2013 FD Irwindale – Part 1 – October 11-12, 2013

irwindalepanoIrwindale Speedway is literally minutes from where we are based, so Formula Drift Round 7 – Title Fight, was a welcomed event since we have had the exhausting privilege of traveling the country to several venues for FD events this year. We were excited to get down to business covering the last event of the 2013 season. Which of our favorite rookies would pull off an impressive victory? Who would walk away with the season championship? We had so many questions on our minds.

DKAR8910Irwindale would mark the end of the amazing journey we set off on this year to cover the Formula Drift rookies. We knew we wouldn’t be seeing some of these guys until next year, so the weekend was a bit bittersweet for us. We would only hope they would all go out with a bang and do something awesome, such as making Top 16 or even better, taking down a fierce veteran in an intense drift battle.

DKAR9002In part 1 of our Formula Drift Round 7 – Title Fight coverage, we are going to give you complete run by run photo coverage, and see who goes home with podium and the season championship. Without further delay, lets get into how all the drivers did in qualifying and competition.


01essa1st – Mike Essa – 96.6

02gittin2nd – Vaughn Gittin Jr. – 93.8

3Tuerck3rd – Ryan Tuerck – 93.5

04kearney4th – Dean Kearney – 92.3

05nishida5th – Robbie Nishida – 90.5

06mcquarrie6th – Tyler McQuarrie – 90.4

07field7th – Matt Field – 90.4

8Forsberg8th – Chris Forsberg – 89.8

09bakchis9th – Odi Bakchis – 89.4

10wang10th – Forrest Wang – 86.9

11goodin11th – Pat Goodin – 85.5

12dmac12th – Darren McNamara – 85.5

13gushi13th – Ken Gushi – 85.2

14aasbo14th – Fredric Aasbo – 85

15Mats15th – Mats Baribeau – 84.4

16saito16th – Daigo Saito – 83.5

17Pawlak17th – Justin Pawlak – 91.8

18Kado18th – Ryan Kado – 90.6

19Grunewald19th – Conrad Grunewald – 88.8

20Denofa20th – Chelsea Denofa – 88.5

21angelo21st – Tony Angelo – 86.5

22Powers22nd – Matt Powers – 85.9

23yoshioka23rd – Toshiki Yoshioka – 83.6

24briggs24th – Dave Briggs – 82.9

25Dai25th – Dai Yoshihara – 82.9

26mohan26th – Kyle Mohan – 82.4

27taka27th – Taka Aono – 79

28George28th – Danny George – 78.5

29mordaunt29th – Pat Mordaunt – 78.3

30castro30th – Jhonnattan Castro – 77.9

31rydquist31st – Carl Rydquist – 76.5

32pakula32nd – Luke Pakula – 74.6

33Hosford33rd – Corey Hosford – 73.5

34steele34th – Josh Steele – 73.3

35hamilton35th – Nate Hamilton – 71.7

36ovcharik36th – Miro Ovcharik – 70.7

37lee37th – Alex Lee – 68.5

38maeng38th – Joon Maeng – 68.4

39parsons39th – Will Parsons – 67.5

40mendoza40th – Enrique Mendoza – 66

41stone41st – Gabe Stone – 65.4

42Primo42nd – Rob Primo – 59.8

43jones43rd – Jeff Jones – 59.4

44moore44th – Victor Moore – 58.9

45moen45th – Kenny Moen – 0

46mertzanis46th – Dennis Mertzanis – 0

47Wicknick47th – Brandon Wicknick – 0

48jeanneret48th – Chris Jeanneret – 0

49Hildebrand49th – J.R. Hildebrand – 0

50cano50th – Carlos Cano Estrella – 0

51osaki51st – Karl Osaki – 0

Top 32

DKAR2298Competition day started with a Top 32 drivers meeting. Little did anyone know that competition would jump off to a slow start with the very first 2 drivers (Essa/Pakula) both calling 5 minutes, leading to the most controversial moment yet this season.

essa-pakulaMike Essa vs Luke Pakula – Mike Essa (both Essa/Pakula call mechanical failure)

pawlak-saitoDaigo Saito vs Justin Pawlak- Daigo Saito

forsberg-yoshiharaChris Forsberg vs Dai Yoshihara – Chris Forsberg

bakchis-briggsOdi Bakchis vs Dave Briggs – Odi Bakchis

kearney-mordauntDean Kearney vs Patrick Mordaunt – Dean Kearney

gushi-denofaKen Gushi vs Chelsea Denofa – Ken Gushi

nishida-georgeRobbie Nishida vs Danny George – Robbie Nishida

mcnamara-angeloDarren McNamara vs Tony Angelo – Darren McNamara

baribeau-kadoMats Baribeau vs Ryan Kado – Ryan Kado

gittin-rydquistVaughn Gittin Jr. vs Rydquist – Vaughn Gittin Jr.

field-mohanMatt Field vs Kyle Mohan – Matt Field

wang-yoshiokaForrest Wang vs Toshiki Yoshioka – Forrest Wang (bye run)

tuerck-castroRyan Tuerck vs Jonathan Castro – Ryan Tuerck

aasbo-grunewaldFredric Aasbo vs Conrad Grunewald – Fredric Aasbo

mcquarrie-aonoTyler McQuarrie vs Taka Aono – Tyler McQuarrie

goodin-powersPat Goodin vs Matt Powers – Pat Goodin

DKAR3549In top 32, the motor in Mike Essa’s BMW had failed, and Luke Pakula forfeited with transmission issues before running Mike on the 2nd run. This would be a cause for concern for Chris Forsberg’s team as it meant Essa would advance further into the running for the championship, prompting a protest between Top 32 and Top 16 against Luke Pakula’s actions. FD officials reviewed the protest, and decided Essa’s win over Pakula would remain.

Top 16

essa-daigoMike Essa vs Daigo Saito – Daigo Saito (Essa mechanical failure)

forsberg-odiChris Forsberg vs Odi Bakchis – Chris Forsberg

kearney-gushiDean Kearney vs Ken Gushi – Dean Kearney

dmac-nishidaRobbie Nishida vs Darren McNamara – Robbie Nishida

vaughn-kadoVaughn Gittin Jr. vs Ryan Kado – Vaughn Gittin Jr.

wang-fieldMatt Field vs Forrest Wang – Forrest Wang

tuerck-aasboRyan Tuerck vs Fredric Aasbo – Fredric Aasbo

goodin-mcquarrieTyler McQuarrie vs Pat Goodin – Tyler McQuarrie

Great 8

forsberg-daigoDaigo Saito vs Chrs Forsberg – Daigo Saito

DKAR4361Forsberg had lost to Daigo Saito, and Mike Essa immediately realized the 2013 championship was his.

kearney-nishidaDean Kearney vs Robbie Nishida – Robbie Nishida

wang-vaughnForrest Wang vs Vaughn Gittin Jr. – Forrest Wang

mcquarrie-aasboFredric Aasbo vs Tyler McQuarrie – Tyler McQuarrie

Final 4

daigo-robbieDaigo Saito vs Robbie Nishida – Daigo Saito

wang-mcquarrieForrest Wang vs Tyler McQuarrie – Tyler McQuarrie

Battle for 3rd

wang-nishidaRobbie Nishida vs Forrest Wang – Forrest Wang

Battle for 1st

tyler-daigoDaigo Saito vs Tyler McQuarrie – Daigo Saito

The Results

podiumAfter a weekend of intense driving and fighting their way to the top, 3 talented drivers took their place on the podium. 1st – Daigo Saito, 2nd – Tyler McQuarrie, 3rd – Forrest Wang.

wangtrophyDaigo Saito and Tyler McQuarrie have felt victory and visited the podium several times, but this is the first time Forrest Wang has claimed a spot on the FD podium in his professional drifting career. Being hardcore supporter of rookies and privateers, we think this is awesome and hope it helps Forrest secure more support and funding for the 2014 season, and also hope this is a sign for more ass kicking to come.

VictoryBittersweet as it is, Mike Essa took home the 2013 season championship. Word from both his and Forsberg’s camps is that they both wanted to battle it out on the track. There are a lot of questions to be answered about what happened in Top 32, and we will surely be seeing more about it in the next few days/weeks. Until then, we say congratulations to Mike Essa and wish Forsberg another hard charging year in 2014.

GrandstandsWe were happy to share this event with fans of a sold out crowd. Check back for part 2 and 3 of our 3 part coverage, coming in the next week. Thank you for supporting AmDrift.com, and hopefully we will see our fans at All Star Bash at Willow Springs this weekend! Until then…

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