Meet Geoff Stoneback—he is 27 years old and currently residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Why is this name so important? Well for starters he recently earned his Formula Drift (FD) Pro license through the Midwest Drift Union (MDU) Pro-Am Series. His LS2 S14 has led him to several victories—he is the series champion with MDU and the US Drift Pro-Am series, took 2nd place at Holley LS Fest, and took a recent first place finish at the latest Lone Star round in Texas. He has been traveling a ton this last season and has been dominating almost every event he’s driven in.
Check out a showcase of Stoneback’s driving this season in this awesome video by Brian Casse:
Stoneback learned about drifting from his close friend, or “bro” as he puts it Jordan Lampkin, about seven years ago. He eventually purchased his first Zenki and totaled his car (drifting on the streets) within the first week of having the car. After many adventures on the streets with some of his drifting buddies, Stoneback stumbled upon the famous East Coast grassroots series, Club Loose. Club Loose is known for producing some of the best drivers in the industry, including Stoneback. Some even say Stoneback is a Daigo look alike. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge–
Continue reading to learn about his journey in becoming an FD licensed driver and why he is a major contender for becoming the 2014 FD Rookie of the Year.
Q: Will we be seeing you in FD next year? If so, which events?
A: We would love to compete in the 2014 Formula Drift series as that is our goal. When we were at Texas for Lone Star Drift Pro-Am, we saw how [much] car set up matters. I think Horse Power is 1/3 of a successful car, but the major thing I think is suspension set up. The way the cars squat and hook like Forsberg, Dai, Powers, even privateers like Chelsea, Fields, and J-Lows is insane. We could get 800 WHP but if we can’t get the car to grip up we’ve failed. We don’t want to fail. We will develop the car in the off season and go from there. We’ll just have to wait and see…
Q: What’s your most memorable/proudest moment in your drift career?
A: I think the most MEMORABLE moments in drifting for me is just having fun with my bros at Club Loose. We always have great tandems and it’s just a big family trying to help each other out whether it’s a driver that has just started or a seasoned veteran. Everyone is feeding off of each other and it’s awesome. On or off track Club Loose has giving me times I’ll never forget.I think the proudest moment in my drift career has been this 2013 season. Last year, we finished 5th in the Midwest Drift Union while only competing in 2/4 events. We had in our schedule a full season of the Midwest Drift Union, but as the season neared, US DRIFT revived their Pro-Am series, so we signed up for that too. With a tight schedule and travels doubled, we would try to “replicate” as best as we could what it would be like to do Formula Drift in the travel and budget area. We had some ups and downs throughout the season, but we ended up winning the championship in both Pro-Am series as well as 1st place finish at Lone Star Drift at Formula D round 6 in Texas and a 2nd place finish at Holley LS fest. We’ve had a podium at every event except for US DRIFT round 2 where we finished 4th and US DRIFT round 3 we finished 6th. It isn’t easy to balance two Pro-Am series, the budget, the travel, the long weekends away from family while also sticking to our roots and keep drifting fun but I feel that we did a pretty decent job.
Q: What kinds of backing will you have for next season? Will you be making any changes to the car?
A: Monster Clutches out of Texas and TEIN suspension will definitely be with us for next season. They both make quality parts that can stand up to the abuse and can trust. We have developed a great relationship with both companies that should last for years to come. Obviously the HP game between Pro-Am and FD is ridiculous. We will shoot for more HP but suspension is our big focus over the off season. [Money] can always buy HP but it takes brains to make the suspension work.
Q: You have a unique and aggressive driving style. Give us some background on how you developed your technique.
A: I first started watching Japanese drift videos. The way their car looks and the way that [they put] the car into a turn was insane. There weren’t really much US drifting videos so I just watched all these J dudes and tried to read the subtitles… Then I found grip video and it’s pretty funny now that I think about it. I saw when Forsberg and JR were beardless. Forrest Wang and Ross Petty were still in Hawaii. Now at Club Loose I’m on grid with all those DA dudes and Thrash brothers and [I’m] like “wow this is awesome”. Seeing dudes like Forrest Wang come from a small drifting community years ago and then ripping at FD is sick. If you told me 5 years ago “You’d be driving with these dudes” I’d probably laugh and tell you to shut it.
I guess my style developed from watching all these J dudes and the guys at CL. Traveling to different regions also helps you develop style and technique. The Midwest has such a different style of driving from the East coast dudes and it goes for EVERY other region. People should travel and experience it firsthand. It definitely helps your driving. Matt Petty will also tell you in a way that your driving is boring and make it look cooler. lol I guess that’s a big influence too.
Q: If you could choose one superhero power to have, what would it be and how would you utilize it within the realm of drifting?
A: If I could have a super hero power… it would be Dhalsim from Street fighter. Think about it, if you need a tool and you’re already underneath your car you wouldn’t have to get up. In tandem you could also knock your opponents shifter out of gear… it’s a win-win
Q: What do you do when you’re not at the track?
A: When I’m not at the track I’m honing my skills in Ping-Pong. I recently got married over the summer. My wife and I have a beautiful daughter together. If I’m not working on my car or at work I’m spending as much time as home as possible.
Q: Any advice to any aspiring professional drifters out there?
A: 1: KEEP IT FUN. If you’re not having fun seriously stop and find something else.
2: Stick to number 1
3. Always remember where you started drifting and those that helped you… it will humble you and in a way make you appreciate everything that’s involved in drifting that you normally wouldn’t think of
Q: What is the funniest or most embarrassing moment you’ve had while drifting?
A: Haha the funniest moment in drifting was Brian Hop aka Hop Quake aka Colonel Mustard and I were in tandem. We are coming to this straight away and we had some space between us but it kept it floored, making him accelerate through the straight. I came up to his right and for some reason he tried to drive through a 10×10 canopy tent…. (Which we still have no idea why it was there) he was seriously flying through the tent and I thought he had it until pieces of his mirror went into my lap, we got to grid and were cracking up the whole day.
The most embarrassing moment of drifting I think was the time I was driving E-town and I was coming around the hairpin and seriously right after the hairpin my hood just flew up and smashed my windshield. Shitty part was that this happened right in front of EVERYONE… I still laugh about it to this day.
Q: Why drifting versus some other form of racing?
A: I tried the drag racing thing and it just wasn’t fun. Everyone sort of keeps to themselves. What I like about drifting is that when you go to a different track, there’s different ways of initiating, different ways to transfer into turns. There’s different tracks and styles at each place to you go, you’ll learn something new every time. What I like about drifting is that it’s like one big family. No one else gives high fives after races or tells each other “Yo that was sick”! I’ve made some lifelong friends in drifting where I think drag racing or circuit racing it never would have happened. Plus I don’t think Nascar likes Asians.
Q: List any sponsors and affiliates.
A: ‘d like to thank Paul and everyone over at TEIN suspension. Steve and the guys over at Monster Clutches. Thank you to the guys at RT tuning for taking care of the tuning and alignments over the years. Eric and Ken at Kenda Tires, Nick at Elite JDM, Brian at JT motoring, Rays engineering, Martin over at Liquid Powder Coats, my Baloney bros at Baloney kids thanks for all the last minute vinyl, Mark Lenardon,Tanner and Larry Munson, Frank at RaceTune, Casse films, all of the Media guys (you know who you are <3)
To my BRG crew worldwide what’s up?!
To the MDU and US DRIFT Staff: Thank you for a fun season… but I’m still a US drift driver at heart (P.S. where’s that article Edgar?)
A huge thanks to everyone at Club Loose: staff and drivers every event is awesome and makes me love drifting even more
I can’t forget the dude behind the scenes Dan Popowich, dude is a beast! Find him on tinder ladies haha
Last and not least I’d like to thank my wife Linda, daughter Arivana, Mom and Carl for always supporting me at my best and at my worst. Without you guys I wouldn’t be where I am today!