Driver Blog: Darren Mcnamara>> Never A Dull Moment

Hello Speedhunters and welcome to my re-cap of an eventful Round 3 of the Formula Drift Championship at Wall Speedway New Jersey.

Wall Speedway was very good to me last year and Falken completely dominated the 2009 event. So you could say confidence was high going into the event.

This is the crew and myself just before qualifying. This is probably the most nerve wracking part of the weekend. All previous runs in practice lead to this moment. You can only hope that you and the team got the setup right. If you did you will be rewarded with a high qualifying position and valuable championship points, if you didn't then you might find yourself going home early.

I always employ the tactics of solid first run, gangster second. It is in my opinion the only way to do it. Getting a zero on your first run puts huge pressure on you for the second run. And even though the team and crew help so much, it really comes down to what you do after you leave the line.

My first run put me in a solid 8th position. Nothing spectacular but more importantly no stupid mistakes and a score to build on.

My second run felt great. High on the bank with big angle and my infield was smooth and I hit every clipping point.

You had to make sure to stay on the power through the first transition off the banked oval and on to the infield oval. Lifting off unsettles the car too much and can lead to some hairy moments. 

Coming through the centre to the last outer clipping point, I would drag the e-brake slightly to position the rear of the car for the outer clip. My second run at the time put me as the top qualifier but by the end of the session I would be second overall.

Saturday morning, I popped over to the Need for Speed Lounge to say hi to everyone and get a few laps of Shift in while I had some free time. You can see my wrist brace that I had to remove to be able to play the game, I also had to remove this for driving and put it back on afterwards…..pretty annoying.

In Saturday Practice for the Top 32 drivers. I tried to get in as many runs as possible to get used to the speed of different cars and also see where I would be able to close up and attack people.

In the Top 32, I was drawn against Dennis Mertzanis. I was full sure the Falken Tire Saturn Sky had the speed advantage to win the lead battle so backed off on the straight away so that the battle wasn't over before it started and the fans got they're moneys worth.

I was a little shocked by how much faster the Sky was given the setup we put under it for Top 32.

By the finish line I had quite a big gap pulled.

Just how much faster the Sky was became totally apparent on my chase run. Every time I stepped on the gas my car leaped forward, it was very difficult to stay close behind but not make any mistakes.

But thankfully it all worked out… I officially hate Top 32!

A win in Top 32 means you get to be involved in the opening ceremony.

I had great support in New Jersey from my win last year and the fans were awesome at this event

In fact, all of Falken Tire had great support of the fans at this event. Probably because of our podium sweep last year, could we do it again….

In the Top 16, I faced Ken Gushi. Not an easy battle by any means….

I love this shot Mr. Garrett! Did not realize I was that high on the bank. There isn't much rubber where my rear tires are….

Ken and I met in the Final 4 last year and I have to say he has much more speed now compared to a year ago.

The judges couldn't decide so a "One More Time" was called.

Ken's speed surprised me, so it was time for a quick setup change and time to send him home.

It was time to chase hard!

It was time to chase hard!

My setup changes should allow me to get a little closer and hopefully impress the judges….


There we go!!

It should also help me pull away while leading.

Not bad………Top 8 here we come.

Now it was time to face the champ Chris Forsberg.

I had never beaten Chris before in a head to head match up.

But I had never been so confident and entered the battle with no doubt in my mind that I would be in the Final 4.

The speed of the Falken Tire Saturn Sky appeared to be too much…

…and by the end I had a huge gap built up.

My crew chief, Clay Stephens, informed me that I should have a huge advantage from the first run….

So a conservative car to half car length chase run should be enough for the win.

So that's exactly what I set about doing…

And it worked out pretty good even when I couldn't see where I was going.

Job done!!

I could smell the podium at this stage. The trademark "one finger wag" shows confidence was high!

When we received the breakdown of the Top 32 bracket, I immediately saw that I would more than likely meet Dai in the Top 4. I was actually looking forward to this. Dai needed to be stopped and there probably is less than a hand full of people who could do it.

Wheres the angle Dai??? :-)

I knew he was pretty close on the lead run so my chase had to be right on him.

Entering the bank I was exactly where I wanted to be….

Perfect stuff so far!

I was surprised with Dai's speed once again…

…and it is becoming quite apparent that people alter they're setups drastically to run against the Saturn Sky, which is a nice compliment to ASD Motorsports!

Judging from the lack of trademark Azenis RT615K tire smoke Dai must have been running his machine with a lot of grip….time to close back in a bit.

At least it was easy to see for once because of the lack of smoke.

This was too even. So we definitely did a one more time.

So time for the setup change and send him home right????


We went aggressive on the setup change and I entered the bank a little too high and couldn't get it back down. Floating headlight looks funny. :-)

I was furious with myself at this point. To lose to Dai twice in a row is not acceptable in my view. Now, the car was so badly bent out of shape I probably wouldn't even make the 3rd and 4th place run off

I have so say the Miracle performed by the Falken and ASD crew in the pits was nothing short of that…. a miracle. Because of them we made it to the grid! Everyone seemed to join in to get the car repaired, even Ross Petty and JR were in the mix. But there really wasn't enough time to straighten everything out. Tie rods were bent front and rear, heim's were bent, the car was a mess. When I pulled onto the banking the car crabbed so badly. I remember telling my crew chief what I thought and I couldn't possibly repeat it here.

I had no idea where the car was going to end up when entering the bank so I decided to just go for it! Fire it in hard and see if I could catch it (2 inches of rear toe in anyone?).

And to my amazement and delight it worked!!

I was now using all 800 horse to try and keep a smooth drift.

Amazingly I seemed to leave Tanner for dust

At the end my radio clicked on and i heard the words "Great job! Great job! you pulled away!!"

I was so fired up from the crash that I drove the sh*t out of the little Sky. To beat Tanner with the car so bashed up and secure a second consecutive podium sweep for Falken Tire would have been amazing. But there was still work to do……

Still pumped up and feeling like I could walk through a brick wall! I chased Tanner very hard.

Not giving him an inch…

…and securing the podium spot.

At this point I knew I had it won…. All I had to do was stick to his door on the last turn and it was all over.

Now, I'm going to have to compose myself over the next couple of pictures. When Tanner and I were drifting through the last corner, Tanner was following his qualifying line, which you must do as the lead car. As soon as I edged up towards his front wheel, knowing I had the battle won, he pitched his car a massive angle and aimed his bumper for the inside finish line cone!

This was a dirty move and in complete violation of the rule "lead car must run 90% of his qualifying run". It was a clear and blatant block from a defeated opponent. I checked up slightly as the initial instinct is to avoid contact but when I knew we were going to touch. I thought to myself " if you want to go in there, then your going in there!"

So, I rolled back on the power and blew him out of my way!

I finished the run as close to the correct outside line as I could. To say I was pissed off at this point would be an understatement.

In the contact, I aggravated my wrist injury and this just fired me up further. I dragged some of Tanners body panels along with my car. That's his rear quarter in my hand. I was staring at him and had full intentions of making his quarter a piece of him once he got near enough. But after a few seconds, I decided that probably wasn't the best idea so I dropped it.

This is my WTF gesture.

Tanner finally pulled up beside me and I proceeded to make him aware that I was not pleased.

"You are my right hand, I am my left hand…." those weren't my exact words but you get the idea.

And to add insult to injury the judges awarded Tanner the win?? I couldn't believe that!! Looks like now we can block and run and lead line as we wish!

So I had to settle for forth. I felt completely and utterly robbed. The fact that Tanner apologized and admitted later that he cut in on me to block me didn't help. I also apologized to Tanner because I probably could have avoided hitting him but I didn't want to. The fact that Falken didn't get they're second podium sweep really annoyed me!

Not impressed!!

Thanks for reading Speedhunters….

See you for more drama in Round 4!

D-Mac out.

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That sucks so bad. I was watching on driftstream and all day D-mac was on fire.

Pretty low class move there from Foust apologizing after it mattered.


incredible write-up. lookin forward to seein how the rest of your season turns out.


that last picture made me <3... but srry dude that sux, but if keep pushing those 800 ponies then that podium is guaranteed... dai on the other is a whole another story


You're the biggest bitch in FD, grow some fucking balls dude. Your ego surpasses your skills. Sit back and learn some more.


It would appear that quite a few of the "older" D1 drivers that come from professional driving backgrounds are using dirty tactics like this....a certain Mr Millen and Hubinette spring to mind. Not impressed by their poor sportmanship. Congrats Darren, you did the very best with the shitty situation that you were presented and I think you were right to show your anger over the matter. If you hadn't said anything then there's a bigger chance this kind of stuff will continue


wait so he has the courtesy to apologize AFTER the judges give him 3rd... not admit it beforehand?

at any rate, excellent driving! and nice rear toe, hahaha


Oh, P.S. - That really sucks man. Sorry to hear you got wronged like that.


That was quite a batter between you and Foust and from all the smoke I couldnt really see what happen but you come out of the smoke with his panel in your car and I lol'd. I was in shock you made it back out after the crash and gave you and Falken real props for getting it done. Good luck at the next event.


Thanks for the write-up Darren, its always great to see the event from the inside. I wonder whats in store for Formula D next year? 3ft tall roof-mounted neon numbers showing speed in comparison to qual run? Judges need to penalize this. Same thing as Millen in Long Beach, and the habit by other drivers of shutting it off with the slightest breath of contact and screaming to the judges. Drifting is done from the heart, not the rulebook! Do you drift with the brake pedal or the gas?


Darren cudnt agree more with ya in ur blog. U were so much more aggressive in the second run nd 4 tanner 2 do that was vry sly move. Wudnt blame ya 4 hittin him! Rele hope things go ur way in round 4!


Well done for getting the car back out there after the crash and Winning the next battle. Next time you get paired with Tanner wipe the floor with him mate.


Bummer. Bad move from Tanner, and from the judges, judging from the report!

Hope you have your car ready for the next Round, and that you find him on your way through :)


Man, professional drift cars suck...


Truly one of my idol now. Looks like you have a rough moment during the final Top 4 and for 3rd place. But oh well, you got another time to revenge on him in the next FD round yeah.


Suckas! Both Tanner & the judges :@

Anyway, I'm sure that you'll soon put every one in his place ;)

Congrats for what you did and wish you the best luck for the next round!

PS: heal your wrist asap!


D Mac out, ha, Darren you sound like a sore loser, fair enough he cut in front of you but saying you were going to hit him, even if you did he'd put you running. As your man Kevin said Your ego surpasses your skills, your only an Irish guy from buttevent dont be thinking your that great. It was good driving by you but Dia is a very good driver so you cant be saying it not acceptable.


i wasnt at FD new jersey and i havent seen the run. im not suggesting darren is wrong by any means, but i just think it would be interesting to see what tanner and the judges have to say about it. even if tanner does admit to purposeful blocking, and the judges admit error (in public or in private), multiple points of view are always important, and its crucial that people remember that fact. tanner can be the biggest cheater in the world but it's even worse if people accept one point of view as fact, without acknowledging (or at least considering) the testimonies of others.

darren seems like a good guy but this post is a little dismaying to see what professional competition has brought drifting to. near-physical violence? id expect that from danica patrick or NASCAR but not this... drifting isnt like F1 or NASCAR or some other multi-billion dollar motorsport. to consider such unsportsmanlike conduct as well as darren's anger, although understandable, is pretty disheartening. too far from the good spirits and camaraderie drifting is known for, even at the professional level (usually).


Don't be a douche like Kevin. If you have something negative to say to Darren, say it to him personally not here where you can hide behind your computer screen. Another words, grow some balls yourself Kevin. Also, I agree with DRFTmonkeh! Keep drifting fun!


I was at FD New Jersey and apparently all you haters weren't. D Mac has every reason to be pissed off the dude definitely got robbed and for peopled to say his ego surpasses his skill you have completely and utterly lost your minds he has every right to say what he wants and to vent his frustrations because this is his drivers blog. Last year this dude ran the best and won and this year he repeated that performance ten fold D Mac My friends and I were hoping you would at least snap the quarter panel over his head but what ever dude they know, Tanner knows (clearly why he apologized like a punk after the fact), we know, and the judges should have known that you got way robbed and you are totally one of the best drifters out there. I didn't see anyone else glued to the rear of all of their opponents every run.

P.S. You are one of the most entertaining drifters in the game and thanks for an awesome round at NJ we were rooting for you hopefully we see you next year.


saw you live over the weekend and you were indeed robbed! best of luck in the following rounds!


I saw the runs on driftstream and when it happened the first thing I thought was "Tanner did that shit on purpose" and I was pissed that the judges didn't see through that.

Hearing that Tanner admitted it, confirming my observation is even more disappointing.


Love reading your blogs darren keep it up!

Hardluck on the results.... I was snapping when i heard


it seems like dmac came out of nowhere this season and he is KILLING IT! :D

he was doing some of the closest chase runs i have ever seen!

it sucks that tanner had to make a move like that just to get the win :/ hopefully dmac wins next time :) awesome driving! keep it up!! DMAC FTW!!!


Ya dont get to be a paid driver without being intense and giving a sh*t about winning. Like said above this is darrens blog and he can say what he wants. I appreciate Darrens honesty and being willing to share how he really feels. Sooner him do that than what we normally hear when other paid drivers in most other types of racing spouts off ten sponsor names before they says anything and then its still most always good boy speak in case they piss anyone off. Instead of keep drifting fun try keep drifting real. Like him or no, darren calls it how he sees it and is no faker. Go on son, give 'em hell. Tanner will think twice before trying that again cos now he knows whats coming next time.


foust's a tool


'your only an Irish guy from buttevent'

What kind of an idiotic statement is that....

Hes a known name in Motorsport circles....

Whats it matter where hes from, At least hes getting places....

Cant bate jealousy eh.....


I always did say tanner faust is a fucking faggot.


Just for that asshole move that tanner pulled i would of hit him right then and there he would of gotten the idea and the crowd would of gone wild.


thing is, as the following car its your job to adjust to the lead car, therefore, you made a mistake by not being ready for the angle. have you considered that his massive angle was just a bit of showboating and maybe you were too focused on "winning"


Dirty Jersey did you bad. Such is life, welcome to drifting.


D-Mac, Tanner's block was one of the most blatant ones I've ever seen in an FD competition, and it was almost reminiscent of what driver's used to do in Nopi back in the day. You had every right to be mad and you clearly out drove Tanner. You looked rad all weekend anyway. Stay strong.


@noddy "instead of keep drifting fun try keep drifting real"? wtf does that even mean? if drifting isnt about fun, every driver should just strive to be an overcompetitive cheater like tanner. if everybody in formula D went by that mentality, they'd all be a bunch of liars, cheaters, and saboteurs. no, drifting was, and should only ever be about friendly competition. spirited, yes. aggressive, sometimes. but the day drifting loses sight of its friendly nature is the day it dies and we all become NASCAR fans.


"Your only an Irish guy from Buttevant"

WTF?!?! Since when does it matter where a driver comes from?! Narrow minded jealous individual. Anyone who saw the live stream saw Tanner's dirty tactics, and seeing as Tanner apologised for what he did CLEARLY Darren's anger was justified. Darren is hungry for success, and rightly so given his ability and talent. He drives 110% (even with a broken wrist!) at all times, and his endeavours will be rewarded! You did Ireland, Falken and yourself proud DMAC... roll on Rd4!!


I was there and got pictures of the entire thing, real up close and personal. Darren was robbed, I spoke with him after the event and Tanner did admit what he did was wrong, Darren controlled himself better than I would have, I was just taking pictures and I was PISSED. He got screwed in Atalanta too, but that is another story. I guess the vets are scared of him and the Sky, no way Tanner should have been on that podium!


love the write up. :)

this has to be one of the most honest stuffs i've ever read. :P

oh the drama. :D


@ the antagonist.. u are rite. Dareen blaming other people as usual like the way he blamed the setup for crashing. if you are that great you wudnt of crashed, u wuold of rubed the wall and would of got the same angle as tanner instead of hitting him, look at his angle it was mad. PdDan just because your from that s*ithole doesnt mean u have to get affended, just saying they could find a replacment for him in the morning with his attitude. He likes to crash everytime. in fermoy i supose he was pushing to hard aswell , what he crashed because he was 110% comitted, why be 110% if all u can do is crash. be 100% and just do good drifting. Brian bandondie OUT lmao


The guys at Falken sent me this set of wallpaper as a little thank you to all the fans that have supported


Tanner is still less of a tool for this than Millen is for Long Beach.


Yeah but everyone is missing the point that Darren is a stuck up c**t that thinks he can win FD like he won PD cause he owns it


"Keep Drifting Fun"

What ever happened to having fun. D-Mac your ego is way too big, and you sound like a moron. The whole "Wheres the angle Dai??? :-)" is lame. Notice 4 and 5 pictures later you have less angle. Stop being so stuck up and cocky.


Its time to get rid of this DMAC guy, wasting ASD's money crashing everywhere.