Over the weekend, Autosport Dynamics made their way out to southern California for the final and most exciting event of the Formula Drift season. A sold-out crowd filled the paddock and the grandstands at Irwindale Speedway, otherwise known as “The House of Drift”, to see their favorite Formula Drift drivers go head-to-head in hopes of a place atop that coveted podium. In addition to the Formula Drift TV show that airs on the VERSES channel, this was the first drifting event to be filmed in 3D by DirecTV with an air-date to be announced. Round 7 was also featured live online via the DriftStream to a world-wide audience which reached over one-million unique views overall this year.
All ASD drifters qualified in the top sixteen on Friday; in fact, Darren McNamara (D-Mac) and the Falken Tire Saturn Sky took the first place spot, setting him up to go against the 32nd qualifier in the top 32 battles. Vaughn Gittin Jr. and the Monster Energy/ Falken Tire Ford Mustang took the 6th place qualifying spot. Justin Pawlak (JTP) and the blue and teal Falken Tire Ford Mustang qualified 13th. And last but not least, Tyler McQuarrie and the Falken Tire 350Z took the 16th place spot amongst the 40-plus drivers fighting to be in the top thirty-two. All the ASD drivers quickly advanced into the Sweet Sixteen main event on Saturday. As D-Mac took out Alex Pfeiffer, Tyler defeated Robbie Nishida, JTP dominated over Ken Gushi, and Vaughn proved successful over Formula Drift rookie, Nicolay Konstantinov. Click HERE to watch the opening ceremonies of the Sweet Sixteen. The first battle of the Sweet Sixteen turned out to be an all-ASD Falken Tire battle as D-Mac and T-Mac (Tyler McQuarrie) lined up against each other to fight for a spot in the Great Eight. After two fantastic runs by both drivers, and after the Falken Tire smoke had settled on the track, Darren’s chase run proved to be slightly better than Tyler’s, and he was awarded the win. Click HERE to watch Tyler and Darren’s battle. Next up from the ASD crew was JTP who would be facing 2009’s Round 7 winner, Ryan Tuerck. Justin was pumped to be going against his Drift Alliance teammate, and he took it out on the track as he threw down two insane runs. It was a close match, but the judges deemed Justin the winner and the advancement into the Great Eight. Click HERE to watch JTP’s runs.
In the top 16, Vaughn was paired with “Rookie of the Year” Fredric Aasbo, who was the only driver the entire year thus far besides Daijiro Yoshihara to win in a tandem battle against Vaughn. This would be the fourth time of the season that these two fierce competitors would meet on the track.
Vaughn led first and entered early, maintaining a high line on the bank with a ton of angle. Coming off the bank, he was able to pull a gap and put the Monster Mustang right up on the infield wall as Aasbo tried to close the gap and followed with a more shallow line. Vaughn gave chase next, sticking close to his competitor and mimicking Aasbo’s every move on the track. The judges declared Vaughn the winner. Click HERE to watch his runs. In the Great Eight, D-Mac was up first to go against former Formula Drift Champion, Rhys Millen. Darren led first and blazed through the course, putting his Falken Tire Saturn Sky right up against the wall in the infield, as Rhys struggled to keep up.
Darren gave chase next, and was able to serge his way right up to Rhys before the first clipping point, and stayed right on him coming off the bank and throughout the infield. It was an obvious decision; Darren was awarded the advantage, the win, and the advance into the semi-finals! Click HERE to watch D-Mac’s battle. JTP was matched with two-time Formula Drift Champion, Tanner Foust, in his battle of the Great Eight. In 2008, JTP fought his way to third place and he was looking to get on that podium once again.
Justin gave chase first, and fought to stay as close as possible to Tanner, mimicking his line and angle. When it was Justin’s turn to lead, he put down an awesome run, but he just couldn’t seem to get away from Tanner who was piling on the pressure. The judges awarded Tanner the win, and Justin would end his day with a top 8 finish. Click HERE to watch JTP’s top 8 runs. Vaughn found himself faced with Matt Powers in the top eight. Powers had placed fourth in Irwindale last year, so Vaughn knew not to count him out. Vaughn led first and put down a picture-perfect run, with much more angle and speed than his competitor. When it was his turn to give chase, Vaughn put intense pressure on Powers and didn’t let up once throughout the course. Vaughn took the well-deserved win, and would be moving on to the semi-finals to join his ASD teammate Darren McNamara! Click HERE to watch Vaughn’s top 8 battle. D-Mac was set to run Tanner in the semi-finals. Later in the weekend, the two drivers would be awarded 2010’s “Best Tandem Battle” for their runs at Round 4 in Seattle. But here in Irwindale the two were matched again, and they would both stop at nothing to move into the finals with a guaranteed podium position.
After two insanely close and exciting runs, the judges (and the crowd) call for a One-More-Time. Darren would lead first in the OMT, and put down one of his best runs of the season. He would follow next, and knew he needed to be super tight on Tanner in order for the advantage to go in his favor. He was right on Tanner’s door, up until the judge’s stands, where he unfortunately spun out. The crowd erupted in cheers, however, as Darren had put on an outstanding performance and fought hard against Tanner. Darren would move on to the consolation round, as he still had a chance to seal 3rd place. Click HERE to watch Darren’s runs.
Vaughn was up next in the Final Four to compete against Michihiro Takatori for a place in the finals. Vaughn led first and immediately was able to pull a sizable gap on the bank after his initiation. He hit all the clips while Takatori was not able to catch up to the engine-screaming and tire-smoking Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Mustang.
Vaughn gave chase next and was able to reel into Takatori immediately, keeping close to him throughout the course. Vaughn tapped the infield wall and maintained his drift, showing the crowd and the judges that he deserved to be in the finals. The judges agreed and sent him into the finals to face two-time Formula Drift Champion, Tanner Foust. Click HERE to watch Vaughn’s battle.
After Vaughn defeated Takatori, Darren would now take him on in the consolation round for 3rd place. Darren would lead first, and had a huge gap on Takatori coming off of the bank. Darren had intense angle coming off the bank, but wasn’t able to transition the car back in time and ended up taking it into the wall. This would take Darren out of the competition for the evening, and Takatori would automatically take 3rd place. Click HERE to watch Darren’s battle.
Moving on to the finals, after two insanely aggressive and incredibly close runs by Vaughn and Tanner, the crowd was on their feet screaming as the judges called for a One-More-Time. During the OMT, Vaughn gave it everything he had, but the judges deemed Tanner the advantage and gave him the win. Vaughn would take the 2nd place spot atop the podium for Round 7 at Irwindale Speedway. Click HERE to watch Vaughn’s final runs of the season.
This was just icing on the cake for Vaughn, as his real victory was being crowned the 2010 Formula Drift Champion. Vaughn is the second driver in the history of Formula Drift to come from a strictly-drifting background — the first driver being Chris Forsberg who won the Championship in 2009.
Vaughn finished the year off in 1st place overall and is the 2010 Formula Drift Champion! Darren finished the year in 5th place, Tyler finished in 8th place, and Justin finished in 11th place overall. Collectively, ASD has been on the podium 8 times this season. Out of the seven rounds, Vaughn alone accounts for six of those podiums alone, making history for the most podiums by a single driver in one season. Tyler owns one of those podiums, from when he took his first Formula Drift win in Las Vegas at Round Five. Lastly, D-Mac earned himself a podium when he took 3rd place at Round 4 in Seattle.
To put things even more in perspective of the unbelievable 2010 season, ASD took 28 top-32 finishes, 24 top-16 finishes, 13 top-eight finishes, 10 top-four finishes, eight top-three finishes, six top-two finishes, and three 1st place finishes. In fact, ASD has been on the podium consecutively every round of the 2010 season.
In other honorable mentions, Formula Drift presented awards that were voted on by all the FD drivers, teams, and industry affiliates. Vaughn Gittin Jr. was voted the 2010 “Driver of the Year”. Autosport Dynamics’ Ian Stewart was voted 2010 “Crew Chief/ Mechanic of the Year”. (Dean Steele of ASD was also nominated for this award.) And as earlier mentioned, Darren McNamara was awarded “Best Tandem Battle of the Year” for his runs in the final four with Tanner Foust at Round 4 in Seattle.
ASD would like to thank a few people who have been a huge part of their success in 2010. Andrew Hoit, Nick Fousekis, Jonathan Bradford, and Roman Bencomo from Falken Tire; Falken Tire is of course the title sponsor of the team, and the new RT-615K they use is the class of the field. Ted Abdon from Mechanix Wear; the ASD team only uses the best, and Mechanix Wear gloves are the best there is. Gary Topolewski from Metal Jeans; ASD needed quality pants for the team, and Gary supplied the best pants on track for the entire crew.
“Considering how very competitive Formula D has become, I’m very proud of our team’s achievements this year,” says Ian Stewart of Autosport Dynamics. “Taking eight podium finishes and the 2010 championship in only our third season in the series is a testament to the skill of the Falken drivers and the motorsport experience within our ASD staff.”
“I’ve always believed in hiring the absolute best people available,” Ian continues, “and those people showed their true capability this year, taking a brand new car to a win in its first-ever event and holding onto the championship points lead for the entire season thereafter. Now it’s time to go back to the shop and start working harder than ever, and do our best to repeat these achievements again in 2011. Our next goal is to have all four of our cars fighting each other for the championship. Let’s see next year if we can raise the bar once more, and do our best to achieve that new goal.
The comments are closed.