Forrest Wang

2014 Vegas Drift Round 4 Introduction and Top 16 [RECAP]

VegasDrift
Just in time for Round 4 of the Vegas Drift Pro Am Championship at the Outside Road Course of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, new pavement was laid down and would look to shake things up in the points. As grip increased, so did the excitement and close calls which lead to a great event at the end of the day!

Four days prior to Round 4 on Saturday Las Vegas Motor Speedway finished repaving the surface of the Outside Road Course. Not only that, but parts of the former course were laid back down with fresh pavement and allowed Vegas Drift staff to create a new, exciting course that would be very D1 styled as it was fast, short, and deceivingly technical.

VegasDriftRound4
Drivers would charge down the straight, heading towards the “Alamo”. They would then initiate into drifting right on the edge of the pavement just a few feet from the retaining wall. This double apex turn would lead to the first clipping point and continue the right hand turn. Immediately the drivers would have to transition to a right-left s-turn with two front clipping points for each before apex ending the course on the last straight.

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10 Things I Learned from Formula Drift Round 3 This Weekend

10. Car-​to​-​ Car Contact ​i​​s Becoming More Common
ChelseaDeNofa.TylerMcQuarrie.Crash
This is the best car -​to​-​car contact of the season to date! ​Chelsea ​DeNofa just managed to connect with Tyler McQuarrie wheel​-​to​-​ wheel​, throwing him airborne. Do you remember the accident that happened when these guys met at Wall Speedway in 2012? In case you don’t, here is the video. Quite a bit of other car ​-​to​-​car contact happened this weekend​,​ including some nice banging around with Matt Field and Chris Forsberg in the ​F​inal ​F​our. Keep an eye on this to be a theme through 2014.

9. Matt Field Deserves a Tip of the Hat
MattField
I will never forget the day the world discovered Matt Field as a serious American drifter. It was back at Irwindale Speedway when he sent Daigo Saito into a two OMT battle before finally ​losing to Saito. Something interesting I have noticed since then is ​Field does exceptionally​ well at new tracks where all drivers start without data. Look back to 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway and this weekend at Homestead. This tells me​, as he drives these tracks and learns what he needs to make things work​, ​​he will be a championship contender.
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2014 Formula Drift Round 3 at Miami Homestead Qualifying [RESULTS]

ChrisForsberg

Chris Forsberg won top qualifying circumstances in such odd conditions due to tiebreakers. The reason he won top qualifier today was due to him being first in the championship. Dai Yoshihara never turned a wheel in qualifying due to mechanical issues just like Round 2 in Road Atlanta. The other big name who failed to make Top 32 was Daigo Saito who continues to struggle through the 2014 season. Here is how the Top 32 finished:

1. Chris Forsberg- 89
2. Vaughn Gittin Jr.- 89
3. Kenneth Moen- 86
4. Conrad Grunewald- 86
5. Forrest Wang- 85
6. Tyler McQuarrie- 85
7. Fredric Aasbo- 84
8. Justin Pawlak- 83
9. Ken Gushi- 81
10. Alec Hohnadell- 81
11. Chelsea DeNofa- 81
12. Odi Bakchis- 80
13. Matt Field- 80
14. Charles Ng- 79
15. Jhonnathan Castro- 77
16. Ryan Tuerck- 77
17. Dan Savage- 77
18. Mats Baribeau- 76
19. Dave Briggs- 76
20. Michael Essa- 76
21. Geoff Stoneback- 75
22. Pat Goodin- 74
23. Carl Ryquist- 74
24. Robbie Nishida- 74
25. Jeff Jones- 73
26. Matt Coffman- 72
27. Kyle Mohan- 71
28. Dennis Mertzanis- 71
29. Dean Kearney- 70
30. Darren McNamara- 69
31. Danny George- 69
32. Tony Angelo- 68

Top 32 Tandem Battles (Edit: Bold names won the top 32 matchup)
Chris Forsberg vs. Tony Angelo
Ryan Tuerck vs. Rapper Dan Savage
Justin Pawlak vs. Jeff Jones
Ken Gushi vs. Robbie Nishida
Conrad Grunewald vs. Dean Kearney
Matt Field vs. Michael Essa
Forrest Wang vs. Dennis Mertzanis
Odi Bakchis vs. Geoff Stoneback

Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Danny George
Jhonnathan Castro vs. Mats Baribeau
Fredric Aasbo vs. Matt Coffman
Alec Hohnadell vs. Carl Rydquist
Kenneth Moen vs. Darren McNamara
Charles Ng vs. Dave Briggs
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Kyle Mohan
Chelsea DeNofa vs. Pat Goodin

2014 Formula Drift Road Atlanta – Through the Rain – Qualifying [RESULTS]

ForrestWang

During a southern downpour qualifying continued and ran 4 hours in time. Drivers were given a tester/feel lap then had to go and make a judged run right after. The track started to dry up about halfway through the second passes which is the result of the big points gap in the scores.

1. Forrest Wang
2. Tyler McQuarrie
3. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
4. Ryan Tuerck
5. Chris Forsberg
6. Chelsea DeNofa
7. Ken Gushi
8. Fredric Aasbo
9. Conrad Grunewald
10. Jhonnattan Castro
11. Kenneth Moen
12. Kuniaki Takahashi*
13. Odi Bakchis
14. Justin Pawlak
15. Kyle Mohan
16. Daigo Saito
17. Danny George
18. Darren McNamara
19. Pat Goodin
20. Michael Essa
21. Charles Ng
22. Dai Yoshihara
23. Dean Kearney
24. Marc Landerville
25. Matt Field
26. Ryan Kado
27. Alec Hohnadell*
28. Rapper Dan Savage*
29. Patrick Mordaunt
30. Geoff Stoneback*
31. Robbie Nishida
32. Jeff Jones

 

Top 32 Tandem Battles
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Tire Logos are a Possible New Formula Drift Rule in 2015

Hankook.TireLabel

A buzz around the paddock at Round 1 is a future requirement to require writing/logos displayed on tires. This image of Forrest Wang’s wheel shows what the branding would look like on all tires in the future.  I’ve been told one of the reasons for this rule would be to make wheel speed much more noticeable or changes in speed easier to spot with the naked eye. What are your thoughts on this possible new rule?

2014 Formula Drift Round 1 – A Review of the Top 16

MichaelEssa

Many people have pointed out to me that the first battle of the Top 16 was poorly judged. I have now watched it over 25 times from Livestream and reviewed my notes. Everyone seems to take issue with Michael Essa’s follow run, which I do agree was piss poor. You cannot see but he straightens out big time coming out of turn 10 following Mats. One issue I blame on the Livestream for not having cameras on the inside of the track for viewing/critique.
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Motegi $25k Super Drift at Long Beach Grand Prix [RESULTS]

DaigoSaito

The Motegi Super Drift Battle took place in front of a huge crowd tonight at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Some controversial runs and battles took place under the lights on the Grand Prix circuit. Many drivers used backup cars or alternative vehicles but the few drivers who brought out their pro cars swept the final four. The fans even took to heckling the judges with “boo’s” after several calls including the Odi Bakchis vs. Michael Essa tandem runs. Another interesting fact is that a telemetry system was put into testing for this event. No word on if anything will come of it during the championship points rounds but I am told it is the same system being used in King of Europe. Here is how the podium finished up for the weekend:

1. Daigo Saito
2. Kenneth Moen
3. Forrest Wang
4. Michael Essa

Motegi Super Drift $25k Challenge Qualifying [RESULTS]

ForrestWang

Motegi Super Drift $25k Challenge has wrapped up day one with practice and qualifying! Dennis Mertzanis and Brandon Wicknick never managed to make a pass and Robbie Nishida lost his hood due to it not being latched on the first pass. Everyone else successfully gained a score for the weekend. He is how they finished:

1. Forrest Wang – 87
2. Daigo Saito – 85
3. Odi Bakchis – 84
4. Kenneth Moen – 84
5. Fredric Aasbo – 81
6. Michael Essa – 80
7. Dean Kearney – 76
8. Toshiki Yoshioka – 70
9. Jeff Jones – 69
10. Ryan Kado – 66
11. Kuniaki Takahashi – 62
12. Charles Ng – 59
13. Kyle Mohan – 50
14. Robbie Nishida – 0
15. Brandon Wicknick – 0
16. Dennis Mertzanis – 0

 

Top 16 Tandem Pairings
Forrest Wang vs. Dennis Mertzanis
Daigo Saito vs. Brandon Wicknick
Odi Bakchis vs. Robbie Nishida
Kenneth Moen vs. Kyle Mohan
Fredric Aasbo vs. Charles Ng
Micahel Essa vs. Kuniaki Takahashi
Dean Kearney vs. Ryan Kado
Toshiki Yoshioka vs. Jeff Jones

Motegi Wheels $25k Super Drift Challenge [DRIVERS LIST]

MattPowers

This weekend during the Long Beach Grand Prix selected drivers have been entered to participate in the Motegi Super Drift Challenge for a big purse of $25,000 on the line. Qualifying happens Friday night at 7:00pm during the Long Beach Grand Prix and the main event tandem competition takes place Saturday at 7:00pm! Here is the drivers list:

Odi Bakchis
Fredric Aasbo
Ryan Kado
Mike Essa
Robbie Nishida
Dean Kearney
Brandon Wicknick
Forrest Wang
Dennis Mertzanis
Charles Ng
Jeff Jones
Kenneth Moen
Toshiki Yoshioka
Kyle Mohan
Kuniaki Takahashi
Daigo Saito

2014 Formula Drift Round 1 – A Review of the Top 32

MichaelEssa

Michael Essa qualified first this weekend – backing up his top qualifying spot at Irwindale Speedway last year. This makes two events in a row with a top qualifying spot for his E46 BMW. His first battle of the weekend was against Jeremy Richter who zeroed out on his follow run and then called a competition timeout. He was unable to return to the event and gave Michael Essa a pass to the Top 16.

PatMordaunt.BlownMotor

Pat Mordaunt blew his second engine of the week in the final practice session and gave Mats Baribeau and easy pass into the Top 16. His Hyundai Genesis (with red seats – not to be confused with Dennis Mertzanis’ Genesis that has black seats) retained the V6 Lambda motor which has continued to be a problem setup for the ARK team.ChelseaDeNofa.DennisMertzanis

Chelsea DeNofa was seemingly on his way to a victory over Dennis Mertzanis when his car shut off right by the horseshoe exit. Sources tell me he broke an axle and the mechanical gremlins continue to fall apart with the build. Dennis was given an easy pass to the Top 16 in his 1000hp Hyundai.

ForrestWang.CarlRyqduist

These guys were the first Top 32 battle to actually make two successful passes on the weekend. In the lead run Carl made a huge error resulting in a zero from the judges or a huge deduction. Forrest Wang on his follow run just sat back a little took it easy, which got him into the Top 16. All three judges favored Forrest Wang to move on.

GeoffStoneback.KennethMoen

Geoff Stoneback was the highlighted rookie of this weekend. After overcoming transport issues and clutch issues he managed to drive his way into the Top 32. He was sent packing by Kenneth Moen after two battles, but proved as a rookie he can overcome the diversity of the sport. Kenneth also looked unbeatable through most of the weekend.

The highlight of this tandem battle was the big wreck on Kyle Mohan’s follow run. These guys actually put on the best show of the weekend until Kyle planted his car into the wall, shattering his wheel. Robbie actually spins in a separate incident (off camera to LiveStream viewers) resulting in both drivers getting a 0 on the second run. The judges, after reviewing the first tandem battle where Kyle Mohan led gave, him the victory.

KyleMohan.Damage

Kyle and his team borrowed some taillights from a car in their paddock and got to work on replacements. Speaking with Kyle after the round, the team managed to get the car back on the road with a new wheel, brake lines, other small items, and one serious alignment. He does get the car back on track for the Top 16 introductions which is quite impressive!

MarcLanderville

Marc Landerville and Fredric Aasbo was another actually solid battle. Marc maybe even had a slight advantage after the first run groupings but really messed up his exit on turn 10 and went way shallow. That was the nail in his coffin and allowing Fredric to advance into the 16. All three judges picked Fredric to advance into 16.JCastro.ConradGrunewald

Jhonnattan Castro looked impressive in his CFR built Nissan 370z this weekend, but ran a little too conservative to defeat Conrad Grunewald in the Camaro. Castro looked far improved from any performance he had given in the past. Conrad really outshined him on the chase run letting Conrad move into the 16.

DaveBriggs.VaughnGittinJr

Dave Briggs was on fire with his performance over the weekend. In fact, he was putting out WAY more smoke than Vaughn Gittin Jr. throughout these battles. He drove Vaughn to a OMT after the first set of runs. Dave Briggs had an insane lead run and Vaughn Gittin Jr. made contact with the wall throwing him off line through turn 10. After the contact Dave has a huge correction, forcing the judges into a OMT. All three judges called for the first OMT battle.

During the OMT battle, Dave  fell a little behind on the follow run probably leaving him at a slight disadvantage as Vaughn went wall to wall without hesitation. Briggs’ lead run was awesome but he couldn’t make up the big amount of space he left when chasing Vaughn. All three judges favored Vaughn to advance!

DeanKearney

The Irish battle took place with Dean Kearney facing Darren McNamara. Dean looked insane with the Dodge Viper when he could complete the course. He was bringing out one aggressive snap entry into 10 and flying through the course. After watching both runs again and again after the event, I think the judges could of taken this either way. The judges really should of sent this battle to a OMT in my opinion, but they ended up calling it all three for Darren McNamara.

DaiYoshihara

Neither of these drivers were excited about this Top 32 draw. Dai Yoshihara in a new twin turbo V8 Subaru BRZ surely wanted an easier tandem partner for his first competition round in the new car. Chris Forsberg showed little remorse with two insanely solid runs dispatching Dai in the Subaru BRZ. All three judges favored with Chris Forsberg to move into the 16.

PatGoodin.DaigoSaito

Pat Goodin and Daigo Saito was one for the ages! Pat Goodin actually out qualified Daigo Saito so he was given the ability to lead first. Daigo was glued to Pat Goodin and didn’t give him enough space to transition heading into the horseshoe. Daigo smashed into his rear quarter panel leaving his bumper behind.

Sadly for Daigo Saito he already used his competition timeout in qualifying so he was unable to fix his car. Daigo attempted to bring the car out back to the start line but clearly had a serious front suspension issue and had to let Pat Goodin advance into the Top 16.

TylerMcQuarrie

Tyler McQuarrie and Tony Angelo was a tame contest. Tyler was just clearly faster around the course and easily dispatched Tony Angelo who experienced various driveline issues throughout the week.

KenGushi.OdiBakchis

Ken Gushi and Odi Bakchis was one of my favorite battles of the Top 32. Odi Bakchis had an insane chase really showing he has progressed a ton in the off-season. In the photo above, Odi Bakchis is so close you cannot even see his car buried by Ken Gushi’s Scion FR-S. All three judges easily went with Odi Bakchis to move into the 16.

JTP.FordMustang

Justin Pawlak stole the playbook from old Falken Tire teammate Haraguchi and used a feint entry into Turn 9. Why the judges or anyone said this was okay is beyond me! He continued this entry to gap drivers on his lead and then dove in normally on his follow run. It was kind of a lame strategy but the judges allowed this to take place.

Justin then parked it (hence the photo) on his second run and didn’t take off. He claimed Jeff Jones jumped the light and he couldn’t catch up. Jeff Jones ran the whole course in quite an impressive fashion but managed to break an axle before he returned. Jeff Jones called a competition time out but couldn’t fix his car, so JTP was allowed to advance into the 16. It was quite a strategic play overall from his perspective , but really sold the fans short of a good battle.

AlecHohnadell

Alec Hohnadell was the one of the three rookies to qualify into the Top 32. In his follow, run he really held his own following Ryan Tuerck with only a minor steering correction as his only deduction. In the end, Ryan Tuerck dismissed the rookie but he really performed well. I feel like with an easier draw in the 32, Alec could have advanced into the Top 16.

 

This wraps up the Top 32 round guys and we will have a Top 16 to podium summary also coming out very soon!