BLOG: Ashley Van Dyke: Formula Drift @ Long Beach
Another first rate blog feature by our USA corespondent, www.ashleyvandyke.com – this time from the Formula Drift event at Toyota Long Beach in California, following our pal, Conrad Grunewald and his animal 730bhp Chevrolet Camaro (as seen in Road Magazine Issue 15, here: http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_15/1).
Ashley says: "It’s been a long off season for driver and team owner Conrad Grunewald. As many competitors in Formula DRIFT have worked with changes to their programs during the Winter, Grunewald had a lot on his hands too. He balances the weight of making all the decisions for the car’s set-up with his focus to drive the Chevrolet Camaro at its top ability (as above, inches from the wall at full tilt, Ed). One change to the car came with the addition of a partnership with Holley. The products and services that Holley offers with the EFI seems a good fit for the car, and the team is excited about the benefits of going in this direction. Holley supports a number of drivers in Formula DRIFT and they are great with providing support and being available to help.
"At the end of the 2011 Formula DRIFT season, Conrad brought the Camaro home for an 8th place finish in the official points standings. Adding up the points, this was a 30% increase in performance results from the previous season. Grunewald enjoyed an event win at New Jersey and was had the best overall qualifying average.
"The weather was picture perfect in Long Beach this weekend for Round 1 and Grunewald was ready to battle the largest field of cars ever entered in Formula DRIFT. The entry list had over 75 cars when I arrived to the circuit on Friday. Over half of them would be sent home as qualifications came later that day, and only the top 32 would stick around for competition on Saturday. Conrad Grunewald put the Hankook/Top 1 Oil Chevrolet Camaro 8th on the starting grid for the top 32 elimination rounds. He was able to make it through the first round taking out Robbie Nishida in his 180SX with a Nissan 350Z. It was a hard fought battle for Grunewald in the top 16. He wasn’t able to advance though, and Kenny Moen eliminated him running Tanner Foust’s old Nissan 350Z."
"The weekend went really well for us," said Conrad. "Long Beach is not our team’s strongest event historically, but given the circumstances we finished great. I’m looking forward to the east coast events coming up and I really want to thank all of our partners who are on board with us this year."
The next stop on the Formula DRIFT calendar is Road Atlanta, May 11th and 12th. Between now and then you can keep tabs on Conrad Grunewald Racing by following his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Conrad-Grunewald/240081099387013.
Thanks to Ashley Van Dyke for this brilliant blog feature and Andrew Bohan for the fabulous image, and all at Toyota Long Beach in California.