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10 Things I Learned at Formula Drift Road Atlanta

DaiYoshihara

10. Is Dai Yoshihara Finally Back?
Watching Dai Yoshihara in qualifying I felt he was looking really good and finally putting some runs together. I looked over at Chelsea DeNofa’s spotter in fact (and told him that Dai Yoshihara would win the event during practice). Sadly, Vaughn Gittin Jr. spoiled my prediction but Dai Yoshihara is starting to look back to his old self. He has been a driver looking really short on confidence so perhaps the return to the podium will help him remember what winning feels like. This was his first podium since Long Beach in 2013. His car has looked far behind the other 86/BRZ chassis in the sport but maybe this was the start of his comeback tour!

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9.Alec Hohnadell Will Win An Event This Year
Alec Hohnadell has grown and developed faster than almost any drifter I have seen. The kid is world class and knows how to win things. His progression in Formula Drift is clear and I think he got a bad call in his Final Four battle with Dai Yoshihara (and actually won). Watching the battle more and more, it really seems like Alec Hohnadell should of been in the finals. I don’t think he should lose sleep over this at all however. Sometimes calls will go your way and sometimes they won’t go in your favor. I do think across these next six rounds he will score his first event victory. He currently sits 10th in the championship after his fourth place finish this weekend.

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8. Road Atlanta Highlights Pro 2 Behind the Curve
Pro 2 was ugly and borderline unwatchable this weekend. Drifters couldn’t enter right, couldn’t stop spinning, and also couldn’t manage to tandem. I almost want to pretend the new Pro 2 season didn’t start this weekend. Jeff Jones, Marc Landerville, and Ryan Litteral all had solid performances but that is about where it stopped for me. The event was slow and especially hard to watch as a fan. Perhaps, the need for a perfect line to run Road Atlanta well was just too much for these younger drifters. My vote is to remove Road Atlanta from the 2017 Pro 2 calendar and pretend this event never happened. I am hoping for vast improvements at Orlando Speed World.

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2016 Formula Drift Round 2 Atlanta – Tire Manufacturer Championship [STANDINGS]

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Nexen Tire continues to lead the Tire Manufacturer Championship after Atlanta after receiving strong performances from Alec Hohnadell and Tanner Foust. Nexen has now had four different drivers contribute to their points total on the season. Falken tire improved to second in the standings, while Nitto Tire jumped from fifth after Long Beach to third. All six tire manufacturers are within striking distance of the championship.

Here’s a look at the Tire Manufacturer standings after 2 of 8 rounds:

1. Nexen Tire – 262 Points
2. Falken Tire – 247 Points
3. Nitto Tire – 212 Points
4. Hankook Tire – 199 Points
5. GT Radial – 153 Points
6. Achilles Radial – 149 Points

2016 Formula Drift Round 2 Atlanta – OEM MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP [STANDINGS]

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A top 8 appearance from Michael Essa helped BMW maintain the lead in the OEM championship, while Ford moved up from third to second thanks to the win from Vaughn Gittin Jr. Scion dropped to third after all four Scion cars lost in the round of 32. We now have 10 manufacturers competing for the OEM championship after Toyota earned the first points of the season behind Andy Gray.

Here are the standings in the OEM Manufacturer championship after 2 of 8 rounds:

1. BMW  – 202 points
2. Ford – 191 points
3. Scion – 185 points
4. Nissan – 151 points
5. Mazda–101 points
6. Chevy – 83 points
7. Dodge – 51 points
8. Infiniti – 49 points
9. Lexus – 34 points
10. Toyota – 18 points

2016 Formula Drift Championship Standings – Round 2 Atlanta [STANDINGS]

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After recording the second “perfect weekend” of his career, Vaughn Gittin Jr. used the Top Qualifier / Event Win combination to vault himself into first place for the 2016 Formula Drift standings. All three podium finishers from Long Beach lost in the top 32 round in Atlanta, which really shook up the points. As the only driver to place in the top 8 at the first two events, Gittin Jr. holds a fairly substantial 36 point lead over Long Beach winner Chelsea Denofa. However, with an additional round this year compared to previous years, there’s plenty of time to make up those points.

Here’s a look at the top 22 drivers in the points standings so far:

1 Vaughn Gittin Jr. 155 points
2 Chelsea Denofa 119 points
3 Odi Bakchis 116 points
4 Fredric Aasbo 102 points
T5 Chris Forsberg 100 points
T5 Dai Yoshihara 100 points
T7 Forrest Wang 83 points
T7 Michael Essa 83 points
T7 Tyler McQuarrie 83 points
T10 Ken Gushi 82 points
T10 Alec Hohnadell 82 points
12 Matt Field 69 points
T13 Ryan Tuerck 67 points
T13 “Mad” Mike Whiddett 67 points
15 Jeff Jones 66 points
T16 Dean Kearney 51 points
T16 Geoff Stoneback 51 points
T18 Kristaps Bluss 50 points
T18 Faruk Kugay 50 points
T18 Kenneth Moen 50 points
T18 Pat Mordaunt 50 points
T18 Juha Rintanen 50 points

Photo Credit: Formula Drift

2016 Formula Drift Round 2 [RESULTS]

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An exhausting long day put Vaughn Gittin Jr. back in the record books with a victory in his new S550 Mustang. This photograph from amazing local photographer Andrew Mesa shows you just how crazy his new setup is. The last time a driver qualified first and won the event was back in 2014 in Seattle. Darren McNamara did the double in his S14 while beating Irish compatriot Dean Kearney in the finals. Another interesting fact is this the exact same podium as Wall Speedway back in 2012. What a throwback? Alec Hohnadell just missed his first podium with a fourth place finish. With the added eight round and the top three in championship points going home in Top 32 – the championship is looking the most wide open in Formula Drift history! Here is how they finished –

1. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
2. Dai Yoshihara
3. Chris Forsberg
4. Alec Hohnadell

2016 Formula Drift – Round 2 Atlanta – QUALIFYING [RESULTS]

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Vaughn Gittin Jr. laid down a fantastic qualifying run, earning the top spot on Friday in Atlanta. Due to only 31 drivers earning a score in qualifying, Gittin Jr. will have a bye in the first round of tandem. Andy Gray and Tanner Foust made their season debuts in Atlanta, while Robbie Nishida and ShengJun Zhang missed the round. Charles Ng drove in practice, but had electrical issues on both qualifying runs and did not earn a score.

Here’s a look at how qualifying finished up at Road Atlanta:

1. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
2. Fredric Aasbo
3. Matt Field
4. Chris Forsberg
5. Odi Backhis
6. Dai Yoshihara
7. Tanner Foust
8. Justin Pawlak
9. Tyler McQuarrie
10. Chelsea DeNofa
11. Mad Mike Whiddett
12. Forrest Wang
13. Dean Kearney
14. Michael Essa
15. Ryan Tuerck
16. Geoff Stoneback
17. Matt Coffman
18.  Alec Hohnadell
19. Ken Gushi
20. Pat Mordaunt
21. Jhonnattan Castro
22. Alex Heilbrunn
23. Kenneth Moen
24. Kristaps Bluss
25. Juha Rintanen
26. Kyle Mohan
27. Pat Goodin
28. Cameron Moore
29. Andy Gray
30. Faruk Kugay
31. Jeff Jones

Here’s the tandem ladder, for those following at home:

Vaughn Gittin Jr (bye)
Geoff Stoneback vs Matt Coffman
Justin Pawlak vs Juha Rintanen
Tyler McQuarrie vs Kristaps Bluss

Chris Forsberg vs Andy Gray
Dean Kearney vs Pat Mordaunt
Odi Bakchis vs Cameron Moore
Forrest Wang vs Jhonnattan Castro

Fredric Aasbo vs Jeff Jones
Ryan Tuerck vs Alec Hohnadell
Tanner Foust vs Kyle Mohan
Chelsea Denofa vs Kenneth Moen

Matt Field vs Faruk Kugay
Michael Essa vs Ken Gushi
Dai Yoshihara vs Pat Goodin
Mad Mike Whiddett vs Alex Heilbrunn

2016 Formula Drift Pro 2 Round 1 at Road Atlanta [RESULTS]

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Pro 2 was a mix of really bad battles, worse battles, more spinning battles, and a couple really good battles to start off the 2016 season. In my predictions, I would of imagined more drivers being stuck in the pea gravel so at least their wasn’t a ton of that going on. The Formula Drift Twitter feed caught some of the best runs you can watch on the feed. Jeff Jones ended up with a win and we saw a solid performance from other drifters such as Marc Landerville and Ryan Litteral who rounded out the podium. Too many spins and plenty of car to car contact closed out the night. Here is how they finished –

1. Jeff Jones
2. Marc Landerville
3. Ryan Litteral

2016 Formula Drift Pro 2 – Atlanta Round 1 Qualifying [RESULTS]

Landreville-ATL-Qualify

The 2016 season of Formula Drift kicked off in Atlanta this year, an inaugural visit for the Pro 2 class. Many drivers in our recent Pro 2 driver interviews mentioned that they were most excited to drive at this track because of how iconic it is in Formula Drift history. In total, 22 drivers made qualifying passes, but only the top 16 would move on to the main tandem ladder.

Here are the results from the first round of Pro 2 qualifying, along with their qualifying score:

1 – Marc Landreville – 84
2 – Ryan Litteral – 83
3 – Jeff Jones – 82
4 – Dan Burkett – 80
5 – Andrew Lewis – 74
6 – Josh McGuire – 72
7 – Doug VanDenBrink – 70
8 – Trent Beechum – 67
9 – Taylor Hull – 65
10 – Kevin Lawrence – 64
11 – Ethan Hunter – 62
12 – Aaron Day – 61
13 – Sheng Ng Nian – 61
14 – Austin Meeks – 59
15 – Matt Madrigali – 59
16 – Dirk Stratton – 49

Tandem Ladder:

Landreville vs Stratton
Beechum vs Hull
Burkett vs Nian
Lewis vs Day

Litteral vs Madrigali
VanDenBrink vs Lawrence
Jones vs Meeks
McGuire vs Hunter

Trenton Beechum – Formula Drift Pro 2 [INTERVIEW]

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Wrecked Magazine: Who are you and how did you get your Pro 2 license?
Trenton Beechum: I am a FD Pro 2 Rookie and i was the champion of the 2015 Top Drift Series at Willow Springs Raceway

Wrecked Magazine: Can you give us a break down of your car and what sponsors you have on board?
Trenton Beechum:My car this year is a 2014 ford mustang running a 5.0 aluminator engine with a roush supercharger, for this year are major sponsors consist of Falken Tire and JoyHollyWood.com

Wrecked Magazine: What track are you most excited about and most nervous to tackle this season?
Trenton Beechum: I’d say I am most excited about Atlanta. I have heard the environment and fans are awesome. Also, I’m ready to get the season started and get a feel for this new field of talented drivers

Wrecked Magazine: Can you name one drifter you really want to see in a battle in Pro 2 this year?
Trenton Beechum: With so many drivers in Pro 2 I am excited to see every battle from the first person view after always watching from the stands. I am just stoked to be apart of the field!

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Wrecked Magazine:Who is your favorite drifter in the world and who to you derive driving inspiration from?
Trenton Beechum: I am m not sure I have a favorite drifter, I think I take certain things from certain drivers and kind of apply them to myself. If I had to pick – Top two would be Chris Forsberg and Forrest Wang.

Wrecked Magazine: Who do you think will win the Formula Drift Pro Championship this season?
Trenton Beechum: I think its to early to predict the champion for this season until after ATL but the way Chelsea Denofa was driving at long beach he seems to be a threat to some of the bigger teams this year

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Wrecked Magazine: What is one hurdle or headache you ran into during the off-season gearing up for Pro 2?
Trenton Beechum: So far we have been having some slight issues on and off with are motec system which has killed some of are practice days and lost us are battle at the Long Beach Motegi Super Drift event but the car runs now and we are hoping everything goes smoothly from here on out

Wrecked Magazine: What advise can you give to the upcoming Pro 2 drivers who are currently in Pro Am?
Trenton Beechum: Be hungry and aggressive in battles and always keep learning!

Kevin Lawrence – Formula Drift Pro 2 [INTERVIEW]

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Wrecked Magazine: Who are you and how did you get your Pro 2 license ?
Kevin Lawrence: I am from Clermont, FL. I earned my pro2 license through the Three Palms drift series that ended up being a pretty big flop of a series.

Wrecked Magazine: Can you give us a break down of your car and what sponsors you have on board?
Kevin Lawrence:This year I will be running a RHD S14 Chassis powered by an RB25 engine that we are pushing 770whp out of this year! Enjuku Racing is my title sponsor this year and with out them specifically I wouldn’t have a drifting career at all.
A big sponsor I partnered up with is Fortune Auto who has been giving us ( team Enjuku) outstanding support with helping us get the cars dialed in perfect on their coilovers so we are 100% ready for all our events. A few other sponsors I also am excited to have on board this year include. Konig Wheels, Lucas Oils, Design Engineering Inc. “DEI”, 2f Performance, Wilwood Brakes, and Chase

I am also very thankful to have a bunch of my last years sponsors still on board with me who see great potential in my driving and program so a big thank you goes out to. Vibrant Performance, Falken Tire, Competition Clutch, Turbo By Garrett, BridgeMoto, R.S. Enthalpy,Bink Industries, ISR Performance, The Drivesaft Shop, DOC Race, and Thunderbolt Race Fuels

Wrecked Magazine: What track are you most excited about and most nervous to tackle this season?
Kevin Lawrence: Definitely Atlanta! I have been so eager to get a chance to drive that track since the first time I visited it back in 2006. The elevation changes the track has kinda makes me a bit nervous being from Florida and not having much experience driving any tracks with changes in elevation but I think I’am ready to tackle it!

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Wrecked Magazine: Can you name one drifter you really want to see in a battle in Pro 2 this year?
Kevin Lawrence:This year I specifically want to see battle with Josh McGuire in Texas again after our double OMT battles last year that he advanced from. So I really want redemption for that. haha

Wrecked Magazine: Who is your favorite drifter in the world and who to you derive driving inspiration from?
Kevin Lawrence: It’s honestly hard for me to pick a single favorite, I look up to quite a few drivers and have always been a huge fan of the underdog so to speak since they are the drivers who in my opinion are truly driving their hardest to compete and the ones who want the win more than anyone else. Aasbo, Denofa and Bakchis are the ones I have been watching mostly the last few years and it was great seeing Aasbo take the championship last year, Denofa Take first and Irwindale and I have a feeling Odi this year is going to get quite a few podiums.

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Wrecked Magazine: Who do you think will win the Formula Drift Pro Championship this season?
Kevin Lawrence: Denofa is who I would be betting on this year, after his win in Long Beach I believe that was the biggest mental boost anyone could get for someone who has been struggling in past seasons and truly wants the championship. Knowing Chelsea’s past in driving he will continue to show up at all the rounds this year swinging!

Wrecked Magazine: What is one hurdle or headache you ran into during the off-season gearing up for Pro 2?
Kevin Lawrence: Haha! This is an easy one. I am at just under 2 weeks before the first Pro2 event this year my engine threw a connecting rod out both sides of the block which i am currently working on to get our spare in now.

Wrecked Magazine: What advice can you give to the upcoming Pro 2 drivers who are currently in Pro Am?
Kevin Lawrence: Work as hard as you can on the relationships with your sponsors you have now so that they are just as eager to work with you as you are with them. Pro2 is a huge step from Pro Am and you will absolutely need all of their help in many different ways along your first year in Pro 2.