A Historical Look at How the Formula Drift Long Beach Winner Finishes the Season


I made some bold claims that Long Beach wasn’t very relevant to the big picture of a Formula Drift championship. I opted to put my money where my mouth was and crunch the numbers from the past 10 seasons. James Deane and his performance in Long Beach looks like it is about 30% likely to bring him home a Formula Drift championship. An impressive 50% chance he will finish in the Top 3 of Formula Drift this year and an even more impressive statistic of 70% likely to finish in the Top 5. Below is the data I compiled to create these statistics.

2007 Winner – Mitsuru Haraguchi (Finished Season 12th)
2008 Winner – Chris Forsberg (Finished Season 5th)
2009 Winner – Ryan Tuerck (Finished Season 2nd)
2010 Winner – Vaughn Gittin Jr. (Finish Season 1st)
2011 Winner – Justin Pawlak (Finish Season 2nd)
2012 Winner – Justin Pawlak (Finish Season 4th)
2013 Winner – Dai Yoshihara (Finish Season 11th)
2014 Winner – Chris Forsberg (Finish Season 1st)
2015 Winner – Fredric Aasbo (Finish Season 1st)

2016 Winner – Chelsea DeNofa (Finish Season 17th)

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.


  1. Doof says:

    I’ll stand by my post in the previous thread:

    Provided he doesn’t run into car trouble or doesn’t get shafted by the judges (won’t hold my breath here), I’ll bet any amount of money that Deane finishes within the Top 5 this season.

    In my opinion, it will come down to how he does at the FL and NJ rounds.

  2. KPA says:

    He will be shafted by the judges, no doubt. Driver’s will start calling him out for contact and the judges will micro focus on that.

  3. Wrecked Magazine Staff says:

    Florida is easy… it is just two turns. Road Atlanta is the test.

  4. Joaquin21 says:

    I agree with Doof, it will come down to how James does at the Florida and New Jersey rounds, the bank in those tracks may become a difficulty. In my opinion, I don’t think that Road Atlanta will be diffcult for James because in 2010 he competed in the FD Sonoma round, which have a layout pretty similar to Road Atlanta, he even battled with Forsberg there


  5. Kieran says:

    I’ve judged James since his first ever drift event, and it very quickly became apparent to me he had something like a sixth sense while chasing, it didn’t matter what the driver did in front of him, he was able to adapt. In my opinion he wins most of his battles at 8 tenths of his ability, having a bit in reserve if he needs it. In some of the comments I’ve read it was stated that some of James chase runs were a little shaky, not very smooth, how many of James chases were behind a good clean on line lead run?? What would we have seen if James had chased a lead run like the ones he was putting down? The crowd got behind James at that event, probably because of his epic chases, it is without doubt the most exciting part of drifting, door on door inches apart. Lead cars lifting in a full throttle area, brake checking, coasting off throttle, poor line, poor transitions should never dictate the outcome of a battle, and if Judges allow this then James will just sit a couple of feet back and we will all have been robbed of epic chases. The best driver should win each battle, not the sneakiest. I’m not suggesting any of the drivers at Long Beach were using tactics, and I haven’t been following FD for a number of years so I don’t have any opinion on any of the drivers, but I do think each of the contacts were not cut and dry, and had elements of the lead driver doing something they shouldnt. As for the comment about Florida having only two corners, if he can dominate with only two, what will he be like when he has five or six!!

  6. Acebostr says:

    Feel hate for Deane on the low

  7. Jabroni says:

    he alreay murdered irwindale in 2010 and that was his first time driving there in a borrowed under powered car. now hes in his chassis on his terms. Orlando is easy its really only tricky going through the power alley cause of the bumps but any descent driver will have that figured out quickly. Atlanta is def one of the more technical tracks in the series.

  8. Sweeps says:

    Show me a betting shop that will take my money on James winning the title.

    If not, you give me some odds Joey and i’ll make an offer you can’t refuse. If you think he won’t do it that is

  9. Broadley says:

    The only way Deane isn’t taking the championship is if he is plagued with car issues. If you have seen how he adapts to any circuit.

  10. Tie Fighter says:

    I think ATL suites his style more, no? I think the question is how he handles the oval based tracks. going to be a very good season for him no doubt

  11. Blaze1 says:

    Like Jabroni said, he has killed it at Irwindale already before.

  12. Jabroni says:

    yokoi came over here also with no experience on banked ovals and made it look easy. Deane is also a seasoned driver 2 runs in and he will me making 80+ point qualifying runs. after a few practice heats it should be nothing.