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Fredric Aasbo charges for the championship

Formula Drift returns to Texas Motor Speedway

DALLAS, Texas ( September 13, 2018) – Formula Drift star Fredric Aasbo is poised to battle for the 2018 championship title at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. He hopes to capitalize on his momentum from a winning Round 6 with a return to the podium in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

“There’s nothing better than a close battle to the finish line and this championship is going to come down to the wire,”said Aasbo. “With the competition as close as it is, I need to give it everything I’ve got.”

Sitting just 30 points out of the leader’s position, Aasbo is within striking distance of the driver’s title with two rounds left to go in the season. The driver notched podium finishes in the first three events of the year, including victory at the season opener in Long Beach, and returned to the top step last month in St. Louis.

The Papadakis Racing team is a proven performer, with three championship titles to their credit — more than any other team in the series. With 12 event victories, Aasbo holds the lifetime wins record. A strong performance this weekend could lock in the Manufacturer’s title for Toyota.

“Our position in the championship is the result of really hard work by the entire team and support of our partners,” said team owner, Stephan Papadakis. “We’ll continue to focus to make sure all the details are perfect. We know we have a winning team, which gives us good confidence heading to Texas.”

Texas Motor Speedway is a second home for the team, with Toyota USA’s headquarters just a half-hour drive from the track. Competing in front of a hometown Toyota crowd brings an extra boost of confidence.

“Going into this event in Dallas, I already know the Toyota drivers have an edge,” said Aasbo. “Fan energy is something that is really motivational for us on track and we’re looking forward to having the best cheering section out there!”

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world. An average of 2 million fans from around the world watched the popular live stream coverage from each round of the 2018 season. Broadcast coverage on the CBS Sports Network headlines packaged content that includes social channels Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

Fredric Aasbo is heading into Texas after a win at the most recent round in St. Louis.

(PHOTO: Toyota Racing)

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Top 10 Things from Formula Drift STL



10. Gateway is Great

This track and this event were near perfect. A Hollywood storywriters fairy taleevent where the former champion falls to his friend and the second place guy who we all thought was just out of reach wins and pulls the championship race to 30 points. The venue was great to watch and the fast speed long turn was great when the guys who could tandem found their lane. Other than the wild weather that blew through town, I don’t think anyone has much to complain about the Midwest. Let’s hope for years more to come at this unique road course.



9. Travis Reeder is Better than Some Drivers in the Pro Circuit

Travis Reeder really put on a display this weekend in Pro 2 with his 240sx. He handled and attacked this track better than a handful of the guys in the Pro circuit. He is a prime candidate to promote himself into the Pro series for 2019. With his victory this weekend he is now tied as the second most winning Pro 2 driver in history. If he can scrape out another win in Texas or Irwindale, he will be tied with Kevin Lawrence for the most Pro 2 wins in history.



8. Matt Field will be A Championship Contender in 2019

Matt Field had some early season hiccups in the Corvette that has hurt him in the bigger picture of the championship this season. That is a bummer because Texas and Irwindale tend to be strong tracks for him. The jump into a Corvette was a bold one for his team but it really paid off. He is growing season by season and constantly pushing himself to be better. You can see this clearly in his Frenemies series that gives you some insight into his program.



7. Dean Kearney Rocked his Top 32 Battle

Dean Kearney was rumored to be retiring the Dodge Viper this season but I am glad he is still kicking in the V10 monster. His chase run won’t be remembered by most since it was in the Top 32, but man he pushed Piotr Wiecek into a wild battle. Dean’s performances are just cluttered up with a bit too much inconsistency to make him a real championship threat but he could clean that up at anytime.



6. Chelsea DeNofa is the Future of Drifting

What a performance Chelsea DeNofa put on this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park. His second qualifying run was one of the most memorable events of the entire weekend along with his aggressive tandem chase positions. He is perfecting the driving on the edge style without smashing into people; and if he can make that a little better, he could become the most memorable drifter in world history. His podium was a huge step for his new life in a Mustang.



5. Engine Attrition Was Big in St. Louis

The battle for keeping your engines together was a tough one over this race weekend. The outside temps sat around 90 degrees for the race weekend but that combination with the long on throttle portions of the track made for engine soup. Taylor Hull missed competition entirely with an engine while many of the big teams were forced on Thursday night to go to back up engines. Chris Forsberg limped his backup motor to a Great 8 finish while it was on the verge of an explosion and James Deane lost his motor and 50 points in the championship chase for a mechanical issue with his 2JZ engine.



4. Fans Robbed of Another Worthouse. Battle

These two S15’s are indestructible in Formula Drift until they battle each other! The sport is on pins and needles waiting and hoping for a Worthhouse tandem battle that goes the distance with these two banging doors around the course straight up. I feel like Texas or Irwindale might deliver the goods for the fans out there so stay tuned.



3. Ken Gushi Loves These Track Styles

Ken Gushi is a driver that fades in and out of the spotlight in Formula Drift with his Toyota 86. The car seems plagued by car issues and sometimes Ken Gushi doesn’t quite seem on point. When he is on point though, he can light the drifting world on fire with a great performance. Inside his interview with Corey Hosford he did make it very clear he loved this track and you saw it in his tandem battles. He qualified 3rd, earned a bye run, then made easy work of Kristaps Bluss, and went down fighting against Chelsea DeNofa in the Great 8 before taking a loss. He tends to do well at Texas Motor Speedway as well so he could be a championship upset for one of the guys left in the race.



2. Pro 2 Championship is a 1 Point Race

The Pro 2 championship is going to deliver another wild finish it appears. Travis Reeder and Dylan Hughes sit within 1 point of each other with just two rounds left in the series. I also wouldn’t rule out Ola Jaeger who won Round 1 but had some car issues in St. Louis that really held him back. If the Pro showdown between Aasbo and Deane doesn’t get you excited then the Pro 2 championship is something to keep your eyes on. The Championship last season was won by just two points so don’t miss either of the next two Pro 2 events.



1. Fredric Aasbo Drove His Way to a Championship Royal Rumble

Fredric Aasbo has become a new driver before our eyes this season. He has a very no nonsense attitude in his drifting and I love it personally. He was run into, bumped, and had his door smashed in but nobody was going to put him off. To make the championship interesting, Fredric Aasbo needed a win and he did exactly that. 30 Championship points now separates him and James Deane as they go into Texas Motor Speedway. James Deane did win at Texas Motor Speedway last season so Fredric Aasbo will have some extra work ahead of himself. The true hope all the fans likely have is they can meet up and battle early into the Texas weekend and leave it all out for an Irwindale final to remember.

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Teammate Piotr Wiecek earns Honorable Mention with 4th

MADISON, IL (August 11, 2018) – On a hot, sticky, Midwest Saturday night, Team Falken Driver Matt Field scored a second place podium in Round 6 of the 2018 Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship at Gateway Motorsports Park, outside St. Louis. This was the second time Field has earned a runner-up trophy, and places him sixth overall in this season’s Formula D standings. Defending Champion and Falken teammate James Deane continues to lead the championship, with Wiecek in third place. Team Falken has six of its eight drivers in the top 10 of the championship leader board.

Field was strong all night long, having qualified second, and fought decisive battles through the Top 4. He eventually succumbed to Round 6 winner Fredric Asabo. All eight Falken drivers advanced to the Top 16, with five Falken entrants in the top 8. Qualifying indicated it would be a good event for the Falken AZENIS RT615K+ tire as teammates Ken Gushi placed 3rd; Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis was 4th; Deane, 5th; Justin Pawlak, 7th; Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara, 10th; Wiecek, 13th; and Jeff Jones, 22nd.

“For an inaugural event, we were pleased with Falken’s performance tonight,” stated Steve Wong, Falken’s Supervisor, Passenger Car Motorsports and Events. “Our team hadn’t been here before, and the track layout proved to be quite challenging with multiple transitions, but it was very fast. The competition was tough, but we had some great finishes, and at the end of the night, still have James Deane heading the championship and Falken retaining our lead in the Tire Cup standings.”

Commenting on his second-place finish, Field noted the fact that this was the first time Formula Drift was visiting Gateway Motorsports Park: “Coming into this round, there were a couple of major questions on probably everyone’s mind: how was the track going to work; were the cars going be able to do it; and the biggest concern – would tires last two laps here? Fortunately, for my team and me, we were able to hook up the car and get it enough grip.”

Field, running his newly built Corvette, concluded: “I was just blown away that the Falken tires were so strong; I really think that’s what gave us the edge to get on the podium this weekend, and I thank Falken for all their support.”

Formula D standings after six rounds: 1st– Deane; 3rd– Wiecek; 5th– Pawlak; 6th– Field; 9th– Bakchis; 10th– Gushi; 11th– Yoshihara; 20th– Jones.

As the season moves toward the final two rounds, the 2018 Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship Series heads to its annual “Showdown,” Sept. 14-15, at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, TX.

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Bringing world-class drifting to the Mid-West, the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship and Link Pro 2 Championship headed to St Louis, MO for Round Six: Advance Auto Parts Crossroads presented by Rain-X. This would be the first time in its 15-year history the series had visited Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL and packed grandstands greeted the competitors.

“We’re delighted to bring Formula DRIFT Pro and Pro 2 Championships to St Louis,” beamed a delighted Jim Liaw, FD president. “We’ve been looking for a suitable venue to bring the series back to the Mid-West and Chris Blair proved to be the catalyst. He was formerly the VP of Racing Operations at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and knows what we need. So when he became EVP and GM at Gateway Motorsports Park it was the break we’d been waiting for. The track is adjacent to St Louis and accessible to most of the major cities in the Mid-West so its location is perfect. It also provides the facilities FD needs and we’re in discussions to expand certain areas for next year since we’re already looking at a capacity crowd and need the opportunity to grow. We think this will become one of the most popular events across the country once it’s fully established.”

With so many drift fans to satisfy, Formula DRIFT brought both the Pro and Pro 2 categories to entertain the visitors. However, the drivers would have to contend with a new track to learn and a storm that blew in on Friday afternoon, washing out the Pro 2 heats. The weekend schedule was rapidly revised and fans would enjoy both the Pro and Pro 2 heats on Saturday during a packed 12-hour drift itinerary that started at 8AM.


The Pro category was able to squeeze in qualifying before the storm rolled into Madison, IL but somebody who possibly hoped the weather would arrive sooner was Kristaps Blušs (Latvia) driving the HGK / Achilles Radial / MAST Motorsports / BMW E92 “Eurofighter”. He had an early impact with the tire barrier during practice, and would incur further damage just before qualifying began following a collision with Jeff Jones (USA) in the Doc / Falken Tire Nissan 370Z. With bodywork and suspension damage, an emotional Blušs returned to the pits as the team frantically made repairs. Jeff Jones was undamaged and qualified 22nd, while Blušs placed 14th, which should have come as welcome relief but was a long way off his second-place qualification at the previous round.

Top of the Pro qualifying charts was Fredric Aasbo (Norway) in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla. The 2015 FD Champion had relinquished his lead of the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship for the first time at the previous round in Seattle, so the pressure was on him to perform. And perform he did, receiving 98 and 96 points, respectively, in his two qualifying runs out of a possible 100 points.

Nobody could get close to Aasbo’s form on the new track, but first runner-up was Matt Field (USA) in the Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette. He was followed by Kenshiro Gushi (Japan) in the GPP Toyota Racing / Falken Tire Toyota 86 who has been enjoying decent form over the past few rounds. Fourth place qualifier was Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis (Lithuania) in the Falken Tires / Maxxoil / Drifz Wheels Nissan S14, while James Deane (Ireland) put his Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15 in fifth.

As the series leader coming into FD St Louis, and the only driver to have scored two wins to date in the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship, the 2017 FD Champion would need to raise his game in the heats to keep Aasbo at bay. With only 92 and 84 points from his two qualifying runs, there was a chasm between Deane and Aasbo that would surely be difficult to overcome. Nobody had to wait long for the answer…


There was plenty of action and drama to entertain the enthusiastic fans at the inaugural FD St Louis round. With top qualifiers Aasbo, Field and Gushi getting bye runs, the Top 32 heats began with Matt Coffman (USA) in the Coffman Racing / Thunderbolt Racing Fuel / Achilles Radial Nissan 240SX S13. He hit a cone at the start of his run against Jhonnattan Castro (Dominican Republic) in the GPP Toyota Racing / Falken Tire Toyota 86. This forced the run had to be restarted but Coffman, the hometown hero at the previous Seattle round, was unable to restart his Nissan, even after a five-minute technical timeout, handing the win to Castro.

Another restart was required between Forrest Wang (USA) in the Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 and rookie Kevin Lawrence (USA) in the Enjuku Racing / BC Racing Nissan S14.3. Struggling to repeat his second place finish at the opening round in Long Beach, Wang also struggled to exert dominance over Lawrence and the judges called for “One More Time.” This indicated it was impossible to find a winner after the first two runs, so the drivers repeated the runs and the decision went in favor of Wang.

The victim of difficult practice sessions, Kristaps Blušs would also run “One More Time” in his Top 32 heat against rookie Kazuya Taguchi (Japan) in the Team Jerry Yang Racing / Top 1 Oil / Achilles Radial Nissan GT-R. Fortunately, Blušs was able to put Friday’s frustrations behind him and took the round win.

Whether it was unfamiliarity with Gateway Motorsports Park or just the intensity of the competition, the weekend saw its fair share of spins and off-course incidents. None were more dramatic than Ryan Tuerck (USA) in the Ryan Tuerck Racing / Gumout / Black Magic / Nexen Tire Toyota 86. He had a big “moment” when he clipped the dirt and spun into the infield, handing the round win to his opponent, Vaughn Gittin Jr (USA) in the Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR.

Rookie Austin Meeks (USA) in the Committed Service Brand / Achilles Radial Nissan S14.5 would also spin on his run against series leader Deane, giving the Irishman an easy win. Similarly, Alec Hohnadell in the Rain-X / Permatex / Nexen / Hoonigan Nissan S14 would spin and lose to Jeff Jones. Also joining the spinners club was rookie Federico Sceriffo (Italy) in the FFF Drifting Department Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Drift Spec “Fiorella” who would hand the round win to Daijiro Yoshihara (Japan) in the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire Subaru BRZ.

It was a messy heat between Piotr Wiecek (Poland) in the Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15 and Dean Kearney (Ireland) in the Oracle Lighting / Achilles Tire Dodge Viper. The Pole had to straighten up during one of his runs, while the Irishman had an off-track excursion and needed to take a five-minute technical timeout before the second run. The decision was eventually given to Wiecek by virtue of a better lead run.

The final Top 32 casualty was Taylor Hull (USA) in the Comp Cams / Achilles Radial / Affirm Consulting / Borla Exhaust Cadillac ATS-V. He would fail to start, gifting the win to Odi Bakchis.

Moving into the Sweet 16, the biggest story was 2010 FD Champion Gittin Jr heading off-track during his run against 2017 FD Champion James Deane. The Irishman would subsequently have to withdraw from the Great 8 with a blown engine when he was facing teammate Wiecek. With the Polish driver going through, Wiecek came up against Norwegian Aasbo in the Final Four.

Following his top 32 bye round, Aasbo narrowly beat Castro in the Sweet 16, and then overcame three-time FD champ Forsberg in the Great 8. But Wiecek was determined to stop Aasbo’s progress and their runs were too close to call not once, but twice. The judges requested “One More Time” on two occasions, raising the fans to their feet as each driver demonstrated precision and speed. With six runs to choose from, the decision narrowly went to Aasbo who would face Matt Field in the Final.

Field’s route to the Final had seen him beat Wang in the Sweet 16, Pawlak in the Great 8 and Chelsea Denofa (USA) in the Final 4 driving the BC Racing / Nitto Tire / Ford Performance Mustang RTR. Field wasn’t about to go down without a fight in the Final and used the power of his Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette to keep on terms with Aasbo’s Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla. However, a small mistake by Field caused a collision and put him off the track, allowing Aasbo to claim the win.

This was Aasbo’s second win of the season but his first since the opening round in Long Beach. It moves him within 30 points of Deane, who still leads the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship, and opens a significant gap to third-placed Wiecek.

We spoke to Aasbo as he stepped off the podium: “Our first visit to St Louis and we’re walking away with not just the win but also the qualifying pole. I couldn’t be happier because it’s closed the gap in the championship with James going out early,” said an ecstatic Aasbo. “This weekend was one of my highlights as a driver. We were finding grip in every battle trying to hang with these guys and it gave us the car to beat.”

Matt Field’s podium moved Chevrolet above Nissan in the Formula DRIFT Auto Cup Championship for the first time in 2018. “We started the weekend on a new track with uncertainly. We didn’t know if the Corvette or the tires would last, but the team gave me a solid car and the Falken tires lasted every battle through to the finish. And that’s what gave us the edge to reach the Final,” Field enthused.

The podium at FD St Louis was also noteworthy since it was the first time either of the RTR Mustang drivers (Gittin Jr and DeNofa) had stepped up since 2016. In doing so, Denofa also gave Nitto its first podium since the opening round in Long Beach in 2017.

“I’m super-stoked with third place and the team really deserved it after working so hard. I drove as hard as I could and got the result,” Denofa said.

Formula DRIFT president, Jim Liaw summed up the event once the celebrations had subsided: “We’ve been looking forward to returning to the Mid-West since 2005 and we’re glad to be back. We were rewarded by awesome fans who stayed with us through a crazy storm, intense heat and a really long Saturday. It proved to us that it was the right decision to return – it’s a great venue at Gateway Motorsports Park and we look forward to establishing a successful future here.”


For drivers in the 2018 Formula DRIFT Link Pro 2 Championship, this was the second event of the year after Round One in Atlanta (May 11-12). The new St Louis track provided a level playing field for everybody and it was Riley Sexsmith (Canada) who rose to the top during qualifying in his NV Auto / Achilles Radial 2JZ Subaru BRZ. Qualifying second, one point behind Sexsmith, was Jonathan Hurst (USA) in the Dynosty Infiniti G37. Third place was taken by Pro 2 category leader, Ola Jaeger (Norway) in his Team Japan Auto / Nexen Tire Toyota Supra who was attempting to maintain his momentum from the Round One win.

The biggest loser in Pro 2 qualifying was Kelsey Rowlings (USA) who collided with the tire barrier in his Top 1 Oil / Achilles Tire Nissan S14 and was, unfortunately, among eight Pro 2 drivers who failed to qualify for various reasons.


With an unexpected delay caused by the inclement weather, the Formula DRIFT Link Pro 2 Championship teams were gifted additional time to work on their cars and tweak the set up. Anybody who wanted to sleep-in was out of luck because the heats began in earnest at 9AM sharp on Saturday.

Having qualified in first place, Riley Sexsmith put himself in contention for the round win. However, he fell at the first hurdle, losing in the Sweet 16 to Andy Hateley (USA) in the Hateley Motorsports / Achilles Radial BMW E30. Hateley would, in turn, fall prey to Dylan Hughes (USA) in the Advance Auto Parts / Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX in the Great 8 round.

The win put Hughes in the Final 4 against Brody Goble (Canada) in his Frankenstein Speed Custom / Achilles Radial Nissan S14.75. It was a close contest but the decision went to Hughes, who progressed to the Final to face Travis Reeder (USA).

Having qualified 14th driving his Achilles Radial Nissan 240SX, Reeder’s first opponent was Atlanta winner, Ola Jaeger. Despite qualifying a strong third, Jaeger failed to advance, allowing Reeder to progress to the Great 8 where he defeated Hooman Rahimi (USA) in the I’m Only Hooman / Achilles Tire Nissan 350Z.

Reeder’s opponent in the Final 4 was Alec Robbins (USA) in the Koruworks / Achilles Tire Nissan 350Z. Robbins would lose but place third on the podium as Reeder swept to victory against Hughes in the Final, claiming the very first Formula DRIFT Link Pro 2 Championship win in St Louis.

We caught up with a delighted Travis Reeder after he stepped away from the podium celebrations: “We had a killer weekend at St Louis, although we initially struggled with set up on this crazy new track. Once we got it figured out, we were able to string together some solid runs, stay consistent and make it to the top step. I want to thank my crew, family, friends and Achilles Radial – I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of everybody. This has been a great weekend and we’re stoked for the next round in Texas,” said Reeder.


Round Seven of the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship and Round Three of the Formula DRIFT Link Pro 2 Championship take place in Dallas, TX on September 14-15. Visit for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles and Livestream information.


Top 16 Pro Category finishing places from FD St Louis

To view all the Pro Category finishers:

Top Five Pro Category Championship standings after six rounds

To view the 2018 Pro Championship standings:

Top 16 Pro 2 Category finishing places from FD St Louis

To view all the Pro 2 Category finishers:

Top Five Pro 2 Category Championship standings after two rounds

To view the 2018 Pro 2 Championship standings:

Top five Auto Cup standings after six rounds

To view the 2018 Auto Cup standings:

Tire Cup standings after six rounds

To view the 2018 Tire Cup standings:

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Papadakis Racing takes victory in St. Louis

Top qualifier and event winner Fredric Aasbo scores maximum points

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (August 13, 2018) – Fredric Aasbo dominated the sixth round of the Formula Drift championship this weekend earning his second victory of the season. The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback driver earned the maximum possible points as the championship heads into its last two rounds.

“From the outside, a result like this can look like smooth sailing, but behind the scenes everyone was working really hard to be competitive at this new track,” said Aasbo. “We were adding more grip every round and learning from each battle. To come away with maximum points feels absolutely amazing.”

Aasbo immediately threw down the gauntlet at the Gateway Motorsports Park, qualifying first overall on Friday to earn a bye through to the Top 16, where he faced down Jhonnattan Castro.

“I wasn’t sure that battle would go our way,” said Aasbo. “We realized we had some more work to do after that and we pushed our setup into uncharted territory to get more speed out of the car.”

The Gateway Motorsports Park sits just outside St. Louis, Missouri, and is a new addition to the Formula Drift series. A flat, fast road course, it quickly became clear that power and speed would be critical in the hunt for victory.

“You need a lot of grip to put down the power and carry good speed,” said Stephan Papadakis, team owner. “At this track, that was the difference between pulling away on a lead run or losing ground during a chase. We had to work fast to dial in the car.”

After advancing past Castro to the Great 8, Aasbo beat out Chris Forsberg to move into the Final 4. There, he met Piotr Wiecek, who proved a formidable rival.

Fans were on their feet as Aasbo and Wiecek pushed the limits through six head-to-head matches. Judges were undecided through two one-more-time calls before they finally awarded the round to the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback in an unanimous decision.

“We lowered the tire pressure again before the second One More Time,” said Papadakis. “In that sort of situation, you have to do everything you can. You risk debeading the tire, but you can gain grip and speed. The Nexen tires performed really well, Fredric kept his lines clean, and it worked in our favor.”

In the Final, Aasbo faced Matt Field. During Aasbo’s lead run, Field made an error and made contact with the back of Aasbo’s car before running wide off the track. Judges confirmed Field was at fault for the clash and all it took was for Aasbo to put in a clean chase to come away with the victory.

The win was an important one for the team. Championship leader James Deane had been pulling away from the field, but a blown motor during the Great 8 opened the door for a renewed points battle as the season heads into its final two rounds. With both the best qualifying run and event victory, Aasbo took maximum points this weekend and is now within 30 points of the leader.

The battle resumes in Dallas, Texas, September 14-15 and concludes a month later at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California.

Formula Drift enjoys a dedicated and engaged audience with sell-out crowds all season long. Grandstands at the new St. Louis event were packed by early Saturday, with fans clamoring to get close to the action from the first moment cars hit the track. This season, each livestream broadcast is averaging more than two million viewers.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world. An average of 2 million fans from around the world watched the popular live stream coverage from each round of the 2018 season. Broadcast coverage on the CBS Sports Network headlines packaged content that includes social channels Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback takes victory at the new Formula Drift venue in St. Louis (PHOTO: Larry Chen/Toyota Racing).

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Papadakis Racing reveals Corolla Hatchback build in new video

HAWTHORNE, California (August 7, 2018) — Papadakis Racing is offering a glimpse under the hood of their 1,000 horsepower Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback. A new video showing their 2018 competition build dropped Tuesday morning as the team prepares for a Formula Drift stop in St. Louis with driver Fredric Aasbo this Friday and Saturday.

The latest video to hit the Papadakis Racing YouTube channel documents the extensive four-month Formula Drift build as the team transformed a stock, front-wheel drive Toyota Corolla hatchback into a championship ready rear-wheel drive, 1,000 horsepower competition machine.


Featured in the video are team owner and noted innovator Stephan Papadakis, champion driver Fredric Aasbo, team technicians “Shaldo” (Shawn Hillier and Aldo Villagran), Georgheinz Rios, designer Jon Sibal and Chris Woodward from TRD.

The video was produced by Attain Media, with video contribution from DC Chavez.

Aasbo is currently second in the series championship. The Formula Drift series travels to Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend for the first time for a competition dubbed “The Crossroads.” Competition opens Friday with Pro qualifying starting midday followed by Pro2 competition. The on-track action resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. and runs through 8 p.m.

The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback
under development at Papadakis Racing, beside the 2018 team vehicle.

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It’s Two Wins in a Row for Team FALKEN’s James Deane as He Dominates Formula Drift’s Evergreen Speedway

Teammates Piotr Wiecek takes 3rd place; Justin Pawlak, 4th

MONROE, WA (July 21, 2018) – Team Falken’s James Deane continued his winning ways by earning his second victory in a row in the 2018 Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship at Evergreen Speedway, increasing his lead in the Driver’s Championship with three events remaining. Teammate Piotr Wiecek took third place, solidifying his position at third overall, while Justin Pawlak placed fourth at Evergreen, putting him fifth in the tight overall points battle.

“After what seemed like our ‘summer break,’ Team Falken came back roaring, with James Deane repeating at Evergreen and taking his second win this season,” said Steve Wong, Falken’s Supervisor, Passenger Car Motorsports Events. “James continues to run strong, scoring points in his defense of the Formula Drift Driver’s Championship.”

It was Falken’s fourth series of podium finishes this season out of five rounds. “Falken’s AZENIS RT615K+ tires are performing well,” added Wong, “and our team of drivers are more determined than ever to run to the finals.”

Thirty-two drivers entered Evergreen Speedway, known as the “House of Drift of the North,” with 30 qualifying. Wiecek qualified first, followed by Pawlak in 3rd, Deane in 4th and additional Falken teammates Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in 6th; Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara in 10th; Matt Field, 12th; Ken Gushi, 13th; and Jeff Jones in 17th.

All eight Team Falken drivers advanced to the Top 16, with four continuing on to the Top 8. From there, teammates Deane and Field faced off, with Deane taking the win, while both Wiecek and Pawlak advanced.

Before a capacity crowd, Deane squared off against teammate Wiecek, while Ryan Tuerck eliminated Pawlak. Deane returned the favor by beating Tuerck in the Final.

“Seattle [Evergreen] was another tough round,” Deane noted, adding “the level is for sure stepping up this year.”

Describing his move through the rounds, Deane stated, “my absolute favorite battle this weekend was with teammate Matt Field. He’s very aggressive and I knew he was on my door throughout the bank, but I took a huge chance and it paid off and we ended up where we needed to be and pulled off a sweet run.”

Deane continued: “Wiecek was crazy fast; always a fun time with him. He dropped a couple of wheels and gave me an advantage, and so then I led, but he was pushing me around the whole bank. It was crazy as a driver to feel like I had extra power with him pushing me through the corner. Crazy driving, but I managed to get the win. And then into the final with Tuerck, it came down to technicalities. It was a really close battle. We pushed as hard as we could; didn’t make so many mistakes and I think that’s what got it for us.

“At the end, we’ve managed to extend our lead in the championship and it feels great,” Deane finished. “We had a little bit of luck, but we’ll take it where we can get it, because in the sport of drifting, you never know when it may turn.”

“James is now 85 points ahead of second place” Wong enthused, “and Wiecek is now 120 points behind. It’s still a close race. “We’ll continue this strong momentum as we head to St. Louis for Round 6. For now, Falken has a solid lead in the Tire Cup championship.”

The Top 10 standings for Formula Drift include Pawlak, 5th; Field, 8th; Bakchis, 9th; and Yoshihara, 10th, for a total of six Team Falken drivers.

Team Falken will travel south to St. Louis, MO for Round 6 when Formula D visits Gateway Motorsports Park, located across the state line in Madison, IL, August 10-11.

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Evergreen Speedway Top 10 Moments

Written by Joey Redmond of Wrecked Magazine

10. Can St. Louis Save the 2018 Championship Chase?

One of the most exciting things to happen in Formula Drift is when the whole series descends onto a new racetrack for the weekend. Coming up next is Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis, Missouri. New tracks tend to do really well for specific drivers (Fredric Aasbo and Chris Forsberg comes to mind as drivers who tend to podium at new events) and other drivers need that build up of experience to perform. The two drivers that are on my mind are sitting behind James Deane and really need to podium and see Deane take an early exit to prevent the Deane repeat at this point.

9. Has Justin Pawlak Become the New King of the Ford Mustang?

Justin Pawlak finds himself comfortably in 5th place in the Formula Drift championship putting him 125 points ahead of the next Mustang driver in the field (Chelsea DeNofa in 14th with 159). While Justin isn’t likely the first driver you think of in the Formula Drift paddock when you hear Ford Mustang driver,, he is the one who of this group that is really performing on the track. He could easily land a top 3 championship spot this season depending on how he finishes up.

8. Cameron Moore Pulls Out a Hometown Edge

The Cameron Moore versus Jhonnattan Castro battle was actually one of my favorites of the weekend. It was a very well balanced battle between two guys in the same chassis with different motor setups. While it wasn’t the blockbuster battle of the season, it was nice watching two guys really duke it out in what ended up as a 2 OMT battle. The second OMT was crazy because both drivers spun as they were pushing so hard to win. I think at any other track Castro might have edged out Moore. Cameron Moore ended up looking much more comfortable at his local track of Evergreen Speedway than we have seen him at other venues around the country giving him a small edged that pushed him into Top 16.

7. Chris Forsberg’s Throttle Body Makes Championship Slip Away

Racing is something that always comes down to the smallest of margins and this one really hurts the Chris Forsberg Racing team. A Top 32 exit in a battle versus Matt Coffman slung Chris Forsberg 124 points behind James Deane. After a season with mechanical issues plaguing the team,, this one must really hurt deep. You would think after winning his first event in 1,485 days in Orlando he was going to push his momentum to challenge Deane but that has stalled out. Forsberg and team will need a really good St. Louis performance to get back in the championship chase.

6. Jeff Jones is Growing in Confidence with his 370z

Jeff Jones was in rare form this weekend at Seattle. He was feeling good and you could just see it and hear it in his voice. From doing Fortnite dances in the back of Matt Field’s interview, to his pure gold interview with Laurette Nicoll, he was having a great time. He even backed that confidence up on the track in his Nissan 370z by defeating former champion Michael Essa in the Top 32 and giving Piotr Wiecek a decent run for his money in Top 16. He got a big monkey off his back by making it to the Top 16 at Evergreen Speedway for the first time. His team had serious subframe cracking issues all weekend making his accomplishments even more impressive.

5. The Revenge of Ryan Tuerck

Ryan Tuerck, Gumout / Nexen Tire Toyota GT86

Ryan Tuerck tends to have these unique moments when his car is working right and he looks like the drifting destroyer we all remember him to be from his Nissan 240sx days. You tend to see it early in the event when all is going right for him and coming together. His last podium was last season in Long Beach and that was another time when everything was plugging away for him and his Toyota 86. He couldn’t manage to take it all the way and lost to James Deane for the fourth time in a row (0-4 all time record) and will clearly be looking for revenge against Deane before this season is over.

4. Do car issues come from midseason wear or rough New Jersey conditions?

So many teams struggled with serious vehicle malfunctions this weekend it made me wonder is Wall Speedway in New Jersey that rough of a track or is the mid-season taking its toll on teams and vehicles? Forrest Wang suffered an engine failure that prevented him from even qualifying over the weekend and he is a driver who always seems to make it into the big show no matter what. Forsberg and his throttle bodies, Jones and his subframe, and the list could go on and on. I think the fault lies in both issues, but I am going to pay more attention to events post Wall in the future season to see if the aftermath is teams having more car issues.

3. Chelsea DeNofa Steals the Show with his Chase Run

That chase run against Alex Heilbrunn is the Top 16 (roughly 4 hour 50 minute mark on the Main Event live video) was the chase battle of the weekend. Chelsea DeNofa is likely the best chase driver in the Formula Drift series at this point. He just needs to partner his wild and aggressive chase style with some better lead runs and qualifying pulls and he could be the Championship contender everyone has always felt he could be. It’s a bummer he blew his lead run against Heilbrunn because I would have loved to see that chase against Wiecek in the Great 8.

2. Daigo Hints at a US Return on Facebook?

Just after the event on Monday, Daigo Saito took to his Facebook fan page and posted this “またアメリカ走りたいな。懐かしい!” which Facebook roughly translated to “I’d like to run in America again. I miss it!” His post even included the “Call Me Maybe” video made by 1Kind back a few seasons ago. Daigo already made a huge arrival seasons ago with his SC430 and started the Horsepower Wars of Formula Drift that are still going on today. Perhaps, a 2019 return is in order and we could see him battle it out with the newly arrived Worthouse team for Drifting world supremacy and bragging rights.

1. James Deane Goes Back to Back

James Deane is already the ninth most winning driver in Formula Drift history after only competing in 17 Formula Drift events. He just finished a back-to-back victory session with New Jersey and Seattle putting him firmly 85 points ahead of Fredric Aasbo in the Championship Chase. If James Deane can keep this level of performance up he will be just the second driver in history to win back to back championships following in the footsteps of drifting icon Tanner Foust who accomplished this feat in the 2007-2008 season.

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Returning from the summer break, the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship headed to Seattle, WA for Round Five: Autozone Throwdown presented by Rain-X. With the first half of the season over, and one of the most competitive driver line ups ever seen in the sport, it is time for teams to make a push to the Finals at Irwindale Speedway in October. And with only 39 points separating the top three places, there is still everything to play for.

As the event got underway, Formula DRIFT was delighted to announce it had signed a new three-year deal with the operators of Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA. This has secured the future of FD Seattle at the venue it has used successfully since 2005. “We’re so excited to have signed this three-year deal,” said Jim Liaw, Formula DRIFT president. “Our entire organization, the teams and fans love coming here. There’s always tremendous energy in the grandstands and the paddock, which gives the event its own special personality.”

Warm sunshine greeted the teams for Friday qualifying, but dark clouds could be seen over two areas in the pits. One of these was because Forrest Wang (USA) had to watch helplessly while his team raced to swap the engine on his Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15. Miraculously, they completed the task in time but the engine failed to start, meaning Wang, who finished second at the opening round in Long Beach, CA would fail to qualify.

Similarly, Austin Meeks (USA) didn’t qualify his Committed Service Brand / Achilles Radial Nissan S14.5. This would give the top two qualifiers bye rounds in the Top 32 heats on Saturday.

That advantage fell to Piotr Wiecek (Poland) in the Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15, who qualified first, and Kristaps Blušs, who qualified his HGK / Achilles Radial / MAST Motorsports / BMW E92 “Eurofighter” in second place.

As in previous rounds, qualifying was incredibly tight. On this occasion, Piotr scored two points more than Kristaps over his two runs to take first place. In turn, Kristaps had an identical score to third placed Justin “JTP” Pawlak (USA) driving the Roush Performance / Falken Tires 2018 Ford Mustang. The drivers were only separated by a single style point in the end.

Qualifying fourth was Piotr’s teammate, James Deane in his identical Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15. He placed in front of fifth place Fredric Aasbo (Norway) in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla, who matched the Irishman’s first run points tally but withdrew from the second run with head gasket problems. Having led the FD Pro standings for the first three rounds, Aasbo’s recent inconsistency is understandably concerning for him but you can never count out the Norwegian nor Papadakis Racing.

Saturday would see the first repeat winner crowned in the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship. Such has been the ferocity of the competition that different drivers have stood on the top step in every previous round until now. However, the early interest in Seattle was focused on two local drivers who had the Washington crowd on the edge of their seats. Star of the show was Matt Coffman from Central Point, OR driving the Coffman Racing / Thunderbolt Racing Fuel / Achilles Radial Nissan 240SX S13. He was intent on improving his previous best finishing position for 2018, which saw him reach the Top 16 at the opening round in Long Beach.

Coffman’s first match-up was against 2009, 2014 and 2016 FD Champion Chris Forsberg (USA) in the NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z on Nexen Tires. Forsberg had plenty of momentum following a win in Orlando and a podium in Atlanta. The smart money was on the NOS Energy Drink driver but Forsberg encountered problems with a loss of power during the run. This caused Coffman to collide with the stricken Nissan 370Z on the banking during the first run. Both drivers took a five-minute technical timeout to make repairs, but a repeat of the problem in the second run handed Coffman the win.

Heading into the Top 16, Coffman faced off against Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis (Lithuania) in the Falken Tires / Maxxoil / Drifz Wheels Nissan S14. With Odi recording consistent results all season, including fourth place in New Jersey, Coffman was again the underdog but overcame the Lithuanian to advance again.

Reaching the Great 8, Coffman’s phenomenal performance would be halted by Justin Pawlak, who’s had a solidly season in the Roush Performance / Falken Tires 2018 Ford Mustang. Justin would eliminate the hometown favorite and finish fourth overall after losing in the Final 4 to eventual second-place finisher Ryan Tuerck.

Pawlak was fortunate to reach the Final 4 following an exciting encounter in the Top 16 with 2010 FD Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr in the Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR. During the first run, Gittin Jr would collide with Pawlak at the final clipping point. It was a tight turn that caught out drivers all weekend. The impact was hard enough to break Gittin Jr’s tie-rod arm and cause him to collide with the wall after crossing the finish line. Unable to repair the Mustang RTR in time, Gittin Jr handed the win to Pawlak whose car was undamaged.

With intense battles going on throughout the heats, another local boy in the points hunt at FD Seattle was Cameron Moore from Battle Ground, WA driving the Cameron Moore Drift / Falken Tire Toyota GT86. He vanquished Jhonnattan Castro (Dominican Republic) in the GPP / Toyota Racing Falken 86 in the Top 32 heat after an epic battle. With nothing to choose between the two drivers, the judges would call for “One More Time” not once but twice. This meant they ran a total of six times and the crowd was ecstatic when the decision went to Moore. Sadly, he would succumb to Kristaps Blušs in the Top 16, but the spectators were whipped into a frenzy as Moore and Coffman performed at the highest level.

Away from the local heroes, FD Seattle belonged to the Worthouse Team of James Deane (Ireland) and Piotr Wiecek (Poland). Their identical Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15s would finish first and third, respectively.

Deane’s route to the top step saw him meet Kyle Mohan (USA) in the KMR / American Ethanol / Mazdatrix 2016 Mazda MX-5 in the Top 32, and then Kenshiro Gushi (Japan) in his GPP Toyota Racing / Falken Tire Toyota 86 in the Top 16.

For the Great 8, Deane would encounter Matt Field (USA) in the Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette. Field was lucky to reach this stage after a collision with 2015 FD Champion Fredric Aasbo in the Top 16. Driving the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla, Aasbo had slowed into one of the clipping zones, causing Field to make contact. This put Aasbo down on points, which he was unable to overcome on the second run.

Field would fall to Deane in the Great 8, and the 2017 FD Champion faced his teammate, Piotr Wiecek, in the Final 4. With two on-form drivers in identical cars, the competition was nail-bitingly close but the decision went to Deane.

The Irishman moved onto the final against Tuerck and again both drivers were almost inseparable. With the crowd calling for “One More Time” the judges narrowly ruled in favor of Deane, who would climb to the top step of the podium and extend his lead over Aasbo in the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship by 85 points.

“This win was no easy task,” said a typically understated James Deane after the podium celebrations. “There were some incredibly close battles this weekend. Everybody was fighting extremely hard but we had some luck with our toughest opponents making small mistakes. This helped us to the win but I kept it consistent, and it’s a great feeling to be increasing my advantage in the championship. The pressure is on us to continue the progress but it’s all good.”

Ryan Tuerck was delighted with his second place after an extended absence from the podium. “It feels like a long time since I was last here so we’re all very excited. This really boosts morale and confidence after the team worked so hard during the break to resolve all the small problems we had with the car. We got the car dialed-in early this weekend and I just tried to be consistent. The only mistakes I made were against James (Deane), which I’m really bummed about because he doesn’t leave any room for error. So we’re happy with the podium and looking forward to St Louis.”

We also caught up with Formula DRIFT president, Jim Liaw to get his views on the event: “We love the fans in the Pacific Northwest. They’re awesome and it’s what brought us here in 2005 and why we’ve stayed ever since. This is such a great venue and every year has been a capacity crowd. The operators have worked to improve the venue over the years and that’s why we signed a three-year extension to remain here until 2021 at least. We love it at Evergreen Speedway and we’re looking forward to coming back.”

Round Six of the 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship takes place in St Louis, MO on August 10-11. Visit for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles and Livestream information.


Top 16 finishing places from FD Seattle

To view the Top 32 finishers, click here:

Top Five Pro Championship standings after five rounds

To view the 2018 Pro Championship standings, click here:

Top five Auto Cup standings after five rounds

To view the 2018 Auto Cup standings, click here:

Tire Cup standings after five rounds

To view the 2018 Tire Cup standings, click here:

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