skip to content
Driving Line Mark Logo

2023 Formula Drift Utah: Chelsea DeNofa Wins Third Event of Season

Formula Drift returns to Utah Motorsports Campus just outside Salt Lake City, Utah for the second season at this very high-speed venue. The debut 2022 event was one of the best on the calendar and tossed in lots of weather changes. The RTR Mustang team has won four of the last six rounds of Formula Drift this season and looked to continue their dominance this weekend in Utah.

Chelsea DeNofa drifting in his RTR Mustang on Nitto NT555 G2 tires at 2023 Formula Drift Utah


Chelsea DeNofa looked so controlled and good in qualifying and locked in third place with his run. Simen Olsen took in a second place in his Silvia S15, and James Deane qualified first in his Mustang RTR at his first appearance on the course.

High Speed Top 32

James Deane kicked off the main event by knocking out Taylor Hull in his Chevrolet Corvette as he looked to struggle with the pace and line that James Deane was able to maintain around the course. Taylor Hull ended up with a mechanical issue on his lead run and shut the car down. 

James dean against Taylor Hull at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Fredric Aasbo faced the veteran driver Kyle Mohan in the next battle. Kyle Mohan looked good in his rotary powered Mazda; however, Fredric Aasbo performed perfectly and won with his Toyota GR Supra.

Fredric Aasbo tandem drifting against Kyle Mohan at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Ryan Tuerck had a tight battle with Ryan Litteral that split the judge’s decision but edged Ryan Tuerck to a victory. Ryan Tuerck and his Toyota GR Corolla was not flawless on either of his runs, but he did just enough to have two judges give him the victory and advance on a split call with two votes to one in this battle.

Ryan Litteral vs Ryan Tuerck at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Odi Bakchis faced off next and pushed each other into a One More Time call from the judges as they both looked good in parts but had major mistakes. They both really turned it up for the One More Time battle, but the judges issued another One More Time call on this one as both drivers perform well but neither really did enough to take home a victory over the other. Finally, we got to the third battle between these two legends and Vaughn Gittin Jr. made a mistake and was forced to shut it down on the entry of turn one. Odi Bakchis really won the war of attrition on this battle and moved into the Top 16.

Vaughn Gittin Jr. tandem drifting against Odi Bakchis at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Chelsea DeNofa was the next battle set as he faced off against Mike Power as we finished up the top Top 32. A sloppy battle between two talented drivers made the judging call harder than it needed to be as the drivers went off course and had multiple mistakes in the run. The judges give the victory to Chelsea DeNofa and he headed into the next round of battles to face Robert Thorne.

Chelsea DeNofa Tandem Drifting against mike Powers at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Former Champions Dominate the Top 16

Chris Forsberg was the next one to face off against James Deane to start up the main event. James Deane looked great in his chase battle, but he made a big off course mistake on his lead run that James Deane couldn’t overcome with his amazing chase run. Chris Forsberg advanced to the next round of competition.

Chris Forsberg tandem drifting against James Deane at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Ryan Tuerck faced off against Jhonnattan Castro in another tight battle between the two drivers. Ryan Tuerck made less mistakes and had an impressive chase run that locked in the victory for him and his Toyota GR Corolla under the bright sun in Utah.

Ryan Tuerck tandem drifting against Castro at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Fredric Aasbo put down a typical flawless performance in his battle with Travis Reeder and advanced into the Great 8 with his dominating lead run. Fredric Aasbo needed to keep up these top-level performances with his Nitto NT555 G2 tires to chase Chelsea DeNofa in the Formula Drift Championship.

Travis Reeder tandem drifting against Fredric Aasbo at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Chelsea DeNofa set to face off against Formula Drift rookie Robert Thorne to finish up the Top 16. Chelsea DeNofa had a scare and called and emergency Competition Timeout before this battle started as the team frantically worked under the hood for a few minutes before he returned to the start line. It was unclear what they worked on, but he pulled up to the start line and laid down an amazing lead run in his typical full throttle big angle style! Robert Thorne overshot his lead run and put Chelsea DeNofa off course, but the judges found Robert Thorne at fault being the lead driver. This put Chelsea DeNofa into the Great 8 and he continued to hold first place in the 2023 Formula Drift Championship as four of the top contenders were in the next round.

Chelsea DeNofa tandem drifting against Robert Thorne at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

A Fight for the 2023 Championship in the Great 8

Matt Field eliminated Chris Forsberg and continued to put pressure on Fredric Aasbo and Chelsea DeNofa for the 2023 Championship. Ryan Tuerck then faced off against Fredric Aasbo and really put on a top-level performance in his Toyota GR Corolla. Fredric Aasbo really couldn’t match his chase run and struggled for proximity and pace which are both very uncharacteristic of his typical performance. Ryan Tuerck got the win and put Fredric Aasbo’s fourth Formula Drift Championship hopes much further away with only one event left in the season.

Ryan Tuerck tandem drifting against Fredric Aasbo at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Chelsea DeNofa then faced Kazuya Taguchi to wrap up the Great 8. Chelsea DeNofa was lucky because his lead run was sloppy, but Kazuya Taguchi bailed off course and shut it down in the chase position. The chase run from Chelsea DeNofa was solid enough to move him into the Final Four in his Mustang RTR.

Chelsea DeNofa Tandem Drifting against Kazuya Taguchi at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

One Fast Final Four

Ryan Tuerck performed well in this high-stakes battle, but Matt Field was fast putting down a maximum attack on his chase run that gave him the edge in the judge’s eyes to advance to the final battle. Ryan Tuerck was the lowest qualifier so he was unable to make the podium on the day with that loss.

Matt Field tandem Drifting against Ryan Tuerck at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Chelsea DeNofa then competed against Simen Olsen in a battle with big Championship implications. Chelsea DeNofa tossed in an insane entry on his lead run and Simen Olsen got crossed up and went way too fast trying to keep up with DeNofa on this entry. A very uncharacteristic mistake from Simen Olsen that gave Chelsea DeNofa an easy pass into the finals.

Chelsea DeNofa tandem drifting against Simen Olsen at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

Top Two Championship Battle in the Final

The final battle was set between the drivers sitting in first and second place in the Formula Drift Championship! Chelsea DeNofa warmed up his Nitto NT555 G2 tires and was the lead driver first and sent it into turn one going so fast and as Matt Field scrambled to keep up he made some traction and punted Chelsea DeNofa off course! The teams scrambled to repair the cars and both vehicles were missing lots of body panels as they returned to the start line. A sloppy battle finished up the afternoon in Utah as both drivers dragged these damaged cars across the finish line. Chelsea DeNofa was given the victory and nabbed his third Formula Drift win of the 2023 season.

Matt Field tandem drifting against Chelsea DeNofa at 2023 Formula Drift Utah

This victory puts Chelsea DeNofa 53 points ahead of Matt Field in the 2023 Formula Drift Championship going into the final round of competition at Irwindale Speedway next month. Simen Olsen now sits 77 points behind, and Fredric Aasbo is 81 points behind.

2023 Formula Drift Utah, round 7 results: 1. Chelsea DeNofa, 2. Matt Field, 3. Simen Olsen

Chelsea DeNofa lands his 10th career victory in his Formula Drift career which ties him for third all-time event victories with Odi Bakchis and Chris Forsberg. That is a huge honor making him just one of five drivers who have managed to win double digit events in the twenty-year history of the sport.

Return to beginning of article

Recommended For You

Loading ...