Joon Maeng

Joon Maeng Testing at Willow Springs – Shows off New Partner Maxxis Tire

Joon Maeng shows off his S13 Nissan 240sx at Willow Springs now on Maxxis MA-Z1 tires. This quick Instagram video doesn’t show much of the car in drifting action but nice to see Joon is getting some serious test time in with the new Maxxis tires before Round 1.

Nexen Plans Formula Drift Return with New Tire


According to TireBusiness the guys over at Nexen Tire are planning a return to Formula Drift in the future. It sounds like they are putting marketing efforts elsewhere while they develop a real top level tire in drifting. It sounds like once the new tire is developed they will make a return to Formula Drift in a big way. In fact, they are putting a focus on winning the series once they come back.

“We manufacture high-quality tires at a great value,” said Kyle Roberts, director of marketing at Nexen Tire, he continued, “and some of our patterns fit the need of casual drift enthusiasts perfectly. However, we are currently in the beginning stages of developing a competition tire that is designed to perform consistently at the high level demanded by us and our drivers.”



Vortech Superchargers Shows Joon Maeng’s Engine on Dyno [VIDEO]

Lucas Oil and Nexen Tire driver Joon Maeng produced an engine dyno video with Vortech Superchargers showing off his new engine program for 2014. The video doesn’t leave horsepower numbers but it sure sounds like a monster engine package. Hopefully losing Nexen Tire at the last minute hasn’t thrown a monkey wrench in his plans.

Nexen Tire Walks Away from Formula Drift Just One Month Before Season Starts


In what has to be the biggest head scratcher of the 2014 season is Nexen Tire leaving in the 11th hour just before the Formula Drift season starts. Close sources to the situation say everything was “green lighted” as far back as late 2013 for all these Nexen programs and no troubles cropped up until last week.

The rumor has it one particular driver from the Nexen program was complaining to upper management and Korea about tire issues they were having which some people are speculating to me is a major reason they are leaving. Other teams have confirmed that N9000 was a vast improvement from the N3000 an N6000 and provided drivers a relatively quality drift tire.

Regardless once the smoke clears it looks like several teams are going to be in a 30 day scramble to sign a new tire company which I feel like will be almost impossible since most budgets are long wrapped up. Odi Bakchis is the lucky one of the group who jumped ship to Nitto Tire it appears just in time.

2013 Formula Drift Irwindale Speedway – Tentative Drivers List

Here are the people who have paid and registered to drift next weekend at the House of Drift. The real strong title contenders are Mike Essa and Chris Forsberg and unless they drop the ball big time one of them is taking home a championship. If they both fail to advance a win could be taken by another driver to advance and win a championship as well. All eyes on Irwindale next weekend! Here is who is driving:
1 Essa, Mike 101
2 Forsberg, Chris 64
3 Aasbo, Fredric 151
4 Gittin, Vaughn Jr. 25
5 Saito, Daigo 1
6 Pawlak, Justin 13
7 Field, Matt 777
8 McNamara, Darren 8
9 Bakchis, Odi 723
10 Nishida, Robbie 31
11 Yoshihara, Daijiro 9
12 Grunewald, Conrad 79
13 Denofa, Chelsea 88
14 Moen, Kenneth 22
15 Powers, Matt 665
16 Tuerck, Ryan 62
17 George, Danny 7
18 McQuarrie, Tyler 17
19 Wang, Forrest 808
20 Kado, Ryan 614
21 Mordaunt, Patrick 90
22 Gushi, Ken 21
23 Yoshioka, Toshiki 104
24 Maeng, Joon 51
25 Aono, Taka 86
26 Ovcharik, Miroslav 235
27 Goodin, Patrick 46
28 Mohan, Kyle 99
29 Jones, Jeff 29
30 Angelo, Tony 96
31 Briggs, Dave 24
32 Baribeau, Mats* 30
33 Mertzanis, Dennis 323
34 Castro, Jhonnattan 717
35 Ward, Chris 23
36 Kearney, Dean 43
38 Wicknick, Brandon* 801
39 Parsons, Will* 48
40 Hamilton, Nate* 144
41 Hosford, Corey 232
42 Rydquist, Carl 300
44 Jeanneret, Chris* 111
45 Primozich, Rob* 3
46 Stone, Gabe 15
47 Mendoza Jr., Enrique 16
48 Wilkerson, Walker 95
49 Steele, Josh* 72
50 Moore, Victor 360
52 Hildebrand, J.R. 6
53 Pakula, Luke* 714
55 Lee, Alex 81
57 Osaki, Karl* 14
61 Cano Estrella, Carlos 10

2013 Formula Drift Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway Qualifying [RESULTS]

In the 1st Formula Drift event at Texas Motor Speedway Vaughn Gittin Jr takes home the top qualifying spot. The rest of the qualifying results and Top 32 match ups are below.

1. V. Gittin
2. F. Aasbo
3. C. Forsberg
4. F. Wang
5. O. Bakchis
6. D. Yoshihara
7. M. Essa
8. P. Mordaunt
9. C. Denofa
10. T. Yoshioka
11. M. Powers
12. K. Gushi
13. M. Field
14. J. Pawlak
15. M. Baribeau
16. T. Aono
17. C. Grunewald
18. M. Ovcharik
19. P. Goodin
20. W. Parsons
21. D. George
22. D. Saito
23. R. Primozich
24. R. Kado
25. D. Kearney
26. J. Maeng
27. K. Moen
28. R. Nishida
29. T. Angelo
30. J. Lowe
31. C. Jeaneret
32. G. Stone


Top 32 Match Battles

V. Gittin vs G. Stone
T. Aono vs C. Grunewald
P. Mordaunt vs D. Kearney
C. Denofa vs R. Kado
F. Wang vs T. Angelo
M. Field vs W. Parsons
O. Bakchis vs R. Nishida
K. Gushi vs D. George
F. Aasbo vs C. Jeaneret
M. Baribeau vs M. Ovcharik
M. Essa vs J. Maeng
T. Yoshioka vs R. Promozich
C. Forsberg vs J. Lowe
J. Paklak vs P. Goodin
D. Yoshihara vs K. Moen
M. Powers vs D. Saito

2013 Formula Drift Round 5 Evergreen Speedway – Practice/Qualifying [GALLERY]

Formula Drift witnessed a great practice/qualifying session at Evergreen Speedway with tons of big name drivers missing the first qualifying group and being forced back to the second qualifying session. Dennis Mertzanis did his best career qualifying position and local Chris Jeanneret drove his way into the Top 32 with a new motor program. Enjoy all the coverage from our northwest photographer Nelson Arya.

Check out the Gallery:

2013 Formula Drift Round 5 at Evergreen Speedway Qualifying [RESULTS]

Darren McNamara took down first place with a solid qualifying pass while tons of big names scored a 0 on the first run setting them to the back of the grid such as Ryan Tuerck, Daigo Saito, Kenneth Moen, and Robbie Nishida. A notable absence is Kyle Mohan who had steering rack issues and failed to qualify. Here is how the Top 32 wound up:

1. Darren McNamara
2. Fredric Aasbo
3. Matt Field
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
5. Odi Bakchis
6. Matt Powers
7. Toshiki Yoshioka
8. Ryan Kado
9. Michael Essa
10. Justin Pawlak
11. Chris Forsberg
12. Conrad Grunewald
13. Dennis Mertzanis
14. Dai Yoshihara
15. Tyler McQuarrie
16. Ken Gushi
17. Chelsea DeNofa
18. Kenneth Moen
19. Robbie Nishida
20. Taka Aono
21. Joon Maeng
22. Miro Ovcharik
23. Ryan Tuerck
24. Pat Goodin
25. Danny George
26. Daigo Saito
27. Jeff Jones
28. Tony Angelo
29. Chris Jeanneret
30. Pat Mordaunt
31. Jhnotthan Castro
32. Brandon Wicknick

Top 32 Tandem Battles:
Darren McNamara vs. Brandon Wicknick
Ken Gushi vs. Chelsea DeNofa
Ryan Kado vs. Danny George
Michael Essa vs. Pat Goodin
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Chris Jeanneret
Dennis Mertzanis vs. Taka Aono
Odi Bakchis vs. Tony Angelo
Conrad Grunewald vs. Joon Maeng
Fredric Aasbo vs. Jhonnthan Castro
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Kenneth Moen
Toshiki Yoshioka vs. Daigo Saito
Justin Pawlak vs. Ryan Tuerck
Matt Field vs. Patrick Mordaunt
Dai Yoshihara vs. Robbie Nishida
Matt Powers vs. Jeff Jones
Chris Forsberg vs. Miro Ovcharik

2013 Formula Drift Round 4 at Wall Speedway– Friday Qualifying/Practice [GALLERY]

One eventful practice and qualifying at Round 4 proved rather challenging to some drivers while others handled the course change quickly. The gallery compiles some of the great runs of the weekend in photograph form. Ryan Kado put down an amazing qualifying run that would of been a first place spot under the old rules. The new Wall Speedway is covered with “in bound” paint and a modified course eliminating the center crossover.

Check out the Gallery:

2013 Formula Drift Palm Beach Judging Clarification – Look at Joon Maeng vs. Tony Angelo

First, I would like to apologize to everyone for taking so long to get this written up and then thank everyone who voted. After the first day of voting, it looked like the Joon Maeng v. Tony Angelo tandem match would be the most voted on, but then there was another match that was rivaling it for a brief period, so we just wanted to make sure until the poll ended before we wrote up our breakdown. I believe the voting finally ended on Friday and between preparing for our event this weekend and my regular day job, I didn’t get a chance to combine everyone’s notes until after work on Wednesday.

In order to help explain this, I think we need to discuss in detail what it is that we look for in tandem. I know we touched on some key points after RD2 at Road Atlanta, but after RD3 it is apparent that there is still some information lost between us, the fans, and maybe even some teams. We are continually working to make this better, and we hope that when things aren’t as clearly defined or explained, people will constructively let us know so that we may continue to make adjustments and improvements.

We judge both Driver A and Driver B’s lead and chase runs as well as compare Driver A and Driver B’s lead and chase runs. The goal of Driver A and Driver B is to have a strong lead and chase run to advance. An ideal tandem matchup is when the lead driver adheres to the judges’ criteria as a lead driver which allows (and makes it possible) for the chase driver to anticipate the lead driver’s run for a fair battle.

Lead Driver:
The lead driver’s goal is to drift throughout the entire course outlined by the judges based on the judges’ criteria explained in the drivers’ meetings. This means to be on point at all of the clipping points, outer zones, and touch & go areas (if specified) with maximum angle and speed. The lead driver is not to deviate from the judges’ criteria in the lead driver position. If the lead driver does deviate from the judges’ criteria, such as running a low line and/or shallow angle, they will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.

Chase Driver:
The chase driver’s goal is to follow as close as possible to the lead driver throughout the entire course outlined by the judges. Essentially the lead driver is considered a moving clipping point, however, the chase driver is not allowed to run a shallow line and/or less angle than the lead driver. If the chase driver does deviate from this, the chase driver will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.

Palm Beach:
This venue is unique in that it is a racetrack, but the portion we use is essentially half racetrack and half parking lot. With that said, we tried to make the course more defined and visually appealing by painting yellow lines throughout the course, as well as using less cones (only 12) and no big orange barrels this year.

Yellow Lines:
The course was defined in the drivers’ meeting as being inside the yellow lines. The yellow lines served as a buffer for drivers in case some vehicles’ bumpers extended out more than another vehicle. As a result, all clipping points were positioned on the opposite side of the yellow line, thus allowing the drivers to get their tires as close to the yellow line and not worry that their bumper was going to hit or knock over a clipping point. We did the same in Atlanta, only there wasn’t a yellow line painted, we just had the clipping points positioned approximately 16-18″ from the edge of the rumblestrips or the track.
The yellow lines were painted 16″ wide starting between initiation point and the touch & go section and extending throughout the course on both sides of the track past the finish line. The yellow lines also remained the same distance apart from each other throughout the course to help drivers know how much room they had on course (with the exception of the finish line due to space constraints).
The rumble strips at the race track are 32″ wide and found at the beginning and end of the outer zones. Since we allow drivers to use the rumblestrips at any venue as part of the track and we do not award deductions for a tire touching them, we doubled the width of the yellow line in the outer zones to 32″ in order to allow the rumblestrips to remain evenly through the outerzones and not disrupt the flow of a driver’s line should they enter the outerzone with a tire on the rumblestrip.

Those 12 Orange Cones (off course markers):
First, we don’t like the cones, they take away from the appeal of the track, they make it look less professional, take time to replace when hit, and after this event cause controversy. We prefer a track with defined edges, but certain venues require the need for cones, and this happened to be such a venue. The orange cones were placed in groups of 3 spaced 45′ apart to help aid us in determining if a driver was in excess of one tire way off course. They were positioned 18″ past the yellow lines.
In the outer zones, an orange cone would be located 50″ past the edge of the course (32″ yellow line + 18″ space between yellow line and cone). That’s just over 4′ of room to allow before coming in contact with a cone, and even then there were only 6 cones in the outer zones. Now depending on the vehicle, some may be two wheels off at this point and others may only be one, that is why we had the cones positioned in key areas where this may happen to help alleviate any problem areas.
The tough & go section and the left side between the inner clip 1 and inner clip 2 each had one section of cones. These cones were 34″ past the edge of the course (16″ yellow line + 18″ space between yellow line and cone). The touch & go area was the first real edge of the track the drivers encounter after initiation, so it was highly probably that this area would also see lots of tires cross over the yellow line. At almost 3′, this was still a decent amount of room to allow before coming in contact with a cone. I don’t recall the area between the inner clips being much of an issue (if any), but the track does dip down in this area towards a storm drain, so again this was an area where a visual aid may have come in handy.

The Lighted Markers:
The lighted markers aren’t judged, they are there merely to help the drivers visualize the course at night and hopefully help the fans watching as well. They are generally positioned near clipping points and other areas of the track that may be difficult to see the course line clearly.

(Skip to 16:00 minutes to watch Joon Maeng vs. Tony Angelo – Sorry, Formula Drift won’t make it convenient to display individual runs anymore for some reason).

Joon Maeng v. Tony Angelo:

My overall impression went back to the first run where Tony’s lead run out performed Joon’s lead run. Joon’s lead run was hard to anticipate what his next move was because he was not on the line the judges specified. Joon also had more than a few stalls throughout the course. Simply looking at the touch & go area, Tony had a better approach in the chase position. In the drivers’ meeting, we asked them to use the whole course here whereas Joon in the chase position cut it short on the touch & go area. Tony was actually in a better chase position setting up for Joon to be on the touch & go area in order to keep proximity.
I could not give Joon the win because Tony had a great lead run where Joon was given plenty of opportunity in the chase position to run a low line with low angle, as Joon clearly did.

While leading, Tony was off of the Touch & Go and wide at Inner Clip 2, but overall had a decent lead run with minimal corrections. Joon does an okay job following, but has a correction and less angle through the Touch & Go.
Tonys chase run wasn’t pretty, but I deemed Joon responsible for that due to his poor lead run. Immediately after Joon’s initiation, he ended up on a shallow line, far from the Touch & Go and then slowed down significantly, transitioning early and throttling through to the outside clipping point. In the driver’s meeting we were very specific about what we wanted to see in this area: full throttle through the Touch & Go until the transition was complete, then lifting off throttle if needed to slow the car, using the vehicle’s momentum to carry the car wide through the outside zone. Joon clearly made a mistake, lifted, managed to hold onto the drift, but had to transition early and then go hard on the throttle though much of the outside zone, taking away any chance Tony had of chasing him adequately throughout the rest of the course.
I felt that all of Tony’s mistakes were almost forgiven after that point as his momentum was completely interrupted and he had to regain his speed and proximity after getting on the brakes hard to avoid contact. After that point Tony was playing catch up. Joon also made several mistakes at inner clip 1 and 2 that tripped up Tony, who was still trying to regain proximity. As for the contact, we saw Joon’s car aggressively slow down in an area that didn’t call for it.
I would like to point out that at no point were Joon’s actions deemed malicious. They were simply mistakes made by the lead driver that caused the chase driver to make errors and were severe enough to give Tony the win despite what his chase run looked like.

On Tony’s lead run he is slightly off at the touch & go and enters outer zone 1 fairly well. Tony then shallows up his line and exits outer zone 2 early. Tony then makes inner clip 1 and then goes wide at inner clip 2. Joon chasing has slightly less angle at initiation and past the touch & go making a correction. Joon does pretty good throughout the outer zones and then follows the desired line past inner clip 2 rather than follow Tony.
On Joon’s lead run he initiates early and is never really able to get his car out near the touch & go area. Joon actually begins his transition towards the outer zone just before the first cone in the touch & go area and this is where he disrupts Tony’s chase run. Joon enters outer zone 1 well, but as he is in the middle of the outer zones, he makes two corrections and then exits outer zone 2 early (like Tony’s lead run). Joon goes past inner clip 1 and then as he sets up for inner clip 2 stalls. Tony chasing initiates and makes a correction at the touch & go to avoid contact. As a result, Tony straightens up and shallows up his line in order to regain proximity and resume drift in the outer zones. He then makes another correction at inner clip 1. Tony regains drift after inner clip 1 only to make contact with Joon prior to inner clip 2.
Overall Tony’s lead run was not the best lead run in regards to line, but he was still able to make it fluid. Joon’s lead run had several mistakes and as a result didn’t give Tony the same opportunity to have a fair chase run, especially with the initiation and again by stalling.