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The fourth round of the Evergreen Drift ProAm Championship took place on Sunday, August 28 on the infamous 5/8th's bank. While the majority of the season takes place on variations of the smaller 3/8th's oval, twice per year they choose to compete on the same layout as the Formula Drift Pro competition. Another thing that made this event special were the sights and smells of the Evergreen State Fair. This also brought in a large number of new spectators to Evergreen Speedway – some who have probably never experienced drifting before.

Photos by Matt Nelson. Story by Mat Risher.

A total of 14 cars showed up and passed the mandatory tech inspection in the morning. For the most part, all the drivers seemed excited to get the opportunity to drive on the big bank again. There was a good mix of seasoned drivers and a few who would be attempting it for their first time.

Both TJ fry and Matt Larkin were new to the bank. However, by the time they reached qualifying, both were getting up to speed and more comfortable with the step up in difficulty. Both of them were able to qualify for the Great 8.

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First up was TJ Fry and Brandon Schmidt. It was a good showing by TJ but Brandon’s experience in the lead position and proximity in chase meant that he would easily move on to the Final 4. The second battle was between Nate Snyder and Tyler Grimsley. After a rear collision and a OMT battle, Grimsley advanced to the Final Four.

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2015 EVD ProAm champion Matt Vankirk set the bar high for his challenger, John Burns. After recovering from some BOV issues from earlier in the morning, he was able to put his Mustang to work and lay down a solid line against Matt. But it was the experienced style of Vankirk that allowed him to advance past the Great 8. Having more experience on the large bank was also an advantage to Travis Reeder, who knocked out 5/8th's rookie Matt Larkin.

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The first battle in the Final Four was between highly capable drivers; Brandon Schmidt and Tyler Grimsley. Brandon started with a high line on the bank; Tyler was able to keep proximity by staying slightly lower and continued to stay on Brandon’s door for a solid chase run. On Schmidt’s chase run, he had a hard time keeping up with Tyler and there was a noticeable difference in gap but Brandon was deemed more fluid with fewer mistakes and he was given the win.

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Matt Vankirk and Travis Reeder have been facing off all season long and both are at the top of the board in points. Travis was the first in the lead position due to a higher qualifying score. He laid down a perfect lead run with tons a smoke but surprisingly over rotated just after the infield transition. His chase run was solid but his mistake cost him the battle and Matt Vankirk would go on to the finals.

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The third place battle paired up Tyler Grimsley and Travis Reeder. Tyler Grimsley was doing very well on the first run chasing down Travis, but in another surprise Tyler made a mistake just before the final clip and gave the advantage to Reeder. Grimsley laid it all out on his lead run, but couldn’t overcome the deficit from his mistake. Travis Reeder would win third place and remain at top of the board in points for the 2016 championship.

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Brandon Schmidt led in the first run in the battle for the top podium spot. Driving against Matt Vankirk, both drivers put on an exemplary first run. Brandon’s speed and style were amazing and Matt stayed glued to him the entire time. On the final run with Matt Vankirk out front, Brandon just wasn’t able to keep the same degree of proximity. Matt Vankirk took the win and claimed the top podium spot.

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The next round of competition will take place at Driftcon Afterdark on September 10th. Drivers will battle it out on the “Mini Jersey” 3/8th’s layout which I anticipate will be an extremely exciting day-long event to end the season. Mark your calendars and join the official Facebook event!

CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL 2016 EVD PROAM RESULTS