Formula Drift Atlanta – Top 32 to Podium – May 10, 2014

The Formula Drift Round 2 qualifying results promised to make the evening of competition a great one. Between the weather conditions, change in track surface, and the level of competition this year, we knew it was going to be an incredible event… not to mention this is one of our favorite tracks on the Formula Drift circuit.

DKAR7015The crowd was ready for some action. There is something about drift fans in the South that make us wanna jump the fence and join them. Being around these awesome crazy people make shooting photos lose its appeal really quick. Beer and party anyone?


TOP 32


DKAR6500Forrest Wang vs Jeff Jones
The first battle of Top 32 was Forrest Wang vs Jeff Jones. This was a great battle, and ended up going one more time where Forrest was able to edge out Jones, advancing him to the Top 16.


DKAR6527Danny George, vs Diago Saito
Moving on, “The Peoples Champ” Danny George, vs Diago Saito. A lot of people are eager to see Danny do well in his new chassis. The battle was good, but Danny went off track giving Daigo the win.


DKAR6557Fredric Aasbo vs Matt Field
Competition heating up, Fredric Aasbo faced Matt Field. Field was hungry at this round after failing to be able to run at round 1. On Aasbo’s lead run, Field went a little to hard and hit Aasbo, giving Fredric the win.


_DSC0941Conrad Grunewald vs Mark Landreville
Our next battle was Conrad Grunewald vs Mark Landreville. This is Landreville’s second year in Formula Drift, after almost winning rookie of the year running one event last season. Both drivers ran well, but Conrad got the win.


DKAR6597Ryan Tuerck vs Patrick Mordaunt
This battle was a very interesting one. Ryan Tuerck went up against Patrick Mordaunt who was driving a borrowed car, which happened to be the former Retaks Backpacks S13.5 that Ryan used to compete in. Patrick did and incredible job in the chase position, moving him into the Top 16.


_DSC1000Mike Essa vs Odi Bakchis
This next battle was an exciting one for drift fans that follow the FD circuit, Mike Essa vs Odi Bakchis. Mike seemed to be struggling all weekend and Odi was hungry for a win after loosing to Essa at Super Drift Challenge. Normally we would call this an upset, but after seeing the way Odi has been performing this year, it was no huge surprise to see him get the win and move onto Top 16.


DKAR6627Dan Savage vs Chris Forsberg
Its always a rookies biggest fear, or biggest thrill, to run against a seasoned champion. Rapper Dan Savage went up against Chris Forsberg and knew he had go all in. On the downhill before the first clipping point, Rapper Dan came in too fast behind Forsberg, making contact and sliding off course. Chris Forsberg ended up getting the win.


DKAR6664Robbie Nishida vs Tyler McQuarrie
Next up was supposed to be Robbie Nishida vs Tyler McQuarrie. Sadly Tyler was not able to run, moving Robbie into Top 16.


IMG_5070Kyle Mohan vs Darren McNamara
The next battle was Kyle Mohan vs Darren McNamara. Kyle had a great lead run, but Darren kept good proximity and had a better lead, run giving him the win.


DKAR6696Dean Kearney vs Jhonnattan Castro
Dean Kearney vs Jhonnattan Castro was set to be a great matchup, with Castro looking better than ever in his new chassis. Castro had a great lead run, but on his follow, he went a little to hard and ran into Kearny, giving him a zero and leading Kearney into the Top 16.


DKAR6649Charles Ng vs Kuniaki Takahashi
Charles Ng faced D1 driver, Kuniaki Takahashi. Takahashi was expected to do very well in Formula Drift, but seems to be struggling with the car. Charles did an incredible job on the follow run, giving him the win.


DKAR6720Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs Geoff Stoneback
Up next was a great battle with rookie Geoff Stoneback going up against Vaughn Gittin Jr. The way Geoff was driving, you would of had no clue he is a rookie. Geoff put up a good fight, but not well enough to hold off the hard charging Gittin, and Gitten got the win moving him into the Top 16.


IMG_5213Justin Pawlak vs Pat Goodin
Justin Pawlak vs Pat Goodin was set up to be to be a great battle. Goodin was still high on his great finish in Long Beach, and Pawlak was more hungry than ever. Pat had a great run, but Pawlak seemed to put a gap on him in the lead run, giving Pawlak the win and moving him into the Top 16.


_DSC1358Chelsea Denofa vs Alec Hohnadell
Chelsea Denofa went head to head with rookie Alec Hohnadell. Alec had problems with his car and was only running on 6 cylinders. During Denofa’s lead run, Alec threw it in just a little too hard and came in contact with Denofa and was unable to fix the car in time, giving Denofa the win.


IMG_5276Kenny Moen vs Dai Yoshihara
Next we had Kenny Moen and Dai Yoshihara. Sadly Dai was involved in some contact during practice resulting in broken suspension and possibly chassis damage, and was unable to run, giving Kenny Moen the win.


DKAR6683Ken Gushi vs Ryan Kado
Ken Gushi was supposed to run against Ryan Kado. Ryan was unable to run due to problems with the car, giving Gushi the automatic win.


TOP 16


IMG_5304After the intermission between Top 32 and Top 16, we were ready to rock and get this show on the road to see who would come out the ultimate winner. Drivers lined up and had the usual driver introduction, and the fans went crazy for their favorites.


DKAR7441Forrest Wang vs Daigo Saito
The first battle of the Top 16 was Forrest Wang vs Daigo Saito. Forrest was the number 1 qualifier for this round. He made it into Top 16 after a great battle with Jeff Jones, a battle that went one more time with Forrest coming out on top. The battle with Daigo was a great one. Forrest made an incredible lead run as Daigo did a great job in the follow. On Daigo’s lead run, he was able to put a gap on Forrest, which made him the victor in the first battle of Top 16.


IMG_5437Fredric Aasbo vs Conrad Grunewald
Our next battle of Top 16 was Fredric Aasbo vs Conrad Grunewald. Aasbo made Top 16 after defeating Matt Field, and Conrad advanced into this battle after defeating Landerville. Aasbo had a great lead run with Conrad not too far behind on the first run. Conrad has always had incredible entries in Atlanta, and his lead run had an incredible entry, but Fredric seemed to be closer on the follow run giving him the win.


DKAR7518Odi Bakchis vs Patrick Mordaunt
Moving on, Odi Bakchis lines up against Patrick Morduant. Both drivers made it past Top 32 in some incredible battles, as Pat beat Ryan Tuerck in a borrowed car that was actually the car that Ryan had competed with in the 2012 season. Odi made it into the Top 16 after beating last year’s champion Mike Essa. Pat seemed to struggle in the follow position, and Odi did an incredible job of following, moving Odi into the Great 8.


DKAR7535Chris Forsberg vs Charles Ng
The next battle of Top 16 was Chris Forsberg vs Charles Ng. Its great to see Charles making his reappearance into Formula Drift and doing well, already making it into Top 16 at his second event back. Chris Forsberg had a great lead run and was nice and tight on the follow, moving him into the Great 8.


DKAR7574Darren McNamara vs Robbie Nishida
Continuing further into Top 16, Darren McNamara would face Robbie Nishida. This was Darren’s first time competing with the new turbo set up on his car. Darren seemed off pace on entry for both of his runs, moving Robbie into the Great 8.


DKAR7595Dean Kearney vs Ken Gushi
Our next battle was was Dean Kearney vs Ken Gushi. Ken looks better than ever in his FRS with the new power plant. Dean was very good on his follow, keeping great proximity throughout the run, but Ken was able to squeeze out the win.


DKAR7670Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs Justin Pawlak
This next battle was one of the highlights of the event, Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs Justin Pawlak. Both drivers were hungry for the win. The first run was not great for either, forcing it to go to a one more time as both drivers got 0’s. In the one more time battle Vaughn, was able to move on into the Great 8 due to Justin spinning on his lead run.


DKAR7659Kenny Moen vs Chelsea Denofa
Next we had Kenny Moen vs Chelsea Denofa. Moen was eager to do well in Atlanta after his second place finish in Long Beach. At this point in time, some rain had started to fall and Formula Drift officials decided to grant the drivers a shakedown run to feel track conditions. Chelsea had a great lead run, but went off track on his follow, giving Kenny the win rounding up the Top 16.


Great 8


DKAR7703Fredric Aasbo vs Daigo Saito
What was supposed to be Fredric Aasbo vs Daigo Saito, did not happen. Unfortunately Daigo had blown up his motor, thus making him unable to run and giving Aasbo the win by default.


DKAR7710Odi Bakchis vs Chris Forsberg
The first actual tandem battle of the Great 8 was Odi Bakchis vs Chris Forsberg. Odi has done nothing but make progress every time he drives since his entrance in Formula Drift, and is doing great so far this season. Odi had a great follow run, at first being very aggressive, but was not able to put on a good enough lead run, moving Chris into the Final 4.


DKAR7754Ken Gushi vs Robbie Nishida
Next was Ken Gushi vs Robbie Nishida. Gushi had a great lead run, but went of course slightly on his follow run, giving Nishida the win.


DKAR7782Kenny Moen vs Vaughn Gittin Jr.
In the last battle of the Great 8, Kenny Moen met Vaughn Gittin Jr. Vaughn had a great lead run putting a gap on Kenny, and then was incredible on proximity for his follow run, giving him the win.


Final 4


DKAR7804Fredric Aasbo vs Chris Forsberg
Starting off the Final 4, we had Fredric Aasbo vs Chris Forsberg. This battle was also one of the highlights of the event, as on Chris’s lead run, he over shot the entry, and Aasbo was able to make a legal pass!! On his lead run he made a clean pass, giving him the win… moving him into the finals.


DKAR7814Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs Robbie Nishida
On the other side of the Final 4, it was Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs Robbie Nishida. Vaughn seemed to be 100% on his game throughout the event, so it was no surprise to see him making it this far into competition. Vaughn had a great lead run and stayed very close to Robbie on his follow, moving him into the finals.


DKAR7854Fredric Aasbo vs Vaughn Gittin Jr.
So this is it, the final battle of Formula Drift Round 2, Fredric Aasbo vs Vaughn Gittin Jr. Now if we go back a year in Atlanta, these two drivers had what will always be remembered as one of the craziest battles of FD history, so we knew this was going to be a great show. Both drivers ran what looked like 1st place qualifying runs on their lead and follow, giving the judges no other option but to go one more time. Once again, both drivers had great runs during the one more time, but Vaughn was able to squeeze out the win, thus making him the winner of Formula Drift Round 2 at Road Atlanta!!!


DKAR7951With that, round 2 was in the books. What a great event it was. Tons of upsets, some incredible driving and the great venue of Road Atlanta!!!
1st place – Vaughn Gittin Jr.
2nd place – Fredric Aasbo
3rd place – Chris Forsberg

Formula Drift hits Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida for Round 3 on May 30-31. Click here for tickets, info, and schedule!

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