10 Things I Learned about Formula Drift Road Atlanta

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10.Qualifying Needs to be Fixed
I think the judges do much better than the majority when it comes to tandem judging. I normally voice my opinions when I disagree with them but 95% of the time they are making good calls. However, they are awful at ranking qualifying runs. I think many factors play into this but the order you are seeded in qualifying tends to impact your score to a great extreme. Road Atlanta had quite a few scoring inaccuracies so I figured I should bring it up in this Top 10. Anyway, qualifying needs a revamp in Formula Drift but I don’t have the ideas to make it happen. Anyone have thoughts on how to make it more accurate and entertaining?

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9. Time to Wake Up on Travis Reeder
Travis Reeder has landed on the podium for his first two Pro 2 events in his career. This driver from the northwest really looks like a serious contender for the future. He seems to have the mental game figured out and is just driving his way into a serious championship lead. After two rounds he has an alarming 78 point lead in the Pro 2 championship.
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8. The Era of European Domination is Upon Us?
The European drivers really dominated Road Atlanta this past weekend. The podium was a complete European driver sweep and nobody in the grid looks like they have an answer for the European rising. The top three drivers in the championship are all European (James Deane/Ireland – Dean Kearney/Ireland – Fredric Aasbo/Norway) and other Europeans such as Kristaps Bluss have done well this season. Does anyone have an answer for the European domination in 2017?

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7. Formula Drift Needs More Utes
Since I was at Road Atlanta in person I got to watch this insane Ute run for the first time. This thing is really big and it looks really cool drifting around the track. Josh Robinson makes that thing looks pretty good and exciting. It does make me hope we can get a larger variety of chassis in the sport moving forward.

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6. Alec Hohnadell Looked Fast with Maybe Less Horsepower
Alec Hohnadell looked to be one of the fastest and on point drivers at Road Atlanta. In reality, he had James Deane beat dead to rights until he made a mistake resulting in him straighten. Several people mentioned to me that the car went down on horsepower which seems like an interesting concept to me. The theory revolves around not letting your wheel speed get insanely high resulting in you having more tire for two laps. If that is what Alec Hohnadell did, I think it was pure genius. Over two laps, his car visually looked like it was in the fastest three cars on course.

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5. Nate Hamilton!!!!!!!!
If you go watch Nate Hamilton in Top 32 that was the first time I really saw him keep his mental game strong and gave it to an opponent. He won the tandem battle against J Castro and really showed that he can belong in the Pro ranks with a performances like that.

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4. Support Local Drifting
One reason this 10 Things post was late is I have been scrambling to get our first Street Driven Tour event in order in Virginia this weekend. This did get me thinking that most of you Formula Drift fans should work towards supporting or attending a smaller drift event each year. Just make an effort to find one practice event or Pro Am weekend in your local region and go out and enjoy yourself. As Formula Drift experiences rapid growth and large viewing numbers most Pro Am and local events are very small and grassroots still. I do have to admit you will find them quite fun no matter where you are in the world so make some plans before the year ends.

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3. James Deane Does it Again
Yep, he made it happen at just the track I wanted to see him perform at. James Deane seems to be defeating his opponents with consistently as other drivers are making errors running him as he moves along to victory at two of three rounds. Right now, only Jhonnattan Castro has defeated James Deane in a Formula Drift competition event this year.

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2. The rare Fredric Aasbo Mistake
Fredric Aasbo was taken out by Kyle Mohan who has struggled in his Mazda MX-5 this whole season. Aasbo proved he wasn’t a drifting robot while he made two mistakes in one battle. Aasbo finds himself around three rounds in a rare place of third place and 67 points behind the points leader James Deane. Perhaps the Corolla iM was a big bigger of a project to take on than the tC. While I don’t think he is out of the championship race just yet it will be interesting to see how this car holds up through some other rounds.

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1. Kristaps Bluss Reaches Legend Status
I am sure by now you know that he drove off two jack stands to meet his 5 minute repair time limit. He did have loose lug nuts and was unable to complete his battle against Dean Kearney. The whole situation was pretty awesome but I was sad to see Kristaps get close to another victory and fall short. You have to think his time for a victory in Formula Drift is around the corner. If you didn’t get to see the BMW flying off jack stands, watch the 5 minute comeptition timeout here and also listen to Maxmium Driftcast and get Chris Forsberg’s perspective on the whole 5 minute scramble with Kristaps that he was involved in to help try and get the BMW back on track.

10 Comments

  1. Yoshi says:

    on #10, I’ve been working on telemetry units. I figure average speed, proximity to clipping points, and average angle could all be used to take subjectivity out of qualifying. Leave that for tandems.

  2. Nick D. says:

    While I think that Odi lost the OMT battle against Forsberg, I don’t think there was a reason for that to have gone OMT to begin with. Even the recap after the first battle, all the judges and spectators talked about was how well Odi did and barely even mentioned Forsberg. Then it went OMT. (Note: I’m not even an Odi fan, so I’m not letting that color my view of the match)

    Same thing with DeNofa vs Tuerck. Tuerck won the OMT battle dead to rights, but it shouldn’t have gone to OMT to begin with. Chelsea pretty clearly handled him the first round but instead it went OMT, where Chelsea clearly struggled to keep pace.

  3. chris beasley says:

    #10 I agree, it seem like if you are in the first half of drivers to qualify (lowest seeded) you can lay down an amazing run and end up low 80s anyway. why not just go alphabetical or door number order.

    #1 drivers are given time to change tires before a OMT battle. drivers are not allowed to call 5 minutes to change tires. wells couldn’t give him a few minutes to get his rears bolted on? dean had time. Kristaps should have changed his tires first then called 5.

  4. Justin Yamashiro says:

    I feel like wanting more Utes is almost irrelevant because if I remembered correctly they banned the ElCo. Between that and a Ranchero were really our options unless you have money pouring in somewhere.
    Build a diesel, it’s more practical.

  5. wesismyhero says:

    If anybody was wondering what happened to the Ute, it ran out of fuel because no one on his crew remebered to put fuel in it between runs.

  6. Slider S15 says:

    For #10: IDC and BDC have been running a Top 24 Format to great effect where by Only the Top 24 Drivers get into the show, Top 8 Qualifiers get into Top 16 Automatically, The Remaining 16 Drivers battle it out for the remaining 8 Places in the Top 16.

    This both Rewards the drivers who push hard and lay down a killer run with a bye into Top 16 AND creates some jeopardy as drivers have to get into the Top 24 instead of Top 32 in Qualifying. That Jeopardy is definitely missing at the moment since Formula D can’t seem to fill a Pro Top 32 this season so all you have to do is lay down “A Score” to get in the show.

    Doesn’t fix the Judging Runs issue but definitely gives more incentive to the drivers to push and brings back the element of suspense as Drivers run the risk of not qualifying for an event (definitely a missing element this season)

  7. Doof says:

    @Slider S15

    I like that and agree 100% Also, qualifying is boring and takes way too long to complete. Too much downtime between each run, as is the problem with the actual competition.

    30 seconds of action, followed by 3-5 minutes of nothing happening. Then another 5 minutes of moving cars, staging, and Jarod asking how many rotary fans are in the “building” when there’s no actual building.

    Any dingus could essentially show up to an FD event in a stock SR car with like 60psi in the tires and as long as they don’t crash/straighten/spin out, they’d qualify for Top 32 in Formula D… The “premier drifting series in the world”. That’s pathetic.

  8. chris beasley says:

    @doof

    I agree, look at Mohan this weekend. he drove as poorly as possible while still completing laps, and managed to qualify and make top 16. he was top 16 in the premier drifting series without ever putting down a good run all weekend. come on FD.

  9. #1 – Aren’t drivers allowed to change tires for a battle separately from their 5 minute timeout allotment?

  10. kpa says:

    @ Racekor

    Yes, their are but that should have been noted with Kevin at the time. First change rear tires, then start 5 minutes. I assume that was overlooked during the heat of the moment.

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