DriftCon AfterDark is the second DriftCon event of the season, and it's the event that I look forward to most out of the season at Evergreen Drift. It is the last major event in the 2016 series for the Evergreen Drift and Pro Am Series, so they like to go out with a rager. AfterDark is full to the brim with a large car show, DJs dropping beats, open drift car pits, Pro Am Round 5 competition and drift games.
AfterDark kicked off with the Pro Am Round 5 competition. This is the final round for the Evergreen Pro Am series this year. So all the drivers brought their A-game. Or at least tried to. The competition ran what they call the "Mini Jersey" course set up, which featured a touch and go infront of the media box that led right into a tightening right hander. This was paticularly challenging for many of the drivers because they had so much speed coming into it from the 3/8ths bank. Many drivers received at least one zero'd run during qualifying. Matt Vankirk and Brandon Schmidt were your top qualifiers.
Race cars can be fickle things, especially when you ask them take the abuse of sliding very sideways very fast alongside another car doing the same thing. Leading into main competition both Vankirk and Travis Reeder were suffering mechanical issues. Vankirk's clutch was destroying itself and Reeder didn't have any power steering. So Reeder was having to strong arm that wisefab kit into ridiculous angles all day; and quite well to his credit. Unfortunately both of them were knocked out; TJ Fry besting Reeder and Arie Abrams beating Vankirk. This final round was getting very interesting now that the top two drivers in the series were out of the running. That left third place Brandon Schmidt with a seemingly open path to victory. However, bad things come in threes. During his battle against Nate Snyder, one of Schmidt's rear axles self destructed knocking him out of the competition. Schmidt was hoping to secure the win so help solidify his bid for a Formula Drift Pro 2 license.
This left the door open for TJ Fry, who had been 4th all event, to push for the win. With the top three out, the battles were now heated and spectacular. Zach Farrar and TJ Fry pushed each other hard under the setting golden sun, putting on a great display of car control. Nate Snyder and Dio Ortiz II also had a great battle to show off their drifting prowess. It was great to see some fresh faces battling it out for the podiums this round. Despite not winning, both Travis Reeder and Brandon Schmidt had secured enough points over the season to earn their Pro 2 licenses. I'm stoked to see them toss it about with the big dogs next year.
In the end, it was new comer and Montana grown TJ Fry coming away with the win! After struggling with car issues all season, this win was a great way to cap off the season. Nate Snyder earned second place and Dio Ortiz II came away with third place. Congratulations to them all!
After the Pro Am competition, the Drift Games began. These featured some fun light hearted competition with games like Drift Limbo, where they had to slide through a progressive smaller and smaller gap, and Hoonigan Team Hoon off which featured team choreographed tire destruction. Conveniently, the best spot to watch the Drift Limbo was in the beer garden. You could see how narrow the gap was and you could have a beer in hand. TJ Fry and Brad Davis won the hoon off competition with some great choreography and some colored tire smoke.
All in all, DriftCon AfterDark was one giant party to end the main drift season at Evergreen Speedway. I look forward to the shenanigans of the off season winter drifting and to see what changes the drivers make as they prepare for next year's competitions.
Check out all the photos below!