10. Car-to- Car Contact is Becoming More Common
This is the best car -to-car contact of the season to date! Chelsea DeNofa just managed to connect with Tyler McQuarrie wheel-to- wheel, throwing him airborne. Do you remember the accident that happened when these guys met at Wall Speedway in 2012? In case you don’t, here is the video. Quite a bit of other car -to-car contact happened this weekend, including some nice banging around with Matt Field and Chris Forsberg in the Final Four. Keep an eye on this to be a theme through 2014.
9. Matt Field Deserves a Tip of the Hat
I will never forget the day the world discovered Matt Field as a serious American drifter. It was back at Irwindale Speedway when he sent Daigo Saito into a two OMT battle before finally losing to Saito. Something interesting I have noticed since then is Field does exceptionally well at new tracks where all drivers start without data. Look back to 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway and this weekend at Homestead. This tells me, as he drives these tracks and learns what he needs to make things work, he will be a championship contender.
8. Daigo Saito Fails to Qualify for First Time in Career
The story I heard around the paddock is that when Daigo Saito went to make his first qualifying pass, his motor gave up. He stayed on the gas and finished the run, but his score put him just outside making it into the main event. Saito is a this career worst (22nd in the championship) and will be looking to turn it around quickly.
7. Kenneth Moen is Carrying the Achilles Team
Did Fast Kenny get another podium? The answer is yes. In fact, Moen is less than 50 points away from sitting in first place in the Formula Drift championship. While Robbie Nishida and Daigo Saito have had problems over this weekend, Moen carried the Achilles torch. I think he can keep it up all season. His new 2JZ setup sounds insane and his suspension combo of WiseFab/Feal Suspension just seems to be dialed in. I think Moen is the championship dark horse for 2014.
6. Homestead Miami is a Huge Upgrade from PBIR
The new track and facilities are fantastic. Homestead has the best media center on the Formula Drift calendar and is just a world class venue. It did, however, have some serious year one growing pains. I hope some of these will be sorted out if the series returns in 2015 - like moving the grandstands or finding a better section to drift from the crowd’s POV.
5. Alec Hohnadell is Awesome – Needs to Sort Out Car ASAP
Alec Hohnadell looked awesome all weekend. His second qualifying pass was one of the best on the weekend (I know, he only scored an 80) but for style and ”wow ” factor, it was virtually a 100 in my book. Hohnadell didn’t get to show us his goods, however, in the Top 32 battle with Carl Rydquist, due to what I heard was a steering rack issue. Hohnadell managed to qualify on six cylinders at Road Atlanta, which is impressive, but to be competitive in Formula Drift he is going to need a working car. He has the talent from what I can see just needs to get his S14 into shape sooner than later. Hohnadell was one of the only rookies who was noticeably absent from Pro 2 during the weekend as well. He now also finds himself 32 points behind Stoneback for 2014 Rookie of the Year.
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr. Going Back to Back Wins
Vaughn Gittin Jr. just managed to win two events in a row. To make matters worse, even though he has won 66% of the events to date, he finds himself in second place behind Chris Forsberg who has stood on three podiums in a row this year. Gittin and Forsberg are going to find themselves in a constant battle to the 2014 championship. They also should probably keep an eye on Kenneth Moen who has proven to be on quite a run this year. This championship could come down to who has the least amount of mechanical mishaps at the rate th ese guys are driving.
3. Geoff Stoneback is the Future of Formula Drift!
That line above came straight from the co-founder of Formula Drift’s mouth this weekend. How is that for a big enough statement? Stoneback finished in the Great 8 for Round 3, going out to Matt Field on a OMT. Stoneback looks very adaptable in the moment during tandem and took out Odi Bakchis in the Top 32, who has been on fire this season. Stoneback also puts himself forever in the history books by winning the first ever Pro 2 Formula Drift event. Talk about one awesome weekend for him and his team!
2. Did You Know Dai Yoshihara is 31st in the Championship Standings?
Wow, talk about crisis mode over at Falken Tire. I thought surely after two Top 32 eliminations in Round 1 and 2 things couldn’t get worse for Dai Yoshihara or his team. Dai didn’t even making a qualifying pass this weekend at Miami Homestead. Right now he has 35 points and tied with several others drivers in this place. This team has to be in crisis mode 1000 at this point. If they cannot turn it around, Dai could possibly face losing his license and moving into Pro 2 under the new rulebook. I hope it gets turned around, but this Subaru is doing the team no favors it seems in 2014. Dai needs a big tandem win to turn his confidence back around, in my opinion , next round.
1. Formula Drift Pro 2 was A Brilliant Move!
The debut of the Pro 2 series proved to be a huge success. They qualified on Thursday and had a competition on Friday night in place of Pro practice. Any driver that was eligible to compete and didn’t , made quite a huge mistake in my opinion. You could see the Pro 2 drivers with a boost of confidence in the Pro event after competing against the other young guns of the series. It also meant way more seat time for the Pro 2 drivers for the weekend. Rookie Geoff Stoneback won Pro 2 on Friday and managed his best season finish to date, driving all the way to the Great 8. If you missed the first ever Pro 2 competition, we have a complete Pro 2 gallery shot by Jason Scott or visit Dailymotion to watch the competition.