We Shed Some Facts on the “Judging Conspiracies” People Make Up

Lately (this season) I feel like every time I talk to a team/driver/friend/fan they are talking about judging. Anyone who gets a close call just calls “foul” or fans get angry and “boo” and cook up conspiracies over some cheep beer. During Road Atlanta I logged every judging call Tony Angelo made and analyzed it. I figured this was more work than any conspiracy theorist had done about this “outrage.”

The funny story about reviewing Tony Angelo’s judging calls is that he never found favor with the Drift Alliance members that he is always accused of boosting/helping by others. The Top 32 battle against Odi and Vaughn is the closest thing you could even find from the whole day. Andy Yen and Tony Angelo called for Vaughn Gittin Jr. to take the win while the new judge Ryan went OMT. Even if Tony made a different call and went Odi/OMT he would not of been able to advance Vaughn Gittin Jr. but force a OMT between the two drivers. His call was also backed by the most veteran judge of the three guys on the stand.

One run to take note from was the Dennis Mertzanis Vs. Justin Pawlak battle that took place early in the main event. I felt like Dennis drove his way to a OMT and the crowd sure did as well. Once the official call came out that Justin Pawlak was moving on… the crowd roared into a frenzy of booing. Tony Angelo went against Justin Pawlak and flat out picked Dennis Mertzanis to move on. He didn’t soft up his call with a OMT but flat out went against Justin Pawlak. The other two drivers advanced Justin into the next round of the event. If any of them went OMT or picked Dennis the whole story would be a different one.

The same case happened later with Chris Fosrberg taking on Eric O’Sullivan in the Top 16. Tony Angelo picked Eric O’Sullivan flat out while Andy Yen went with Chris Forsberg and Ryan took the middle ground with a OMT. This ruling resulted in a One More Time call and a second run with this tandem pair. On the OMT all the judges voted for Chris Forsberg.

The only other call that wasn’t 100% unanimous from all judges was the Tyler McQuarrie Vs. Vaughn Gittin Jr. tandem run where Tony Angelo made a call for Tyler McQuarrie to advance into the Top 8. Instead, the other two judges favored Vaughn Gittin Jr. and let him advance on.

Here is all of the Drift Alliance related judging calls Tony Angelo Made Against Other Judges:
Cryus Martinez Vs. Chris Forsberg (Tony – Forsberg Andy– Forsberg Ryan– Forsberg)
Odi Bachkis Vs. Vaughn Gittin Jr. (Tony– Vaughn Andy – Vaughn Ryan– OMT)
Dennis Mertzanis Vs. Justin Pawlak (Tony– Dennis Andy – JTP Ryan– JTP)
Eric O’Sullivan Vs. Chris Forsberg (Tony– EOS Andy – Forsberg Ryan– OMT)
Eric O’Sullivan Vs. Chris Forsberg – The OMT (Tony– Forsberg Andy – Forsberg Ryan– Forsberg)
Tyler McQuarrie Vs. Vaughn Gittin Jr. (Tony– OMT Andy – Vaughn Ryan– Vaughn)
Justin Pawlak Vs. Ryan Tuerck (Tony– JTP Andy – JTP Ryan– JTP)
Chris Forsberg Vs. John Russakoff (Tony– JR Andy – JR Ryan– JR)
Daijiro Yoshihara Vs. Vaughn Gittin Jr. (Tony– Dai Andy – Dai Ryan– Dai)
Darren McNamara Vs. Justin Pawlak (Tony– DMac Andy – DMac Ryan– DMac)


  1. YOitzJDM says:

    Maybe he decided that if he felt it was obvious that a DA driver was going to move on (JTP vs Mertz), he would vote for the Non-DA driver so Joey Redmond wouldn’t talk smack about his ‘favoritism’ ?

    You should do a story on how many times Ryan voted OMT. I feel like if he was blown away by a run, he’d vote OMT just because he didn’t want to pick the wrong guy

  2. Kids Heart says:

    I didn’t think the judging was currupt, I thought it was utter #$%^.

  3. Kids Heart says:

    Pat causes Essa to spin and its Essa’s fault?

  4. matt petty says:

    andy yen is on fucking crack with that EOS lead/forsberg spin follow… and the other guy(the canada bro) just OMT’s anytime there is a mildly difficult call. i fell like 90% of the time tony angelo is the ONLY motherfucker in that booth that is paying attention.

  5. YOitzJDM says:

    Petty – you felt Forsberg lost in the first run? me too. I thought the first driver is supposed to be the moving clipping point, I didn’t understand the call.

  6. flat out says:

    I used to be very critical of Tony Angelo’s judging – BUT – since 2011 rolled in his calls have been on point…listen we are human and we all make mistakes but for the best part of 2011 SO FAR – Tony Angelo has been the most straight up and fair.

    The EOS v Forsberg run was a typical case for Angelo to be slated should he had gone with chris for instance, i was shocked at Andy Yens deplorable reasons for advancing chris – if every spin etc was caused by “assuming” the following car avoided contact then every spin out is questionable…..look at the facts, chris anticipated eos to be faster, he wasnt, therefore he overcooked it and in doing so avoided contact by HIMSELF near spinning – following car shadows lead car, at what point did eos half spin or near spin?

    anyway, great event, great calls by angelo, Ryan needs to man up a little on the omt’s and stop trying to be everyones friends and andy yen needs to jusge on what he sees, not what should have been or what may have caused it!

  7. petite pounder says:


  8. Brian W. says:

    ok, we are gonna need someone else to judge the best looking DA member competition because clearly there is some favoritism going on here….

  9. Ash says:

    Bdub, hands down Caesar wins.

  10. Padeee says:

    Yens Fberg V EOS call makes no sense – thats one letter away from nonsense.

  11. rotarypower says:

    I was there and everytime Andy was trying to explain his decision I tuned him out he has no idea half the time what he’s talking about Tony was on point Ryan’s omt’s had nothing to do about maning up he just wanted to see a clear cut winner I can respect that I do feel the odi &Jr, Dennis&pawlak definitely should had been omt’s odi &Dennis pushed both of them to a omt they deserved it

  12. MannyNJ says:

    I do agree that tony’s calls this season are WAY better than last year’s. I guess he’d been reading all the comments about the judging.
    New guy is ok, Andy Yen1, I dont know WTF is up with him, HURRIBLE calls.

  13. tirekicker says:

    The unfortunate part about a sport being judged entirely by eyeballs is that no matter WHAT happens, somebody’s gonna be unhappy about the call that’s made. The end. I’m not absolutely sure, but I kinda relate the judge’s experience to being similar to being on a game show. Sometimes the host asks you a question that you TOTALLY know the answer for, but you can’t think of it. You blurt something out, sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong. Now maybe that’s a little exaggerated, obviously the judges have a little more time to think about it, but I would think there may be an element of that involved?

    Ultimately, until the judges are completely taken out of the equation (which’ll never happen), people will never be happy. I think maybe some criticism would be eased if they brought in DriftBoxes but I heard that even those things are sketchy too. And they aren’t cheap.

    Anyway, I’m sure the figure skating internet forums probably light up after every event with fanboys/girls chirping about who should’ve won what when, and accuse the Russian judges of favouring Russian skaters, and the Canadian judges of favouring Canadian skaters, etc. etc.

    It’s a judged sport. This means the winner is determined by somebody’s opinion. Sometimes opinions differ depending on point of view.

    Shit happens.

  14. matt petty says:

    drift boxes cant judge style.

    Also as someone who judges drifting alot too, you know at the end of an event when you have made good calls and bad calls. Hell, i know i have personally screwed nate branz, JTP and forrest wang. But for those small mistakes i have made hundreds of calls that i will stand behind 100%. There is a lot to go over in your brain and weigh out mistakes from a run that takes a couple seconds.
    I think a lot of drivers and DEF the fans take what judges are doing in the booth for granted. Its hard work especially if you dont have an instant replay. You have the eyes of many watching you and you have to really know drifting and be on your game. With that said everyone should suck one and if you really think you can hack it, come after our jobs.

  15. Ryan Sage says:

    …and to deepen this point, all of this information, each judges call for each run in qualifying and tandem is all available to each driver and team if requested.

  16. Gradius says:

    Maybe Andy is getting tired of judging and he is slipping from lack of interest? What about having a 2 year max to be a judge?

  17. AE86_Fan says:

    i really feel for the judges, because no matter what they do, they will always be criticized… the only thing i will say, is that to me Yen should’ve been kicked to the curb this year too, and brought in 2 new judges.