Here are two videos shot at All-Star Bash with an on car camera mounted to a Datsun and wheeled by Larry Chen. The videos chase Justin Pawlak and Matt Powers around at All-Star Bash. They are some great clips captured from the big bash weekend.
Another look at All-Star Bash 2013 from photographer David Moore. Some team tandem photographs, Michael Essa’s championship celebration, and tons of drivers from Pro to beginner drifting all around Willow Springs.
Check out the Gallery: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=374
Last year, we had a quick series of posts which showed what each of the seven drivers who had a statistical chance to win the championship had to do in order to raise the big Formula D trophy. This year, six drivers are within striking distance.
|1. Mike Essa||489.5 Points|
|2. Chris Forsberg||474 Points|
|3. Fredric Aasbo||425.5 Points|
|4. Vaughn Gittin Jr||410 Points|
|5. Daigo Saito||409.5 Points|
|6. Justin Pawlak
First up is Justin Pawlak, a man who was also in the championship chase last season. This season, he’s a bit further out of reach of the cup, but has gotten to this point with consistent finishes and strong qualifying points. With a maximum of 112 points up for grabs and a minimum of 24.25 points available for a top-32 qualification, Pawlak can only finish with a high of 512.5 points and Essa will finish with no less than 513.25 if he qualifies for the top 32. Therefore, it’s very likely that Pawlak will be eliminated from championship contention if Essa qualifies for Saturday’s competition.
Beyond that, should Essa fail to qualify, he would need Chris Forsberg to lose in top 32 (a top 16 finish would earn Forsberg a minimum of 54.25 points and a total of 528.25 points) to still have a chance at the championship. Should Essa fail to qualify and Forsberg lose in top 32 (giving Forsberg anywhere from 498.25 to 510 points depending on qualifying), Pawlak would need no less than a second place effort and a top two qualifying effort, or a win to have a shot. Pawlak has twice been on the podium before at Irwindale (in 2008 as a rookie finishing third, and last season finishing second), so this isn’t completely out of the picture.
If Pawlak were to finish ahead of Saito in the event, it’s very likely he will finish in the top 5 for the third consecutive season, a feat that has only been done previously by Sam Hubinette, Rhys Millen, Dai Yoshihara, and Chris Forsberg. With company like that, it’s clear that Justin Pawlak’s success isn’t just a fluke and should be considered a threat in seasons to come.
Check out the full 15 minute post race press conference featuring Justin Pawlak, Daigo Saito, Matt Field, Michael Essa, Chris Forsberg, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. The video shows questions asked by the press and answered by the various drivers. Matt Field talked about his end of the big protest overturn as he sat on the line waiting to run his battle, Chris Forsberg tells us he wants Jameson as his podium beverage, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. talks openly about being on the receiving end of an overturned judge decision that basically ruined his championship hopes in 2013.
This debut visit to Texas Motor Speedway came down to “inches” so to speak with two whole calls being overturned by the judges after the fact and cars running the perfect line right to dropping a tire off course just a few short inches from the perfect line. Pat Mordaunt drove his way to a first ever top 4 and Matt Field finished second for the first time ever. It was a pretty wild event and our photographer Jason Scott caught all the excitement and action.
Check out the Gallery: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=368
After taking his second career win by eliminating fellow championship contender Chris Forsberg in the Final 4, Mike Essa slides into first place in the Formula D championship standings. With a maximum of 112 points up for grabs in Irwindale, 6 drivers still have a statistical shot at winning the championship. Here’s a look at how the points stack up after six of seven rounds of competition.
1. Michael Essa 489.5 points
2. Chris Forsberg 474 points
3. Fredric Aasbo 425.5 points
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr 410 points
5. Daigo Saito 409.5 points
6. Justin Pawlak 400.5 points
7. Matt Field 350 points
8. Darren McNamara 332.5 points
9. Odi Bakchis 322 points
10. Robbie Nishida 314.25 points
11. Dai Yoshihara 309.25 points
12. Conrad Grunewald 285 points
13.Chelsea Denofa 266.5 points
14. Kenny Moen 258.75 points
15. Matt Powers 257.5 points
16. Ryan Tuerck 229 points
Tony Cisneros is a husband, a father of four, a youth pastor, and a self-employed entrepreneur. Cisneros also drove himself into earning a Formula Drift (FD) Pro License with his 700 hp LS2 s14 equipped with a 4-speed dog box transmission.
If you have been keeping up with the Top Drift series this year, you may have noticed that Cisneros was in first place after the first three rounds, with second place 17 points behind him. At the end of the series, Cisneros finished third overall and earned his pro FD license. Great news, right? Well, the way it went down wasn’t so great.
During qualifying, Cisneros put down two seemingly high qualifying runs that left the audience in awe. A while after he had pulled off the track, a Just Drift (JD) worker requested that Cisneros return to the grid. Upon arrival, they instructed him to go out for another run, but was told nothing else. On this run, Cisneros spun out (something he hadn’t done all weekend). At the end of the lap, a JD worker instructed him to take another lap. Cisneros spun again, on what he thought was a free run. Later, him and his team noticed that there was an oil spill on the part of the track in which he had spun both times. Extremely confused as to why he had been given four runs, Cisneros made his way over the the judges to inquire. The judges informed him that his initial runs were not counted because an inner cone was missing on the course when he had laid down the first two amazing runs. Only after he had earned zeros on the latter runs, he was told that his first two runs would not count, but his second two runs would be counted as his qualifying runs. Cisneros said, “This really took a lot out of me and saw all our hard work going down the drain fast for something I couldn’t control…” Unfortunately, Cisneros failed to qualify and spent the rest of the evening dealing with accusations of him cheating and simply sitting with his family and team looking somewhat defeated.
Watch the qualifying run that wasn’t counted, here:
Cisneros was not the only driver who experienced the short end of the stick. Ryan Litteral (placed 2nd at the event and 5th in the series) was also granted an additional qualifying run. Another source who was on track during the event claimed Justin Pawlak (who was a judge at the event) angrily made his way to to JD worker and expressed a significant amount of dismay because they had not set up the track correctly after a car had knocked down one of the cones. Pawlak, as an advocate for the drivers, was passionate about this issue because he thought it would mess up the odds; and he was right.
Some people may not find this to be a big issues because Cisneros ultimately earned his FD license. However, when you factor in performance requirements and awards with sponsors, it can be a big deal. Those who compete, usually go in with the full intention of winning, not settling with second or third. Although there is no way to know for sure if Cisneros would have ended up in first place even if his initial qualifying runs were considered, he was nonetheless robbed of the opportunity to win. Perhaps if there was better communication at the event (between the judges and the JD workers), or even if Cisneros knew what the situations was before his second set of qualifying runs, this could have been avoided. It is just unfortunate the most of the spectators were extremely confused because there was no PA system at the event that announced scores or judging calls.
I had the opportunity to chat with Cisneros over the past few days and he has gone through an incredible journey. Check out some parts of our conversation:
Q: Formula D next year? What should we expect?
A: “Yes, we are gonna enter Formula D next year. Our plan as of right now is to run the entire season. You can expect us to charge hard, do things professionally, taking this opportunity very seriously, realizing not everyone gets to be able to have this chance to do something you dream about doing.”
Q: Any changes to the car for next year?
A: “The car right now will get new aero kit, colors will most likely change depending on sponsors/partners. Motor and power should stay the same. We are looking into options for more forward grip, but other than that just refreshed inside and out. Looking ready to rumble in FD.”
Q: What has been the biggest struggle getting to this point?
A: “Our biggest struggle has been working out the little bugs that really killed our season last year. This year everything was great, but it almost didn’t happen. I was extremely frustrated and wasn’t sure this was meant to be for me. But as it would happen, we started this season well and the rest is history now. Learning a new car was very hard, also to break old habits from our previous build in the GTO, which was a lot heavier and harder to drive. Trust that this car was gonna do everything I wanted it to took a little time for me.”
Q: Describe your journey in becoming a licensed FD driver in three words.
A: “A dream, exciting, reality.”
Q: Who is your drift idol/hero? Why?
A: “Really the person I look up to is a guy I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a [while now] is Odi [Backchis]. What he has done in Formula D in 3 years is awesome. He’s in the top 10 in standings right now and charging to the top. He’s super down-to-earth and is down to give anyone a hand and share his knowledge with you if you ask. I [couldn’t] be happier for him and am honored to call him a friend.”
Q: What advice do you have to offer for for all the aspiring drifters out there?
A: “Car commitment!!!! Start off small…Get your car control down. To jump into a v8 right away will give [you] bad habits and as you go on in competitions you need to have the basics and car control down. Keep it simple and keep drifting fun!!!! If you decide to go for the next level, commit to it and practice practice!!”
Q: You have a wife, kids, and a full-time job. How did you manage to balance it all?
A: “Don’t forget youth pastor…Lol..Yeah with all we have gone through this last year also, I believe that if you keep the important things first that all the other things fall into place. And that is exactly what happened this year. Everything fell right into place. And if Formula D is in my future, I believe that will fall into place also.”
Cisneros’ Sponsors: DMA Performance, Godspeed Project, Feal Suspension, Dailey Visuals, Reef Fire Systems, FR Sports, Drive Energy, Dry Down.
With the long layoff between Seattle and Texas, we have to do something to keep us entertained. After last week’s look at the rookie standings, we decided to dive into the qualifying points as we did last year around this time.
For the first time in years, Darren McNamara is atop the charts. McNamara has been known as a driver who tends to drive better in tandem than in qualifying, but this year seems to be quite different. As the only driver who has been one of the top two qualifiers in three of the five rounds (1st in Seattle, 2nd in Long Beach and New Jersey), McNamara has stood out in the new qualifying format. His Falken Tire teammate Justin Pawlak is 2nd with two top qualifier awards (Palm Beach and New Jersey), while Aasbo has a top qualifier position (Atlanta), 2nd qualifier (Seattle) and a 3rd qualifier (New Jersey) that put him in third in the overall qualifying standings.
The other driver to earn a top qualifier position is Dai Yoshihara, who hit the top spot in Long Beach but has struggled since, qualifying 6th in Palm Beach but outside of the top 10 in all other rounds. Last year’s leader at this time was Vaughn Gittin Jr, who has dropped to 9th in this year’s standings. Comparing this list to the overall points standings after 5 rounds, there’s quite a substantial difference, showing that qualifying is less important than in years past. Forsberg, who is currently leading the championship race, is only the ninth-best qualifier.
Here’s a look at the top 20 of the qualifying standings according to our points table. NOTE: This is based on the number of qualifying points earned, not the average qualifying position.
UPDATED on August 21st to reflect qualifying penalties for Tuerck and Saito
|LB Qual||ATL Qual||PB Qual||NJ Qual||SEA Qual||Total|
LORENinHD produced one awesome video following around Justin Pawlak in his 2014 Ford Mustang. It is one awesome video piece showing off Justin Pawlak and his battle to finally capture a championship with this 2013 season. His new program has been steaming along pretty well as the lone Ford Mustang under the Falken Tire umbrella.
Justin Pawlak has turned one horrible season into one that is breathing life and hope for a top finish. He narrowly avoided a 0 point Long Beach weekend after crashing hard on his first pass but somehow with the help of his team recovered and make a second qualifying run securing him some serious points for the weekend. Well after a stellar performance and second place finish at Wall Speedway the guys from DailyMotion turned the camera to JTP and interviewed his fellow drivers to talk about what they think of Justin Pawlak. Can he keep the momentum going and hold out for another championship run? Justin is currently 79 points out of first right now sitting in fifth place just behind Chris Forsberg. With three big rounds left he needs to score 26.4 points higher than everyone else ahead of him to secure his first championship.