2013 Formula Drift Palm Beach Judging Clarification – Look at Joon Maeng vs. Tony Angelo

First, I would like to apologize to everyone for taking so long to get this written up and then thank everyone who voted. After the first day of voting, it looked like the Joon Maeng v. Tony Angelo tandem match would be the most voted on, but then there was another match that was rivaling it for a brief period, so we just wanted to make sure until the poll ended before we wrote up our breakdown. I believe the voting finally ended on Friday and between preparing for our event this weekend and my regular day job, I didn’t get a chance to combine everyone’s notes until after work on Wednesday.

In order to help explain this, I think we need to discuss in detail what it is that we look for in tandem. I know we touched on some key points after RD2 at Road Atlanta, but after RD3 it is apparent that there is still some information lost between us, the fans, and maybe even some teams. We are continually working to make this better, and we hope that when things aren’t as clearly defined or explained, people will constructively let us know so that we may continue to make adjustments and improvements.

We judge both Driver A and Driver B’s lead and chase runs as well as compare Driver A and Driver B’s lead and chase runs. The goal of Driver A and Driver B is to have a strong lead and chase run to advance. An ideal tandem matchup is when the lead driver adheres to the judges’ criteria as a lead driver which allows (and makes it possible) for the chase driver to anticipate the lead driver’s run for a fair battle.

Lead Driver:
The lead driver’s goal is to drift throughout the entire course outlined by the judges based on the judges’ criteria explained in the drivers’ meetings. This means to be on point at all of the clipping points, outer zones, and touch & go areas (if specified) with maximum angle and speed. The lead driver is not to deviate from the judges’ criteria in the lead driver position. If the lead driver does deviate from the judges’ criteria, such as running a low line and/or shallow angle, they will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.

Chase Driver:
The chase driver’s goal is to follow as close as possible to the lead driver throughout the entire course outlined by the judges. Essentially the lead driver is considered a moving clipping point, however, the chase driver is not allowed to run a shallow line and/or less angle than the lead driver. If the chase driver does deviate from this, the chase driver will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.

Palm Beach:
This venue is unique in that it is a racetrack, but the portion we use is essentially half racetrack and half parking lot. With that said, we tried to make the course more defined and visually appealing by painting yellow lines throughout the course, as well as using less cones (only 12) and no big orange barrels this year.

Yellow Lines:
The course was defined in the drivers’ meeting as being inside the yellow lines. The yellow lines served as a buffer for drivers in case some vehicles’ bumpers extended out more than another vehicle. As a result, all clipping points were positioned on the opposite side of the yellow line, thus allowing the drivers to get their tires as close to the yellow line and not worry that their bumper was going to hit or knock over a clipping point. We did the same in Atlanta, only there wasn’t a yellow line painted, we just had the clipping points positioned approximately 16-18″ from the edge of the rumblestrips or the track.
The yellow lines were painted 16″ wide starting between initiation point and the touch & go section and extending throughout the course on both sides of the track past the finish line. The yellow lines also remained the same distance apart from each other throughout the course to help drivers know how much room they had on course (with the exception of the finish line due to space constraints).
The rumble strips at the race track are 32″ wide and found at the beginning and end of the outer zones. Since we allow drivers to use the rumblestrips at any venue as part of the track and we do not award deductions for a tire touching them, we doubled the width of the yellow line in the outer zones to 32″ in order to allow the rumblestrips to remain evenly through the outerzones and not disrupt the flow of a driver’s line should they enter the outerzone with a tire on the rumblestrip.

Those 12 Orange Cones (off course markers):
First, we don’t like the cones, they take away from the appeal of the track, they make it look less professional, take time to replace when hit, and after this event cause controversy. We prefer a track with defined edges, but certain venues require the need for cones, and this happened to be such a venue. The orange cones were placed in groups of 3 spaced 45′ apart to help aid us in determining if a driver was in excess of one tire way off course. They were positioned 18″ past the yellow lines.
In the outer zones, an orange cone would be located 50″ past the edge of the course (32″ yellow line + 18″ space between yellow line and cone). That’s just over 4′ of room to allow before coming in contact with a cone, and even then there were only 6 cones in the outer zones. Now depending on the vehicle, some may be two wheels off at this point and others may only be one, that is why we had the cones positioned in key areas where this may happen to help alleviate any problem areas.
The tough & go section and the left side between the inner clip 1 and inner clip 2 each had one section of cones. These cones were 34″ past the edge of the course (16″ yellow line + 18″ space between yellow line and cone). The touch & go area was the first real edge of the track the drivers encounter after initiation, so it was highly probably that this area would also see lots of tires cross over the yellow line. At almost 3′, this was still a decent amount of room to allow before coming in contact with a cone. I don’t recall the area between the inner clips being much of an issue (if any), but the track does dip down in this area towards a storm drain, so again this was an area where a visual aid may have come in handy.

The Lighted Markers:
The lighted markers aren’t judged, they are there merely to help the drivers visualize the course at night and hopefully help the fans watching as well. They are generally positioned near clipping points and other areas of the track that may be difficult to see the course line clearly.

(Skip to 16:00 minutes to watch Joon Maeng vs. Tony Angelo – Sorry, Formula Drift won’t make it convenient to display individual runs anymore for some reason).

Joon Maeng v. Tony Angelo:

My overall impression went back to the first run where Tony’s lead run out performed Joon’s lead run. Joon’s lead run was hard to anticipate what his next move was because he was not on the line the judges specified. Joon also had more than a few stalls throughout the course. Simply looking at the touch & go area, Tony had a better approach in the chase position. In the drivers’ meeting, we asked them to use the whole course here whereas Joon in the chase position cut it short on the touch & go area. Tony was actually in a better chase position setting up for Joon to be on the touch & go area in order to keep proximity.
I could not give Joon the win because Tony had a great lead run where Joon was given plenty of opportunity in the chase position to run a low line with low angle, as Joon clearly did.

While leading, Tony was off of the Touch & Go and wide at Inner Clip 2, but overall had a decent lead run with minimal corrections. Joon does an okay job following, but has a correction and less angle through the Touch & Go.
Tonys chase run wasn’t pretty, but I deemed Joon responsible for that due to his poor lead run. Immediately after Joon’s initiation, he ended up on a shallow line, far from the Touch & Go and then slowed down significantly, transitioning early and throttling through to the outside clipping point. In the driver’s meeting we were very specific about what we wanted to see in this area: full throttle through the Touch & Go until the transition was complete, then lifting off throttle if needed to slow the car, using the vehicle’s momentum to carry the car wide through the outside zone. Joon clearly made a mistake, lifted, managed to hold onto the drift, but had to transition early and then go hard on the throttle though much of the outside zone, taking away any chance Tony had of chasing him adequately throughout the rest of the course.
I felt that all of Tony’s mistakes were almost forgiven after that point as his momentum was completely interrupted and he had to regain his speed and proximity after getting on the brakes hard to avoid contact. After that point Tony was playing catch up. Joon also made several mistakes at inner clip 1 and 2 that tripped up Tony, who was still trying to regain proximity. As for the contact, we saw Joon’s car aggressively slow down in an area that didn’t call for it.
I would like to point out that at no point were Joon’s actions deemed malicious. They were simply mistakes made by the lead driver that caused the chase driver to make errors and were severe enough to give Tony the win despite what his chase run looked like.

On Tony’s lead run he is slightly off at the touch & go and enters outer zone 1 fairly well. Tony then shallows up his line and exits outer zone 2 early. Tony then makes inner clip 1 and then goes wide at inner clip 2. Joon chasing has slightly less angle at initiation and past the touch & go making a correction. Joon does pretty good throughout the outer zones and then follows the desired line past inner clip 2 rather than follow Tony.
On Joon’s lead run he initiates early and is never really able to get his car out near the touch & go area. Joon actually begins his transition towards the outer zone just before the first cone in the touch & go area and this is where he disrupts Tony’s chase run. Joon enters outer zone 1 well, but as he is in the middle of the outer zones, he makes two corrections and then exits outer zone 2 early (like Tony’s lead run). Joon goes past inner clip 1 and then as he sets up for inner clip 2 stalls. Tony chasing initiates and makes a correction at the touch & go to avoid contact. As a result, Tony straightens up and shallows up his line in order to regain proximity and resume drift in the outer zones. He then makes another correction at inner clip 1. Tony regains drift after inner clip 1 only to make contact with Joon prior to inner clip 2.
Overall Tony’s lead run was not the best lead run in regards to line, but he was still able to make it fluid. Joon’s lead run had several mistakes and as a result didn’t give Tony the same opportunity to have a fair chase run, especially with the initiation and again by stalling.

Brian Eggert

Judge at Formula DRIFT/Event Director at USDrift/Lookout, LLC
I was first introduced to drifting in 1998 by one of best friends, Mike Schneider. After several years running as Lookout, we stumbled upon Hyperfest, the first sanctioned drifting competition in the United States hosted by USDrift in 2002. Shortly after that we began working alongside USDrift and eventually taking ownership. We then began helping others across the country set up and host their own drifting events. Working with Drift Association in 2005, we helped create the PRO/AM series that continues to develop and progress the next level of drivers to Formula DRIFT.


  1. Jumping Jack Flash says:

    Chase Driver:
    The chase driver’s goal is to follow as close as possible to the lead driver throughout the entire course outlined by the judges. Essentially the lead driver is considered a moving clipping point, however, THE CHASE DRIVER IS NOT ALLOWED TO RUN A SHALLOW LINE AND/OR LESS ANGLE THAN THE LEAD DRIVER. If the chase driver does deviate from this, the chase driver will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.

    In the past, the chase driver has been told he CAN deviate on angle in the interest of maintaining proximity. which is more important, proximity or line/angle? We’ve seen drivers get rewarded for having a shallow line or angle but being close to the lead car. Please explain why there’s such a variation in what is said and how the runs are actually judged.

    Seems like Tony misjudged Joon’s line not once or twice but 3 different times, where as Joon maybe didn’t have the best line while chasing but slowly closed the gap and had a much more fluid run.

  2. Ed Gregory says:

    Having said that, the judges were not able to make the audience grasp the context of their ruling.

    On a side note, at that particular run, if Joon were in Tony’s position at that exact same incident, Joon would have been deemed at fault, and no one would be talking about it.

    Do you know why?

  3. Mike Hunt says:

    The fact that you turds have to explain yourselves to people on the internet says a lot. Do drifting a favor and resign so the sport can evolve.

  4. Latino Hibino says:

    In my eyes, even if Joon was going slow, our if he was off line, Tony should have adjusted his driving to be able to follow the “moving clipping point” that is Joon Maeng. Now, if Tony was able to follow Joon without any of the major errors that he committed, then good job Tony, you win. But the fact that he straightened and made hard contact against Joon because he couldn’t adjust to the moving clipping point, Tony is at fault there. Of course this is my opinion, and I’m not a pro driver or Formula Drift judge, so I know nothing.

    If I may say so, if Tony left foot braked through certain sections of the course, he would have been able to hold drift while not hitting Joon, and would have displayed a level of car control that would have actually shown a reason for Tony to win that battle. I know nothing because I’m not a pro driver.

  5. wannabedrifter says:

    While we may not agree with the call, I appreciate the fact that you take time to explain yourselves on the internet to the sports true fans.

    I believe the biggest problem are all the changes made each round to the judging criteria. When a consistent judging criteria is maintaining throughout events/sessions, it allows fans to predict the outcomes of battles hence less upset when the judges announce their decisions.

    Overall I am impressed with the growth of the series and really enjoy watching/attending events. I only hope with experience and by maintaining a consistent judging criteria bad calls will be minimized in the future.

    I believe there has been little to no bias when it comes to a certain driver or team in the past and I really hope this never becomes an issue in the future.
    Good luck staff and drivers of Formula Drift!

  6. Kids Heart says:

    What a crock of @#$%. No matter how many times I watch the match there is no other outcome but Joon being the winner.

  7. Kids Heart says:

    Hey FD, does it feel good that the number one explanation us die hard drifting fans give to new spectators that can’t understand decisions like this is “… because Formula D judges suck.”

  8. Mendozi says:

    Tony cant drive, Much less follow. I don’t need 3 huge paragraphs to state that Tony doesnt know to downshift and not straighten out 3 times. Joon sucked, but clearly Tony was worse. hop off ya’ll buddy’s dick, quit being fake, and encourage him to find a new hobby. You guys make this shit so difficult when all we want to see is some good driving.

    You Judges are some huge dick heads explaining stupid shit over and over like we are all some special ed class.

  9. We haven’t changed any criteria during the 2013 season, everything has remained consistent throughout.

    I am not trying to deflect any blame, but the teams, sponsors and drivers demand set rules and very specific criteria from us sothey can figure out how they can win and how to do exactly what we are looking for. I would love to just let two drivers out on the track with no criteria other than “get to the end of the course however you please”, but that won’t really work either.

    As the drivers and cars evolve, the tandem battles are getting closer and the specifics of the rules to define a winner are getting more complex.

    As for this particular battle, we have always stated that the initiation area is one that we watch closely, and although this is beyond the initiation somewhat, the fact that Joon slowed so much while still in the first corner, in an area that all chase drivers expect the lead driver to be full throttle, took away Tony’s ability to have and maintain proximity throughout the course.

    We have set and maintained this rule so that tandem battles can be close due to the chase driver knowing that the lead driver will be on throttle where he is supposed to be. Otherwise the lead driver could play games and win the battle at the initiation poin or in the very first corner. That wouldn’t make for much proximity, as chase drivers would stay far back so they could have room to correct if the lead driver plays games or make a mistake.

    We love this sport as much as all of you guys and we’re simply trying to walk the line for the teams, sponsors and drivers, while keeping the show entertaining for the fans and the driving exciting and challenging for the drivers too.


  10. Mendozi says:

    Everyone makes a mistake every now and then. If the follower is really a better driver, he will adapt to the lead’s mistake and prove it by finishing the run as best as possible. You Ryan are clearly not a driver, but if you were you would know that if the guy in front of you is able to drift at 5mph, you should too. And if you can’t, you shouldnt be in FD. How do you think the guys in Pro am do it? There’s 600hp cars that get matched up with 100hp ae86’s, and if the driver knows how to follow, it won’t be a problem.

    So instead of all these robotic and repetitive posts, pick the true reason why ya’ll made such a call.
    1) You guys have no clue how to drive
    2) You guys wanted Tony to make top 16.

  11. not pat says:

    shouldn’t these pro drivers be able to drive behind whatever is ahead of them and adapt to it? i mean they all have a billion hp now and should be able to slow down and speed up to whatever the guy up front is doing.

  12. DUBteez says:

    Clearly the quality of your chase run doesn’t matter at all if the lead driver isn’t running a 100 point lead run. Joon was off line but tony had already straightened in the very first corner giving him a zero on his chase run which should of given joon the automatic win. I used to be the biggest advocate for fd and their judging panel but I honestly think in their quest for the most complicated rule book they’ve lost sight of actual tandem drifting. I guarantee tangelo’s jaw hit the floor of his car when he heard he won. Joon deserves a handy j from the entire fd judging panel for that bs call. I can’t wait till fd Seattle, I’ll be the guy facing away from the track flipping off the judges press box.

  13. powahh says:

    Wow. I am appalled by this. Like you had one chance to fix this and say we made a mistake and we suck at our jobs. And you didn’t watch Formula D go to shit now, just a prediction, we are not special ed, we see what happened, and you are definitely bending the rules to make this somehow fly by. You guys are changing the rules every event.

    Its clear that Tangelo cant drive, he straightened out. That’s a ZERO.
    At least coulda called an OMT. But clearly Tony’s got a mad head game. Hop off that dick maybe?

    Joon can drift circles around Tony blindfolded.

    Now submit a vision test for all 3 judges for us to see. *drops the mic*

  14. Pete says:

    If the role was reversed Tony would had still advanced with no hesitation. 10 years of this has been enough! Let’s make the 10 year Anniversary a good one from here on out. Even if FD make a mistake they have no choice but to keep repeating themselves that they are correct and everyone else is wrong. lol… it’s so obvious on the footages. I was watching over and over and Joon actually looks like he was going faster on the battle with Tony compared to qualifying runs.

    They should give points back to Joon that he was suppose to earn at least and take aways points from Tony. I’m surprised Scion and the rest of his partners are sponsoring Tony. (Enough said) It seems FD is just way to good to admit fault. We will respect FD even more if they just admit it was a wrong / bad call.

    Judges should be separated and not able to talk to each other to pursuade the final outcome. They are Pros right??? Then they should be able to decide on their own instead of going back and forth with mixed feelings.

    This is such a sad situation for FD and drivers that are crushed by politics. Let’s do the right thing and have good sportsmanship! Give it to the driver that really deserved it instead of looking at who pays your bills FD!

    If you guys keep this up I’m pretty sure more fans and partners are just going to get sick of this BS and treate it like a ametuer series. Are you that???? I though FD was legit……

    I hope you guys change because I’m such a big fan but sucks to see what’s been happening all these years!

    That’s why you see small teams giving up every year…. I’m sure they did whatever it took to keep going until Politics kept playing a role!

    I remember two years ago in NJ with Forsberg and Sherman driving the Enjuku Racing S13.5. He beat him first round but said omt… WTF?!

    By the way why is it that Ryan talks instead of the Judges talking to explain whey they conclude with all the weird decisions they conclude w????

    It would be great to hear the Judges Talk and keep the us informed!

    I wish you the best and wake up!

    PS I’m a big fan of Mike Essa!! Congrats on your win!

    Best Regards,


  15. El Camino says:

    ^^ Ryan L is a judge I believe. Washed out pro am driver from canada turned FD judge.

  16. rotarypower says:

    Been watching a lot of D1 lately because this past round has left a bad taste in my mouth mainly cause of u guys. So with that said feeling refreshed and was nice to see what its all about door to door action and going ham EVERY SINGLE RUN!!. Now as you can see nobody still believe u guys this was a bad call no matter how you put it and with the FD handbook getting as thick as the yellow pages and YOUR LACK LUSTER JUDGING i dont see it any better and it makes me sad and disappointed. All i have to say about jersey i hope it doesnt rain cause u guys fucked up big time on the qual runs last year,didnt compensate for the speed difference and the points were way off kyle mohan perfect example

  17. Brian says:

    @rotarypower for one we agree! Join may of been going slow but he was consistent. I have watched this run a TON of times and he didn’t “stall” enough to give Angelo the win or make him change drift and correct that much it would of forced that big of mistakes

  18. Brian says:

    Ps apparently my auto correct makes me look like a newb…

  19. Karnage says:

    Reading comments like this scares the crap out of me for the future and sustainable growth of the sport. how are ‘newbies’ supposed to tune in on event and understand all this? Impossible! Even the core fans, teams & drivers within the sport are constantly left baffled and confused….im not hating on judging as i agree its a delicate area but something really needs to be done to make judging simple and clear and not be the conversational piece when the weekend is over!

  20. rotarypower says:

    @Brian yea i agree with you as well. See man when u post things like this and its intellegent and not trying to be a douche and piss everybody off i dont mind. Most people who post here have been around here forever. But formula d looks at us as fan boys and we dont drive key banger critic and with all the posts from judges and ryan it proves my point. When in reality we disect these runs better than ALL THREE OF THESE JUDGES. Why do you think everybody up in arms because they dropped the ball at pbir plain and simple

  21. Aaron Suarez says:

    I’m a big fan and a drift my self for about 6 years. My big dream is to be a Formula Drift Driver. But after seeing this my dream has been crushed! There is absolutely no chance for me to succeed with so much politics involved. It’s so sad to see FD crushing dreams and future drivers!

    How would you feel to have someone mess up with your career??? I’m sure you didn’t think about that when you gave the FD sponsored #AirForce #Scion #HankookTire #Hoonigan driver the win. I’m pretty sure all those partners invest money into FD.

    Just check out formuladrift.com and it’s obvious who pays the bills for FD.

    This doesn’t make it right to deem this type of action. It’s so disappointing and I’m so sad that I have no more dream. I guess I can still dream that there will be a better and fair ( no politics ) Drifting Series! Maybe our team can start one. lol

    We had a big team meeting with our crew and it was so hard for me to tell them that there is no point in drifting now. It’s a dead end for up and coming drivers because of this BS politics and money $$ running the FD Championship.

    I think the local drifting events and comps are more pro than what FD is portraying to the public.

    So sad to see this go down! Hope FD admits fault and simply do the right thing instead of a robotic answer that doesn’t justify!

  22. Achmad Smith says:

    On tony’s top 32 lead run, how is it a really good run stated by ryan sage and good angle by jarod deanda when tony is off on first zone and way off last clip.(watch for yourself on http://www.formuladrift.com/live ) He initiates super late too. They state all the positives on Tony and not any Negatives. So wrong. If you keep watching the live stream you can totally tell who they want to win before the end result. Ryan hints the judges as he comments.. So obvious and not smart.

    I talked to Joon after what happened in his pits and he did officially file a protest… but Ryan on the mic didn’t tell the truth. He said he didn’t protest… What’s up with that Ryan?? It was crazy how long of a line there was at Joon’s pit after what happened. Seemed like all the drivers, fellow team and fans felt sorry for his team for getting robbed in front the public. Lots of angry fans that didn’t want to watch anymore.

    When Joon’s leading he is riding the rumble strips and had a way better line than Tony A. Watch for yourself and compare his qualifying and top 32 battle. He is actually faster during top 32 battle compared to qualifying. During Joon’s lead run he doesn’t even tap the front brake one bit. Yet the judges state he slowed down??? Hello are you retarded!!! My goodness!

    Watch the run with Forrest and Miro when Miro is chasing they penalize him right away when he straightens once for a bit. But it’s okay if Tony Angelo straightens out twice and clutch kick the heck out of a Scion when he is driving straight and hit the lead car and WIN! Lol… That’s total BS!

    Formula Drift do us all a favor and have some heart and soul! You’ve sold your soul to $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$… That’s all you see and you should be ashamed!

    Wake up fools! You lost all my respect and same goes from my entire family / friends.

    We hope to be able to respect you again once you guys clean up your act!

  23. scared_to_use_my_real_name_because_FD_people_will_get_mad_at_me says:

    FD judges are stupid.

    Andy Yen has been a judge too long. Get rid of him.

    FD judges have resulted in hard working teams who kill themselves, to be eliminated and sent home when they deserved the win.

    What a shitty explanation for the Joon vs Angelo decision. You judges are so pathetic coming here trying to convince us newbs that your decisions come from a higher level of thought and knowledge.

    You guys piss everyone off. Stop being idiots. Find new ways to make the correct calls.

  24. separate judges in the boxes says:

    FD need better judges or separate them in boxes . ganging rules is gettibg old. keep up making missed ( favor )call like this make pro drivers think twice or will go run somewhere else.where everyone is equal to complete

  25. John says:

    After all that detailed explanation on how they judged that run.. All they did, was clarify to me, that Joon should have won.. It is now clear to me that FD Judges (with these guidelines) can make any run good or bad, as they see fit.

  26. John Watson says:

    I totally agree with all the guys commits @john, @separate judges, @scared to use my real name, @Achmad Smith, etc..

    I’m a business owner and also a big fan of Formula Drift. I’ve been a follower for 12 years now and to see what’s going on is very sad to see.

    All though I own a big business I still treat everyone the same. I don’t treat those that have more $$ any better than a bum on the street.

    After all these explanation it shows that Joon won! It seems Tony needs to get some seat time. He is way out of shape and out of control.

    Attention Formula Drift: Are you smoking too much weed? Our company has zero tolerance for ignorant people. It’s sad to say that Ryan and the Judges are just that now. This post shows who they really are.

    I’m actually now embarrassed to wear any of the Formula Drift gear in front of the public and will have to throw all of it away. What a waste of money and time I invested to become an actual sponsor when it gets in the main stream. I really do hope you guys get your S*** together.

    I’m totally turned off from being an investor now. I’m sure other partners feel embarrassed and agree with what we feel.

    Formula D, do us all a favor and live in truth / honesty. It will take you a long ways. 10 years and still bs calls are not something that you should be proud about.


    John Watson

  27. John Watson says:

    correction (comments)

  28. Pete Michaels says:

    “I am not considering being an investor”


    The famous words of every internet broke-dick wannabe trying to feel more important than they aren’t.