Posted by Josh Mackey
You can never underestimate July in the Northwest. By the time July 4th rolls around, our so-called summer begins to show its face and we often exclaim, “Finally!” If anything is true about Seattle in June or July, prepare for the unexpected.
Text by Josh Mackey – Photography by Armin Ausejo, Christian Berens and Chris Wold
The weather patterns and forecast was almost mimicking Forum Fest: partly cloudy skies with sun breaks and chances of rain. Thursday’s setup went just fine, with sun breaks and a high around 70 degrees and a slight breeze. The breeze was pushing up from south to north, which meant trouble. Practice roared and rumbled into the night, but Friday’s unexpected weather could mean trouble.
We lived this nightmare before: rain, wind, thunder and lightning beginning around midnight across most of Western Washington. By the time morning came and it was time to pack and head out for Day 1, pools of water were everywhere, and Formula DRIFT Round 5 Seattle was officially on its way of getting rained out. Perhaps Andy Luk and Ryan Sage made a deal with Mother Nature, because right around 11am, the skies parted, rain stopped, and everything began drying up. The talk of the town was that Pro-Am was going to be cancelled and that Pro practice and qualifying might be delayed until 5pm. By noon, gates were open the public and something needed to be done. Track crews were busy making sure the track was ready to run using water pumps and brushing away standing water, while crews started firing up cars, getting them ready for battle. Not long after, they started hitting the track. Despite the rather muggy conditions going forward, practice and qualifying were in full swing throughout the afternoon and our photographers were on point to capture as much as they could. It was also a good opportunity to get our Amateur Photographer Contest Winner, Christian Berens, acclimated with shooting on the track. We’d say he did quite well and he was a fast learner, especially for someone who had never previously shot drifting before!
Qualifying was close throughout the day, but Vaughn Gittin Jr. took the first spot while local favorite, Walker Wilkerson took 8th.
1. V. Gittin Jr 2. J. Pawlak 3. T. Yoshioka 4. P. Mordaunt 5. C. Forsberg 6. C. Grunewald 7. F. Aasbo 8. W. Wilkerson 9. M. Powers 10. R. Kado
After qualifying had ended and most of the crowd had dispersed, Formula DRIFT kept the track open so that the drivers could get in some more practice runs. Tandem runs were going for at least another hour after qualifying had ended. The top seed, Vaughn Gittin Jr. had car issues and broke down. There were a lot of stories circulating that he might not be able to fix it, but not even within the hour, the beast was back on the track!
It was an epic day for sure, a mix of two totally different weather conditions, crazy qualifying and tons of stories! We left the track tired and some of us were still a bit soaked from the earlier rains, but yet we were all quite excited for the next day. Stay tuned for Day 2: Main Event photos coming soon!
Armin Ausejo Day 1 Gallery
Chris Wold Day 1 Gallery
Christian Berens Day 1 Gallery