The 2012 Formula Drift season kicked off with a bang in Long Beach California. I’m going to refer to this event as “The Yard-sale”. Why, and What is a yard-sale you ask? A Yard-sale is when someone wrecks so hard that they scatter tons of pieces/parts all over the track. With an aggressive rookie field, lots of cars ended up spread out across Long Beach this past weekend. Even seasoned veterans got too aggressive and kissed the concrete. Luckily, no one was seriously injured throughout the entire weekend and the crashes were simply entertainment. Unless you were the one of the unfortunate drivers and in that case, it was simply expensive.
When the smoke cleared, two seasoned veterans and one Formula Drift rookie stood atop the podium.
Matt Powers leading Taka Aono through the sweeper. Powers would move on to the Top 16!
Robbie Nishida clipped the wall under the Firestone Bridge carrying Conrad Grunewald into the tires with him at turn two.
The Aftermath - Nishida would no undoubtedly be done for the day.
Darren MacNamara was paying too much attention to Nishida on the previous run. He too ended up in the tires with his very own brand of "Yard-sale".
Driving the Saturn Sky deep into the tires!
D-Mac's aftermath. Surprisingly, it would look like only steering components and some sheet metal need attending too.
Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach winner JTP pulling off "The Perfect Wall Tap".
Coming off his wall tap without any diversion in line or angle. Gentlemen, this is how you wall tap.
Tony Angelo was easily defeated by Chris Forsberg. Angelo had a few "yard-sales" of his own earlier in the week and pulled back on the aggressiveness taking a shallow line through the sweeper.
Nick D'Alessio donating some S13 parts to the Streets of Long Beach.
Nick cartwheeled the outside retaining wall and came to rest right in front of where I was shooting from.
"So, would you like me to gather all of this up for you, or can we just assume it's now garbage?"
Top rookie qualifier George Marstanovic on his lead run against Daigo Saito. Unfortunately, George ran out of fuel and was defeated by Daigo.
Daigo passing through the sweeper on his lead run vs. Marstanovic.
Tyler McQuarrie pulling away from Joon Maeng in turn two. Tyler would move on to the Top 16.
Rookie Patrick Mordaunt heading towards the hairpin. As you can tell by his nearly immaculate SC, Patrick needs to be a bit more aggressive.
Vaughn Gitten JR putting down one of the sickest follow runs I've ever seen. Sadly, with a crash in his lead run, he gave the win to Odi Bakchis.
Matt Field nearly took me out when he slid into these tires/wall. I was just on the other side of this and was the only photographer smart enough to run the opposite direction.
Fredric "The Hammer" Aasbo standing on the throttle heading towards the hairpin.
Kyle Mohan doing a celebratory burnout during the Top 16 parade.
Matt Powers defeating number one qualifier Ryan Tuerck (with a qualifying score of 97) in the Top 16.
JTP entering the sweeper on his way to the podium.
Daigo Saito leaving Rhys Millen in the dust!
Chris Forsberg taking on Toshiki Yoshioka. Yoshioka showed improved driving skills in his RS-R S15. Many think he is simply more comfortable in a RHD chassis.
Tyler McQuarrie putting the pressure on Ryan Kado
Ken Gushi in his new Scion FR-S taking the win against Odi Bakchis.
Aasbo giving chase to the 2011 Formula Drift Champion Daijiro Yoshihara.
Kenneth Moen leading Matt Powers through the transition under the Firestone Bridge. Powers would go on to win and face Daigo Saito in a battle for 3rd place.
The NOS Energy drink 370z driven by Chris Forsberg was taken out by event winner Justin Pawlak.
In a battle for a podium finish, Matt Powers and Daigo Saito are door to door through the hairpin.
Saito passing through the hairpin.
Daijiro Yoshihara and Justin Pawlak battling it out for first place. This follow run for JTP would seal his fate as the 2012 Streets of Long Beach winner!
Your 2012 Formula Drift Podium finishers. 1. Justin Pawlak: Ford Mustang GT - 2.Daijiro Yoshihara: 1993 Nissan 240SX - 3.Daigo Saito: Lexus SC430
and of course, champagne showers! JTP welcomes Daigo Saito to the Formula Drift Podium!
Stay tuned for more from Formula Drift: The Streets of Long Beach 2012. If you had forgotten, I had a chance to sit down with Fredric Aasbo and Dai Yoshihara and ask them your questions! I’ll also be posting some behind the scenes shots and some pictures from Fridays qualifying rounds!
Once again, congratulations to Justin, Dai, and Daigo! You fella’s sure put on one heck of a show!