreen ran a 5 event series on the full FD 5/8ths track. At stake was one FD professional license for the season
Champion, four invitations to ProAm Nationals for 2nd - 5th place, on one wildcard invite to boot. Prior to the season it looked like a lot of drivers were excited and we anticipated fields of 16 to 20 drivers but as the economy imploded and drivers found how much time and money ProAm requires less guys were able to compete.
There were 15 different drivers that competed in at least one round this season but most events had six to eight drivers. The brutal nature of the competition also saw several times where cars blew up in practice before even getting a chance to qualify thinning the field even more! Even with a low number of competitors there still was plenty of epic battles with well earned campaign baths and high energy competition throughout the season.
With extra time in the schedule to fill many Grassroots drivers showed up to do exhibition runs and keep the crowd entertained between ProAm rounds. The die hard fans continued to support the series with many of them participating in the Forum Car Meet hosted by Northwest Nissans.
In the end, it was the drives who were the most dedicated to their dream of earning a Formula Drift pro license that came out on top. First through Third place were the only drivers to compete in all 5 rounds. Peter Funatake, the defending 2009 Evergreen Drift champion, won his second championship and earned a FD Pro license for 2011.
Mike, Andrew, Kyle, and Nik would also be joined by Walker Wilkerson, the recipient of the Wildcard invitation to ProAm Nationals.
This video by Dustin St. Hilaire from Round 1 does a good job of capturing the spirit of ProAm 2010.
After a hard fought season Mike Phillips, Andrew Coomes, Kyle Pollard, Nik Jimenez, and Walker Wilkerson had earned the challenge to compete for a Formula Drift Professional license at the ProAm Nationals. FD decided to hold Nationals during the final pro round at the 'House of Drift', Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA. This is the biggest FD round of the year before a capacity crowd of 15,000. The course is fast, unforgiving, and the FD judges accept nothing less than perfection. The Evergreen boys had to go up against the top Am's from across the country. Evergreen Drift driver Ian Fournier won Nationals in '09 making Evergreen the defending champion series and 4 out of 5 guys came home with Pro licenses that year.
Mike had mechanical issues with a broken diff in practice and Andrew had a cone put a hole in his radiator just before qualifying requiring a patch with a shop towel and JB Weld with the repairs making him miss his first qualifying run! Unfortunately, they weren't able overcome these challenges and missed qualifying for the Top 16 main event ending their weekend.
Kyle, Walker, and Nick were able to fare better by qualifying qualifying 3rd, 8th, and 14th respectively. Kyle and Nick were paired off for the top 16 guaranteeing one of them being eliminated strait off. Kyle was able to beat Nik and made it one more round before being eliminated in the Great 8.
Walker, the wild card entry, had a amazing run advancing through the ranks putting away veteran re-license competitors and fell Am's alike. Walker made it all the way to the championship round but was unable to overcome Pat Cyr's monster Hachiroku taking a 2nd place podium!
The Formula drift judges were much more selective in awarding the Pro licenses this year and they deemed Walker Wilkerson and Kyle Pollard worthy. These two will join Peter Funatake as the 2011 FD rookies from Evergreen Drift. While the other guys were unable to secure a license their experience in 2010 will give them a big advantage in ProAm competition for next season.
This season recap video for Walker shows the best footage from the ProAm Nationals and give you an idea of dedication and practice that goes into a successful ProAm season.
2010 was the first year Northwest locals ever competed in Formula Drift professional drifting. The 2009 Evergreen Drift ProAm class made their presence known, gave the home town something to cheer about, and represented the NW scene like champs. Victor Moore, Roland Gallagher, Ian Fournier, and Nikolay Konstontinov all had their rookie year in 2010.
Competition is fierce with upwards of 50 drivers trying to qualify for 32 spots and rookie privateers are outgunned in budget and equipment from the established pro teams. It's not uncommon for rookies to fail to make a top 32 in their first year of competition.
That didn't stop Nikolay from qualifying and then making it to the top 16 in his first ever event in front of the home town crowd at Evergreen Speedway. Nikolay has the honor of being the first NW driver to qualify for FD top 32 and also make it to the top 16. Check this interview with driving sports that captures the moment well
Nikolay went on to qualify for top 32 at the remaining rounds at Vegas, Sanoma, and Toyota Speedway earning 32nd overall for the season and scoring over the 100 points needed for automatic license renewal.
Ian Fournier, was less successful in the season but no less exciting to root for. At the final round he was able to qualify for the top 32 and even made it to the rounds of 8 for the first time for a Northwest driver.
Both Victor and Roland were unable to qualify for a top 32 all season but made a great showing putting their whole heart and effort into the season. It was extra exciting to watch the events over Driftstream and root for the guys we have been drifting with for years. These guys are blazing the path and showing the way for the up and coming talent from the Northwest.
Will 2011 be the year a Northwest driver stands on the FD podium?
Relive the Seattle and Irwindale rounds through these videos by locals Justin Shreeve and Abbitt Wilkerson
Rob Primo came up with and drove the idea for Bigfoot Bash. This was the fist ever multi-day, multi-track drift event in the Northwest. It was kicked off on Friday at Evergreen with a ton of crazy hot lapping, crashes and carnage, and many dead tires. The party moved to PGP with over night camping and a 2nd full day of tire slaying action.
This was so much fun and rest assured that there will be bigger and badder drift festivals in the Northwest's future!
It's not all competition at Evergreen Drift. We spend an equal amount of time just goofing off at open drift days. 2010 stepped it up with the all new Hotlap Course for experienced drivers. Multiple cars lapping the full 3/8ths bank in road course configuration allowed for some crazy back stretch manjis and 70mph speeds. The best thing about open drift is just hanging out and sliding around pushing the limits with friends.
These videos capture the essence of an Open Drift day pretty well . . .
There is a group of people that without which there would be no drifting at Evergreen. These are the less recognized heroes of drifting quietly working in the background to make sure the fans and drivers have a great time. They are the first to arrive and last to leave. A huge thank you to everyone who pitched in and volunteered their time and effort to the 2010 season! You know who you are and you rock.
Drifting in general has a bunch of great photographers and videographers that help promote the sport. It's amazing the quantity of super talented media guys that are in the Northwest. You've seen their work all year and it is well represented in the photos and videos of this post.
They are as every bit dedicated to the sport but choose instead of burning thousands of dollars and hours drifting they instead document all the action and spread the word far and wide. The majority of them do it as a hobby with no compensation. Evergreen Drift gives out big props to our media guys. Support them by buying their stickers and stuff!
Evergreen would also like to recognize the companies that supported us in the 2010 season.
Campbell Nelson Nissan
Sounds on Wheels
Last but not least thanks to every fan who has supported us in 2010. The only way to make drifting more fun is to have friends to hand out with in the pits and cheer us on from the stands. The staff and drivers of Evergreen drift look forward to dishing up even crazier on track drift action in the coming season and giving you more access and activities to enjoy in 2011.
The future . . .
Those who follow local news may already know that our track, Evergreen Speedway is under new management. High Road Promotions (HRP) were awarded a multi-year contract from Snohomish County to operate the Speedway. Evergreen Drift has been working with the new owners all winter planning for the 2011 season. HRP recognizes the importance of drifting at Evergreen Speedway and are giving their full support to make drifting more fun than ever for drivers and fans alike.
Big things are planned for 2011 and the schedule will be out very soon. Make sure your winder builds will be done by April so you don't miss an event. See you in 2011!
So various videos of insane tandem trains at Meihan Circuit have been posted up on all the drift sites.
Exhibit A -
When Evergreen introduced our Hot Lap course setup the goal was to get a bunch of NW drivers to this level so we can let you loose to orbit in a non-stop super tandem train! Not only will it be crazy rad we can pack more drivers on the course at one time so everyone will get loads more run time in a day.
We saw a version of this happen for the first time at Bigfoot Bash
Video Proof at 1:30 -
Get all amped up and cage your car so we can make this awesomeness happen in 2011! Due to the speeds and hazards of the Hot Lap course we will require a 3/8ths legal roll cage to join this party so make sure a cage is on your winter project list!
Check out Walker Wilkerson's season recap video done up by AW Films. Walker had an awesome 2010 placing 7th in the Evergreen Drift ProAm series and was awarded the wild card invite. He took 2nd at the ProAm Nationals and earned a FD pro license for 2011! Enjoy this review of Walker ripping at tracks across WA and down at Toyota Speedway during Nationals.