2022 Formula Drift Rd. 8 at Irwindale Speedway: Fredric Aasbo Earns Perfect Event Win and is Named 2022 Season Champion
The Formula Drift 2022 season came to an end in Southern California at the packed and always sold-out Irwindale Speedway. The weather took an unusually bad turn and dumped rain during the competition—which is rare for the location. After seven rounds this season has had seven different event winners—a first in Formula Drift history. The two main players with the best chance for the 2022 Formula Drift Championship were Matt Field and Fredric Aasbo, but there were a few drivers who still had a small and outside chance of winning the season points competition.
2022 FDIRW Qualifying
The qualifying portion of the weekend event was dominated by Fredric Aasbo after he experienced a rough practice. It was clear that his experience has strengthened his ability to perform under pressure which gave him an edge when the Championship is on the line. Instead of thinking about the challenging practice session, he recalibrated for qualifying and took home the top qualifying spot which edged him that much closer a victory over his competitors.Matt Field took home the fourth-best qualifying spot. Unfortunately for Chris Forsberg, he was unable to make a successful qualifying run after his Nissan Z’s engine failed, forcing him out of the event, with a fifth-place overall finish for the season.
Rain Arrives Midway in the Top 32
Fredric Aasbo lined up for the first battle of the day where he was chased by Dan Burkett who qualified 32nd. Dan struggled to keep pace with Fredric Aasbo coming off the first bank in the chase position and over committed at the inner bank wall. He smacked Fredric Aasbo’s Toyota GR Supra and planted his MKIV Supra into the inner bank wall pretty hard. Dan couldn’t repair his vehicle in time to return to the line to complete the tandem battle, but Fredric Aasbo’s team was able to fix his car for a fun run to show his car was still in good shape and he moved into the Top 16.
Matt Field got an easy bye run since Joao Barion couldn’t get his Corvette to the starting line for competition. Jeff Jones then had a tough tandem battle with Mike Power to start off his race weekend. Jones was conservative on his chase lap because Mike Power got an incomplete on his chase lap. In the end, Jeff Jones was given the victory and was set for a Top 16 battle.
Then the weather changed for the worse, and heavy rain started to fall. When wet conditions make the course unpredictable, a sight lap is available for each driver so they can gauge the amount of grip they have for tandem competition. After their sight laps, Ryan Tuerck battled Jonathan Hurst in a challenging battle. Ryan Tuerck looked so good in the rain, and he pushed Hurst to try and keep up with him and forced Hurst to spin on the long bank. Hurst suffered the same issue on his lead run which resulted in both drivers crashing into each other on the bank wall. This gave Ryan Tuerck a clear victory and some time to repair his car before the next round of competition.
Top 16: the 2022 Champion is Named
Fredric Aasbo started off the next round with Kyle Mohan who crashed his Mazda Rx-8 as he crossed the finish line in the chase position. Kyle hit the rear quarter of his car so hard the outer portion of his wheel came off and rolled across the racetrack all by itself. Mohan couldn’t fix the car in time to finish the battle and Fredric Aasbo came out to complete the race by himself which moved him one step closer to victory.
Matt Field faced off against Adam LZ in a battle that will go down in Formula Drift history. Matt Field went in too hard and crashed on the bank and spun the car around and hit the wall even harder trying to flick the car around. The 10,000+ fans went dead silent as the Championship because they knew it possibly ended Matt Field’s chances of winning the point championship. Matt Field’s team couldn’t repair the car in time to get back on the track which put Fredric Aasbo into first place for his third Formula Drift Season Championship.
In the next battle, Jeff Jones was aggressive in chasing down Rome Charpentier in one of the most exciting tandem chases the fans would see all night. Jeff Jones took off like a rocket ship on his lead run and left Rome way behind in his BMW. All the judges picked Jeff Jones to put him into the next round of competition.
Alec Robbins and Ryan Tuerck were the next big battle and it turned into one wild cat and mouse game versus a traditional tandem drift battle. Alec had serious corrections and Ryan Tuerck tried to follow him all around Irwindale Speedway as he went off line and fell out of drift on his lead run. Then Ryan Tuerck put a serious lead run down which placed him in his third-place overall for the 2022 Formula Drift Championship as he moved on to the next round.
Gunning for the Great 8
Fredric Aasbo faced his toughest challenge of the day as he warmed up his Nitto NT555 G2 tires under the lights in his next battle against Odi Bakchis. Fredric Aasbo took off in the lead and Odi Bakchis really kept pace in the chase battle looking solid against the three-time Formula Drift Champion Fredric Aasbo. The judges were split on the great battle but two judges picked Fredric Aasbo and he advanced into the Final Four.
Jeff Jones looked great in this battle against Michael Essa in his BMW. Michael Essa felt the pressure in his lead lap and pushed too hard with a big over-rotation at the inner bank which gave Jones a fast pass into the Final Four.
Branden Sorensen was looking strong in his BMW and led the first lap against Ryan Tuerck. Ryan Tuerck put his Corolla on the high line of the bank on his lead run and dragged his bumper across the inner bank pushing the judges into a One More Time call. The rain returned before the One More Time battle could happen which changed the entire battle. Ryan Tuerck was the last man standing and given the advance into the Final Four.
Rain, Lightning and Thunder in the Final Four
The fans were asked to leave the stands because of the nearby lightning strikes, and the 10:30 pm curfew was fast approaching. And the rain really came down which put the drivers to the test. Fredric Aasbo performed so well in these poor conditions and eliminated Adam LZ, who couldn’t keep his Ford Mustang going straight on the track.
As Jeff Jones took his sight lap he crashed his Nissan 370z as Ryan Tuerck waited on the starting line. The damage to his car from the crash kept Jones from returning to the track to compete which gave Ryan Tuerck a bye run into the finals! Fortunately, Jones locked in third place for the night with his strong qualifying position.
The Last Final Four of the 2022 Formula Drift Season
Ryan Tuerck and Fredric Aasbo set to close out the 2022 Formula Drift season in a big battle with the track drenched in water from the storm. Fredric Aasbo’s phenomenal car control in the wet served him well, and Ryan Tuerck spun his Corolla on the big bank trying to keep up. Ryan Tuerck looked good in the lead run, but Aasbo held on enough to lock in the perfect race weekend and won his 18th career Formula Drift event!
With this win, Fredric Aasbo became the third driver to win back-to-back Formula Drift Championships which puts him in legendary company with Tanner Foust and James Deane. He is also now the third driver to have three Formula Drift Championships to his name, along with drivers Chris Forsberg and James Deane.
Nitto Tire dominated the 2022 Formula Drift Tire Cup with 1333 points for the season with second place a distant 120 points behind. Toyota won the Auto Cup with 1326 points to close out the 2022 Formula Drift season.