Taka Aono

2016 JUST DRIFT PRO AM TOP DRIFT ROUND 1 [RESULTS]

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JustDrift kicked off their 2016 Pro-Am series, dubbed “Top Drift”, with the first round of competition taking place on the Balcony course at Willow Springs. Formula Drift veterans Taka Aono, Hiro Sumida, and Justin Pawlak judged the competition, and nearly 60 drivers registered to attempt to make the top 16 tandem bracket. Jason Kim and Adam Knapik had a fierce battle of V8-swapped S14’s in the final, but many people (including Justin Pawlak) were hyped on Kelvin Arreola’s podium finish in his sub-200hp Corolla.

Here’s a look at the podium results:

1st – Jason Kim – Nissan S14

2nd – Adam Knapik – Nissan S14

3rd – Kelvin Arreola – Toyota Corolla

Photo Credit: JustDrift

2014 Formula Drift Championship [RESULTS]

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All seven rounds of Formula Drift are in the books for 2014. Chris Forsberg ends up the 2014 champion but a margin of just 11 points which came down to the very last tandem battle of 2014. Daigo Saito finally had a motor hold together and was able to make a huge jump in the championship points as well. All Top 32 drivers are given a Pro license for next year while 33 and beyond are relegated into Pro 2. Here is how they finished:

1. Chris Forsberg
2. Fredric Aasbo
3. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
4. Odi Bakchis
5. Forrest Wang
6. Kenneth Moen
7. Darren McNamara
8. Dean Kearney
9. Justin Pawlak
10. Conrad Grunewald
11. Robbie Nishida
12. Ryan Tuerck
13. Ken Gushi
14. Daigo Saito
15. Matt Field
16. Michael Essa
Read More…

A Complete Review of Just Drift’s Top Drift Round 1

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The Top Drift Pro Am 2014 season kicked off this past weekend, March 30, on the balcony of Willow Springs in Rosamond, California. The morning of the main event was cloudy outside with icy winds. Many of us were expecting some rain, but it just didn’t happen. The clouds moved out pretty quickly, while the drivers set off for practice in the first three hours of the day.
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After lunch, qualifying began, with somewhere around 60 drivers competing for the top podium. After a few hours of qualifying (there were a lot of drivers), the Top 16 was set.
The first battle starred Alex Heilbrunn and Darin Burgess. Alex took the win in his forrest green s13 coupe.

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Eric Martinez went up against Mike Bolanos in the second battle. Martinez managed to take victory over Bolanos’ red s13.
Donovan Brockway faced off with Adam Knapik in the third battle. They stuck fairly close to each other, but Brockway managed to walk away with the win.

In the fourth battle, Daniel Giraldo faced Tyler Page-Howell. Giraldo kept a small gap on his lead run, and stuck close on the follow. He had a great line through both runs and won the match.

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Battle five featured Spike Chen, who has been on the podium twice up to this point in the 2014 season, versus Kyle Lumm, the Socal Sidewayz 350Z driver from San Diego. Kyle dirt dropped on the second run, and Spike Chen moved on to the Great 8.

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Jason Kim and Cody Sarem battled it out on the tarmac in the sixth face-off. Jason Kim took the win over Cody Sarem, who spun first on the entry during the lead run, and then going into turn 2 on the follow run, spun again.

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Dan Burkett faces Drew Ostrowski in the seventh round. On the first run, Ostrowski hit the cones upon entry in his Lexus SC300. Burkett took the win in his FC RX7.
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The final battle of the Top 16 came down to Adam Levi and Joe Tardiff. This battle was especially tough to decide a victor. After two “One More Time’s”, Adam Levi took victory over the black sc300. Tardiff spun right at the entry behind the green building.

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The tournament moved right into the Great 8 from there. First up was Alex Heilbrunn versus Eric Martinez. They had a good run, but Heilbrunn took the win, and ended the competition for the SC300.

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Next up was Daniel Giraldo in his white AE86 versus Donovan Brockway. Daniel pulled away with the better flow and took the win over Brockway’s E30.

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Spike Chen went up against Jason Kim in the third Great 8 battle. Both had solid runs, but it seems like Spike Chen was just a little cleaner with way more power and took the win.

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Dan Burkett and Adam Levi had the final bout of the Great 8. The two stuck together and were unbelievably close during both runs, but Dan Burkett managed to gain victory over Levi.

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The final 4 began. First off were Spike Chen and Dan Burkett. Dan spun into the dirt in the second turn and Chen took the win, assuring him his third podium finish of the season.

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Alex Heilbrunn went up against Daniel Giraldo, but both cars experienced difficulty and they both took a 5 minute break. It was a race to see who could finish their car. Miraculously both cars were good enough to race within the 5 minutes. Heilbrunn had lost 3rd gear and Daniel Giraldo broke his shifter lever. Alex Heilbrunn took the win against the Hachi Roku.

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Next up, Daniel Giraldo and Dan Burkett duked it out for 3rd place. Giraldo took the win for that, which left us with the undecided factor of the 1st place finisher.
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Alex Heilbrunn and Spike Chen, two extremely aggressive drivers, lined up for the winner’s race. It was a heated run, with both drivers choosing aggressive lines; they did an amazing job at staying glued to each other’s doors. When the time for podium came, it was decided that the winner is Alex Heilbrunn! Spike Chen came in second, and Danny Giraldo in third place.

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It was amazing to see all of the drivers efforts in the top 16 and qualifying. There was so much smoke being made (mostly by Heilbrunn and Chen), and it was a hot, long weekend. The battles got really aggressive, and it is quite impressive for Alex Heilbrunn to take the win with a missing 3rd gear, as well as for Daniel Giraldo to come back after flux welding his shifter to take 3rd place. I was blown away by the hard work and dedication of the drivers and I can’t wait to see what Round 2 will bring us!

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Check out the Gallery: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=382&page=1

Formula Drift Long Beach 2014 Qualifying [RESULTS]

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1. Michael Essa
2. Vaughn Gittin
3. Tyler McQuarrie
4. Kenneth Moen
5. Fredric Aasbo
6. Justin Pawlak
7.Chris Forsberg
8. Chelesa Denofa
9. Forrest Wang
10. Pat Goodin
11. Ryan Tuerck
12. Conrad Gruenwald
13. Kyle Mohna
14. Odi Bakchis
15. Darren McNamara
16. Pat Mordaunt
17. Mats Baribeau
18. Dean Kearney
19. Ken Gushi
20. Robbie Nishida
21. Jhonnattan Castro
22. Alec Hohnadell
23. Daigo Saito
24. Carl Rydquist
25. Dennis Mertzanis
26. Dai Yoshihara
27. Jeff Jones
28. Marc Landreville
29. Geoff Stoneback
30. Tony Angelo
31. Dave Briggs
32. Jeremy Richter

Taka Aono – The Flying 86 – A Complete Documentary [VIDEO]

Taka Aono is the drifting version of a cult classic who year after year brings his AE86 to compete regardless of the changes going on around him in the paddock. Taka is just one of the nicest guys you can find and this video put together by Flying Boy Films teaches you everything you need to know about him.

2014 Formula Drift Tech Day [GALLERY]


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Tech Day for the 2014 season happened a little earlier than years past and it seemed to really catch teams off guard. Most cars at Tech Day seemed far from finished and many slots remained opened for the day with people canceling. A fine is levied to specific drivers within the region who didn’t make it to Tech Day. Charles Ng did unveil his Achilles Radial Infiniti G37 with a brand new engine (he blew his last one in testing). We also had extensive talks with drivers and Ryan Sage about the new sporting regulations in the sport. So keep an eye out for some videos on that this week.

Check out the Gallery: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=379

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

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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.

Wrecked Magazine Issue 29 – A Ten Year Tribute of Formula Drift


Issue 29  is a tribute piece to the first 10 seasons of Formula Drift. Using the number 10 as a benchmark, we look at the Top 10 Unique Car Builds, Top 10 Reasons I’m A Fan, and a look at the Victories by OEM. The cover spread is the Top 10 Moments of Formula Drift which covers wrecks, thousands in cash, and even some international travel.

Read the Issue: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/issues/issue29/issue29.html

2013 Just Drift All-Star Bash Drivers List

Check out a drivers list for the 2013 All-Star Bash taking place at Willow Springs. The full 92 drivers registered are listed below for the big bash weekend! Our photographer will be on site over the weekend capturing all the team tandem drift action and drivers across the weekend. Formula Drift drivers Dai Yoshihara, Ken Gushi, Forrest Wang, Matt Field, Matt Powers, and Michael Essa all are signed up and ready to do battle with the west coast drivers. Team drift practice fires up at 8:00pm and competition is at 9:00pm! The hashtag for All-Star Bash weekend is #ASB13.

 

1 Abraham Cruz 26 Holton Coverdale 51 Kyle Armstrong 76 Sherry Kamiya
2 Alex Hsieh 27 Jairo Jaramillo 52 Kyle Lumm 77 Spencer Reiker
3 Andrew Molina 28 Jason Bostrom 53 Luke Wright 78 Spike Chen
4 Andrew Schulte 29 Jason Kim 54 Mario Partida 79 Stephen Ramil
5 Brad Hornecker 30 Jeff Jones 55 Martin Rauch 80 Taka Aono
6 Calvin Chuen 31 Jeff Le 56 Masashi Motonaga 81 Timothy Foreman
7 Chris Billedo 32 Jeff Wolfson 57 Matt Coffman 82 Tony Cisneros
8 Chris Crick Filippi 33 Jesse Vargas 58 Matt Field 83 Trenton Beechum
9 Christopher Hills 34 Joey Sproul 59 Matt Powers 84 Trevor Dowdall
10 Dai Yoshihara 35 John Lazorack 60 Mickie Frial 85 Tyler Page-Howell
11 Dan Burkett 36 Jonathan Juarez 61 Mike Essa 86 Tyler Wolfson
12 Daniel Giraldo 37 Joseph Tardiff 62 Mikey Mendoza 87 Vladimir Kulahin
13 Daniel Nguyen 38 Josh Cole 63 Mohammad Shariloo 88 Wais samad
14 Darin Burgess 39 Joshua Lind 64 Moises Torres 89 William Rogers
15 David Hankins 40 Julian Jacobs 65 Nan Yu 90 Yun Ki Hong
16 DJ Lloyd 41 Julian Raiden 66 Nathan Von Tuchlinski 91 Zac Farina
17 Donovan Brockway 42 JunWoo Byun 67 Nick Bayati 92 Zenia Amezquita
18 Efrain Diaz 43 Justin Muilenberg 68 Pablo Cabrera 93
19 Ernie Gonzalez 44 Justin Pawlak 69 Palmer Sanderson 94
20 Evan Vhadat 45 Juve Gallegos 70 Ramon Hernandez 95
21 Forrest Wang 46 Karl Osaki 71 Rick Cunanan 96
22 Frank Cundari 47 Kasey King 72 Robbin Webber 97
23 George Marstanovic 48 Ken Gushi 73 Robert Airth 98
24 Hector Diaz 49 Kenneth Voung 74 Ryan Carroll 99
25 Hiro Sumida 50 Kenny Chieu 75 Ryan Jordan 100

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

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