“This is my first time making Top 16 in New Jersey and it’s my first time ever making it into the Great 8. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to have a great team of friends behind me to make this happen. Getting 8th place isn’t a big deal for most FD teams but it was a huge deal for me and my friends that put all of our efforts into this. Thank you to the team!” – Jeff Jones
By far our best weekend ever. The car ran great, we obtained the best result in the history of our team and we got free pizza at Johnny Mac, what else could we ask for?
During practice the car was running great, the new head gaskets completely fixed the overheating and power issues and we were able to make some very good and consistent runs throughout the day. A little run in with the wall broke our front bash bar and we had to replace the diff at one point but apart from that, the only work we needed to do on the car was change tires and top off the fuel tank.
As practice went on, Jeff got more and more comfortable riding the wall and scraping the rear bumper on it every other run. At the end of practice we were feeling confident in our line and car set up, we were ready for qualifying the next day. It was weird though, this was the first time we were able to leave the track early and not spend all afternoon wrenching on the car, the change felt really good.
We managed to better our qualifying score from the previous rounds ending up in 19th place with a score of 82. This put us up against Matt Field in the Top 32, he qualified 14th so apart from the difference in speed, we thought we were pretty evenly matched on this track.
The battle against Matt ended quickly after our first run though, half way through the bank he slowed down unexpectedly and it turned out he had debeaded a tire. Unable to run the second part of the battle we got a by-run into the Top 16, apparently luck is on our side this time for a change.
Again in the show! Driver intros on track is where it’s at! Now who are we facing in the Top 16? Our old friend Justin Pawlak who was absolutely on fire that weekend qualifying 3rd. Having just lost against us in Atlanta, we knew he was out to get us this time, it was going to be a hard fought battle.
On our chase run keeping up with the Mustang was not easy but Jeff was able to pull it off. Things got kind of funny on our lead lap though, we both completed our runs but the judges deemed (correctly) that we went over the dotted lines in the run up and impeded Justin’s ability to initiate properly so we were given a chance to change tires and redo that run. In the restart we got a clean start and initiation, Jeff navigated the course nicely but so did Justin. The judges decided the battle had to go One More Time.
On our One More Time battle in the chase position we did a lot better than the previous run, staying with good proximity all throughout the course, we were feeling good. On our lead lap Jeff threw it down as hard as he could, rode the bank high and when both cars came off the bank, Justin over rotated and stopped, we completed the rest of the course and got the win advancing into the Great 8. We have now gone against Justin 5 times, getting the win on 3 of those occasions, we think this rivalry will keep on going for a long time and we love it!
Now against another Matt, this time it’s Coffman on our first ever Great 8 in Formula D! We were psyched for this and felt so good coming this far but it was time to throw it down once again. On the chase run Jeff was doing a good job but going in to the touch and go the engine stalled, it seems it didn’t like going from full throttle to no throttle and the RPMs just dropped too fast, weird issue and bad timing as we hadn’t experienced it at all during the weekend but we know that’s how it goes, thing will always fail at the worst moment. On our lead lap Jeff threw down probably his fastest and most aggressive lap to compensate for that mistake but unfortunately Coffman was always there in our shadow and didn’t make any mistakes so he got the win.
Now, at the half way point of the season, we stand in 17th place overall in the championship and we are feeling better than ever. It seems we got all the issues with the car ironed out and we can finally keep the car on track consistently and get as much practice as we need. We were feeling amazing after Atlanta but it just doesn’t compare with how we feel now. 4 more rounds to go, let’s go higher!