2011 Formula D – Round 7 Finals

(Irwindale-Ca) The Formula D Finals took place on Oct. 7-8 at a venue better known as “The House of Drift” at Toyota Speedway of Irwindale. This track has had a long-standing relationship with the event since 2005 where this year 32 drivers from across the globe would compete to be crowned as World Champion.

These 32 drivers would involve huge names in the drifting world like Vaughn Gitten Jr. and JTP representing Falken and our beloved Ford Racing. Some of my favorites are Chris Powers, Darren McNamara and Rhys Millen whom all finished in the Top 10. Gitten Jr. had a final 11th place overall finish. Falken/Discount Tires D. Yoshihara would be declared Champion beating out Justin T. Pawlak in the final points standings. Tyler McQuarrie won the event Formula D – Round 7 with his Falken Nissan 350z.

Like with other motorsports events and rounds of Formula D, Round 7 aka “The Fight” won’t be flawless and drivers had their unexpected problems. Rhys Millen’s Genesis Coupe caught on fire. Rookie Kenneth Moen’s slammed into the wall right in front me losing his rear bumper, smashing his tail-lights and bending his fender. The front bumper didn’t look pretty.

Several other cars kissed the wall but the crashes were not nearly as devastating as Moen’s. JTP in his Falken Ford Mustang overtook a swooping curve three-quarter of the way and somehow spun out facing the wrong direction.

The biggest commotion off the track and back in the paddocks was Vaughn’s motor being diagnosed and worked on; they removed everything that was on top of the motor to see what was going on inside. Falken Tires guys prepped the motor and brought out a motor hoist to remove the Ford Racing V8 motor. Headers were examined too. Gittin blew his motor yet still went back out and qualified on 6 cylinders. I returned on Day 2 and the motor was put back into the Falken/Monster Ford Mustang for tuning. The crew started the motor a few times and it was sounding strong.

Formula D isn’t just a race, but it provides an auto show experience for fans and spectators. Sponsors of major racing teams were out promoting their products and giving out free stuff like stickers, bags and posters. Falken, NOS, Hankook and Cooper Tires were supported by their eye-catching promo girls. I really enjoyed the Cooper Tire VIP Experience where their promo girls use a high end camera and took a professional photograph of you at the event; you can retrieve and download the image for free.

Some car clubs including Jon Schultz’s Beach Cities Mustang Club were on hand trying to provide information about their organizations. BCMC has strong ties to the Southern California Mustang community and is a close friend of Formula D driver Justin Pawlak. Jon’s club displayed a cool ROUSH RS3.

One of the best Mustangs on display was Tony Brakohiapa’s eye-catching red, silver and yellow WWII themed Cooper Tires Ford Mustang. As mater of fact, I had seen this Cooper Tires Mustang when it was being built from the ground up; it was waiting for a new motor at Sinergy Motorsports when I was at the shop. I was seeing Tony’s Cooper Tires Mustang as being complete for the first time. and you couldn’t miss it from the distance at Formula D. It had a strong stance at the Cooper Tires display. Tony was not racing in this final round of Formula D; however, he attended as a guest announcer sharing his thoughts and opinions.

This was my second time attending Formula D, but it my first time covering the event as part of the media. I look forward to attending the Long Beach and Irwindale rounds of the 2012 Formula D Season.