Event>> Team Falken: Behind The Clean Sweep

This past weekend was one of great fruition for the Falken Tire Drift Team. This is the group that got into drifting before D1GP ever graced the shores of America or Formula D was founded.

These are the people who have supported North American drifting from day one and have stuck with it through and through. They aren't in it to "try out the youth market" or "reach a new demographic" and then abandon ship if if the direction of the wind shifts a few degrees. Not at all. Drifting is something that is part of Falken's DNA, through and through.

A lot of the credit for this vision has to go to Nick Fousekis. He's stuck with the Falken Tire drift program through thick and thin. They've tried a few different approaches over the years, and it seems now that the program is finally coming to fruition.

I wandered about the Falken setup last Friday… I was doing my best to keep out of the rain so it was a good moment to gather some behind the scenes photos of the team… BTW I think that Dai is possibly one of the most cheerful people in the world. He always seems to be in a good mood.

Calvin looks pensive in this shot as he considers the weekend ahead.


I like this shot of a sleepy Ross Petty. If you think that he now trailers his semi-works S15 across the country, it's perfectly understandable he's looking a little tired.

Moving on to Saturday…. I arranged for Tommy Milner, the driver of the ALMS BMW M3 GT2 for Rahal Letterman Racing to come to New Jersey to check out some professional drifting, US style. JR was kind enough to take the tme to show Tommy around his new 2010 Mustang. They look like they're sharing driving techniques in this shot….

This weekend I got to know Darren McNamara a bit as we spent at least 3 or 4 hours playing Need for Speed Shift together…. turns out he's quite the video game master.

Mind you, this guy, Tyler McQuarrie, is a deft hand with video games too…. Here he's playing with his iPhone…

And here he is acting up for the camera…. calm down there son!

Linhbergh and I tend to prefer to shoot the Falken girls when they aren't necessarily posing for the cameras. Perhaps you see past the model personas a little bit in these moments. What is Eri thinking?


Mary…. a moment after I took this snap she broke out into a smile… which is lovely and all but I also like to see behind the smiles. That may be just me though.

This is Vaugh Gittin JR's new ride…. looks good with a bit of work on stance and wheels! I like the dark blue that Ford have chosen for a lot of their communication around this exciting car.

Normally, when a Falken car is on course you'll see quite a few team personnel trackside. Some of them are acting as spotters while others are involved with data acquisition. You'll notice the guy on the right is taping Tyler's run which resulted in a number two qualification slot.

Ross Petty certainly has one of the nicest S15s in the US. Wouldn't you agree?

He also showed up Casper Canul big time on the banking… compare the amount of smoke from the two cars!

Ross was looking pretty strong against Casper but suffered technical problems during the top16 battle against Ken Gushi and was eliminated.

 Daijiro didn't have the best of weekends. Although he must have been reasonably pleased with his 8th qualifying slot, he spun in his opening round against Taka Aono and had to watch the rest of the day from the sidelines.

Smoke factory by Calvin Wan. Calvin had an immense battle with Justin Pawlak in his new RX8 which went to two One More Times… unfortunately for him, the judges narrowly ruled in favour of his opponent.

A quick snap of Tyler's V8 350Z from the mayhem that is the Formula Drift Top 16 opening ceremony.

The batte of the V8 350Z Roadsters! This shot was taken after the first run was completed… you can see the smoke from the first battle hanging in the air, thick and smelly…. Tyler was able to advance. It seems like his ASD-built car is currently developing more traction than Forsberg's NOS Energy Drink sponsored Z33.

Let's look at this sequence together to understand the importance of traction in drifting. It's Tyler McQuarrie vs Ken Gushi. The winner of this round will take the final podium spot.

A few seconds later and look at how Tyler has pulled right up against Ken.

All the while, Tyler's 350Z is developing a lot more tire smoke that Ken's Scion.

A perfect example of showing up your opponent….

Crack!… he takes out a pylon in the process….. talk about aggression at play!

Anyway enough about Tyler…. this is the man of the moment! Darren McNamara….

Darren told me they have done a lot of work on the car to develop more traction and it shows. In the final against his teammate Vaughn Gittin JR, he pulls away with ease.

JR didn't have an answer to the Darren's V8 powered Saturn Sky. This is a car in its second year of development though, so I'm sure the Mustang will get there eventually.

On the other hand look how close the Sky is to the Mustang…. Darren was on fire all weekend. His aggression was perfectly controlled by his precision.

Into the next corner and he is completely with JR….

And as they accelerate to the finish line… again no problem. This victory was his.

I like this photo… Tyler knows he has taken third already and is waiting for the final battle to finish so he can join his teammates for their victory celebration in front of the crowd.

The moment that Darren is announced as the winner.

Darren is now leading the championship and looks like a strong contender for the overall championship.

The winner sits down with his friends, family and the team (plus a few Speedhunters)…. to reflect on his day and soak up the moment.

JR takes a moment to descibe to Tyler and Darren what it's like to drive behind them. He was completely blinded by their smoke and had to drive several turns with only his muscle memory to guide him around the course…

I was shooting video beside team boss Nick Fousekis for part of the competition and noticed that he keeps a top 32 chart which he uses to track the competion.

He asked Darren, Vaughn and Tyler to sign the chart… no doubt this will be framed and mounted back at Falken Tire's Fontana offices!

Congrats to the team and Darren McNamara for his first Formula Drift victory!

And now a bit of trivia: what do Darren's Sky, Vaughn's Mustang and Tyler's 350Z have in common other than their Falken connection?


Formula Drift NJ coverage on Speedhunters



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They all have V8 Engines.


all built by ASD


that's true but not what I had in mind...


They all have white skinned drivers! Go America!


lexan windshields, rt615's, white skin, all built by ASD, wheel gap......


Drift Alliance?


They are all pro


lord.... have mercy lol

so much falken crap

Do you work for them?

When Maxxis went 1,2,4 and pro am @ antlanta no one said nothing.

Maxxis highlight or i call a speedhunter biased.

What they have in common, same ugly wheels at times.



I agree with Cam

Rod, I want everybody to read this, especially you. So please don't delete it.

[quote]He also showed up Casper Canul big time on the banking... compare the amount of smoke from the two cars![/quote]

^^^So he has smoke, so what? Did Ross catch up to Casper on that run or the one before? only on the last corner. I wouldn't call that "showing up someone big time". Ross only won because the judges wanted to give him another chance and called a OMT. Then Casper got nervous about the OMT and lost his mojo for a moment (yes, I was there and I asked him that). Casper clearly owned Ross in the first 2 runs.

[quote]This is the group that got into drifting before D1GP ever graced the shores of America or Formula D was founded[/quote]

^^^The D1 drivers had a few demos in America before D1GP was established here, and Falken participated.

[quote]They aren't in it to "try out the youth market" or "reach a new demographic" and then abandon ship if if the direction of the wind shifts a few degrees[/quote]

^^^The direction of the wind here on Speedhunters seems to be shifting. Hopefully this is just a one-time thing and won't continue so I don't have to abandon this ship.

Rod, I really love Speedhunters and everything you guys do. This post looks too much like the Drift Alliance even beyond the text and photos.


Formula D=fail


have you ever looked at the top right of the page under "partners".

money gotta come from somewhere!


are people really bringing race into this....


I don't see why there's all the hate on Falken. I've met Nick, and he's a stand up guy, and everyone, from him up to Mr Tanaka (who is very down to earth himself) and back down to the ground level people are nothing but 100% cool. Sure Falken gets a lot of coverage, but they've been around a while and they aren't afraid to put out sponsorship dollars. In todays market of pulling in the strings and cutting programs because of the "economy" they deserve a little bit of credit for that I think.

I'm no drift head, I don't know the politics from series to series, whatever, but god forbid Rod and the crew try to bring you some inside info about the team, and what they're doing.

That said, all the Falken cars, minus the S15 above, need a few inches less ride height. Seriously.


No hate towards falken, I use to love falken.

They had the funnest pit area, I always use to show up have a short chat with JR, or Hiro.

Even after the event, win or loose i head back to the pits, shake there drivers hand told them they did a great job even though they lost.

And then one day... they were all gone and no one wanted to talk and everything what gated off.


But Rod Chong is reallly acting like this is the only team in FD, its like if one of the D1 correspondents on here only talked about team orange.



Oh and seriously, lets not bring DA into this

JR reps DA, but hes the only driver on falken who does.


Chris F (maxxis)

Ryan T (maxxis)

Joon M (maxxis)

Yamanaka (BF)

Brian W (maxxis)

John W (maxxis)

JTP (nitto formerly maxxis)

JR (falken)


Q.what do Darren's Sky, Vaughn's Mustang and Tyler's 350Z

A.They all look like crap, stupid convertibles cant even drift in the rain

plus Darren McNamara is irish so stop saying "go america"


Go Falken, great job done by all three drivers.....pity about the haters....

Well done boys!!!


Whatever yours arguments are, I just love all the shots by linhbergh, he killin it... is that the shots from rollei linh? damn!!!


convertibles can't drift in the rain???? did u not see dmac in seattle last year? wtf?????and I do believe that ride height has a big difference in handeling, that's why they are not very low. function over form, people....


ughhhhh maxxis can get some coverage when they pay speedhunters money for coverage. you guys act like this site is run for free.


What the hell is wrong with the redneck guy!


GO. D-MAC!miss his sr86


Whatever about the haters and all that, it was a beautiful day and when they got into the Top 16 there were some serious door-to-door moments. A team (and a big, important team in the sport for that matter) went 1-2-3 in an event, media coverage for such a feat is clearly appropriate, its not like it happens everyday!

Oh and the ride height has to be high at Wall for the transitions on and off the 30 degree banking or you might as well leave off the bumpers from the git-go cause they wouldn't last a single run. Or did you not see the scrapage on every car that attempted straight up the bank? (Gushi, im looking at you on one of those!)


at jyna...all the falken top 3 car were convertible?? really?? i didnt know JR was driving a vert.

to all the people bringing all this crap against DA...are you serious?? if that was the case..joon wouldnt have beat hampsha...and it would have been an all DA podium 3 events in a row...knock off the crap


Ahhh what I found interesting about the 1,2,3 was that all the cars were built by ASD.... Sorry to people who don't like this story. Linhbergh's NJ post will be coming soon!


LOL, It is a pity that drifting attracts some of the most bitchy people on the internet. Now they're bringing the race card into this? Such a shame.


@ section 9: bringing the racecard? im white.... I just think what does all of them having to be "white skinned" with winning FD. im not saying its racist just leave race out of it gawd


redneck's nickname suits him well.


pork chop sandwiches.


Forza motorsport 2 > all NFS games


Wow Some really nice Drifting there,

some of my favorite rides there 350z,mustang , and i like scion too


Lol @ all the comments.

Just give up all this crap already, first it was Antonio and now Rod? You guys should appreciate all the coverage they've done for us and taking all the crap that we've been giving them. Anyway, congrats to D'Mac and Team Falken on their achievement. Hope to see all their efforts effort pays of when it comes at the end of the season....




The comments are pretty shocking guys... yes Speedhunters is sponsored by Falken, i dont mind, i like the coverage and love everything else about this site.. congrats to Falken. They have featured non DA or Falken cars so im not worried...

haters, go somewhere else like Ziptied or something...


all this bitching leaves me with no answer still...i dont know what they all have in common, and I'd like to know.=]

i love team falken.



you make me sick.


how much did falken have to pay to get this spotlight lol reading this long commercial was really boring


Well done falken awesome result, biggest and best pro team in the world

Only thing I have to say is pls get rid of calvin, he is the only one I don't rate

Put dài in the s15 an he would win events fact, as itshis old Rockstar car


and the drama goes on and on and on..

still a great coverage though.


Just 2 agree with "Serious"... Ross only won against Casper because the judges wanted to... my 1 year old little daughter could have seen that.

That´s it.


So what I am gathering from these responses is this:

-We should be mad at people for setting their ride heights at optimum suspension performance levels and putting reliable high horsepower engines in their competition vehicles. Seriously, who wants to win when your car can look cool in the pits while everyone is competing? The whole competition thing just ruins your pretty car anyway!

-Who cares when a single team dominates the entire podium? It happens all the time and its not hard or anything. Sorry but 1,2 and 4 is NOT the same thing.

-Companies should not be nice to their sponsors. Who cares if Falken sponsors this site. Speedhunters should just take their money and NEVER write anything about them.

-Drifting should remain an underground, grassroots HOBBY. Congrats to Team Falken for, like they have done since Day 1, trying to progress the PROFESSIONAL MOTORSPORT of DRIFTING.