Gridlife TrackBattle Round 5 - Season Finale
Abrin Schmucker - Time Attack Director
As trackside activity wrapped up on Saturday, clouds began to roll in. Heavy rain hit South Haven pretty hard, destroying more than one pop-up canopy tent, and any chance for a party in the paddock at Gingerman. Sunday morning saw another day of perfect sunshine and cool temperatures. With the season leaders of the Unlimited Class absent this weekend, the spotlight was focused on drivers on the remaining three classes to showcase their talent and their cars. By the time that drivers hit the track for the first time of the day, the sunshine was already drying the track. Those adventurous enough to go out and push themselves got a little more wet track experience before the racing line dried up completely. Somehow, Bradley Yonkers managed to find even more time and improve upon his time from Saturday, taking off another hundredth. Setting a faster time on a track that was less than ideal put everyone in the Street Modified class on notice. Finally getting the car dialed in, he and his supercharged E46 M3 were going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Times continued to drop into the afternoon. Chasing Brandon Ranvek's records from 2016 at all of our tracks, Michael Puglisi in the DMN Evo was on a mission. Finally, he was able to break through and set the TM - AWD record with a phenomenal 1.:34.473 besting the previous time by nearly 1.3 seconds. Bradley Yonkers continued to increase the pace, and firmly took control of the Street Modified - RWD class and overall class record with a 1:36.981. Ron Spear improved as well and took the overall record in the HPDE+ class with an impressive 1:40.981. This time is particularly impressive because it highlights the improvement in competitiveness of the series in little more than a year. A 1:40.981 time set no more than 15 months prior at 2016 Midwest Festival would have been good enough for 3rd fastest overall in the Street Modified class. In fact, every record that we have for Gridlife Trackbattle Competition at Gingerman Raceway was set at some point during the 2017 season. All drivers continued to refine their ability and further optimize their cars to be at the limit of potential for their class. With so much improvement in such a short time, The #Gridlife track team is looking forward to seeing how much additional pace the drivers will find in the 2018 winter offseason.
With the checkered flag waving on Sunday evening, event winners and season champions were crowned. Making good on a bet made during round 4, Dewey fulfilled the promise of #noshoeyfordewey by breaking Spaz's record record and finishing at the top of the podium for Round 5. Drinking his words, Spaz drank a warm Monster energy drink from the shoe of Eric Dewey Dewitt. This was a capstone moment on an incredible battle between drivers all season long. Clearly, the rivalries of the season are always among friends.
Each event of the 5 round season of 2017 season hosted the largest field of drivers in Gridlife Trackbattle history. Despite the size of the field, drivers and crews built bonds and friendships with fellow competitors that help cultivate the Gridlife experience. I'm not sure that the series could grow in the way it has, without the friendly culture of those present in our paddock. The track team thanks all those who are part of our series, We had a blast in 2017, and can't wait to get back at it in April 2018 at Mid-Ohio. See you there.
411 - James Houghton - UNLIMITED FWD - 4340
18 - Brian Faessler - UNLIMITED - RWD - 4210
197 - Kendall Samuel - UNLIMITED - AWD - 3363
957 - Tony Fuentes - TRACK MODIFIED - RWD - 3730
357 - Dan Lewis - TRACK MODIFIED - RWD - 3477
314 - Michael Puglisi - TRACK MODIFIED - AWD - 3383
11 - Graham Gaylord - STREET MODIFIED - AWD - 4143
122 - Brad Yonkers - STREET MODIFIED - RWD - 3617
718 - Chad McCurdy - STREET MODIFIED - AWD - 3533
55 - Charles Miller - HPDE + - AWD - 2687
79 - Ron Spear - HPDE + - RWD - 2450
86 - Jiyuan Ding - HPDE + - RWD - 2387