Michael Essa

Formula Drift Seattle with Off Track – Tony Angelo and Chris Forsberg v. Michael Essa [VIDEO]

Ryan Tuerck won the GoPro camera and Jenson Argyle walks around asking the drivers of Formula Drift which judge they would kill, bang, marry. Chris Forsberg and Michael Essa take home the run of the weekend where Chris put down an insane follow battle against Michael Essa. Tony Angelo is the highlighted driver in Off-Track to wrap up the Round 5 video.

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

Wrecked Magazine Issue 27 Is Out Now [READ THIS]

Issue 27 of Wrecked Magazine brings Michael Essa back to our cover to interview him after his first ever Formula Drift victory. Jacob Leveton writes a guest editorial on the state of the 2013 rookies and then Danny George gets put In Focus. Wrecked Lifestyle puts a focus on what our staff has deemed “track essentials” with items from Electric Visual, ReplayXD, and Otterbox. The big finale is our amazing trip to Japan for Drift Matsuri including a write up on how cheap you can participate converted already into American dollars. Our Mustang RTR gets a huge drivetrain overhaul with help from Tremec and ACT Clutch.

Read the issue: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/issues/issue27/issue27.html

2013 Formula Drift Round 4 at Wall Speedway [GALLERY]

A big main event weekend finished up at Wall Speedway while Forsberg lost a door mid-drift and kept going and Daigo Saito took home another victory. In the past nine seasons tandem has never been this close or entertaining at Wall Speedway. Enjoy my extensive gallery of photos from the Top 32 all the way to the podium from the Round 4 weekend of Formula Drift.

Check out the Gallery: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=349

Formula D Championship Points standings after New Jersey [STANDINGS]

After a third consecutive podium, Daigo Saito is increasing his lead on a quest to win his second consecutive championship. After being knocked out in the top 16, both Vaughn Gittin Jr and Mike Essa lost ground on Saito in the points standings. Forsberg remains in fourth after his second podium this season, while Pawlak moves from 8th to 5th with his first podium of the season. Here’s how the points shape up after four events in the season:

Here’s how the points currently sit:

1. Daigo Saito                   361 points

2. Vaughn Gittin Jr.       300 points

3. Michael Essa                296.5 points

4. Chris Forsberg            286 points

5. Justin Pawlak              282.5 points

6. Fredric Aasbo             266.5 points

7. Darren McNamara     259.5 points

8. Aurimas ”Odi” Bakchis     221.5 points

9. Daijiro Yoshihara      219.5 points

10. Kenneth Moen               210 points

11. Ryan Tuerck               205 points

12. Matt Field                   199 points

13. Robbie Nishida         191.5 points

14. Chelsea Denofa          186 points

15. Conrad Grunewald   174.5 points

16. Tyler McQuarrie       143.5 points

16. Matt Powers               143.5 points

Official Top 32 Ranking and Runs for 2013 Formula Drift Wall Speedway [RESULTS]

Justin Pawlak locked down top honors thanks to the new qualifying format (otherwise Ryan Kado would of seen his first first place qualifying spot) but he couldn’t get the job done on the first run like Justin Pawlak. Speaking with Justin at an event in downtown Los Angeles last week he told me the car feels better than it ever has with the 2013 changes and its a work in progress but it will end up being better than ever before. Perhaps this is the beginning of that new era he spoke about starting up. Here is how the Top 32 runs will be and a list of how they qualified:

1.Justin Pawlak vs. 32. Nate Hamilton
16. Danny George vs. 17. Ryan Kado

8. Conrad Grunewald vs. 25. Miro Ovcharik
9. Chelsea DeNofa vs. 24. Matt Powers

4. Chris Forsberg vs. 29. Carl Rydquist
13. Michael Essa vs. Chris Ward

5. Tyler McQuarrie vs. 28. Jeff Jones
12. Kyle Mohan vs. 21. Marc Landerville

(Other Side of Bracket)

2. Darren McNamara vs. 31. Pat Goodin
15. Dean Kearney vs. 18. Ryan Tuerck

7. Robbie Nishida vs. 26. Corey Hosford
10. Kenneth Moen vs. 23. Odi Bakchis

3. Fredric Aasbo vs. 30. Dai Yoshihara
14. Jhonnatthan Castro vs. Matt Field

6. Daigo Saito vs. 27. Taka Aono
11. Vaughn Gittin vs. Ken Gushi


Qualifying List in Order
1. Justin Pawlak
2. Darren McNamara
3. Fredric Aasbo
4. Chris Forsberg
5. Tyler McQuarrie
6. Daigo Saito
7. Robbie Nishida
8. Conrad Grunewald
9. Chelsea DeNofa
10. Kenneth Moen
11. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
12. Kyle Mohan
13. Michael Essa
14. Jhonnatthan Castro
15. Dean Kearney
16. Danny George
17. Ryan Kado
18. Ryan Tuerck
19. Matt Field
20. Chris Ward
21. Marc Landerville
22. Ken Gushi
23. Odi Bakchis
24. Matt Powers
25. Miro Ovcharik
26. Corey Hosford
27. Taka Aono
28. Jeff Jones
29. Carl Rydquist
30. Dai Yoshihara
31. Pat Goodin
32. Nate Hamilton

Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Conrad Grunewald – Poor Camera Angles Screw Grunewald with Incorrect Deductions [VIDEO]

This post is going to take a while to break down so let’s start with a huge breath of fresh air and some simple instructions. The cones on the outside of the track behind the paint in the first turn were explained in the drivers meeting to earn you a big fat zero.

The judges followed this rule so hard and fast over the weekend that Chris Forsberg drifted past a cone and then through magic, fishing lure wire, or exhaust the cone just tipped over in its place giving him a “0” and allowing Michael Essa to advance on in the event. In fact, this Vaughn vs. Conrad battle happened right before the Michael Essa vs. Chris Forsberg run.

Then the judges made a similar stern call in the Matt Field vs. Daigo Saito battle once Matt Field hit a cone and then Daigo flew off course right after. They put it at the fault of Matt Field for going off course and leading Daigo Saito to the same destiny.

In the “Correct Angle Fan View” video you can see it was shot from an oncoming angle, that we can guess is a fan shot video, in which  you can clearly see Vaughn Gittin Jr. goes off course and hits a cone in the exact same fashion as Matt Field. However, all the judges and commentators did was issue Conrad Gruenwald a 0 for going off course with no deduction to Vaughn Gittin Jr. giving him a definitive advantage he never deserved.

Correct Angle Fan View


It is hard to say how the outcome of the second run would of been with the knowledge of Conrad and Vaughn being at a level score or playing field but how such an oversight occurred is rather annoying and disappointing. Why didn’t we have a camera set to focus down the row of cones like this fan view for the weekend since these cones were such a definite marker?

This automatic zero cone business just seemed like an excuse to eliminate making hard judging calls or use common sense to figure out what is happening on the course. The real crime, is having cones at all in such a precise area of a professional series. Can we bring in krail already? That is what everyone I would imagine wants to see making a clear definition of that turn.

You would be driving at that k-rail at a lower speed than the old Vegas Speedway course, Irwindale, and Evergreen Speedway and then allow a clear and definitive off course to be made. Volunteer course workers are tasked with putting down these cones and while I want to commend them for hustling and working hard the cones are not going to be put precisely in the same place run per run.

This tends to make things problematic when the differnce of a perfect run and a zero are literally millimeters (unless you are Chris Forsberg your exhaust will just knock the cone over after your perfect run scoring a 0.) I know everyone is going to come into this post and claim a Ford conspiracy and others will claim I am an idiot for spending time to point this out. What will make me super happy in 2014 is to see k-rail around that turn or just leaving that South Florida swampland all together.


What do you think about this call and tandel battle from Palm Beach?


Clarification Added at 11:11pm PST After Speaking with Ryan Sage on Phone: 

1. I didn’t mean to say that this tandem battle was the same or similar to the Matt Field and Daigo Saito was the same situation as this one or the same as Forsberg vs. Essa. I just mentioned these runs as references to show that cones were a definitive zero.

2. I have been told by many people that the judges didn’t dock Vaughn Gittin Jr. on his first run but Vaughn and Ryan Sage have told me he did receive a zero. The clear cut issue here is that Conrad Grunewald has communicated with me he didn’t know Vaughn got a 0 so I dont’ think or feel anyone else can really be expected to know that happened. I think that really gave Vaughn a psychological advantage and highlights a big communication problem of information to the teams. Weather the points were docked it clearly took a toll mentally on Conrad for run two in my eyes.

3. As I mentioned on my phone call with Ryan Sage I feel moving to a k-rail model would make this issue far more definitive over the course of the weekend. All the conflicts and problems occurred in one corner that drivers went over aggressive and wild into because it lacked serious negative consequences which then have broiled into a huge topic of discussion this week.

Our Readers Pick What Formula D Palm Beach Judging Call They Want Clarification On [ROCK THE VOTE]

After a Formula Drift judging reply to the incidents at Round 2 Road Atlanta we have talked to the three judges who agreed to break down a judging call of the Wrecked readers choice. Below, we hand picked the Top 10 most controversial tandem battles of the Palm Beach Round 3 weekend so the readers can request clarification.


What Palm Beach Tandem Battle Do You Want the Formula Drift Judges to Break Down on Wrecked Magazine?

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Formula D Championship Points standings after Palm Beach [STANDINGS]

With his second consecutive podium finish, Daigo Saito now moves into the drivers seat for the championship, 13 points ahead of Vaughn Gittin Jr. Essa now moves firmly into third place overall, 39.5 points ahead of Chris Forsberg, while Darren McNamara falls from third place all the way to ninth with his first top-32 exit of the season.

Here’s how the points currently sit:

1. Daigo Saito                              257 points

2. Vaughn Gittin Jr.                 244 points

3. Michael Essa                          241.5 points

4. Chris Forsberg                        202 points

5. Fredric Aasbo                        197.5 points

6. Daijiro Yoshihara                  195 points

7. Kenny Moen                           184 points

8. Justin Pawlak                       182.5 points

9. Darren McNamara                 180.5 points

10. Aurimas ”Odi” Bakchis          166.5 points

11. Ryan Tuerck                           150.5 points

12. Matt Field                             144.5 points

13. Forrest Wang                        136.5 points

14. Chelsea Denofa                       130 points

15. Robbie Nishida                      127.5 points

16. Matt Powers                             119 points

Michael Essa Wins Formula Drift West Palm Beach 2013 [RESULTS]

After a crazy Top 16 battle. Michael Essa take home the victory at Formula Drift Palm Beach.

1st: Michael Essa – GSR Autosports Yokohama Tire BMW E46
2nd: Daigo Saito – Achilles Tire Bridges Racing Lexus SC430
3rd: Robbie Nishida – Achilles Tire Bridges Racing Lexus SC300