July 18-20 Taylor Hull, his team and the rest of Formula Drift ascended into the evergreen forest of the Pacific Northwest not far from Mt. Rainer to do battle once again. The mid-season break is over and Hull made great use of the time away from the track. The majority of that time was spent developing and assembling a brand new LS7 engine. With the knowledge learned from the 2018 campaign and the first-half of the 2019 season, the team worked closely with the experts at Comp and with Jon Kaase Racing to put a plan together.
The new engine would be similar to the trusty LS7 from the first half of 2019, with a few changes. JE Pistons Provided a new set of pistons that would bump up the compression from 9.5: 1 to 10.2: 1. A set of high flowing, large chamber and large port RHS heads were utilized with Comp’s valve train and solid roller cam. A fresh ACT clutch was installed, break in oil from Driven and a new tune from Nicolas Feliciano was completed. The original engine was loaded up as a backup and the team set course for the farthest event from the Atlanta-based shop in beautiful Seattle, Washington.
Thursday practice went well, the new power plant had no issues and made extraordinary power. Taylor took a couple of laps to get used to the new engine and acclimate the car/driver to the high-speed course that is Evergreen Speedway. The team also started a vlog video highlighting the event that is scheduled for release on Saturday (July 27th).
On Friday, Taylor had 4 practice laps left to use of his 12 available before qualifying. He tried to follow 3 of the 4 laps, but either mistakes of his own or by the lead car made each chase lap essentially a throwaway. Despite the few chase mishaps in practice, Hull was feeling confident in the car and in his lead laps, so he was ready for qualifying early in the afternoon. He would roll off 6th in the qualifying order. After scoring an 83, Taylor would be ranked 2nd for a time, before cycling around. On his second qualifying lap Taylor pushed hard trying to better his score. The bank looked even better than the first lap, but he transitioned slightly late coming out of the touch and go, pushing him wide into the second outer zone. The wall lines the track in this area and unfortunately Hull found that wall. The right rear of the Cadillac was punished, wrinkling the quarter, busting the tail light, bending a wheel, and breaking an adjustable rod. Fortunately, the team was able to fix the car overnight, but the score was scrapped, coming in at a 77. Taylor would qualify for top 32, but not as high as he had intended.
Saturday is always the most exciting day for the team. Hull commented “Saturday is actually much more stress free than Friday is for me. Even when there’s not more than 32 cars, you still have to perform in qualifying or you go home. If you have a mechanical issue or get two incomplete runs, that’s it. Your weekend is over.” Saturday morning practice went well, although Taylor ended practice running with Justin Pawlak, who he would be paired up with in top 32.
Top 32 for Taylor started with chasing Justin, the higher qualifier. Pawlak ran a very fast and clean line out front with his signature no handbrake, high risk initiation. Taylor unfortunately made a few mistakes in the chase, and was not as close as he or the judges wanted to see.
Then came time for Hull to lead. The team had been very impressed with how the new engine performed all weekend. They were able to drop the Achilles 123s tire pressure lower than ever before, resulting in very high track speeds. They viewed the Cadillac’s speed as their “ace in the hole.” Taylor rocketed out of the chicane and topped 80 miles per hour on initiation, only building more speed from there. Hull pulled a small gap on Pawlak through the bank and the touch and go. The Cadillac was placed in all the right places the full length of the course. Justin closed that gap aggressively in the second half of the track as he stuck the Mustang right to the door of Hull’s ATS-V.
The judges took several moments to deliberate and watched replays intently, but in the end Pawlak was awarded the victory. Hull had these comments following the battle. “I am very proud of the lead run, I wish I could have made a lap like that in qualifying. I hate we got beat in top 32 again. We’ve run against Justin the last two years here and both times I made mistakes that cost me a chance at victory. The rest of the year is just going to be about me eliminating mistakes. The car is there for me, has been all year, my team is awesome. The driver just has to deliver now!” Next stop for Taylor and the Comp Cams, Achilles Tire Cadillac ATS-V will be Formula Drift – St Louis on August 9-10th. Taylor would like to thank all the fans, his team and his partners. (Click the links below to view their individual websites)