10. The BMW chassis is looking Hot in 2016
Man, the BMW chassis is looking like it should be hot property after this drift season. BMW has seen a podium at 75% of the events this year and some of the most notable drifting has come from the likes of Essa, Moen, Heilbrunn, Bluss, and DeNofa all in the BMW camp. The changes in the series seem to favoring this chassis in a big way.
9. Vaughn Gittin Jr. Ties Sam Hubinette for Event Wins Record
Vaughn Gittin Jr. battled his good friend Chris Forsberg in the finals at Wall Speedway and won! It was also a tie-breaker between the two friends. Chris Forsberg and Vaughn Gittin Jr. both had 8 event wins going into this event in New Jersey. It also happened to be a home track for both drivers who grew up within hour of Wall. Tons of narrative and storyline here as Vaughn Gittin Jr. prevailed and tied the record holder Sam Hubinette now with 9 event victories. An even crazier point made by our stats guru Jacob Leveton, Vaughn’s first win actually came after Sam Hubinette’s last win of their respective careers.
8. Forrest Wang Retirement is Tough to Swallow
Forrest Wang retiring from Formula Drift is a tough one to realize and swallow for fans. He has the best drifting style in Formula Drift but all good things must come to an end. I also see him coming back before the end of this season but that is just pure speculation that I have no evidence for. I am kind of bummed that the Wang/Forsberg battle managed to overshadow what was a super exciting event. If you missed the event or have live under a rock, here is our analysis of the Top 16 battle.
7. Forsberg Loans 370z to Mad Mike
A class move in the paddock over the weekend was Chris Forsberg loaning his carbon fiber street car Nissan 370z to Mad Mike without hesitation when his MX-5 blew up. The two carry rival energy drink sponsors and rival tire companies so this seems to be nothing more than a world class move. Sadly, Mad Mike turned a wheel in his MX-5 during practice which locked him into that car for the weekend. Mike shockingly pointed out this was his first event he would miss due to engine trouble. That is a pretty powerful statement for the competency of his crew. (PC: tomimotofilms)
6. Ryan Tuerck vs. Ken Gushi Stole the Show
If you missed the event or only watched small parts of it then I suggest you just go back and just watch this battle. Two similar built cars with insane wheelman behind them put on the show of the weekend. I feel like these battles could of gone either way and was glad I wasn’t a judge for this insane tandem event!
5. I Kind of Missed Pro 2
I might eat my words on this one but it was a bummer we didn’t get to see Pro 2 action on Friday. I know that Road Atlanta was horrible but Orlando kind of got the hook in my mouth to watch more. I think it is a huge loss and bummer that the series is on hiatus until September. Hopefully I can see some Pro 2 battles at Street Driven STL or ATL before the next round of Pro 2 comes up at Texas Motor Speedway.
4. Matt Field Keeps Progressing and Learning Race by Race
The more I keep my eye on Matt Field the more I see him as a future champion of this sport. This weekend really showed class from him handling the difficult Top 16 battle with Faruk Kugay. I half thought sparks would fly again and tempers would victor but Field really did an amazing job following such a sloppy lead run. He really floored me with his insane tandem follow against Gushi where he hit him on the bank that sadly resulted in him breaking a part and spinning out on his lead run. I think otherwise, we see Matt Field in the finals this weekend. With Wang leaving it also opens the door for Field to be the most stylish drifter in Formula Drift and the Nissan 240sx poster child.
3. Alex Heilbrunn Got Easy Ticket to Podium but Still Impressed Me
Alex Heilbrunn stepped it up big for the rookie class and put his BMW on the podium this weekend with a big statement. He didn’t have to drift the wheels off his car to get there but when the time came in the Final Four he performed in a big way! The fact he pushed Vaughn into OMT is something he should be super happy about. Alex needs to find that ability to drift at 92% instead of 100% all the time and he has it. That mental switch to find that 8% of caution and conservativeness is going to be really hard. I have found the more you push at Wall and try to do stuff the more likely you are to make a mistake here. That just made his performance all the more impressive so props to you Alex and all your fans back in Peru!
2. Pat Mordaunt Killed his Tandem Chase Run with Aasbo
Pat Mordaunt is just having everything come together this year…. well almost. His tandem follow run against Fredric Aasbo was for the ages but managed to crash on entry during his lead run. Pat in years past has impressed me at Road Atlanta and then faded into the mid-pack of drivers. This performance tells me he might have something in him for the season if he can keep it off the wall in Montreal/Seattle.
1. Some Formula Drift Fans Just Make Me Scratch My Head
In the past 10+ years I have been one of the most vocal and verbal critics of Formula Drift. The series has improved in all aspects (mainly entertaining tandem) from the past. You guys preach about wanting consistency in judging but with that comes rules and guidelines to perform at a high level. Some drivers ignore those and lose. Some drivers pay attention and win. Then, when the rules and guidelines result in something you hate…. you complain about the rules. I cannot handle any of you.
Formula Drift is the biggest drift series in the world because the most people pay attention to it and talk about it. They are drifting at the finest margins in the world and the world is watching these events.
Also, let’s not forget a D1 event in the past where a driver threw his trophy in a trash can and another driver rage ran over a course workers foot that was telling him to wait.
That was my soapbox.