ASD Finishes on the top step in Long Beach
2010 was an amazing year for ASD. We managed 8 podiums out of 7 races and were fortunate enough to take home the 2010 Formula Drift Championship with Vaughn Gittin Jr and Team Falken Tire. We had to work harder than ever during the off-season to make sure we were as prepared as possible for Round 1 of the 2011 Formula Drift Championship season. With a great pre-season test, we loaded up the transporter and headed for Long Beach, CA.
We unloaded in a good spot with the 4 cars from ASD Friday morning, and practice went well. Three of the four cars were new for 2011. Darren “DMac” McNamara took the keys to a brand new Saturn Sky coupe, Tyler McQuarrie took the wheel of a new Nissan 350Z coupe, and Justin “JTP” Pawlak stepped out of the now retired 2010 Falken Mustang and into a brand new 2011 Ford Mustang with a Ford Racing / Roush Yates engine package. Reigning 2010 Formula D Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr was back in his proven 2011 Monster Energy / Falken Tire / Ford Mustang with a new Ford Racing normally aspirated engine package.
Qualifying came and went and at the end Darren was in 6th, Tyler was in 8th and Justin was sitting in 11th. Unfortunately Vaughn had some errors in his runs and didn’t qualify for the race on Saturday. You can bet you’ll see him Ready to Rock at the next round at Road Atlanta next month.
The first driver up was Tyler McQuarrie. He was facing one time Falken Tire driver Taka Aono in his Toyota Corolla. After a tense battle, Tyler was awarded the victory and advanced to the round of Top 16.
Next up was Darren McNamara against rookie Mike Feiock and his FC3S Mazda RX-7. Mike ran a tough fight against Darren, but he just couldn’t keep up with “The Bullet”. Darren advances to the Top 16.
Last up was Justin Pawlak. He was faced against Cyrus Martinez in his Nissan 240SX. Justin drove a solid lead run, and was aggressive on the follow run. Justin moved on the the Top 16.
Tyler was faced against Fredrick Aasbo in his new Scion TC. Tyler ran a good lead lap, but made a mistake following Fredrick and lost the round as Fredrick moved on.
Once again, the ladder make up forced us to run 2 of our cars against each other. This time it was Darren versus Justin. Both guys were in new cars, and both were on fire all weekend. It could go to either driver. Darren lead first, and Justin was right on his tail. As they came under the bridge into the long left hand sweeper, Darren added a little too much angle, causing him to spin. Justin lead the next lap, and Darren fought a hard battle, but it wasn’t enough to beat out the Falken Mustang.
Next up for Justin was Kyle Mohan in his Mazda RX-8. Kyle has done well in Long Beach before, and was looking good all weekend. Justin stuck to him like glue on the first lap, and put a big gap between them on his lead lap, getting the victory and moving into the final four.
This would face Justin against fellow team mate Dai Yoshihara in the Discount Tire Nissan 240SX. Dai is always a tough competitor who had qualified 2nd for the weekend. After the first battle was finished, the judges asked for a “One More Time”, making them run against each other again. Justin charged even harder on the chase lap, and it was very close between the two. On Justin’s lead run, he put the Ford power to the ground, and drove away from Dai, earning him a guaranteed podium spot, and a chance for 1st place in the final battle.
Matt Powers in his Need for Speed Nissan 240SX had undergone major changes off-season and was knocking off top level competitors all day on his road to the finals. Justin had his work cut out for him as he fought out his last battle. When the dust settled, Justin had earned the win, putting him on the top step in 1st place for the event.
Overall we had a great weekend. The Falken Tire pit area was packed with fans all weekend, and they were treated to close up views of the new cars, talks with their favorite drivers, a fleet of new Falken Tire spokes models, tons of free swag and prize give aways, and an amazing race that once again had a Falken Tire blue and teal car on top of the podium. We head back to the shop in Charlotte NC to prepare the cars for the next round of the Championship season at Road Atlanta in May. We hope to see you there!