When Formula Drift comes to Long Beach, its a pretty big deal. It is the first round of the season, it marks the debut of new teams, sponsors, drivers, and it also sets the tone for the rest of the season. Its also right in my backyard (kind of) so I always try to do my due diligence when it comes to covering this event for you all.
With the silly season over, new cars revealed, and the track ready the talk of the weekend was Justin “JTP” Pawlak. He was one of the few drivers to remain in (basically) the same car as last year and he has also won Long Beach the last two years in a row. Falken Tire was already anticipating their driver turning the weekend into a three-peat. However hopes of that were nearly dashed when JTP made an uncharacteristic mistake in Friday qualifying and had a bad shunt into the tires and wall at the beginning of Long Beach’s infamous sweeper.
The impact nearly destroyed the front end of JTP’s Falken Tire Ford Mustang but luckily his team was able to get the car back together in time to make another qualifying run. Despite the damage JTP managed to qualify 23rd and get into the big show. Unfortunately the show ended for JTP when his Drift Alliance brother Ryan Tuerck managed to take him down in the Top 16 which blew the competition wide open. With JTP out it was anyone’s game. Except for Tuerck who like JTP was taken out by a Drift Alliance member, this time Chris Forsberg. Forsberg fell to the same fate when Vaughn Gittin Jr. took him down in the Final 4. This sent 2011 champion Vaughn to the final to face none other than his main rival of that year Dai Yoshihara.
Unlike JTP, Dai was having a great weekend. He remained in a familiar car and due to his confidence in his machine and his team giving him a great set up Dai managed to qualify first. After that there was no stopping him as he took down Tyler McQuarrie, Matt Powers, Fredric Aasbo, and finally Chelsea DeNofa to make it to the finals.
After a heated battle Dai Yoshihara bested Vaughn Gittin Jr. to win the round and complete a perfect weekend (1st qualifier, and the win). During the podium ceremony Dai said that with his momentum he will “definitely go for the championship”. Watch out guys, Dai has officially begun his mission.
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If you like drifting at all and have no idea what to do this weekend then you are a magnificent moron! The 2013 Formula Drift season starts tomorrow you idiot! Where the hell have you been? Did you not see the banner at the top of this website for the last two months!?
Whew, ok, ok I am going to cut you some slack. In case I did not make it incredibly clear a second ago, Formula Drift round 1 is going down this weekend (tomorrow and Saturday) on the streets of Long Beach. Most tickets might be sold out by now but there may be a few hundred seats left and city officials have allowed Formula Drift to sell some overflow general admission tickets. Technically, those tickets are “standing room only” but Formula Drift will allow folding lawn chairs.
So hurry up and get your tickets! Here is all the info:
Decide to stay in this Friday night? Nothing to watch? No worries! Just do a simple scroll down below and you can watch Formula Drift Round 6 “After Dark” Live! Tonight at 9pm PST will be qualifying and tomorrow will be the big show! Anyhow, stop reading and start watching!
Over the weekend Formula Drift returned once again to Wall Speedway AKA “Irwindale Jr.” for the fourth round of the 2012 season AKA “The Gauntlet”. They call it “The Gauntlet” because Wall Speedway is a tiny terror of rough banked to flat transitions, unforgiving guardrails, and rough track surfaces. While it does not eat as many cars as say Long Beach does, Wall has its share of yearly casualties. However, the talk of The Gauntlet this year was a few controversial decisions by the judges when it came to instances of contact between two drivers during a tandem battle.
The first (and most talked about) incident was during the “Top 16″ when Tyler McQuarrie went up against Chelsea DeNofa. In the run where Tyler was leading, he hit the guard barrier, HARD. Chelsea was following Tyler so closely that when Tyler hit Chelsea had no where to go and ran into Tyler’s car (which had already crashed). Despite the appearance of Tyler making an error and crashing first, Chelsea was faulted for his contact and Tyler moved on. This call got drift purists so riled up that there is already a meme about it floating around on the interwebs.
The next incident came when Dai Yoshihara faced Rhys Millen, also in the Top 16. The two drivers made contact which resulted in damage to both cars. Some felt that the contact was Dai’s fault but the judges disagreed and gave the win to the 2011 champ.
The last incident was during the consolation round when Chris Forsberg went up against Daigo Saito. As Daigo led he lifted off the throttle during a transition. When this happened, Forsberg made contact with Daigo and spun. Daigo did not ‘brake check” per-say but he did slow his car by lifting the throttle. Some would say that is fair game and it was Forsberg’s fault for the contact as he did not adjust accordingly to what Saito did. However, the judges did not like Daigo’s throttle-play and placed the blame for the contact on him, thus handing third place to Chris Forsberg who earned his first New Jersey podium finish in his career. This decision also marked the first time Daigo Saito has failed to make the podium this season.
This left the final battle to Dai Yoshihara and Vaughn Gittin Jr. These teammates have battled each other many times in the past as they fought for the championship in 2010 so they know each other well which made for a really great match up. However in the end Vaughn Gittin’s Ford Mustang just had too much for Dai to handle on this track and he earned the win. Vaughn’s win in New Jersey marks his first win since 2010, ending a drought and putting the driver just barely insight the points battle for the 2o12 championship.
There are now three rounds left (Washington, Las Vegas, and Irwindale Speedway) and JTP continues to lead the points with Daigo in second place and Dai Yoshihara in third. Can JTP hold on to the lead? Will Daigo be the first driver to win a championship in their “rookie” year? Or will Dai fight through and repeat as champion? We have three more stops to find out!
The pseudo rookie and D1 Champion Daigo Saito did what many of us suspected he would do since he game to Formula Drift, he won an event in his first season. Daigo-san took down Conrad Grunewald, Darren McNamarra, Chesea DeNofa, points leader Justin Pawlak, and finally Chris Forsberg to take the victory at Palm Beach International Raceway over the weekend. Keen observers will note that every opponent he defeated pilots a V8-powered car which should put Daigo in the lead for the Turbonetecs “V8 Hunters” cup. Dai Yoshihara and Justin Pawlak battled it out for third place and Dai came out on top grabbing a much needed podium.
Although despite not making either one of the three steps Justin Pawlak remains the points leader but Daigo is now only 20.5 points behind him due to his consistent podium finishes. Dai is in a distant third with 197 points but the season is still young and the 2011 champ has time to mount a come back.
We will see if Daigo can further encroach on JTP’s territory when Formula D returns to New Jersey’s Wall Speedway AKA “Irwindale Jr.” towards the end of the month!
If you love drifting then I am sure you already have tickets to round one of Formula Drift this weekend in Long Beach so I am writing this for those of you out there who might still be on the fence about drifting or who like it but have never been to an event before. Formula Drift’s show on the Streets Of Long Beach is one of their best, most anticipated, and most attended rounds of the entire year! Long Beach is when the teams debut new cars and in some cases new drivers. Then there is the fun of watching these guys attempt to slide their very expensive machines sideways at high speeds between two very unforgiving concrite walls! If you want your first taste of drifting this event is definitely the place to get it.
The only catch is most of the seating is reserved for this event so you have to move fast before they sell out! Hit up the official event page for info and tickets.
I admit I am late to the party on this one but just case you are unaware a new drift crew dubbed the “BLOODMASTERS” which basically consists of everyone who was in Drift Alliance (Chris Forsberg, Tony Angelo, Ryan Tuerck, etc) have released a video of epic drifting hoon-ism called “BLOODBATH”. What you will see below is five and a half minutes of insane drift stunts (as seen above) and crazy camera angles ala “GoPro on a stick”. Scroll below and watch, you can thank me later.
Can’t make it out this weekend for the final round of Formula Drift? No worries! Just scroll down below to watch all the action live from Toyota Speedway in Irwindale AKA “The House of Drift”. We will also bring you live updates on twitter @MotorworldHype and a bunch of cool pics and stuff from the event! If you want last minute tickets just go to FormulaDrift.com but be aware that reserved seating will probably be sold out by the time you read this!
There were rumors of this for a while but today on the Formula Drift Blog it was confirmed that course configuration for Toyota Speedway AKA Irwindale AKA “The House Of Drift” will be changed. How? Well it looks like they are extending the course by including the inner bank opposite to the grid. This means drivers will not only have to conquer the big bank but BOTH inner bank turns as well while drifting completely across the track’s infield in the process.
The tire mount guys will definitely be earning their money with this new layout in play. We can wait to see how this change will effect tandem competition!
Remember the 7th and final round of Formula Drift “Title Fight” is coming up October 7th-8th at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale! Once again they’re doing reserved seating so hurry up and get your tickets before all the good seats are taken!
P.S. If you want to check out the new track config more closely just click the thumbnail below for a super sized image of the layout.