Play by Play: Formula Drift Rd 5 Evergreen Speedway
After Friday's surprising qualifying results, it was hard to predict who would end up on the podium at Evergreen Speedway for Round 5 of the Formula Drift Pro Championship. It was fair game as the usual top qualifiers did not fall in the top 3. Get the Cliff's Notes of how each run went down below...
Ford Top 16
Darren McNamara Vs. Daijiro Yoshihara
Overcast but non-threatening skies loomed over the first showdown matched top qualifier Darren McNamara against 16th qualifier Daijiro Yoshihara.
McNamaraLead: D-Mac initiated first and kept his car near the wall, earning style points for sure. Yoshihara wasn’t left behind but didn’t close the gap.
YoshiharaLead: A little slower than D-Mac early, Yoshihara made plenty of smoke coming off the banking and into the Power Alley. But McNamara had the proximity advantage which carried the day. D-Mac for the win.
Kenny Moen Vs. Joon Maeng
Moen Lead: Moen had the advantage after the first run carving a good line and keeping Maeng at bay.
Maeng Lead: The two tangled and it took some time to see if there would be a penalty. During the second run re-do Maeng did enough to earn a 2-1 victory.
Chris Forsberg Vs. Matt Field
Forsberg Lead: The current points leader, Forsberg hoped to extend his undefeated streak against Field to four. Forsberg laid down a solid run pulling big angle and running near the wall. Field stayed close enough but didn’t match Forsberg’s angle and he bobbled a bit through the Power Alley.
Field Lead: Strong off the line, Field initiated early and made no visible mistakes. Forsberg was having none of it though and closed the gap dramatically in the Alley, the cars were so close that the smoke seemed trapped between them. Forsberg advances 2-OMT.
Ryan Tuerck Vs. Ken Gushi
Tuerck Lead: Tuerck and his Retaks FR-S came off the line hot and both cars carried a lot of speed into the initiation zone. Tuerck went all out and laid some serious angle, so it was impressive to see Gushi keep it so close. Both FR-S' getting scary tight at the Power Alley clipping points.
Gushi Lead: Gushi’s GReddy Racing Scion FR-S took a high, aggressive line into the bank and laid major smoke. Tuerck maintained his composure and closed in through the Alley to gain proximity. This was déjà vu as it looked like Run 1 with the color schemes swapped. Result one vote Gushi, two votes OMT.
OMT Tuerck Lead: Once again hot into the initiation zone but Tuerck may have overcooked it as he nails a cone (deduction) going into the Power Alley and goes wide into the turn which allows Gushi to close early.
Gushi Lead: Gushi was solid, really seems to be driving well, maybe the best he’s ever been. Tuerck was there most of the run. It would seem that deduction for putting a tire off in the first run cost Tuerck, Gushi moves on 2-1.
Robbie Nishida Vs. Dean Kearney
Nishida Lead: Robbie Nishida faced fellow teammate Dean Kearney in this battle. Nishida took a nice high line into the banking but drifted wide in the Power Alley opening the door to Karnage Kearney and his Viper.
Kearney Lead: Kearney veered toward Nishida after the start. It should be noted that Formula Drift introduced a chicane start in Seattle where the lead car juts to the high side of the track just off the line. The announcers called Kearney’s move “not gentlemanly,” but ultimately the judges didn’t seem to mind giving Kearney the advancement, 3-0.
Justin Pawlak Vs. Conrad Grunewald
Pawlak Lead: Pawlak came out of the gate like a thoroughbred, fitting as this was an All-American, Chevy versus Ford battle and JTP was in the Ford. He used his momentum to drift high on the banking, nailing the clipping points through the Alley in what would have been a stellar single-car qualifying run. Grunewald did not close ground and bobbled slightly in the Power Alley transition zone. Advantage JTP.
Grunewald Lead: High and fast on his lead run, Grunewald was not a match for JTPs run. Pawalak closed in the Power Alley and showed great efficiency through the clipping points. JTP, winning one for Ford, advances 2-OMT.
Odi Bakchis Vs. Michael Essa
Essa not able to answer the bell. Bakchis advances.
Fredric Aasbo Vs. Kyle Mohan
Aasbo Leads: Off the line quickly, Aasbo took a very high line into the banking, maximizing points and setting the stage for a smooth run through the Alley. Mohan lacked both angle and proximity. Advantage Aasbo.
Mohan Leads: Mohan has a de-beaded tire but competitors only get one competition timeout per event and Mohan used his during qualifying. Aasbo advances.
Nitto Great 8
Darren McNamara Vs. Joon Maeng
McNamara Lead: D-Mac is on his game and all you need to do is believe your eyes, it’s that easy to see. He pulled Maeng by a few car lengths prior to initiation, went high on the banking, and hit all his clips. Maeng undercut on the banking and was unable to close proximity. Advantage D-Mac.
Maeng Lead: Maeng couldn’t get out of McNamara’s shadow, and went wide in the Power Alley, slowing his progress, and further opening the door for D-Mac, who stepped through the threshold advancing 3-0.
Chris Forsberg Vs. Ken Gushi
Forsberg Lead: Forsberg’s 370Z was good off the line and especially smooth though the clipping zone. Gushi and his Scion were tight on the Nissan early and in touch through the Alley.
Gushi Lead: Mechanical gremlins kept Gushi from initiating drift. Forsberg advances 3-0.
Justin Pawlak Vs. Dean Kearney
Pawlak Lead: Both drivers were operating too far beyond the edge of adhesion. Kearney put a tire off going into the Power Alley, Pawlak spun in the Alley.
Kearney Lead: Kearney veers in after the chicane again but JTP spins again, moving the Irishman Kearney to the Top 4.
Odi Bakchis Vs. Fredric Aasbo
Bakchis Lead: Bakchis went high on the bank and stayed there for the entire turn while piling on big angle. Even more impressive is how Aasbo matched him and the two went back and forth all the way through the circuit.
Aasbo Lead: The two drivers pick up where they left off. Aggressive angle and big-time smoke puffing were again the norm. This had One More Time written all over it.
OMT Bakchis Lead: Bakchis had less angle on the bank this time around but was still high and smoking a ton but he dropped a tire off and punted a cone. Advantage Aasbo.
Aasbo Lead: Aasbo was a touch late on initiation but so was Bakchis, who also lacked the rotation of Aasbo. Aasbo was nailing the transitions and the two cars did a clip dance at the end of the run. The tire-off deduction seemed to cost Bakchis the win and Aasbo advances in the best tandem battle of the night.
Darren McNamara Vs. Chris Forsberg
McNamara Lead: Not a step wrong for D-Mac who got quick rotation and big angle from his V8-powered S14. Forsberg shadowed D-Mac so close they could have swapped autographs.
Forsberg Lead: Forsberg was riding the wall but D-Mac was a parallelogram - the cars were that in sync. Lost in the smoke, they emerged in unison, D-Mac shooting flames in the final clipping zone for effect. The new best tandem battle of the night looked like a sure OMT, but surprisingly, D-Mac moved to the final 3-0… did we miss something?
Fredric Aasbo Vs. Dean Kearney
Aasbo Lead: Aasbo showed more angle early but lost drift in the Power Alley and could not re-engage. Kearney was close off the banking and kept it on the course after Aasbo had trouble. Aasbo called competition timeout.
Kearney Lead: After the first-run deduction, all Kearney had to do was keep it sideways to win and that’s what he did.
Go Pro Finals
Darren McNamara Vs. Dean Kearney
McNamara Lead: Call it the "Shamrock Shake Showdown", the all-Irish final shaped up like an epic battle. D-Mac, dominant since rolling off the trailer Friday, stayed on the edge showing big angle and precise, controlled transitions at the clipping point. Un-intimidated, Kearney kept up stride for stride. He was really close in the Alley and might have given D-Mac a love tap. The run was too close to call.
Kearney Lead: Karnage Kearney lived up to his name, veering after the start again and delivering much more than a love tap to D-Mac. The run was abandoned. Kearney suffered toe-in damage and was allowed to fix his car despite already using his competition timeout. The judges ruled since this was the first go-round with the chicane start and the finals that the issue should be settled on the track.
Kearney Lead 2: Kearney had a slight bobble on the banking, went a tad shallow into the Power Alley, and was not sharp at the clips. D-Mac slingshot next to Kearney when his Viper made that aforementioned bobble and matched him move for move all the way through the meat of the course.
Darren McNamara, your Formula Drift Throwdown 2014 champion, fellow Irishman Kearney nabs his first ever podium, and Chris Forsberg takes third, making him a staggering five for five in podiums in 2014.
We will return with coverage of round 6 of the Formula Drift Pro Championship, The Showdown at Texas Motor Speedway in September. In the mean while, recap on our coverage for the year and find out what some drivers do when they're not behind the wheel on DrivingLine.com.
Words: Evan Griffey & Andrew Modena | Photos: Alex Wong
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