What a tumultuous season it's been for Top Drift! In contrast to past years, where it's been pretty clear from the start who had a real shot at placing high in season competition and earning a Formula D Pro 2 license, this year has proven to be anything but.
You may recall our coverage of Round 1, where 2016 third-place season finisher Sean Adriano qualified first and won the event in his no. 562 S13 240SX, with 15-year-old upstart Dom Martinez and his no. 15 S14 claiming second ahead of a capable and consistent trio of Kyle Cameron (no. 224 S14)., Shaun Doom (no. 213 S13), and Luke Pakula (no. 714 S13) in the following three spots. At the time it seemed the odds were good one of these guys would take the overall win, and at least two would finish in the top three.
But then Round 2 happened. Sean hit a GoPro, Dom went off and damaged his car early on, and the rest suffered some sort of mishap and were replaced by Tim Cobb in the no. 110 S14 atop the podium, with Alex Grimm and the no. 14 240Z - another of the series' strongest duos - in second. Except Luke Pakula. He advanced to third and provided some of the only consistency in the series to that point.
And now, 75 percent of the way through Top Drift's four-event, Willow Springs-based season, the tides have changed again. Dom got his revenge with an upset over Sean when the two met in Top 16 competition, despite Sean's qualifying first for the event. Luke Pakula was similarly upset by Kevin Armijo in the no. 364 Toyota Tacoma on the other side of the Top 16 bracket, as was Shaun Doom by Rome Charpentier, in the no. 17 BMW E36 M3.
But then Dom Martinez's run was cut short, as was Cameron's and Cobb's, but Armijo and Charpentier survived, and were met in the Top 4 by two veteran Top Drifters heretofore not really seen as potential threats to the championship: Micah Diaz, in the no. 8 BMW M3, and Kenneth Vuong, in the no. 223 S13.4.
Despite several battles, a truck once again (sadly, because we really want to see it) did not make the podium, as Armijo landed in fourth for the event, but claiming the podium were three new faces to the winners' circle in 2017, and three big wrenches thrown in the championship points chase: Rome Charpentier taking first, followed by Kenneth Vuong in second, and Micah Diaz in third.
With only one round remaining, Kyle Cameron leads the championship chase by a scant six points, with Tim Cobb and Sean Adriano trailing very closely, and a full 11 competitors could hypothetically steal the championship win, if the cards fell just right. Crazy.
Click through our gallery for more from Top Drift's penultimate competition round of 2017, and be sure to stay with us for the sure-to-be-dramatic close to another awesome season of SoCal pro-am drifting. For more, visit: www.justdrift.com