24 Hours of Formula Drift
We’ve had the amazing opportunity to be a Media Sponsor for Formula Drift’s 2011 season. It has been an unforgettable experience and has given me the chance to meet some of the coolest people in our industry and around the globe. This last event was different, its been a very long time since I have had a camera in my hands and even longer since I’ve done so for motorsports. Considering I’ve spent the last year behind a computer looking at code, writing articles, sending emails and packing and unpacking booths; the best parts of this last year have been meeting so many of you, either at events or at our booths. Putting names to faces and seeing everyone’s excitement has made this journey worth it.
Because of this I decided to make the trek out to New Jersey and cover the Formula D event myself. I wanted to go hang out with friends and acquaintances that I’ve made over the last 18 years in the industry. So with shoes on my feet, a carry-on filled with camera equipment and a change of clothes, off I went.
Arriving at LGA I was greeted by my friend Marc. He happened to be in town visiting family and was down to catch the FD event. We linked up with his old crew from when he lived in Queens. A great group of people with an unparalleled hospitality and passion for cars. We spent the 2 hour drive to Wall doing nothing but talking smack about cars, drivers and the scene.
Arriving at Wall was just like any other event, a flood of modded cars bottle necking into a parking lot that resembled more of a car meet then a parking lot. After checking in, getting my media credentials and saying hello to friends I haven’t seen in months, it was off to take some snaps.
Once in the speedway the atmosphere was exciting and busy. People scurrying all over to see drivers, cars and of course models; an always favorite at any automotive event. Falken’s prestigious Umbrella Girls were on hand to give some drivers shade, give spectators some eye candy and of course autograph posters and merchandise for fans. As were the NOS Energy girls, offering drinks, smiles and photo ops.
Our loyal and long term readers will remember that State of Stance did some work in late 2010 with Scion. It was nice to see some of the old tCruise staff at the Scion VIP tent where select Scion owners enjoyed drinks, food and the chance to meet Scion drivers Fredric Aasboand and Ken Gushi as they autographed tires. Amongst the drivers and owners, Jackie Ling (one of the master minds behind Urban Racer) and RJ DeVera were enjoying some shade and of course the usual event nom nom.
The final four vehicles gave a tremendous show for the fans with mounds of shredded tire and parts flying everywhere. Impact after impact, Wall speedway claimed quite a few cars that day. Even still, drivers were in great spirits in the paddock and did not lose concentration.
The first battle pitting number one qualifier Ryan Tuerck in the Mobil 1 / Gardella Racing Chevy Camaro against Conrad Grunewald in the Hankook Chevy Camaro. Tuerck went high on the banking, making impact which damaged his vehicle taking him out of the competition and automatically giving him fourth place. Current points leader Justin Pawlak in the Falken Ford Mustang faced teammate Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Nissan 240SX to meet Grunewald in the finals. Yoshihara lost the battle and took third place due to Tuerck’s damaged vehicle and moved into second in the Pro Championship points standings. The finals saw a battle of American muscle with Pawlak facing Grunewald. Grunewald edged out Pawlak for the first victory of his career. Pawlak remains the points leader with this third podium finish of the season.
“I’m really happy for the team,” stated Conrad Grunewald, winner of Round 4: The Gauntlet. “We overcame a lot to get to this position this weekend. And I am overwhelmed to be on top of the podium for my first time and especially to do it by beating a Ford Mustang.”
The Formula DRIFT Championship continues for Round 5: Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway on July 22-23. Tickets are available to purchase online.
With that, a night in NYC with long time friend Phil Luis and a very early AM flight home; my 24 hours in Formula D comes to an end. Hope you like the pictures and for more information visit: www.formuladrift.com
|Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2011 Point Standings after 4 Rounds|
|1. Pawlak, Justin||Falken Tire Ford Mustang||363 Points|
|2. Yoshihara, Daijiro||Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13||306 Points|
|3. McNamara, Darren||Falken Tire Pontiac Saturn Sky||291 Points|
|4. Forsberg, Chris||NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z||280 Points|
|5. Powers, Matt||Need for Speed Nissan S14||273.50 Points|
|6. Grunewald, Conrad||Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro||272 Points|
|7. Tuerck, Ryan||Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro||245 Points|
|8. McQuarrie, Tyler||Falken Tire Nissan 350Z||244 Points|
|9. Gittin, Vaughn||Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang||228 Points|
|10. Yoshioka, Toshiki||Retaks Nissan S13||213.75 Points|
|11. Mohan, Kyle||Nexen Tire / Mazdatrix Mazda RX-8||204.50 Points|
|12. Aasbo, Fredric||Need for Speed / Hankook Scion TC||169 Points|
|13. Gushi, Ken||RS*R / Hankook / Scion Racing TC||164.50 Points|
|14. Petty, Ross||Megan Racing / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla||160 Points|
|14. Wilkerson, Walker||Fatlace / Intec Racing Nissan 240||160 Points|
|16. Waldin, Matt||Helix Energy Drink Nissan 350Z||159 Points|
|Round 4: The Gauntlet Event Results|
|1. Grunewald, Conrad||Hankook / CG Racing Chevy Camaro||Winner|
|2. Pawlak, Justin||Falken Tire Ford Mustang||Second|
|3. Yoshihara, Daijiro||Falken Tire / Discount Tire Nissan 240SX||Third|
|Tires.com Triple Crown (after 1 of 3 events)|
|1. Yoshihara, Daijiro||Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13||106 Points|
|2. McNamara, Darren||Falken Tire Saturn Sky||90 Points|
|3. Yoshioka, Toshiki||Retaks Nissan S13||79 Points|