Exclusive Interview with Jack Davis

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MaXpeedingRods Blog | An Automotive Blog from MaXpeedingRods - Exclusive Interview with Jack Davis

Meet Jack

At just 23, Jack Davis, a Formula Drift Prospec driver (#247), has been making waves in the racing world. Hailing from Bixby, Oklahoma and now residing in Tulsa, Jack is not just a force on the track but a true gearhead at heart. With an impressive rank of 7 in 2023 and a total of 128 points, he’s known for pushing his supercharged LS E36 to its limits every time he hits the track. Eager to entertain, Jack burns rubber for the crowd, captivating fans of Formula Drift.

Formula Drift ProSpec Racing Experience:

1. Maxpeedingrods: From your debut to now, can you talk about the evolution of your Formula Drift ProSpec journey?

Jack:

Last year marked our initiation into the professional world of FD, and it was a rough ride. With each event came a new challenge, from electrical to mechanical issues. The rapid pace at which we had to build the car was a significant factor behind these hiccups. FD was a dream for us, but our entry happened sooner than anticipated. Consequently, my old sedan, which had a few ineligible features for FD, had to be shelved, and my team and I hurriedly put together a new car just in time for the show. The year was, in essence, a learning phase.

What we gathered from the tumultuous year was invaluable. We discerned the dos and don’ts both regarding the car and event preparation. Fast forward to the present season, and the transformation is palpable. Currently, we oscillate between the fifth and sixth positions, a significant leap from being at the bottom last year. Our car has been consistently reaching the top 16 in every event, a testament to our enhanced preparations and learning. Everything, from the car’s functionality to team management, has seen an uptick. The trajectory is upward, and the prospects for the future look promising.

2. Maxpeedingrods: Before hitting the track, how do you typically prepare both your car and yourself, especially when facing unfamiliar race conditions?

Jack:

Preparation is pivotal for any race, more so for an unpredictable event like drifting. For the car, we initiate with the basics – oil change, fluid replacements, and perhaps spark plugs, given the nature of drifting. It’s a sport where bolts tend to loosen due to the vigorous car movements, hence a comprehensive bolt check becomes imperative before any event. We elevate the car on a lift, ensuring every component remains firmly in place and that there are no indications of any potential malfunctions like leakages or cracks. Another crucial aspect is the alignment. Any minor deviation can alter the car’s performance, so we need it to be spot-on, especially if there’s been a recent collision.

Beyond the car, prepping the trailer is equally essential. It’s about ensuring we’re equipped with all requisite tools, spare parts, and communication devices. The condition of our tow truck, right from its brakes to its tires, cannot be overlooked.

During an FD competition or any drift event, warming up is a ritual. The tires, both front and rear, are thoroughly warmed up. Freshly fitted tires tend to be a tad slippery due to the mold release agent used during their manufacturing.

Speaking of personal prep, my simulator plays a pivotal role, especially when I’m navigating a new track. It provides a virtual yet fairly accurate idea of the track layout, helping me strategize better. And lastly, a fresh haircut is a personal ritual I like to indulge in – it’s just something that makes me feel ready and at my best!

3. Maxpeedingrods: Many racers have unique training routines that set them apart. What’s yours, and how has it evolved over the years?

Jack

At its core, training for drifting revolves around one key principle: seat time. The more you’re behind the wheel, the better you get. Hence, my team and I actively participate in as many local events as possible, especially here in Oklahoma. The vicinity boasts a couple of tracks that serve as our training ground. It’s about practicing – but more importantly, practicing right.

However, it’s a misconception to believe that this sport is purely about technical prowess. I’d venture to say that driving, especially in competitions, is 70% mental. It’s easy to overlook the psychological aspect, but it’s the mindset that plays a decisive role in our performances. Heading into a race, it’s crucial to be in the right frame of mind, free of undue stress or distractions. It’s when you’re mentally perturbed that you make those inadvertent errors which can potentially spell the end of your competition.

In essence, while others might have unique rituals or techniques, my mantra is straightforward: diligent practice, unwavering preparation, and a fortified mindset. That’s the trifecta that has shaped my journey in the world of drifting.

4. Maxpeedingrods: High-speed races aren’t just about physical skill but also mental resilience. How do you keep yourself centered, especially when faced with unpredicted challenges?

Jack:

A racetrack is as much a playground as it is a battleground for me and my crew. While the stakes are high, and the pressure can be intense, our approach has always been to find joy amidst the chaos. We often joke around, keeping the atmosphere light and jovial. Believe it or not, the moments when we’re genuinely enjoying ourselves, free from external pressures, are the times when I drive my best. The reverse is equally true. The minute external voices start dictating my moves, errors creep in.

Maxpeedingrods: Is Overthinking Detrimental?

Absolutely. As drift racers, by the time we make it to the starting line of a competition like FD, it’s evident that we know the mechanics of the sport. Overthinking the basics, like gas, clutch, brake – these rudimentary elements we’ve trained for years – can lead to uncharacteristic blunders. The best approach is to trust in one’s muscle memory and instincts. We’ve trained for this. We know the moves. It’s about keeping the head clear and letting the body execute what it has practiced thousands of times.

5. Maxpeedingrods: Can you share a story about a time when you had to adapt on the fly and how you navigated that situation?

Jack:

Absolutely. The FD event in ST Louis stands out vividly in this context. After a day of practice and qualifying in hot, dry conditions, a sudden downpour transformed the track into what felt like a skating rink. We were slated to compete amidst this rain, but thankfully the officials deferred it to the next day. However, in a prior New Jersey event, a similar situation arose with less warning. With rain making the rubber-laden track incredibly patchy and slippery, we were faced with unprecedented challenges. As a drifter, one minute you’re sliding in a controlled manner, and the next, it feels like you’re on ice, especially where the rubber accumulates. It’s unpredictable, risky, and honestly, not my favorite. While weather changes might be dreaded, they’re an inevitable part of the racing world.

6. Maxpeedingrods: As you look ahead, what are some goals or milestones you’re hoping to achieve in the world of drifting?

Jack:

My eyes are set on securing a place within the top three in Formula Drift ProSpec. This isn’t just about the ranking; it’s about cementing my reputation, honing my skills, and creating a memorable image in the drift world.

The ultimate goal? Transitioning to Pro1 FD. While it’s a substantial leap, it’s where I envision myself, possibly driving for an elite team. But regardless of where I’m driving, or who I’m driving for, my dreams aren’t solo. I wish to bring my friends along, traverse the country, race, have fun, and create memories while capturing them on film.

Professional Mechanic’s Perspective on MaXpeedingRods Products

7. Maxpeedingrods: Initial Impressions: Jack, can you recall the moment you first incorporated MaXpeedingRods products into your setup?

Jack:

Certainly. The first set of MaXpeedingRods  T6 Coilover initially felt a tad soft to me. They weren’t as stiff as I expected. Additionally, I noticed the lower mount on the E46 strut seemed a bit small, affecting its clamping. However, before I could even raise this, the proactive team at MaXpeedingRods reached out, offering an updated version to address the issue. That level of customer-centric approach impressed me. Not too long after, MaXpeedingRods, being attuned to customer feedback, sent an updated set with revised spring rates.

Maxpeedingrods: How have your impressions evolved over time with these updates?

Jack:

The second set from MaXpeedingRods has been fantastic! We’ve incorporated it into our E46 demo car, and its performance is commendable. I love the noticeable feedback on adjustments. A few clicks here and there, and you can discern the change in the car’s behavior. The adjustability feature, with ride height separate from spring preload, offers precision essential for drifting.

It’s not just about aesthetics with MaXpeedingRods; it’s about functionality. They’ve created a product that offers the desired low look while ensuring optimum suspension performance.

I appreciate the little things too, like the knurling on the adjustment knobs, making them glove-friendly. In essence, the newer T6 Coilover have significantly outperformed the older ones. We’ve faced no issues, and they’ve been resilient through our drifts, though thankfully we’ve steered clear of any wrecks.

8. Maxpeedingrods: Jack, as someone who has hands-on experience with our products, can you delve into the specifics of our Control Arms, Repair Kit, T6 Coilover from a mechanic’s perspective?

Jack:

The updated versions are leaps ahead in terms of quality and user experience. One detail that stands out is the addition of plastic spacer rings between the T6 Coilover spring and the adjustment ring. It’s these nuances that make a noticeable difference.

In addition, we’ve incorporated your power steering rack into our setup, and it’s been performing impeccably. No hitches there. The catch cans and power steering pump are also stellar additions from your line.

Maxpeedingrods: It seems like the changes we made resonated well with your expectations?

Jack:

Absolutely. The new T6 Coilover, in particular, show a marked improvement over the previous ones. It’s clear that MaXpeedingRods values customer feedback. You listen to those who use your products daily and make the necessary changes. It’s all about ensuring quality in the market, and you’re on the right track.

9. Maxpeedingrods: Jack, given your hands-on experience with our products in daily sessions, can you detail how the T6 Coilover and other components have influenced your routine?

Jack:

Absolutely. The foremost advantage with your products, especially for teams like ours, is their affordability. Being a smaller outfit, we’re always on the lookout for maximizing value without compromising quality. Whether it’s the T6 Coilover, control arms, catch cans, or the power steering rack, the products deliver on both fronts: affordability and performance.

Every dollar saved means we can redirect those funds to other essential aspects of our program, ensuring comprehensive growth. It’s refreshing to know that I don’t have to spend half a year saving up for a vital component. And crucially, despite the attractive pricing, there’s been no compromise on reliability – we haven’t faced any product failures.

10. Maxpeedingrods: Jack, with your hands-on mechanic background, how do products like the Control Arms, Repair Kit, T6 Coilover impact your routine, considering performance and maintenance?

Jack:

It’s an interesting question. Let me break it down by product:

  1. E36/E46 Rear Camber Arms: While I can vouch for their solid performance in the short term, their durability remains to be tested over time. One potential area of wear could be the bushings. They might require replacement after extended use, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when without longer-term usage.
  2. T6 coilover: So far, these have been commendable. No leakages, consistent performance, and overall stability. But, like any other part, with time and extensive use, there might be wear and tear. I can’t predict the exact lifespan, but they’ve been solid for the duration I’ve used them.
  3. Oil Catch Cans: This product has been uncomplicated. It’s a sturdy part without many components prone to failure. The powder coat has held up well against potential scratches or abrasions.

As a mechanic, I also consider potential failure points, and the products I’ve used have been fairly robust. However, I haven’t delved into MaXpeedingRods‘ engine or driveline components, so I can’t speak on their wear and tear.

Maxpeedingrods: Would it be fair to say that the products have held up reliably so far, but long-term durability is still in the process of being evaluated?

Jack:

Absolutely. In the short to medium term, the products have been consistent. It’s a matter of seeing how they evolve with extended usage. As of now, I’ve encountered no major issues, and they’ve contributed positively to my daily practice sessions.

11. Maxpeedingrods: Our T6 Coilover often receives feedback for its blend of performance and comfort. Jack, having experienced it in both daily drives and high-intensity practice sessions, can you shine a light on its performance, especially concerning daily comfort?

Jack:

The T6 Coilover from  MaXpeedingRods excel in finding the perfect balance between stiffness and softness, making them ideal for both racers and daily drivers. They offer a performance setup that doesn’t feel overly rigid or sacrifice on-track performance. Additionally, the comfort level is comparable to stock suspension, ensuring a smooth daily commute and effectively absorbing road inconsistencies like potholes without compromising driver experience. This blend of comfort and performance is indeed commendable.

12. Maxpeedingrods: With a slew of options available in the market, in what aspects do you think MaXpeedingRods products outshine their competitors?

Jack:

The fit and finish of MaXpeedingRods products, notably the T6 Coilover, rival those of higher-end market offerings, which is impressive given your competitive price point. While some enthusiasts prefer investing in flashy, top-tier brands, MaXpeedingRods provides a cost-effective alternative that performs exceedingly well, offering great value without compromising on quality.

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