Posted by Colin Masterson
Pictures by Kyle Pope – Text by Colin Masterson
It wasn’t long after the gates opened that the spectators were already starting to swell the pits, vendor booths, and the grandstands. Such a warm day only foreshadowed the extent of how aggressive the evening’s competition was to be. Evergreen Speedway was soon to capacity with sold out tickets early into the day.
With so many people around the venue, one could have thought that the economy was far from a depression. The booths were easily at capacity and constantly busy with window shoppers and those who were buying anything automotive or drifting related. From the moment the gates opened, it was a constant session of spectators that only abated when it came time for the Great Eight to vie for podium standings. The vendors surely welcomed this momentary reprieve to not only rest before packing up, but also to watch some of the best Formula D had to offer. The result was that many of the booths had sold out of many of their wares, which for any vendor is welcomed. It also would be a lot less for each to pack as Formula D came to a close, which surely delighted many.
Of the top eight competitors, it was the battle between Aasbo and McQuarrie that proved to set the standard of the battles ahead. The first “One More Time” of the night, it eventually led to two more One More Times and even then, the results were close between the two. In the end, it was Aasbo who continued on into the top four after much difficulty in deciding a victor. The top four placements were between Aasbo, Millen, Forsburg, and Yoshihara. With some aggressive angles, high speeds, and virtually no distance between the rear of a competitor’s car and the wall, the level at which the pros were competing was unmatched. From last year’s event, it was apparent that the professional drift drivers had indeed pushed it up a notch. The speed, angles, and distance between the cars were by far greater than before and in a manner that proved that drifting has evolved.
Drifting has evolved in many ways and not just the drivers: the cars themselves have changed greatly. The suspension setups have changed, as well as the mentality of the car’s expected power output. With a need for an increasing amount of speed and constant power, it seems as if most of the professional drivers have began to use LS V8 engines instead of the many JDM engines once dominant in years past. The notable exception is Fredrick Aasbo, whose Scion tC is powered by a turbo 4-cylinder (1AR-FE), and with his snappy style and impeccable skill, he has been able to match the rest of the competition turn for turn. Even watching Rhys Millen drift displayed that there was a remarkable change in drifting. Rhys’ movements on the track were so fluid and controlled; it showed that even he has changed over the years. Rhys’ approach seemed to have changed as one could see that he was drifting not only his rear tires but also his fronts, showing an incredible skill.
Yet for all the skill the professional drivers displayed, it surely made the judging that much harder. As the night progressed, the calls reflected the minute errors that were all but noticeable. It was those slight differences between drivers and split-second instances that resulted in a driver moving on to the next round. In the end, Round 5 belonged to Dai Yoshihara, with Chris Forsberg placing second and Fredrick Aasbo in third.