I first began shooting Formula Drift events in 2014. Since 2015, with the exception of two rounds that took place in Montreal, I’ve shot every round. Every single time is different, but St. Louis 2020 made it clear that this season will be nothing like any other Formula Drift season.
This was the first time Formula Drift has run a double header, with Pro round 1 and 2 taking place back to back on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the first round of the Pro 2 2020 season, this was a packed weekend. This was also my first major event since March, and the biggest event I’ve shot this year.
I came to St. Louis not really knowing what to expect. A double header is no joke, and for another Formula Drift first, Pro 2 would be running a full top 32 competition as opposed to the top 16 competitions they have run in the past. It had been almost a full year since the last Formula Drift event of 2019. I’ll be honest, I truly didn’t know how to mentally prepare myself for this event. I missed shooting so much, I missed being on track, I missed seeing all of the people that have become dear friends to me over the years.
There’s no way I can accurately describe how good it felt to take those first shots on Thursday. It felt like home. I’ve always loved what I do, and always felt incredibly thankful to be able to do what I do, but this day was special. There has been so much uncertainty this year, the feeling of finally being on track at a Formula Drift event was a breath of fresh air.
All three competitions were incredible. While there were many drivers that were unfortunately no shows for Pro 2 top 32, the battles that did take place were well fought and exciting to watch, and top 16 did not disappoint. With a Pro double header, it was surreal to have the two competitions back to back. With no qualifying and one day of practice on Thursday before the competitions kicked off, it was essentially nonstop action all weekend, filling a void that I think a lot of us were missing.
When I’m on track shooting, there are moments when it feels like time has slowed down and that moment is just for me. I don’t know that I feel as much stillness and singularity in anything else I do. The moment a car initiates, I raise my camera to my face, take a breath, and click. It feels like there is nothing else in the world. Every anxiety I have that weighs me down disappears. What’s happening is mine and mine alone. Maybe that’s why I missed this so much. Being on track gave me a sense of normalcy, something we don’t have in 2020. I don’t know what the future brings for us, I don’t believe that the old “normal” will be something we resume. But to have the chance to do these events again, with health regulations in place to allow us to continue, is the most precious respite from our current normal.