Words: Matt Field
2016 was a roller coaster!! We enjoyed the ride and can't wait to see where 2017 is going to go.
Long Beach has always been one of those events that we're both excited, and nervous about. The opening event can go really good or really bad. This event was no different, we had a little of both happen, but we are always ready for the challenges we face.
After a complete chassis teardown and rebuild during the offseason, the team and I arrived in Long Beach with the utmost confidence after having an amazing end to the 2016 season. However a new year brings new challenges and it was time for us to refocus and handle the task at hand. It's not easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is. We are going to fight for it just as hard this year as we did in 2016!
We had a rocky start at Media Day, dialing in the suspension improvements we made during the winter proved to be a bit of a challenge.
Going into Friday we knew we had to throw down. With a decent setup on the car and a decent practice, the engine began to develop a misfire and I started to feel a loss of power. My team and I did everything we could but we were forced to qualify with a car that just wasn't quite where we would like it. Landing in the 11th position we were happy that we were able to lay down some decent runs that got us into the bracket.
We knew Saturday was going to be tough. Staying up late Friday night, we made a suspension change and tried to diagnose the misfire issue however, we were unable to fix it and were forced to run a car that was not 100%. The unanimous decision was to get as far down the bracket to obtain the points. Our first battle was against Nate Hamilton. Putting some ground on Nate and him making a few mistakes in the follow position, we went into Run 2 with the advantage. Finishing the follow run had me pushing the car as hard as I could we came out victorious and were moving on to the Top 16.
In Top 16 we were to face Matt Coffman. This dude was ripping this weekend and we knew with a wounded car it would be tough. We followed first and I was able to keep decent proximity, but we were seriously lacking the angle. Every time I got on the throttle, the lack in power would cause a loss in angle. Finishing off the run the best I could, I knew we needed a solid lead run and for Coffman to make a mistake to get a chance at moving on. I laid down the best run that I could, but Coffman did better that day and won the battle. The team and I did our best with what we had, but sometimes it's just not enough. I cannot thank my team enough. It took so many late nights and hard work to get a 12th place result. The competition is fierce this year. As I write this, we are actively making repairs and will be heading out to Super Drift with a mindset for redemption.
Orlando will be a new day, we hope for results better than what we managed in Long Beach. I do know with the team we have, we have the ability to learn from our experiences and make the next event better.