The Midwest Drift Union (MDU) returned to one of its staple locations September 17, to Kil-Kare Raceway in Xenia, Ohio, as the venue played host to round three of the Formula DRIFT pro-am feeder series. With the demise of Street Life Tour, which has historically been the driving force behind the event, overall attendance was lower than in years past but the nonetheless enthusiastic crowd wasn't deterred by the random rain showers throughout the day.
Points leader going into round three Mike Feiock nabbed the top qualifying spot while making his passes in less than favorable conditions on a wet and very slick track. Feiock would use his qualifying position to draw the FC RX-7 of Ali Ahmed in top 16, defeating his RX-8's spiritual predecessor to meet round-two winner and MDU newcomer Noah Michaels in top eight.
In his second appearance in top 16, Dan Perlenfein and his Lexus "SC 355" battled the E46 of Dan Nikov, with the SC moving on and making its first appearance in top eight against the black S13 of Matt "One Speed" Lynch, who had himself defeated the BMW of Steve Topping to eliminate any chance of a German victory.
In the second half of the bracket, rookie-of-the-year contender Geoff Donati knocked out the FC of Stu Kelly after a One More Time (OMT) tiebreaker was called, with Kelly dropping a tire and contacting clipping points on their second runs, giving Donati the nod. Hooman Rahimi got an easy pass into top eight with a solo run as Josh Durnell failed to make an appearance.
To finish out the round of 16, Shane Whalley took his GTO to victory over Chance Crooks, while Alec Robbins and his fan-favorite Hardbody defeated Drew Meyer, a battle that also constituted a OMT.
Feiock kicked off top eight by knocking out Michaels, with Lynch ending Perlenfein's day next, setting up what would be perhaps the most anticipated battle of the day between the two hard-charging drivers.
Rahimi proceeded to knock out Donati in the second half of the bracket, as Robbins and his truck soldiered on past Whalley to land their respective places in the final four.
As Feiock and Lynch battled in the first match of top four, Lynch made contact with Feiock on his follow run, slightly damaging the quarter of the RX-8. But on Lynch's lead run, the high line he took caused his S13 to seemingly get sucked up into the k-rail, nailing them with the back of his car and catapulting his car onto its side and into the catch fence, shedding tires, body panels, and breaking just about everything on the driver side of the car before coming to rest at the base of the sweeper.
Thankfully, no one was hurt and Lynch said he would have the car back in action by the final round next month in Virginia.
With Feiock in the finals now by default, Rahimi and Robbins also made contact in their battle when the Z slid into the side of the truck, though neither driver suffered significant damage. The judges awarded the win to Robbins, which gave Rahimi automatic third place.
This set the final match between Feiock, perhaps the longest-running driver in MDU, against 2016 newcomer Robbins. In the end, the rookie pulled off an upset victory and netted enough points to tie with Feiock for first place in the season standings.
With the smoke cleared, Feiock and Robbins now sit 29 points above third place Rahimi, with Donati sitting another eight points back. Dirk Stratton, Noah Michaels, and Steven Fishel fill out the next three spots with only four points difference between them despite Stratton and Fishel being absent from this round.
The final MDU 2016 round will be in cooperation with U.S. Drift at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Va., on October 15. Both MDU and U.S. Drift will run their respective brackets, with the winner of each squaring off in the finals.