DISL Round 1 Recap

There’s no shortage of analogies to describe what went down at Drift Indy Street League Round 1 this weekend. We shook the etch-a-sketch. We poked the reset button with a mechanical pencil. We deleted our My Player. We prestiged.

Whatever. The point is, it’s a new era for DISL, and the new look is rad as hell. 

With no banked points for the old heads to rely on to get them into the main event, the prelim stakes were as high as they could be. With over 70 drivers fighting for just 32 spots, the cutoff came down to some extremely tight margins. 

From the start of practice on Friday, it was pretty evident that drivers were out for blood. Nobody wasted any time pushing out into those outer zones and getting down to some tandems. Even the newer guys figured out the tricky first turn pretty early on. That J-turn has long been a staple of DISL at Kil-kare, and has helped to define DISL-caliber drivers from some of the less technical field. 

By the end of the day Friday, there were about twenty drivers that I felt like I could see ending up on the podium. Everybody was shredding that hard.

Starting off Saturday with everybody lined up on the bank is always such a cool sight. It’s been awesome seeing the field of drivers grow and develop their driving and their builds. Seeing young guys like Cash Staub and Jake Clark out there lined up with seasoned vets and knowing that they’re on a level playing field is remarkable.

“This is not Pro-Am. That shit died in 2013,” Edgar Sarmiento told everybody early into one of the drivers’ meetings. 

After reviewing the scored zones and discussing other judging criteria, everybody hit the track again for a few more hours of practice before prelims. 

Big shoutout to Isaac Lemley for doing a killer job holding this map.

When it finally came time for everybody to lay down their qualifying laps, some people showed some nerves that hadn’t been evident in practice. Still, this was by far the closest prelims we’ve had at DISL. There were relatively few zeroes, but a hell of a lot of super close runs in the middle of the pack. All it took was a little extra penetration into a zone or a smoother line to make the difference between the drivers right around the top 32 cutoff.

We saw some nice standing burnouts and smoky exits from drivers that were really feeling their runs.

“We’ll allow a little hotdogging, as a treat,” said new DISL announcer Sara Riordan. Between that, her description of the Kil-kare pizza as “surprisingly good,” and fellow announcer Derek King’s pleading for a chorizo burrito, any grumbling stomachs from drivers waiting on grid or spectators in the stands were understandable.

Team Smooth Brain’s Sam Cornewell had the best qualifying score, which didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that had been watching his practice runs. Eric Fisher, a DISL newcomer, qualified second and his teammate Jake Clark snagged fourth. Cash Staub continued his impressive driving with a third place qualification.

The top 32 made for some interesting battles right out of the gate. Vance Kearns and Kyle Antonovich, Britt Kaukeinen and Colten Terrell, Mike Steele and Justin Medina, and Alek Morelock and Sam Cornewell, to name a few. 

Britt managed to snag one of the versions of #69 that everyone was fighting over. We had an actual 69 and a 690 as well.

One spectator said “this makes me want to watch the OG Fast and Furious when I get home,” after a particularly close battle.

The eventual podium finishers didn’t have an easy path through the competition by any means. On his run to the top, Roy Outcalt had to take on Kyle Robertson in the round of 16, Jake Clark in the top 8 and Sam Cornewell in the final four. Cash Staub came up against Colten Terrell, overall winner of Volumes 1-10, surprise performer of the event Alex Dane and up-and-comer Teague Walters. Sam Cornewell went through Dayton Boy and two-time podium finisher Alek Morelock, past DK award-winner Cameron Stone and another former podium finisher in Justin Medina before Roy ended his run on his way to the final battle.

Seeing Jake Clark's little NB Miata matched up against big sedans was wild.

Coming down to the final battles, it was hard to call who had the edge. Roy had been especially impressive in the follow all day, Sam was crazy consistent and had already proven that he could nail every zone, Cash was putting his car in all the right places, too, and was riding the high of knocking king Colty out in a tight battle, and Teague Walters was doing all the right things in his little turbo Miata.

With Roy beating Sam and Cash beating Teague, we ended up with a super exciting matchup for the final battle. Both Roy and Cash came out swinging, but it felt like Cash was struggling a little to match Roy’s dogged consistency. After two runs, it felt like most everybody thought that Roy had won, including Cash who smoked his tires after a second run that saw him fall behind a ways in the chase. The judges had caught enough small mistakes to warrant a one-more-time, though, catching the spectators and the drivers a little by surprise.

Truly electric runs between these two after hard fought pushes through the field of drivers.

Cash was granted the opportunity to swap tires, and did so in a pit stop that was just shy of F1 speed. Still, Roy was unphased by the repeat and put down two more very solid runs to take the win. 

With Sam taking the win over Teague for third place, the podium for this first round of a fresh Drift Indy Street League season was decided. Roy Outcalt took home the gold, Cash Staub the silver and Sam Cornewell the bronze.

DISL is headed up to USAIR Motorsports Park in Shawano, WI for Round 2 July 26 and 27.