Chelsea DeNofa

Vaughn Gittin JR and Chelsea DeNofa Team Up for the 2017 Formula DRIFT Season


As we approach Round 1 of the 2017 Formula DRIFT season in just a couple weeks, it looks like this relatively slow off season may finally start getting a lot more announcements between now and then. Kicking this Monday off is 2010 Formula DRIFT Champion Vaughn Gittin JR and his RTR Motorsports team officially announcing the addition of Chelsea DeNofa as a teammate. DeNofa will be in a brand new 2017 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D while Gittin will return in his Mustang RTR with an updated look.

Both the Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D driven by Vaughn and BC Racing Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D driven by Chelsea are powered by brand new Ford Performance/Roush Yates Engines RY45 motors, producing 2,000 combined horsepower with a 9,000-rpm redline. The RY45 builds on the continued relationship with Ford Performance and Roush Yates in developing competition based motors specifically for the RTR Motorsports Formula Drift program. A proprietary BC Racing coilover suspension system allows both Vaughn and Chelsea to perfectly tune the dynamics of their RTRs, with sticky Nitto NT05s putting all that power to the ground.

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2016 Formula Drift Irwindale Qualifying [RESULTS]

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Dai Yoshihara laid down an amazing first qualifying run in his car scoring an 89 and backing it up with a 86 for his second pass on the day. The championship chase basically eliminated Odi Bakchis with the other three qualifying for championship news. Chelsea DeNofa stops drifting inches before the finish line giving him a zero and really adding to the end of a terrible season after his Long Beach victory. Here is how they finished:

1. Dai Yoshihara 89
2. Ryan Tuerck 88
3. Forrest Wang 86
4. Chris Forsberg 85
5. Justin Pawlak 84
6. Matt Field 83 (83)
7. Tyler McQuarrie 83 (81)
8. Michael Essa 82 (80)
9. Matt Coffman 82 (80)
10. Charles Ng 81 (76)
11. Fredric Aasbo 81 (76)
12. Alex Heilbrunn 80 (73)
13. Vaughn Gittin Jr. 80 (72)
14. Odi Bakchis 79 (78)
15. Ken Gushi 79 (70)
16. Geoff Stoneback 78
17. Robbie Nishida 77
18. Mad Mike Whiddett 75
19. Pat Goodin 73
20. Pat Mordaunt 73
21. Kyle Mohan 72
22. Dean Kearney 70
23. J Castro 69
24. Juha Rintanen 65
25. Kristaps Bluss 64
26. Cameron Moore 63 (50)
27. Kenneth Moen 63 (0)
28. Alec Hohnadell 61
29. Faruk Kugay 42
30. Jeff Jones 0
31. Chelsea DeNofa 0

RIGHT BRACKET
Dai Yoshihara vs. BYE RUN
Geoff Stoneback vs. Robbie Nishida
Michael Essa vs. Kristaps Bluss
Matt Coffman vs. Juha Rintanen
Chris Forsberg vs. Faruk Kugay
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Pat Mordaunt
Justin Pawlak vs. Alec Hohnadell
Alex Heilbrunn vs. Kyle Mohan

LEFT BRACKET
Ryan Tuerck vs. BYE RUN
Ken Gushi vs. Mad Mike Whiddett
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Cameron Moore
Charles Ng vs. J Castro
Forrest Wang vs. BYE
Odi Bakchis vs. Pat Goodin
Matt Field vs. Kenneth Moen
Fredric Aasbo vs. Dean Kearney

10 Things I Learned at Formula Drift Texas

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10. Great Layout and Formula Drift Texas Gets A-
I liked the layout this year and the how the event ran/flowed as a whole. Formula Drift gets tons of criticism from all angles so when they do something really well I want to stop and take the oppurtunity to give them credit. The judging was pretty spot on with the exception of Ryan L. once who picked Aasbo when their was no scenario on earth he won but we cannot all be perfect. Texas has been an event with protests, drama, delays, and bad accidents in years past so it seems like they finally got this layout to work and I am looking forward to it next season.

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9. Looking Ahead to a Possible Lackluster Irwindale?
Chris Forsberg finished second at Texas after beating Aasbo in the Great 8 which kind of puts a damper on the Formula Drift Irwindale drama. With a podium or finishing two places about Aasbo at Irwindale Forsberg will lock down his third championship. Considering he has hopped on the podium the last six events in a row it seems like it could happen again. Vaughn is eliminated if Forsberg lands in the Great 8 so really it’s a repeat of last year at Irwindale with a larger points gap.
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8. Where Did It All Go Wrong for Chelsea DeNofa?
Chelsea DeNofa made some serious efforts to run this weekend in Texas by loaning a local Pro Am car and giving it hell but you have to wonder where it all went wrong. Just six months ago we watched DeNofa win his first career event and establish himself as a championship player. Two events later he was removed from grid for having glue on his tires and now after seven rounds he finds himself in 15th place and 288 points behind Chris Forsberg. Talk about the highs and lows of a Formula Drift season.

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7. Has Kenneth Moen Thrown in the Towel?
Kenneth Moen missed another round of Formula Drift and currently sits 29th in the championship points standings. In a realistic world, if the grid was more complete he would be relegated to Pro 2 for next season with a points score of 136 points through seven rounds. His style is so awesome it will be a shame if he doesn’t return for 2017.

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2016 HGK 10th Anniversary Drift Challenge [RESULTS]

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Famed Latvian drift team HGK celebrated their tenth anniversary with a shootout that included several top name drivers in the sport who they are proud to call their friends. American drivers Chelsea Denofa, Ryan Tuerck, and Matt Powers all made their way out to Latvia for the shootout, driving in well-equipped cars against some of the best drivers from Eastern Europe. In the end, Polish driver Piotr Wiecek took the top spot, narrowly taking out his Budmat Auto teammate David Karkosik in the final. The consolation round was an All-American affair, where Chelsea Denofa piloted an E92 chassis past Ryan Tuerck’s borrowed E46 chassis for the final podium position at Bikernieki raceway. We’ve been told that some pretty awesome videos will be dropping shortly from Donut Media, so keep an eye out for those.

Final Results from the HGK Challenge are as follows:

1st – Piotr Wiecek
2nd – David Karkosik
3rd – Chelsea DeNofa
4th – Ryan Tuerck

2016 Formula Drift Round 6 in Seattle Qualifying [RESULTS]

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Wow, Vaughn Gittin Jr. stole first place with the last run of the day. Patrick Mordaunt crashed in practice and was unable to make it to the line and as a result finished 33rd and is out of the show. Ryan Tuerck had to call a competition timeout to make his run but ended up with a last minute 88 on his second pass to sit him in 11th. Odi Bakchis held first place for almost all of qualifying to have it snatched away based on a tie-breaker. Here is how it finished:

1. Vaughn Gittin Jr. 91
2. Odi Bakchis 91
3. Tyler McQuarrie 90
4. Mike Essa 90
5. Chris Forsberg 89
6. Ken Gushi 89
7. Fredric Aasbo 89
8. Matt Coffman 89
9. Mad Mike Whiddett 89
10. Matt Field 88
11. Ryan Tuerck 88
12. Dai Yoshihara 87
13. Tanner Foust 85
14. Kenneth Moen 84
15. Forrest Wang 84
16. Kristaps Bluss 83
17. Dean Kearney 82
18. Geoff Stoneback 82
19. Charles Ng 81
20. Justin Pawlak 81
21. Alex Heilbrunn 81
22. Robbie Nishida 79
23. Juha Rintanen 78
24. Alec Hohnadell 77
25. Andrew Gray 77
26. Kyle Mohan 74
27. Jeff Jones 73
28. Cameron Moore 72
29. Jhonnathan Castro 72
30. Pat Goodin 71
31. Chelsea DeNofa 69
32.Faruk Kugay 68

Left Tandem Bracket
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Faruk Kugay
Kristaps Bluss vs. Dean Kearney

Matt Coffman vs. Andrew Gray
Mad Mike Whiddett vs. Alec Hohnadell

Mike Essa vs. Jhonnathan Castro
Tanner Foust vs. Justin Pawlak

Chris Forsberg vs. Cameron Moore
Dai Yoshihara vs. Alex Heilbrunn

Right Tandem Bracket
Odi Bakchis vs. Chelsea DeNofa
Forrest Wang vs. Geoff Stoneback

Fredric Aasbo vs. Kyle Mohan
Matt Field vs. Juha Rintanen

Tyler McQuarrie vs. Pat Goodin
Kenneth Moen vs. Charles Ng

Ken Gushi vs. Jeff Jones
Ryan Tuerck vs. Robbie Nishida

2016 Formula Drift Round 5 in Canada Qualifying [RESULTS]

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Forrest Wang got pretty wild with a top qualifying run after coming out of retirement (watch run). Only 28 drivers made the trek over the border and just 27 of them managed to get a score. Tyler McQuarrie crashed in practice and was unable to fix the car before his qualifying runs. The notable drivers we documented missing from this weekend were Pat Morduant, Kristaps Bluss, Alex Heilbrunn, Kenneth Moen, and Jeff Jones were all missing from the roster. Local star Marc Landerville was added to the competition this weekend and he managed to qualify 11th. Here is how the scores stacked up:

1. Forrest Wang 92
2. Ryan Tuerck 89
3. Justin Pawlak 89
4. Chelsea DeNofa 88
5. Fredric Aasbo 88
6. Dai Yoshihara 88
7. Alec Hohnadell 87
8. Odi Bakchis 86
9. Matt Field 85
10. Chris Forsberg 85
11. Marc Landerville 84
12. Pat Goodin 84
13. Matt Coffman 83
14. Vaughn Gittin Jr. 83
15. Kyle Mohan 81
16. Andrew Gray 81
17. Geoff Stoneback 81
18. Ken Gushi 80
19. Michael Essa 80
20. Charles Ng 79
21. Robbie Nishida 79
22. Dean Kearney 79
23. J Castro 77
24. Cameron Moore 75
25. Mad Mike Whiddett 73
26. Faruk Kugay 70
27. Juha Rintanen 56
28. Tyler McQuarrie 0 (DNR)

Left Bracket
Forrest Wang vs. BYE
Andrewy Gray vs. Geoff Stoneback
Odi Bakchis vs. Mad Mike Whiddett
Matt Field vs. Cameron Moore
Chelsea DeNofa vs. BYE
Matt Coffman vs. Charles Ng
Fredric Aasbo vs. BYE
Pat Goodin vs. Robbie Nishida

Right Bracket
Ryan Tuerck vs. BYE
Kyle Mohan vs. Ken Gushi
Alec Hohnadell vs. Faruk Kugay
Chris Forsberg vs. J Castro
Justin Pawlak vs. BYE
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Michael Essa
Dai Yoshihara vs. Juha Rintanen
Marc Landerville vs. Dean Kearney

Chelsea DeNofa on Practice at Formula Drift Canada [VIDEO]

The newest track on the Formula Drift circuit this year proves to have some challenges and technical challengers all drivers. Chelsea DeNofa released another Say Howdy Get Rowdy video to highlight how practice is looking for his team yesterday. If you are stuck at work, don’t forget you can follow us all day for qualifying/practice updates over at twitter.com/wreckedmagazine

10 Things I Learned About Formula Drift Orlando

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10. Can Jhonnattan Castro Keep Finding that Potential?
The last time I remember Castro driving this good was at Homestead in Miami two season ago. He actually looked solid and consistent out of the box and it wasn’t the biggest shock to me when he took out Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Top 16. Jhonnattan needs to spend some serious time figuring out why he manages to drift so good in Florida. I cannot figure out if its because he is close to home, the humidity, his family/friends around, or just a random round he focuses in on drifting. He has the driver ability and talents in my eyes. Now, he just needs to dig up what makes him more focused and repeat repeat repeat.

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9. Chris Forsberg’s 370z Looked Slow and Off the Pace
This season seems to of left behind Chris Forsberg’s 370z in terms of pace and speed around the course. All weekend at Orlando Speed World his car looked visually slower than some other teams on the grid. This was highlighted in a major way with his battle against Kristaps Bluss in the Final Four. If you watch the runs, Forsberg enters on Bluss door but then the BMW just powers through the course and speeds up at angle around the bank and Forsberg’s 370z cannot seem to do that. The car isn’t so slow that is belongs in Pro 2 or anything but his speed while drifting could make the difference between a third championship and finishing fourth place.

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8. Drifting without Tires
The rule changes with a tire debead seemingly have confused about 90% of Formula Drift fans out there. I will try and clear it up quickly but it might require its own follow up post. Last year the rule was – a tire debead at anytime in a tandem battle resulted in a loss. In 2016, the rules state you cannot fix a tire debead but it does not result or impact a zero score. So, for example, Jeff Jones in qualifying lost a tire and kept drifting around the course. He was given a 70 for his run and the tire had no impact directly on the score but you have to imagine it slowed him down impacting his score from him having say, four tires. So, if you are in the first part of a tandem battle, you lose, because a car without a tire doesn’t pass tech to run again. If its the second run of a battle and you can keep going then its fair game. Now, here are the list of battles impacted by this rule. I respect Formula Drift for putting a line in the sand and I think teams need to figure out other ways than running 11 PSI in tires to get grip out of the car. Also, in the case of JTP – let the dude put air in his tires for crying out loud after contact and deflation.

1. Nate Hamilton Pro 2 Top 16 Battle (Loss Due to Tire Debead)
2. Mad Mike Whiddett Top 32 Battle versus Ken Gushi (Loss Due to First Round)
3. Fredric Aasbo Top 16 Battle vs Kyle Mohan (Loss Tire in follow and still won)
4. Justin Pawlak Top 16 Battle after contact with Forsberg (Ran but Spun Due to Low Tire Pressure)
5. Fredric Aasbo Final 4 Battle with Tyler McQuarrie (Lost on First Run and Tire Remounted)

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Chelsea Denofa removed from competition in Orlando due to technical violation

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During the Top 32 tandem competition, Chelsea Denofa was sent off the starting line, giving Jhonnattan Castro a bye to face Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Top 16. At the time, it was mentioned that Denofa was disqualified due to a technical issue, but no explanation was given via the PA system or livestream. Later, it was discovered that some sort of adhesive was used between the tire and the rim.

Formula Drift issued an ‘official statement’ around the decision:

Car #88 driven by Chelsea Denofa was disqualified from the Round of 32 due to a violation of the2016 Formula Drift Pro Technical Rules and Regulations US Version 2.0.  It was discovered that a chemical adhesive was used to bond the tire to the wheel.  Additional aids, such as chemical adhesives used to prevent the tire from debeading allows teams to run tire pressures lower than those that do not use additional aids, which is specifically in violation of Section 3.6.  Denofa will still receive qualifying points but will not receive any head-to-head competition points for this Round.

Section 3.6 

WHEELS Beadlocks, wheel screws and any additional form of attachment device between wheel and tire is prohibited.

Chelsea Denofa made the following post on Facebook, which he mirrored on Instagram. In one of his interactions on his Facebook, he asked if adhesive should be considered ‘a device’.

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“Mad” Mike Whiddett was disqualified from his battle with Gushi due to debeading a tire and not being allowed to change the tire between runs, but several other drivers have had issues in previous rounds of both Pro 2 and Pro competition. In past seasons, debeading a tire during competition was considered a 0 for that run, but the rule was changed this year to allow you to finish the run and still be judged on the run.

Removing the 16 points Chelsea would have earned in his top 32 battle moves Denofa from 6th overall to 8th overall. We’ve updated our Points Standings post to reflect this

What are your thoughts on this? Should drivers be allowed to use adhesive or glue to prevent tires from de-beading? Should a debeaded tire be an automatic zero like in past years?

10 Things I Learned at Formula Drift Road Atlanta

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10. Is Dai Yoshihara Finally Back?
Watching Dai Yoshihara in qualifying I felt he was looking really good and finally putting some runs together. I looked over at Chelsea DeNofa’s spotter in fact (and told him that Dai Yoshihara would win the event during practice). Sadly, Vaughn Gittin Jr. spoiled my prediction but Dai Yoshihara is starting to look back to his old self. He has been a driver looking really short on confidence so perhaps the return to the podium will help him remember what winning feels like. This was his first podium since Long Beach in 2013. His car has looked far behind the other 86/BRZ chassis in the sport but maybe this was the start of his comeback tour!

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9.Alec Hohnadell Will Win An Event This Year
Alec Hohnadell has grown and developed faster than almost any drifter I have seen. The kid is world class and knows how to win things. His progression in Formula Drift is clear and I think he got a bad call in his Final Four battle with Dai Yoshihara (and actually won). Watching the battle more and more, it really seems like Alec Hohnadell should of been in the finals. I don’t think he should lose sleep over this at all however. Sometimes calls will go your way and sometimes they won’t go in your favor. I do think across these next six rounds he will score his first event victory. He currently sits 10th in the championship after his fourth place finish this weekend.

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8. Road Atlanta Highlights Pro 2 Behind the Curve
Pro 2 was ugly and borderline unwatchable this weekend. Drifters couldn’t enter right, couldn’t stop spinning, and also couldn’t manage to tandem. I almost want to pretend the new Pro 2 season didn’t start this weekend. Jeff Jones, Marc Landerville, and Ryan Litteral all had solid performances but that is about where it stopped for me. The event was slow and especially hard to watch as a fan. Perhaps, the need for a perfect line to run Road Atlanta well was just too much for these younger drifters. My vote is to remove Road Atlanta from the 2017 Pro 2 calendar and pretend this event never happened. I am hoping for vast improvements at Orlando Speed World.

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