What is the first event you look forward to attending when the season starts? Is there one that you just HAVE to drive in or spectate? For Elijah Wright his full attention goes to traveling up north to Eagle Point, OR where Medford Cruise & Drift Evolution have been hosting the drift event dubbed; Bash to the Future.
2018 marks the sixth year of this event, and it has only grown since day 1. I remember the 1st year of Bash; Joe and Crick took home the top spot for team tandem, and then the 2nd year, Elijah drove hard and sold out of his personalized TBTM apparel and stickers. I was stoked when the guys come back from a trip and have some positive news to share. When the team has a genuine good time, no car problems, and positive feedback from the crowd; it makes for a good atmosphere and great memories.
This year we had the pleasure of working with recently featured photographer: Kingsley Hurley from @visualsofkings. Kingsley surprised us with a edited video specifically for Elijah that paid homage to all of his partners as well as the teams’ partners. Along with the video you see here, Kingsley also supplied all photos within this blog. Give his page a follow while your scanning through his Instagram.
Big Duck Club
Canton Racing Products
West Coast Ravenol
In 2017, Formula Drift was being directed by Hankook, Achilles, Nexen, Falken, and Nitto for approved tire companies. So you might be asking yourself, ‘Why Nexen?” or “How do you know what to go with?”. This is an acknowledgment to our newest partner Nexen Tire USA and how we established this partnership.
Time crunching; something we are all far too familiar with. This was an ongoing pattern in 2017, and unfortunately for us, during this time we were cut from our tire partner due to lack of budget. With just 2 weeks until the second round in Atlanta, Crick Filippi was without tire support. Team manager, Robert Ljuba began making phone calls, but none resulted in positive news. With each call Robert made it seemed to be that the tire pricing was getting more expensive. This was simply not feasible for our grassroots/self-made budget.
We started looking on Tire Rack for Formula Drift ‘approved’ tires, and stumbled across the Nexen SUR4. Robert and Tire Rack went back and forth to see how they could source us 30 tires and at what cost. Tire Rack would’ve had to source the tires from 4 of their warehouses around the nation and there was a chance they all wouldn’t get here in time for Round 2. This was a gamble we could not take.
In desperate measures, Robert reached out to a partner of TBTM for some potential guidance, which in the end led to an introductory call with Nexen Tire USA. The responsible personnel from Nexen said, “We don’t want to leave a driver behind”. This quote spoke volumes to his character and how he genuinely looks out for drivers. With just a little over a week until Round 2, Crick Filippi knew his tires would be supplied by Nexen Tire USA. This trend would carry on through all rounds we attended. Each round we tried our best to prove our worth and Nexen saw that. We think that our determination was noticed, and thus resulted in this partnership for 2018. TBTM is privileged to represent such a company as Nexen Tire and look forward to sharing our success with them!
HOTlanta, The ‘A’, A-Town, ATL, or whatever you may call it; shows no mercy to this seasons’ competitors in Formula Drift…
Day 1: Thursday
After spending the week at teammate Crystal Hooks’ back acre property and enjoying what Georgia had to offer, it was time to get down to business. The team showed up to Road Atlanta early so that we could setup our pit area plus get Crick on time to the first driver’s meeting of the season. As Crick was in his meeting; team members Crystal, Jake, and Robert tended to updating Crick’s partner signage on the car, getting all 30 new Nexen SUR4G tires mounted on the XXR Forged 527 wheels, and nut n’ bolting the car to insure everything was good and tight.
It was warm…maybe 80 degrees with high humidity. After wrapping the new hood, Crick chose to leave the vents out so that we wouldn’t have any restrictions for the hot air escaping that the turbos + manifolds would produce.
I mean…it was HOT! Here is Crick’s youngest son hydrating their family dog; Biscuit, in the most efficient manner haha.
Practice: Dave, Jake, and Robert loaded the truck to set out to the hot-pits where they’d meet Crick. After 2 passes we could physically see and Crick could physically feel a difference in the new SUR4G tires. They lasted a lot longer than the SUR4 from 2017, and had more grip. Crick would suggest a gear change after these couple of passes. Unfortunately for us we did not have the tools to do the swap in the hot pit so we had to go back to the paddock. The gear swap went quick and smooth and soon we were back out. The car looked solid on its first pass after the gear change, but something went wrong…broke the alternator pulley. Back to the pits we go where we were able to borrow local drifter and friend of Crick, Matt Field’s welder. Crick fired out the welding, while Jake was under the car ready for the install, at this time we installed a new Gates belt that was supplied by our partners at Gates Auto. We made it back on track, but not in time for another practice run before qualifying. So yet again, just like in 2017, we were only able to get a few runs in before qualifying.
Qualifying: Crick’s 1st run…solid…fast…a little wide on one clip, but nonetheless a strong 74. He comes back and mentions that he’s loosing power steering, and that the car was running funny. The hood comes off and sure enough, the pump failed. There would be no time to fix it before his 2nd and final run, so Crick muscles his car through the run in what we thought would be a higher score, but judges ruled it a 70. Like 2017, we would be sitting in 15th place with 4 heavy hitting drivers left: Goble, Schmidt, J. Robinson, and K. Lawrence. Each driver fully capable of knocking us out of qualifying. I believe J. Robinson was the only one of this bunch to get a score higher than us, and would in the end drop us to 16th. Yes it was last in qualifying, but the point was that we were in the SHOW!
That night we took a spare power steering pump we had back to Crystal’s house where Crick and Jake machined the necessary pieces to make it work for the competition the next day. Crystal also had a spare electric fan she let us use to add to the front of the intercooler to help move air around, and hopefully keep the intercooler from getting too hot. This would make for a short to-do list for Friday, competition day…or so we thought.
Day 2: Friday (Competition Day)
First thing was first…get that power steering pump installed along with a new Gates belt (yes we change belts frequently).
Aren’t you excited when you change a used part to a new part? Jake is!
Korbyn, our Georgia residing friend who just so happens to takes pictures (supplied us with every picture in this blog) wanted to shoot Crick’s car before practice. Korbyn set out to find a location, came back, and we followed him to a very (race-feeling) location.
On the way there…tragedy struck…one of the hardlines on the steering rack failed and was literally dumping power steering fluid like a faucet; not to mention we also ripped off a V-band clamp on a speedbump. Luckily for us, we were pitted next to Adam Knapik who had a spare rack, and without hesitation let us dissect it to utilize the hardline for our car. Thanks again Adam for keeping us in the game!
While Crick was working on the power steering hardline, Rob and Jake swapped the damaged V-band on the exhaust.
Next on the to-do list was getting the fan donated by Crystal working on the front of Crick’s intercooler. (Note: this was a temporary install just to run for this event. A new fan + shroud will be built and installed as finished product.)
It was time to load up and make our way to the grid for the only practice session we’d get before Top 16 competition. The first couple of runs were great! Crick led one and chased one, both looking really solid and at steady speeds!
Looks could and were deceiving…Crick came back up to the hot pit and said something under the hood was on fire. Jake and Rob pulled the hood to find that a damaged fitting on the power steering hose was leaking on the turbo blanket, then catching fire. We are sad to say that we did not have the necessary tooling and/or fitting to repair this before the Top 16 competition, which in return forfeited us from moving forward.
Each day is a learning experience for us…we learn and we grow! We learned a great deal about ourselves, our system, and what we can do to further improve on our performance. We will be making adjustments to our program and charge hard towards a podium in St. Louis for the next round.
Though we didn’t have the fairy tale ending we were hoping for, we still had a great 10 days exploring the East Coast with our friends and enjoyed each others company. TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.
Crick put his car on display for Saturday’s PRO competition. Crick’s wife, Tiff and teammate Crystal added some feng shui to the pit area. Looks good doesn’t it?
Photographer: Korbyn Ketchledge (@korbyn_ketchledge)
Canton Racing Products
Fuel Injector Connection
Nexen Tire USA
We are all familiar with the wide variety of shows revolving around the automotive industry, but have you ever heard of a semi truck show? Yeah…neither have we, until Crick’s partner Fitzgerald USA invited us to their Semi Casual Truck Show!
Last season we acknowledged our partnership with Gates Auto; one of the leading manufacturers of application specific fluid power and power transmission solutions.
This season we are grateful to announce that our partnership is continuing, but has kicked off in a slightly different route than expected…We all strive to make whatever we are racing as reliable as possible, but sometimes we seem to forget what gets us there or what pays the bills to get us to our events.
2002 F250 (7.3): This truck has been in my possession for 6 years and I’ve loved every bit of it. There was even a length of time when we were using it to tow Crick’s car to Bash to the Future and ASB. Recently I installed 2 new Motorcraft batteries and an alternator, while doing so I thought it would be a good idea to replace the belt, so that’s when I called our contact at Gates. Shortly after our call, the order was on the way! After I received it; there seemed to be a lot more than what we spoke about. Gates supplied us with 2 radiator hoses, belt, tensioner, and clamps! For those of you with this truck, you know that the OEM upper radiator hose goes through the belt so if you ever needed to change the belt you’ll have to pull that hose first. This can make for a messy install, which should be clean and very simple. Gates has resolved this issue by re-routing the upper radiator hose! Save yourself the future headache and convert yours now! Part numbers can be seen in the photos!
Next up to reap from the benefits of Gates Auto…Crystal Hooks. Crystal has recently acquired John Deere 1010 and 2010 tractors to help maintain her 40 acre back-country home. Crystal mentioned to me that she was in need of 2 drive-belts; 1 for each tractor. One tractor I believe was her father’s, and she’s in the midst of bringing it back to a reliable/functional state. She decided to display her appreciation to Gates with this video she produced in her shop, showing the installation of Gates RPM belts on her SR20, as well as the drive belt on her 1010 tractor! Enjoy!
Wisefab has been the leader in angle modifications within drifting the last 5 years running, and has only evolved since. Their new 2.0 kit recently hit the shelves and is even more intense than before (which is hard to believe). Here is what 2017 Formula Drift Champion; James Dean has to say about it…
For those that do not know; Faruk Kugay of Formula Drift is one of the USA connects for all of your Wisefab needs. Faruk also assists in running our Sonoma Drift program here in Northern California, and is where are relationship with him strengthened.
Faruk and Crick competed in Golden Gate Drift Pro-Am together and earned their Pro2 licenses the same year. Both drivers have ran the Wisefab 1.0 on their Formula Drift competition vehicles and were impressed with the results, so when Faruk brought the 2.0 to Crick’s attention we knew we had to get our order in ASAP.
Faruk and Crick’s dedication to help and guide the drifting community in the correct direction has led them to formulate this install tutorial for the new 2.0 kit. With Faruk’s background with the company, and Crick’s fabrication and ‘know-how’ skills; we hope this video can make it easier for you to install your own kit. TBTM would like to thank Shane Jaskolski (@2shaanez) for the shooting/editing of this video. You knocked it out the park dude!
Just because the season ended doesn’t mean content has to stop right? We are on the third installment of our Photographer Spotlight acknowledgments; this time we are putting our focus on Jessica Miller!
Jessica is one of the many photographers that found their way to the Sonoma Drift paddock, and has been attracted to the sounds of high revving engines and billowing clouds or tire smoke. We had the opportunity to sit down with Jessica to find out just who she was outside of this race environment…the answers may surprise you.
1: What brand/model camera do you shoot with?
Currently I have a Canon 7d Mark II. Before Winter Jam last year I was hunting for a new camera, rented this model for one of the last Wednesday drifts. It was awesome for action/motorsport photography, plus it fit in my hand. I went and purchased it just in time for Winter Jam (it arrived on Thursday) and haven’t looked back. Although I am always on the hunt for the “perfect” lens.
2: How long have you had photography as a hobby and/or job?
I bought my first “real” camera for the America’s Cup in SF a couple of years ago. It has only evolved from there. I am now rarely without it.
3: What are your favorite types of events to shoot and why?
One of the best things about being a photographer, is you get to be outside, explore, and try to capture a single moment in a static shot. Really, any event that’s outside is fine with me. Sport-wise, I stick to surfing and drifting. But I’ve also shot some weddings, parties, food shoots, etc. None of those even comes close to the excitement of standing on the wall as a couple TBTM drivers come sliding past half an inch on the other side. Shooting surfing and drifting are somewhat similar. You can’t get so absorbed in what you are seeing through your lens that you lose focus of what is going on around you.
4: How long have you been shooting Sonoma Drift events?
My first time at Sonoma Raceway and seeing drifting in person was March of last year. It was quite the show, seeing Elijah, Crick, and Joe all drift together. I was a spectator and shooting from any vantage point I could get, mainly on the stairs of the grandstands. It wasn’t until towards the end of the season when I finally got a media pass and started standing on the wall. Well, it took until Winter Jam until I stood right next to the wall.
5: You mentioned prior to this interview that you don’t have an automotive background or know much about cars. How did you get into shooting drifting?
Before I started attending drift events, I was in awe of Kingsly Hurley’s shots he was posting on Instagram. He was super chill and introduced me to this world. And it has taken off since then. I still don’t know much about cars. I have to keep a spreadsheet with all the drivers’ car info (make, model, color, etc) because I am car blind. I am constantly learning new tips and tricks to shooting drifting and always trying to evolve my editing style.
6: Do you have a favorite event that you look forward to going to every year? Not necessarily to shoot, but just to attend?
I’ve only been to one Winter Jam, but as soon as they released the dates for this year’s Winter Jam, it was on my calendar. Outside of drift, there’s a spot in the Marin Headlands, not a long hike but it’s all steep hills. Getting there while the low fog is flowing in and around the Golden Gate Bridge but you are still warm in the August sun, that’s magic. Not really an event, though. I hope to get out and start shooting more car/drifting events next year. Besides Winter Jam the only other car event’s I’ve attended are classic/vintage car shows/races; a lot of fun and beautiful, but none of the adrenaline of a drifting event. Sort of like trying to compare a cup of earl grey tea to a red bull.
7: Do you have a favorite car you like to shoot at Sonoma?
I’m a huge fan of smoke (who isn’t?) so I’m partial to standing right on the wall at the ‘clipping point’ as Crick slides past. But honestly, I like shooting all the different cars. Seeing the drivers’ get better over the season. Seeing the different paddock courses. Every run is different no matter how amazing the driver. Sonoma Raceway is crazy beautiful, so it’s always a challenge to find a composition that shows the beauty of the location with the raw power of a car sliding past creating a smoke screen.
Jessica; like many others, is consistently sharing her work with the drivers. This is definitely noticed by us, and we are more than appreciative of her efforts. We’d like to formally thank you for all that you do for not only TBTM, but for the culture.
About a month ago, Robert Ljuba leaked a little teaser about a new partner joining the TBTM family so without further adieu we’d like to introduce Fuel Injector Connection as a partner for Crick Filippi and his 2018 Formula Drift PRO2 season.
Crick was introduced to FIC (Fuel Injector Connection) last season after being referred by our tuner; Nick Newton of Newtech Performance in Hayward, CA. We sent over Crick’s OEM LS Deka injectors to get resized to 72lb to fuel our Magnuson TVS2300 Supercharger. The turn-around time was little to no time at all, customer service was great, and the quality spoke for itself. We had and still do not have any issues with their product, and that is why we came back to them this season for our 127lb injectors + Radium fuel rails to feed our new twin-turbo system.
Crick’s new TT system would go onto make 912whp/840tq after being tuned by Nick at Newtech Performance, and would carry Crick to his podium finish that following weekend at Sonoma Drift’s: Winter Jam 2017 event. We hope this is a repeating pattern and we continue to excel with this new and more efficient fuel delivery system.
History of FIC:
FIC first opened their retail doors in the North Georgia area in October 2007. Since 1986, they have been rebuilding fuel injectors for major rebuilders on sublet contracts that supply the aftermarket through major auto parts chains.
In 1996, they started offering cleaning and testing services for electronic fuel injectors on a wholesale basis to repair shops all over South Florida. Their business continues to rapidly grow, and they are known throughout the industry as the leaders in fuel injector reconditioning. FIC’s reconditioned injectors are shipped all over the world, with a heavy concentration in North, Central, and South America.
FIC uses state of the art equipment from ASNU, a leader in cleaning/testing flow benches for gasoline fuel injectors. They also sell a full line of new injectors as well as their own “Blue Demon” injectors that are perfectly flow balanced and rebuilt with viton o-rings.
All of their reconditioning work and rebuilt injectors are guaranteed for 3 years.
Services offered by FIC:
-Injector resizing service
-Injector restoration service
-Injector data request’s
Thank you again FIC for solidifying this partnership. We look forward to sharing all victories with you!
354 registered drivers, capped media personnel locked in at 80, and a crowd attendance that could rival INDY; this is what makes Winter Jam at Sonoma Raceway the largest drifting event in the country and potentially in the world from a drivers registration standpoint! Each year this event grows more in every aspect. Between 2016 and 17′ our registered drivers increased by over 100, and having been around and involved since the beginning of this event; it is rewarding to see the lengths people go to make this event happen.
Crick’s video shot by Shane Jaskolski (@2shaanez)
Elijah’s video shot by Devyn Roseman (@sk_3__)
Canton Racing Products
Fitzgerald Glider Kits
Fuel Injector Connection