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All Images by Matt Ulfelder

With new pavement on the ground, Round 4 at the Outside Road Course of Las Vegas Motor Speedway would look to shake things up in the points for the Vegas Drift Pro Am Championship. As grip increased, so did the proximity of the battles but in the end we would see another repeat winner but not who you would be expecting!

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4 days prior to Round 4 on Saturday Las Vegas Motor Speedway finished repaving the surface of the Outside Road Course. Not only that, but parts of the former course were laid back down with fresh pavement and allowed Vegas Drift staff to create a new, exciting course that would be very D1 styled as it was fast, short, and deceivingly technical.

Drivers would charge down the straight, heading towards the “Alamo”. They would then initiate into drifting right on the edge of the pavement just a few feet from the retaining wall. This double apex turn would lead to the first clipping point and continue the right hand turn. Immediately the drivers would have to transition to a right-left s-turn with two front clipping points for each before apex ending the course on the last straight.

Qualifying began and drivers were already getting used to the course. By the end, most drivers in the Top 16 were at 66 MPH or above but for a full ten points, drivers had to hit 74 miles per hour or faster before the first turn. Number one qualifier was Blake Olsen and his S13 followed by Vegas Drift point leader Brandon Patterson and his Damascus S14. Cameron Moore and his VIP Performance SC300 placed third coming off of his podium finish from round 2 while Alex Heilbrunn seeded fourth with a badly injured ankle, which he did prior to Round 4. Fifth seed was the STR Racing S13 of George Kiriakopoulos.

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A surprising failure to qualify was Spike Chen in his 888 Nissan S13. This is a major hit considering he was second in points coming into round 4 even after a penalty. Spike didn’t leave Round 4 as he would stay to work as spotter for Matt Dale and his Breast Cancer Awareness S14.

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Blake Olsen and Idaho’s very own Cameron Eisenman and his IS300 were up first. Blake would take the win against Cameron by judges Ernie Fixmer, Tommy Suell, and Nick Dizon. We only had three due to our two regular pros being out at Round 3 of the Formula Drift Pro Championship. The next pair up to the line was “Road Boss” Travis Avery in his Road Boss FC RX7 and Dino Child in his Gatsby Racing S14. Road Boss would take the win in his V8 powered FC.

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We would see our very first one more time when Alex Heilbrunn and Kasey King in the Triple Crown Drift SC300 faced off in the Top 16. Their first runs were very even and the judges wanted a decisive win from one of the drivers. Kasey would get the win in the OMT while Alex could be commended considering he was driving with a bad ankle injury.

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The second OMT would happen right after between George Kiriakopoulos and Rob Carlsen and his Global Watch Brokers.com S14. Again, both drivers would not give a decisive win despite some really great driving. However, in the OMT, George would just miss it and Rob would enter into the Great 8.

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On the other side of the ladder, point leader Brandon Patterson would face the Silhouette Motorsports S12 of Waylon Deno. Deno has really been trying to be the giant killer in his 185 horsepower S12 as he would once again face a faster, more powerful car in a one more time! However, Brandon would get the win as once again Waylon could not seal the deal on his second run. Waylon has put the Vegas Drift drivers on notice that despite his disadvantage, his smoother and consistent driving is what makes him the threat.

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Dylan Hummel in his primer grey S13 and Frank Cundari in the Triple Crown Drift SC300 would be up next and Frank would lose out against him. After that pair, Ethan Hunter in the S14 powered by a NASCAR Whelen Series V8 engine and Cameron Moore were up next. Despite Ethans lack of seat time in his new chassis the pair managed , a one more time! As Hunter went for his final clip on his lead run, he would spin in front of Moore. Moore would move on and begin to chip away from the points that Spike Chen was leaving on the table.

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Final pair of the Top 16 was Matt Dale in the Breast Cancer Awareness S14 and Lloyd “JR” Faber in his S13. Matt showed off some of that great driving he’s capable of in his lead run, but he showed great awareness when Lloyd would spin in front of Matt. That spin would give the win to Dale.

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Blake Olsen and Travis Avery were the first drivers off the line once the OMT of Hunter and Moore was done. The Road Boss lived up to his name and took out Blake in the Great 8. Kasey King and Rob Carlsen were next to find out who would enter the Final Four and Kasey would start to show off the skill that makes him part of that Triple Crown crew from Colorado!

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Next was Patterson and Hummel and Patterson would take the win, increasing his point lead that much further. However, Cameron Moore would answer back after taking the win against Matt Dale! Matt looked great, but Cameron Moore was on a charge to gain points!

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Travis Avery and Kasey King would bring out the battle of Colorado’s finest drifters! The drivers were aggressive and Kasey would struggle for traction coming off of the start. However, he would make a minor mistake and give the win to the Road Boss!

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Brandon Patterson and Cameron Moore would be the final guys in the Final Four. Brandon would out drive Moore on this day after a lead run that had a gap and a follow run against Cameron where Patterson would suck up right after the first front clipping point and never let up. It would be Travis Avery and Brandon Patterson to battle it out for first.

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However, Kasey King and Cameron Moore would have to decide who would get third place! Unlike Pro and Pro2, Pro Am still decides third by drifting rather than by qualification. Both King and Moore would have outstanding lead runs but their follow runs would put the back to square one. This called for a one more time and Kasey King would take the win with a majority vote by the judges!

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The finals wouldn’t be as exciting, though. After their first run, Travis Avery pulled into his hot pits and called for a competition time out. His only one for the event but it would have been the perfect one if he could make the repairs on time. Unfortunately, Road Boss and crew could not change out the tie-rod and it would give the win to Brandon Patterson!

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This is Brandon’s third win of the Vegas Drift Pro Am season and extends his lead by a wide margin at 402 points! Spike Chen retains second place in points with 256 but Cameron Moore is close behind with 233 points.

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However, there is only one event left in the schedule and it’s on September 20th. Will Spike be able to retain second in points or will Cameron Moore make up the 23 points by the end of Round 5? Only way to know is by coming out to the Outside Road Course and watch it live!

 

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