May 6th, 2010 – Braselton, Georgia.
The second round of the Formula D champion race hosted at the famous Road Atlanta road course was a homecoming of sorts for Team Kenda/Mertzanis. Atlanta being the hometown of freshman driver, Dennis Mertzanis, excitement as well as anticipation of a strong performance were high.
In the weeks before the event, the team picked up another new sponsor, Strack, Inc., a pipeline contractor based out of Atlanta, Ga. The principals of Strack, Inc. are huge supporters of the automotive racing and sport culture. They generously provided additional equipment and logistical support to ensure that the team has everything they need to continue to perform the rest of the 2010 season.
Thursday began with the Formula D practice and Media day. This was the 2nd time that the Team Kenda Nissan 240sx and Dennis Mertzanis has drifted this track (previous year as Pro-Am) so the day was positive with no incidents. Practice went smoothly, the team rested up for the practice and Top 32 qualifying to come on Friday.
Arriving early Friday morning, the crew checked over the car and all related equipment to ensure performance. The afternoon practice session was a scorcher due to the Atlanta heat and humidity; it did not go without rewards though, the team was able to make some important adjustments to the car setup so that Dennis could perform well during qualifying. Laying down two consistent runs with scores of 60.6 and 62 points; Dennis was able to secure the 31st qualifying spot in the Top 32, earning him a spot for the main event.
The day of the main event, it was apparent that many of the fans came out to cheer for their hometown driver. The Driftmechaniks and Team Rowdy had a large and ‘rowdy’ cheering section equipped with homemade signs to cheer on their favorite drivers. The afternoon practice session went smoothly until an unexpected failure of a suspension component put the Team Kenda 240sx on a tow truck back to the pits right before the Top 32 competition. “Coming down on the rumble strips going backwards on the track and down towards turn 10b is the same effect as hitting curbs at a high rate of speed. That is definitely what caused our right rear upright to break”, said Dennis. Upon reaching the pit space, the crew swarmed around the car and with replacement upright from Matt Powers and assistance from Matt Foerst of Foerst Motorwerks; the car was repaired in a short period of time and ushered back onto the racetrack to the cheer and applause from fans.
Dennis’ qualifying position on Friday matched him against the 2nd place qualifier and friend, Ryan Tuerck. Tuerck was a seasoned driver of the FormulaD series and his Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice was a formidable competitor. This was not going to be an easy battle, but Team Kenda was upbeat and positive. After two rounds, Ryan Tuerck continued on into the Top 16 competition, completing an exciting the weekend for Dennis and the Team Kenda 240sx.
This homecoming weekend ended up being a very important and exciting weekend for Team Kenda/Mertzanis. The team was able to show that top level drivers do come out of Atlanta, Ga., put on a good show for all the local fans, and promote their sponsors. Thanks to all the sponsors, Kenda Tires, Strack, Inc., Konig, Competition Clutch, Extreme Dimensions, and M&R Products, for helping make this season happen.
Team Kenda/Mertzanis is looking forwards to another strong performance in round three of the Formula D championship at Wall Speedway in New Jersey on June 4th and 5th.
For all our fans and followers, keep it sideways!