Tony Cisneros is a husband, a father of four, a youth pastor, and a self-employed entrepreneur. Cisneros also drove himself into earning a Formula Drift (FD) Pro License with
his 700 hp LS2 s14 equipped with a 4-speed dog box transmission.
If you have been keeping up with the Top Drift series this year, you may have noticed that Cisneros was in first place after the first three rounds, with second place 17 points behind him.
At the end of the series, Cisneros finished third overall and earned his pro FD license. Great news, right? Well, the way it went down wasn't so great.
During qualifying, Cisneros put down two seemingly high qualifying runs that left the audience in awe. A while after he had pulled off the track, a Just Drift (JD) worker requested that
Cisneros return to the grid. Upon arrival, they instructed him to go out for another run, but was told nothing else. On this run, Cisneros spun out (something he hadn't done all weekend).
At the end of the lap, a JD worker instructed him to take another lap. Cisneros spun again, on what he thought was a free run. Later, him and his team noticed that there was an oil spill on the
part of the track in which he had spun both times. Extremely confused as to why he had been given four runs, Cisneros made his way over the the judges to inquire. The judges informed him that
his initial runs were not counted because an inner cone was missing on the course when he had laid down the first two amazing runs. Only after he had earned zeros on the latter runs, he was told
that his first two runs would not count, but his second two runs would be counted as his qualifying runs. Cisneros said, "This really took a lot out of me and saw all our hard work going down the
drain fast for something I couldn't control.." Unfortunately, Cisneros failed to qualify and spent the rest of the evening dealing with accusations of him cheating and simply sitting with his family
and team looking somewhat defeated.
Cisneros was not the only driver who experienced the short end of the stick. Ryan Litteral (placed 2nd at the event and 5th in the series) was also granted an additional qualifying run.
Another source who was on track during the event claimed Justin Pawlak (who was a judge at the event) angrily made his way to to JD worker and expressed a significant amount of dismay because
they had not set up the track correctly after a car had knocked down one of the cones. Pawlak, as an advocate for the drivers, was passionate about this issue because he thought it would mess up
the odds; and he was right.
Some people may not find this to be a big issues because Cisneros ultimately earned his FD license. However, when you factor in performance requirements and awards with sponsors, it can be a
big deal. Those who compete, usually go in with the full intention of winning, not settling with second or third. Although there is no way to know for sure if Cisneros would have ended up in
first place even if his initial qualifying runs were considered, he was nonetheless robbed of the opportunity to win. Perhaps if there was better communication at the event (between the judges
and the JD workers), or even if Cisneros knew what the situations was before his second set of qualifying runs, this could have been avoided. It is just unfortunate the most of the spectators
were extremely confused because there was no PA system at the event that announced scores or judging calls.