The Monster Drifter Goes Two From Two
The Monster Is Back

The Drift Alliance brothers – Chris Forsberg and Vaughn Gittin Jr. – are looking unstoppable. Out of the three rounds of Formula Drift this year, Chris has podiumed each and every time, and Vaughn – although having had a bit of a slow start at Round 1 in Long Beach – is now sitting on two back-to-back wins. It seems like both drivers will be battling for a second championship – and right till the bitter end.

I have not put together an FD event recap-style post in over a year, but because so much has happened this weekend in Florida, I decided to split my coverage into two posts: one quick overview, and a behind-the-scenes look which will go up later on this week. If you want to watch the competition in its entirely, you can view it here.

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This is Vaughn’s second season running an entire program as team owner and driver. After three unsuccessful attempts at the Pro championship since his win in 2010, he is hungry to earn his second Formula Drift title.

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Drifting history was made this weekend as Homestead Miami Speedway payed host to FD for the very first time ever. On top of that, the event marked the first running of Formula Drift Pro 2 competition.

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Formula Drift Pro 2 is a series within the greater championship that allows for privateers to compete against each other.

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Not only is it a great place for drivers gain valuable experience, it also gives the rookies a chance to get more seat time and tandem practice, before the main competition begins. Because, if you’re not ranked among the top 16 drivers in the Pro Championship standings, you can effectively compete in both series.

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The Top 16 battles for Pro 2 kicked off on Friday night, right after Pro qualifying.

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After many hard fought battles second place went to Nate Hamilton and third went to Carl Rydquist. It was the first time either driver had stepped foot on a Formula Drift podium.

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First place went to Geoff Stoneback, who is currently leading the Rookie of the Year race in the Pro championship.

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In fact, Geoff finished in the Top 8 in the main competition as well – an impressive feat for a rookie. I think drivers like Geoff are the future of the sport. He’s qualified at all three rounds this year, so I have no doubt in my mind that he will be Rookie of the Year.

Sideways In Miami
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Top 16 for the main competition had a few major players missing from the lineup, including Daigo Saito, who blew his motor during qualifying, and Daijiro Yoshihara who also had engine issues earlier in the day.

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One-by-one Chris Forsberg had to work his way through his Drift Alliance brothers. In the Top 32 he was paired up to battle Tony Angelo, but the Scion driver could not make it to the line, which gave Chris a bye run. Ryan Tuerck also battled very hard, but he just could not shake the VK56-powered 370Z.

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If you want to talk about an unlucky string of events, Tyler McQuarrie has seen it all.

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First Chelsea Denofa ran up on him, causing his Chevy Camaro to do a bunny hop. The incident caused enough damage that on the second run Tyler made a fatal mistake forcing a One More Time battle.

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Then Chelsea’s car caught on fire while he was following Tyler. It turns out the E46 BMW was leaking fuel and it ignited we he ran over a rumble strip.

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Chelsea frantically got out of his car as the Formula Drift officials rushed over with extinguishers to put out the fire. But not before he dashed back to the burning BMW to retrieve a lucky hat.

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Achilles Radial driver Kenny Moen had an exceptional performance this weekend. Not only did he finish third at the round, he’s sitting third overall in the Pro championship standings, with less than 60 points to the leader.

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With Chris in the lead and Vaughn following as close as possible behind him, the final battle was absolutely stunning. While they are best of friends off the track, it all went out the door when they met each other in the finals.

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Vaughn dove in very hard with his Ford Mustang and almost passed the nose of the Nissan 370Z in the process.

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Unfortunately for Chris a loss of engine oil pressure meant that he had to call for a five minute time-out. In the press conference afterwards he mentioned that his motor was slowly losing power after each and every battle, with it finally giving out during the final with Vaughn.

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Despite not winning in Miami, Chris still leads the championship by 10 points. I really hope this close competition lasts right up until the Final Fight at Irwindale, in October.

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The two friends are really pushing professional drifting to new heights, and it’s nice to be able to capture it all round-by-round.

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Congratulations to all the winners from Formula Drift Round 3 at Homestead Miami Raceway.

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Stay tuned for a Speedhunters driver blog from Vaughn as he goes over his back-to-back wins.

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Also stay tuned for more from Vaughn’s drifting compound, as I make another visit to the champions home in Maryland. The last time I was there he was not quite finished with his garage, but that’s all changed now…

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I wanted to thank the Speedhunters fans that came up to me in Miami. It makes me so happy that you guys are out there supporting drifting. It really is the most fan-friendly sport, where you can actually talk to the drivers. You are not just another ticket holder – you are a part of the experience – and it would not be the same without you. See you guys at the track!

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
larry@speedhunters.com

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36 comments

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1

I've often wondered why people refer to Vaighn

2

i have wondered why people refer to Vaughn as a sell out, he is clearly talented and I think the sport as a whole was bound to evolve from grassroots to a international level championship. You still have grassroots drifting, and with so many talented drivers out there it was going to turn into a Nascar like event at some point. Just my thoughts

3

Forsberg vs. Field and Denofa vs. Tyler were the battles to be seen that day. Great photos as always.

4

Larry, great photos. And congrats to Vaughn.

5

Another great article & photos as usual Larry! Fd Mia was a great turn out, I don't know if you remember but it was my good friend and I who asked to get a picture with you. Just wanted to say thank you again for doing so and the stickers! so awesome to have met you!

6

Vaughn Gittin Jr. always looks like someone who just got their wisdom teeth out

7
TatsuoShidayo

As cars become more competitive they become more ugly :(

8

Where is the whole event video? Can't see it anywhere...

9

I'm glad to see that Matt Field finally got his shit together and ran pretty well!

10
MariusEngenSkinnes

Formula Dragr.. Ehm, Drift!

11

its a shame that the fastest 0-60ft car wins the event.
no doubt Vaugn can drive,  that the drift competition is set by a 60ft race, ruins it all. 

Congrats to Fastkenny for one awesome thirdplace :)

12

Draklore  Well, for me anyway, he is a jerk. As a driver. As a human, I don't care, it may not be a sell out, but I don't give a sht.
And I mean that in the most neutral way possible. I mean, I love Schumacher and Senna in F1, but in drifting I'm sure that I would hate them. All I'm saying is that you have to be humble and friendly to win a heart of a drift fan, not a killer.

13

Judges seem to love Douche Alliance as usual. Field got robbed. I hope someone gets the epiphany to fix Daigo's mechanical issues permanently, so he can teach a lesson or two (in other words educate) Hillbilly JR and his drag racing habits. It is a good thing that this ignorant cowboy was embarrassed at Gatebil by a bunch of amateurs with a greater set of skills than he could possibly fathom. Colour me a hater and bring him back to Gatebil.

14

@speedhunter hahahahha. That was a good one. Side effects of energy drinks.

15

South and Central Florida has a very vibrant automotive scene! I hope you all will return here once again soon!

16

Really hoping that Jr can get the title , actually I don't care who get's the title as long as it isn't Mr. Butthurt Forsberg. All bit of respect has been lost for Forsberg after what him and Angelo did to Luke Pakula last season when he got he lost to Essa.

17

JWang and Odi, man. If only everyone was on their level. Those two deliver the kind of drifting that keeps me watching. Screw everyone that fell victim to the HP wars. Hope their cars keep breaking. Also, Jarod needs to #hurryup and #keepdriftingserious.

18

BRAVO BRO!

19

Novac Darius woah what happened last year?

20

Too many battles are being won because of horsepower differences. As much as I love the openness of FD, since it allows for a very diverse field of cars, something needs to be done I think. Far to many skilled drivers are being overshadowed by these guys guys who have these big teams building these huge HP monsters because their cars simply cannot keep up. I love drifting but watching the same people reach the top event after event is boring, and the only reason it's happening is horsepower. I think it's time something gets done to give the little guys the chance they all deserve.

21

No pics or coverage of the Matt Field vs Forsberg battles?

22

I enjoyed the final battles, but I'm a huge Forsberg fan (I just love the way the guy drives) so I was gutted to see his engine failing in the later runs. It would have been much better had they been able to compete on a level field to decide the winner. Also the more I look at it, the less I like JR's car. It's just SO high! Look at those arch gaps! 

Great shots and coverage as ever Larry, it never ceases to amaze how you seem to be EVERYWHERE lol. Car catches on fire - Larry's there, Driver runs back for "lucky hat" - Larry's there, even the neck and neck shot over the controversial final battle - Larry's there haha. Looking forward to the behind the scenes and driver blog now :).

23

Larry, when you said,  "fan-friendly sport, where you can actually talk to the drivers," I was thinking what about meeting Larry Chen... I've been to a few events you've covered now, and have yet to meet you. One day Larry, one day. LoL Keep up the great work.  ✌

24

Pwain Novac Darius As far as I know , after the whole Irwindale event Forgsberg and T. Angelo and some other Drift Alliance guys "paid" L.Pakula a visit , but not in the good way as far as I know.

Author25

ZeroSixZ33 haha, I move around quite a bit, just stop me if you see me.

Author26

Robo_No1 Thanks for the kind words. I feel like I failed if I miss anything. After following the series for 9 years now, I feel like I can kind of predict when things will happen.

Author27

@Really I will get into those battles in my next article that I am working on right now.

Author28

Hoonigan_RB I agree to a certain point. Who wants to watch 300 and 400 hp cars sliding around?

Author29
30

@TROLLS ROYCE  I will be at Gatbil this year Driving with everyone again (Note the "Driving with", there is a difference in that and driving against....) Make sure you stop by and introduce yourself.

31

prazzi Thanks man, We are pumped!

32

VaughnGittinJr I have neither the time or the money for a trip to Gatebil again. I will be in one of the forthcoming FD rounds, I will introduce myself and then you can educate me on how I am being wrong.

33

Larry Chen 
Larry, it was so cool finally meeting you! Im Nickoli from the Simply Clean booth that gave you a free shirt. Have fun and be safe with all your travels.

34

Hats off to you Larry. Seeing what you physically go through to cover these events from a perspective that fans rarely see is something very admirable. What many don't even realize is that you covered the Pro 2 event just like a standard FD event. It was double-duty to the fullest extent and you did it flawlessly. Few, and I mean less than a handful, in this industry are capable of what you do. 

Keep me up the great work and I'll see you in a few weeks.

35

Larry Chen Novac Darius Pwain I read the article the day it was posted since I'm an Essa fan. But i was talking about what happened "behind the curtains", DA harassing L.Pakula and so on.

36

Great to finally meet you! Thanks for the pic and decals. Photos looking killer as always.  See you next year

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