10 Things I Learned from Formula Drift Round 3 This Weekend

10. Car-​to​-​ Car Contact ​i​​s Becoming More Common
ChelseaDeNofa.TylerMcQuarrie.Crash
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 ​F​inal ​F​our. Keep an eye on this to be a theme through 2014.

9. Matt Field Deserves a Tip of the Hat
MattField
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
FormulaDrift.Achilles
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 ​o​n 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
KennethMoen
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
HomesteadMiamiSpeedway
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
AlecHohnadell
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 point​s​ behind Stoneback for 2014 Rookie of the Year.

4. Vaughn Gittin Jr. Going Back to Back Wins
MustangFanClub
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! 
GeoffStoneback
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 put​s​ 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? 
DaiYoshihara.SubaruBRZWow, 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! 
DaveBriggs.MattCoffman
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 ​P​ro​ practice. Any driver that was eligible to compete and didn’t ​,​ ma​d​e 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.

I attended my first drift event at Road Atlanta in 2005 while shooting for Import Racer Magazine (RIP). Since then I have produced drift content for PAS Magazine, Modified Magazine, Drifting Magazine (RIP), and many more publications. I was the producer of the movie Slide America and then helped found this website in 2007.

28 Comments

  1. WingZeroCustom says:

    Miami was pretty good. Some drivers in qualifying I felt could have/should have had better scores than what they were given. And I saw a lot of calls I thought should have gone another way or OMT in the battles, but thats judging for ya.

    And I think Robbie is another Dark Horse for the championship this year. He’s driving like a mad man! And is currently 6th in points. I can see him getting a few podiums or even a win this year with how he’s been driving. Him and Kenny really seem to be carrying that team.

    Hopefully Daigo can get that motor working 100% reliably. That car has just never run right since Seattle last year. And its been through some pretty heavy stuff since its 2012 debut.

    Same for Daijiro. Hopefully they get it running with no issues.

  2. mclargehuge says:

    Amen to #3. Stoneback is a competitor who is going to go in all guns blazing the rest of the season. I expect to see him finish in the top 16 of every round, and probably podium for the rest of the Pro2 rounds as well.

  3. Paul says:

    Here’s my question…

    Only drivers below 16th in the championship can run pro2… stoneback is currently tied for 16th…therefore he can’t run anymore pro2 events unless he has a poor finish in Jersey… right?

  4. Scaifey86 says:

    On point 2, I thought one of the licencing rules was that if you finish outside the 32 and the 8 at the end of the season you get sent back to pro am?

  5. Blaze1 says:

    Robbie is the man PERIOD!

    LAST 4 EVENTS ONLY ONE T32 ELIMINATION!!!!

  6. Joey Redmond says:

    @Scaifey86

    The 2014 season has the rules being quite complex. This post I put together helps the issue I hope for the most part.

    http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2014/03/17/the-new-path-of-a-formula-drift-driver-promotion-and-relegation/

    If Alec Hohnadell falls below Top 32 (with not running Pro 2) he will be sent back to Pro Am. Then in Pro Am 2015 he could only get a license for Pro 2. Once in Pro 2 he would need to finish above a certain place to get Pro license and retain a small point requirement to keep Pro 2. Never again after this season can a rookie just enter the main event. Rookies were given the option this year since they got the license based on that pretense.

    Now if say Mats Baribeau has an unlucky rest of the season and finishes 33rd he will only be relegated to Pro 2. This would be the case for anyone in the Pro series that wasn’t a Rookie.

    Only the rookies can go from Pro to Pro Am. Any other driver would just go into Pro 2 according to the sporting regulations.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  7. Blaze1 says:

    Kyle Mohan is gonna do some damage in the coming events in my eyes as well. His car is worthy of its own drift event alone!

  8. Frank says:

    I reckon Dai could’ve finished in the Top 16 or better in LBGP; too bad he was paired with Forsberg for Top 32.

  9. Chels says:

    Hope they keep this event at this track, really sweet facility. All the Veterans looked good as usual but the Rookies really impressed. Stonebeck was really consistent and Hohnadell was throwing down the most insane runs all day. Hated to see some of the big names knocked out due to mechanical issues.

  10. Chris Beasley says:

    #9 field should have won the first battle with Forsberg, no OMT. So many people saw it the same way yet the judges go omt and one even picks Forsberg? seems shady.

    #6 yeah, seems like watching from the grandstands was a poor view. not that they had a lot of options, but doesn’t seem like a very good track location. I don’t really like the course. too many drivers struggling to link the turns.

    #5 not sure about Alec’s tandem skills yet, but I think he will qual top 32 every round so should be back in pro 1 and rising through the ranks next year.

    #1 Pro2 went better than I thought. It was good to see nate Hamilton so ecstatic after getting the podium. Glad we get to see more of the drivers in action that may not be making top 32s very often.

    overall, great event. just fix the drag race starts.

  11. Internet Hero says:

    I think the driver who causes contact should be eliminated. That would stop this monster-truckin’ crap

    jr won his match against aasbo after a one more time and denofa was given a one more time with mcquarrie after the crash. Kick those guys out as soon as they are considered at fault. That will make the drivers stop hitting people

  12. Troy says:

    Wow, Internet Hero… Go hard or go home, this is motorsports after all. Crashes happen, dude, chill. If they were to “eliminate” guys that crash into others, no one would even think about trying to get close in tandem, for fear of being “eliminated.”

    As a spectator at the event, I, as well as everyone in our group that has gone the past 3 years, did prefer PBIR a little more, because of:

    1) The area; got a hotel near the track in Miami and there were the sketchiest people everywhere. It literally was slightly terrifying a couple times. Big difference from the luxuriousness of the West Palm Beach area. Also, the longer drive south was a tad annoying.

    2) The first turn; one of the best things about FD is that (typically) all the action takes place right in front of you. Having to watch the first turn on the big-screen or watching smoke between the trees was pretty lame.

    3) The “growing pains”; yea ok, its this venue’s first time holding an event like this, but like both grandstand-side vendors were completely out of water by the end of Top 32, which is more or less a crisis in a Florida summer; not to mention, a lot of the people working them didn’t know how to make change, that was funny. And then the bleachers couldn’t hold maybe 60% of the whole crowd, leaving some to sit in the stairways and stand at the fence; and then what was up with that grandstand that was facing nothing?

    However, I will say the facility was great, and the track layout was pretty sick. Pro 2 is also one of the greatest things to happen to FD in a long time, just wish there was still Friday Pro practice, but I understand you gotta fit a set schedule.

  13. 4fourGraphics says:

    You’re definitely not going to see people get eliminated for contact. It creates way too much of a media buzz for one thing. And two, it opens up a BIG can of worms when it comes to deciding who is at fault or not. Most times it’s just a “racing deal” and the drivers shrug it off and line up for another go in hopes of redemption/advancement.

    #’s 3, 5, and 7 are the absolute truth! These guys are showing some serious driving skill this season. Throw Nishida into that mix as well and I believe you’re looking at 4 of the most comfortable drivers in the series whom are flying below the radar.

  14. sanlis says:

    What i really worry about are Daigo and Dai Yoshihara.

    Daigo’s cars keep having problem, he has been failed because of the vehicle issue 3 rounds in a row ( some of you guys might not know that in round 1 when Daigo battle with Pat Goodin, Daigo’s car had boost issue causing him crash into Pat.), that is horrible, i think the team must build a new car that completely work for him right now.

    Plus, his IS-C also keep having issues FD Asia and D1GP, seems like his team always need to do emergency fixing to his car right before qualify or something. Not sure what is happening but maybe the motor can not afford that much power now?

    Not sure what is happening with Dai, feel sorry with that bad luck keep circling with him. He can’t did very well since last year round 2. Not much words want to say but just giving him the biggest support. Dai we are waiting for your comeback man!

  15. sanlis says:

    sorry for the poor English, if i type anythings wrong please forgive me =)

  16. MENDOZI says:

    Falken crew should have never gone turbo. Those cars are no longer easy to work on, anything that can go wrong pretty much puts them out of the race. They should have stayed NA and squeezed a few more horses. Now Dai and Dmac, 2 top drivers are out of the championship race thanks to dat #turbolife.

  17. mike says:

    how come the livestream replay still isnt up?
    and they never released the top 32 live stream from atlanta?

  18. mike says:

    @MENDOZI I agree, none of falken’s cars looked slow when they were NA. Dmacs S14 looked to be setup up really well and I’m sure they could have done the same with Dai’s BRZ..
    I think Odi and Essa have proved that those sort of power figures aren’t necessary

  19. Cole W says:

    Ryan sage has called Friday night practice “the best kept secret of drifiting”. It sucks that they took that off the sceduale. And the no 3rd place battle is just a joke.. They are taking away what would theoretically be the second best battle of the weekend. With the elimination of Friday top 32 practice and no 3rd place battle, FD is taking away some of the best driving we would see all weekend.

  20. WingZeroCustom says:

    Definitely agree they should have stayed N/A. D-Mac’s car looked really solid and fast N/A. If anything I think they should have just added some Nitrous. Maybe a hundred shot or something.

    Daigo’s motor just needs to be dialed back some to be more reliable like Robbies, Wangs or Gushi’s.

    And Pro2 was way better than I thought it would be. Hopefully in the future it can expand over the entire FD season like the D1NZ pro-am series. :)

    I think a lot of drivers should run Pro 2. Because even if they don’t qualify for the event it gives them that extra track time.

  21. lamedrifter says:

    “This is the best car -​to​-​car contact of the season to date!”

    The… “best”? I seriously stopped reading at that point only to say this in the comments…

    GROW. THE. FUCK. UP.

  22. Paul says:

    Yeah, you didnt answer my question @joeyredmond… Will Geoff Stoneback be eligible to run the next rounds of Pro2 if he remains above the top 16.

  23. Wrecked Magazine Staff says:

    @Paul I don’t know the answer. Let me reach out to Ryan Sage.

  24. Omaca says:

    Agree with most Joey, definitely fd drifting is getting better and better, not agree with avoidable car contact like this one or VG vs Aasbo before… I don’t think they’ll “eliminate” the drivers becase of that though.

    Too bad for Daigo, but he did great on his first year… Maybe too much… if he overcome this issues, he’ll come back stronger IMO. Kenny it’s doing great on he a new chassis, doubt he’s carring Achille, Robbie it’s right there.

    Jhonnartan Castro it’s also looking great on his new 370z build by CFR, he’s had a few hard years and he finally it’s looking comfortable on this car / team, like you said on your other article.

    Completely agree with Pro 2, think it was successfully imemented and great for some of the guys not doing so well, and with the talent to do more. Great performe by Nate, Stoneback and Rydquist

    Finally about the venue, I do think it’s better than PB in many ways, FD can improve the experience thought with only a few adjustments.

  25. Chris says:

    I agree, Daigo needs to get the engine sorted out. According to one of the ESR guys, he threw a rod during his first qualifying run and ultimately ended his weekend. I think Bridges said in the interview with Joey, that there is a possibility of a new car next season. I would hope Robbie stays in the SC because it looks like that car is dialed in and ready to go. He will definately podium this year.

    Matt Field and Kenny Moen should’ve battled for 3rd. Would have been a phenominal battle from both guys. I’m hoping that come next season this silly no 3rd place battle thing is done with and we are back to normal.

    Finally I’m excited for the rookie class. Geoff Stoneback and Alec Hohnadell are killing it this year. Once Alec figures out the car issues he will be right there with Stoneback in Top 16 battling it out. Should be fun to watch these two go against eachother, should they have to.

  26. Ryan Sage says:

    @paul Ya, for this year, Stonebeck shouldn’t get locked out of Pro2 if he jumps into the Top16 of the Pro do to the fact that he committed to Pro2 at the beginning of the season. I think we need to think through the implications of this for 2015, but I don’t think we would ruin his Pro2 Championship hopes if he also does well in Pro. The intention of the rule for allowance of 17-? Pro drivers to be eligible for Pro2 was to avoid Pro drivers doing both and there being no discernible difference between the series amongst other things.

    @Cole W. I agree with you Friday night practice is awesome to watch. It is not our intention to take it off the events in general, but for this event with Pro2, we simply had no choice since there are no lights at the track and we are limited on time. Something had to be sacrificed. It’s back on For Wall.

  27. Anthony says:

    I’ll weigh in on this as well:

    In regards to the venue/area, yeah, the track was nice, but I was at the top of the stands and I’ll agree that not being able to see the initiation at the kink as well as the straight leading up to the first hairpin was REALLY annoying. I don’t know about the other hotels, but the one I stayed at was ok. Area does seem sketchy though. The food vendors, the lack thereof and running out of things was a joke. Getting into the parking lot was ok, however I left at 3pm to get food and with no exit signs posted it took a bit longer to get out than I liked. Got back in time for Top 16 to start.

    Competition was good, but it felt like some drivers were taking a bit of a shallow entry into the kink though. Field vs Forsberg was the best battle of the day.

    The N/A v8 cars look a lot more composed than the ones running turbos. It keeps getting proven that 800~hp seems to be the sweet spot, anything more than that kinda puts reliability into question. I liked it when the Falken cars were all still N/A.

    Final thoughts: Let’s go to Sebring next time.

  28. Chike Cheters says:

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