The fans who came out and braved the heat at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to watch the fourth round of Formula Drift certainly got their money's worth last night. Like a proper Vegas show, the action stretched into the wee hours of the morning and was full of big crashes, upsets, and too many "One More Times" to count. Watching the drivers fling their cars sideways at 80+ mph with nothing but a solid concrete wall to stop them reminded me just how insane pro drifting can be. Considering the high entry speeds and unforgiving nature of the course, the number of crash victims was actually rather small – something that speaks volumes for the talent of today's FD drivers.
I'll just go ahead and start with one of the most incredible moments of the night. As Ryan Tuerck faced Katushiro Ueo in the Top 16 the two cars made contact, with Tuerck's Solstice taking a hop into the air open-wheel style. Just as amazing was the fact that Tuerck was able to come back and defeat Ueo following his flight…
Justin Pawlak's RX8 looks a bit like a fighter plane that got caught up with some bogeys. JTP would make it all the way to the Top 8 before he was eliminated by Ryuji Miki in a battle of the rotaries.
One of the day's great battles came early on when Katsuhiro Ueo faced Matt Powers in the Top 32. It took an OMT match before Ueo was finally awarded the victory. Everyone in the crowd was stoked to watch the privateer Matt put up such an awesome fight against the former D1GP champ and world famous Ueo.
Obviously none of it would be possible without support from the Mattley Crue. Viva Las Powers!
The car show at this event had one of the bigger turnouts I've seen this year. The entries included the nice, as well as the rice…
I'm truly impressed with how far Michael Essa has come in the first half of the season. Him and his FC have repeatedly been able to stick it to some of the bigger budget cars and well known drivers.
This is what it looked like when Vaughn Gittin Jr. hit the wall during practice on Friday night…
…and this is what it looked like less than 24 hours later. An incredible job done by ASD and Team Falken in getting Mustang the back together for JR to compete. It sort of looks like the car has an evil smirk here.
A glimpse at the Pro-Am section of the paddock. I fell in love with this S13 on VS-KF's owned by one of the local Vegas drivers.
Pat Mordaunt's S14 is going need to just a bit of body work before the Seattle event next month.
Another view of the light show happening underneath Ross Petty's S15. I'm thinking he should add some authentic bosozoku style musical horns for that extra touch.
DA bros Ryan Tuerck and Chris Forsberg needed two OMT's before Chris eventually moved on to the semi-finals. With all the shake-ups this weekend, these two should be sitting on top of the season points standings.
The night's biggest surprise had to be Ryuji Miki's performance. Miki drove flawlessly, and seemed to be extracting all the potential his FD3S has to offer.
The final would be a match between Tanner Foust and Miki. During their first run, it appeared that Miki simply got lost in Tanner's giant cloud of tiresmoke (which was made even worse by the night lighting) and was unable to hold his drift.
Miki did a great job leading during the second run, but it was not enough to overcome the disadvantage from the first run. Tanner Foust was declared the winner, which marked his first victory of the year and his first in the Rockstar Scion tC.
Congrats to Tanner, Miki, and all the other drivers who put on such a great show last night!
More from FD Vegas on the way.