Event>> Brake Check Mania At Fd Sonoma

Yeah, that's right, I said it. It had to be said. I wasn't the only one who noticed it… just maybe the only one who outspoken enough to say what's really on my mind. As we watched the tandem battles in the Formula D Top 16 eliminations at Infineon Raceway this past weekend, the lead car brake checking the following car seemed like the new fad in Formula D  – almost everyone was doing it.

If you're not familiar with the term brake checking, it's when the lead car in a tandem drift battle slams hard on its brakes in an attempt to force the chasing driver to either go off their line or lose their drifting momentum by making them suddenly slow down or spin. I guess that's American machismo and the dog-eat-dog cutthroat instincts that seem to be surfacing in the heat of such an intense battle. With the amount of growth and media attention Formula D has been enjoying, the stakes are high, and everybody is under pressure to win. It's just interesting to me though, because I don't really see too many drivers doing that regularly in the D1GP series. Maybe it's an American thing..?

Anyway, I just arrived back in Los Angeles; I drove throughout the night to avoid cops and the heat of the sun on California's Interstate 5. I had a difficult time finding a reliable internet connection while I was in San Francisco, so I decided to speed back home so I could post up these photos in a hurry. I hope you all like the photos!

Behind the wheels of his 350Z, Robbie Nishida has really been putting Hankook Tires on the map. With a podium finish at Formula D Seattle, and his lightning fast entry speeds, he really seems to be doing well this year. He made it into the Top 16 at Sonoma, but eventually lost to Rhys Millen after a high speed brake check that sent the rear end of Robbie's 350Z the dirt, with a huge orange pylon attaching itself to the 350Z's C-West rear bumper.

Red Bull vs Rockstar! The tandem battle between Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust was certainly interesting! Everyone knows that Rhys and Tanner are housemates – it must be kind of tough for such good friends to drive into battle against one another when the stakes are so high! These two friends are both considered to be the top in their league, and they know each other's driving styles well. I'm sure it was a hard fought battle of will plus skill! Even though Rhys put up a hard fight, Tanner ended up winning the tandem match and the First Place trophy.

Here's Tanner Foust on the top of the podium, emerging victorious from underneath the tiresmoke and champagne. Spraying champagne all over Tanner were the other podium finishers Rhys Millen and "Hachi Bill" Sherman, who surprised us all by making it to the podium with his S13! Just goes to prove, when there's a will, there's a way… and Bill really wanted that podium finish. Congratulations to all!

Speaking of Bill Sherman, here's a photo of the very difficult battle he fought against Formula D driving ace Chris Forsberg – not an easy guy to go up against!

And speaking of brake checking, don't try it on this guy. This is Ross Petty, and Ross is all about fast entry speeds and aggressive tandem driving. If you try to brake check Ross, he actually will slam his car right into yours, as he proved at a Formula D event in the past. hehe… Anyway, check out this high speed sidebrake photo of Ross initiating into the first turn!

Toshiki Yoshioka, the overall winner of the Formula D Las Vegas event, was back at Formula D in his red AE86 Trueno, with its normally aspirated 4AG 20v engine. Yoshioka pulled off several super fast runs with high entry speeds, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to impress the judges, who did not advance him to the Top 16. Maybe they thought Yoshioka's AE86 didn't have enough smoke? Not sure…

We noticed some changes on fellow Speedhunter Calvin Wan's personally owned FD3S RX7. The FD received a new aero kit – the same Vertex kit that used to be from the Apex'i FD3S when Youichi Imamura was still driving for Apex'i. Calvin told me that it took something like 3 entire days to wrap his newly redone Vertex aero with the Falken colored vinyl! Damn, that sounds like a lot of drama! Must have been super difficult because of all the bends in the body form!

Freshly back from their Formula D Team Drift win at Portland, Team Drifting Performance's Dan Pina had a lot of fun drifting his fox-body Mustang back in his old Bay Area stomping grounds! Dan's police-car styled Mustang is always a hit with the crowds for some reason. However, I don't necessarily smile when I see police-colored cars, especially after the HUGE ticket I received on my way up to Sonoma. Okay, that's it for now, I'm going to look for my NWA Straight Out of Compton CD…

-Antonio Alvendia

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"It's just interesting to me though, because I don't really see too many drivers doing that regularly in the D1GP series. Maybe it's an American thing..?"

That's why I've always preferred D1 over FD. It seems like D1 just goes more "all out" in everything they do, I just wish there was more (and easier to find) coverage of D1 than there is now...


just like americans to ruin things is that. win at all costs and ruin the sport. its the american way. all it needs now is to be sponsered by.... red bull maybe?


Oh, and congrats to Bill Sherman. Tampa represent!


Good for Ross Petty. I'd smash any brake checkers too. Totally unacceptable drift ethics.

Gary, way to stereotype. LAME.


No more brake checking, it definitely ruins the sport. Plus spectators who pay to see these events don't want to see weak entry speeds. And how come Formula D judges aren't factoring this in for tandem scores?


Brake Checking?!?!?!?!? Come on! That is truly whack and who did this uh hemm.. The americans!


Yea, having seen D1 several times before and this being my first Formula-D event, my friends and I were not impressed. Some of the judging was very strange as well.


"Come on! That is truly whack and who did this uh hemm.. The americans"

***Correction*** "A small group of Americans".........ass


Yeah... maybe is a thing only for the american racers....

In Japan is not too used....

Or is E-brake or is Drift.


Man thats BS when they brake check the other drivers.


Hate to say it fellas, but Americans DID ruin drifting...

face the facts.


Mate.. stunning photos. Particularly the 2nd one. Fuckin awesome. Any chance of a higher rez for a wallpaper please? You know you want to... ;)


it wasn't just the americans.


brake checking has always been present in formula D unfortunately :(

Hell, Rhys Millen was brake checking people back at the 2004 Sonoma FD round!


Here is a interesting article about drifting: (Drifting: aren't you dead yet?)



who said americans started it? there are plenty of people that aren't from the states that comete in FD


Brake checking is illegal on southern California highways, why should it be legal in Formula D?


I saw a lot of "left foot" braking going into the first clipping zone. The most blatant brake check I saw however came from Robbie Nishida, a Japanese driver, going into the second clip. He intentionally tried to stall Rhys as Rhys had the advantage going into their second run. I was very surprised to see this tactic from Robbie as I am normally a fan of his driving style. The two obvious left foot brakers, Rhys and Tanner, do it at almost every venue due to course layout and are consistent. It is the job of the drivers and their spotters to pick up on this style and make sure they are prepared when it comes time to line up against one of them. It is a driving style not a tactic. Judging by their track records, apparently it must be effective regardless of how you feel about it.

Over the past 5 years I have noticed the majority of the "head games" are played by the Japanese drivers. The tactics I have seen are usually played on the run up to the entry. Either slowing before the pace cone when following to cause the lead driver to be penalized for going to fast, or varying their entry speed drastically when leading to fowl the following cars entry and line. These are just two of the instances that I can recall right now and both were by Japanese drivers.

Of coarse drifting is a sport who crowns a winner as all sports do. Also, "Pro Drifters" these days are getting paid pretty decent money by sponsors and teams. When you have these elements, competitors are going to try their damdest to win, it's human nature regardless of culture. Just enjoy it for what it is, entertainment. If you don't like it than it's your decision not to watch.


I didnt see any footage from this event but I bet Toshiki Yoshioka got played


Nice to FINALLY meet you Antonio !

I'm the guy in the lime green shirt that gave ya a Dfined business card.

Hope to see you around.


Antonio - Who was (were) the main person (people) brake checking?

Guys, face the facts, the only way that drifting will be fun here anymore is to watch or participate in small events. I guess you can call them "grassroots".

RIP drifting


It'll probably go unnoticed, but I'll speak my mind:

The solution is simple - allow passing. If pass = win, noone will ever brake-check, because it'd pretty much equal forfeit, if you think about it. In D1GP they used to do stuff like that back in the day, usually when the chaser is tucked behind, issue is if he's not - you're giving him the right of way.

Passing is racing, if drifting is ever to be a true competition it has to be more about speed and clipping, than angle and smoke. If you want show - do a demo, if you want competition - do a race.

Just my ¥2.


haha, I saw one of you guys carrying that suitcase with the stickers all over it. That was hella fun, you should have got a picture of that hella clean flat grey S14! IT was ssssooooo sexy!


passing?!! you must remember the 1st year of FD there was non stop passing. it was really retarded, at one point, instead of a one more time they would just pass each other until some screws up. heck they would pass on the straight cause one has more power than the other. that's why the rules for no pass and the pace cone. it then becomes a horsepower war and skill becomes less and less important. if i wanted to see horsepower i'd go to a drag. let's take it back to the tight 2 lane course where skill is greater than hp!


If drifting was dead we wouldn't be talking about it right now. If judged sports weren't a big deal the X-Games wouldn't be what it is right now. I happen to live in the Tampa area and after a quick check, I can go to and participate in drifting events at Desoto, Ocala GP and the Florida state fairgrounds all within an hour or two.

MIckey is correct. Head games are a part of every "professional sport" and brake checking isn't the only thing, Antonio just happened to mention it in this article, so why are we complaining? It's not ruining drifting any more than honda-tech is ruining the internet.


Drifting died when D1 stopped coming to the US.


Great shot of that Fox Body Antonio! The framing of that makes it look like the car is ripping across the print.


+ 1 on that!!!!


POLITICS ! Internet Drama ! Internet REP ! = AMERICA

Real Drifting, real people, better tuning, better outlook, LESS Internet = JAPAN

easy equation



Ive never seen so much HATE! cars are for enjoyment, if you have this much NEGATIVITY in you, you need to grow up ,and open up ,

seriously OPEN your MIND

the world doesnt revolve around your WAY of thinking!


Drivers should DEFINITELY be marked down for braking when not slowing down on entry. When exiting under power, how can you make the clipping point on the outside of the track if your braking?


Antonio, do you have that pic u told me about from this past weekend? if so could u send it to me?

thanks dude!


+1 Japan. The world would be better with less "car experts" who got their knowledge from Wikipedia and Google. Word to real people and real experience, I agree!


Wikipedia and Google LOL

and also the BangBros. Network!


"Come on! That is truly whack and who did this uh hemm.. The americans"

***Correction*** "A small group of Americans".........ass

In response to my first comment, you are correct! Let me rephrase that! The "hillbillies" of America are giving drifting a bad name. Drifting is about style, not wrecklessness! Beer pong anyone?

Btw I would love to blog datruthcometh.blogspot.com/index.html


Antonio- love the pic man! Sorry I forgot to "put on my headlights" for you-ha! I need a copy of that pic homie!


But the truth is the truth..

Drifting is not dead formula drift died when D1 stopped coming to the US and that is thanks to he people on formula drift...


Drift Patrol: No problem homie, you can right click to save the photo to use it as your Facebook and/or Myspace profile pic.... or if you want, you can get a High Res printed copy from me for the bargain price of $1500.00

Oh wait, I should give you a homie hookup, let's make that $1200.00 =)

Haha jk I'll see you soon man!


dang Antonio, you got a ticket on the way up? was it before or after our phone convo?


Really nice panning on the R. Petty shot Anotnio. Good work as always.


David, I got a ticket right across the street from the hotel, just as I was exiting the freeway. The stupid cop said I was weaving through lanes... in actuality, I was smoothly transitioning towards the exit. It's called MERGING lanes, popo. He probably just wanted to get a closer look at the huge brakes on the Lex.

Thanks alot for noticing Stray! I love that photo of Ross's car!


Toshiki Yoshioka was a crowed favorite! The noise made during and after his qual runs was better then many "Known" Formula D drivers! Great shots Antonio, and for tell it how it is.


Sounds like alot of Japan nut swinging to me.


everyone braked at sonoma cause that track is extremely gay. end of story.

btw. americans make EVERYTHING better.