Posted by Armin H. Ausejo
Round 5 of the Formula DRIFT Championship that takes place at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA is called “Throwdown” for good reason. In seasons past, many championship points swayed from one direction to another during this event, playing a huge role on the remaining two races of the season. Thus, “throwing it down” for this weekend is more than entirely appropriate.
Text by Armin Ausejo – Photos by Armin Ausejo, Chris Wold, Christian Berens and David Hintze
Gone were the morning rains of Friday, giving way to a dry and mostly overcast Saturday morning. As practice began around 11 am, the track temps definitely warmed up, but overall the weather stayed nice and mild for the most part, with highs only reaching into the mid 70s at the most. With practice in full swing, the doors opened and usual huge crowds poured into Evergreen Speedway. Away from the track in the pits, our very own NWMotiv.com booth greeted these crowds with our Project Mazda 3, Project BRZ, Alan “Bringing The Thunder” Whitright’s Evo 8, plenty of sticker and T-Shirt sales, along with a “Hole Shot” contest to win NWMotiv goodies. The sheer amount of people was nothing new for this event and as always, it helped bring a certain amount of electricity to the audience and drivers alike.
Following the Formula DRIFT practice, the Evergreen Drift Pro-Am began in earnest, with the situation already very interesting given that practice on Friday morning was cancelled due to the rain. The Northwest’s best, that spawned current Formula DRIFT drivers such as Walker Wilkerson, Mike Phillips, Kyle Pollard, Ian Fournier, Roland Gallagher, Peter Funatake, and Andrew Coomes, truly showed that the Northwest is a hotbed to some of the nation’s best drifting throughout the entire Pro-Am competition. Rob Primo ultimately took the win, with Tyler Wolfson taking secondplace and Michael Tweak Klingele finishing off the podium.
Everything stayed on schedule as the Top 32 started and overall it seemed like the tandems were being decided at a very quick pace. However, just past mid-way through the Top 32, a strange incident happened trackside, just feet away from NWMotiv’s own Senior Editors, Armin Ausejo and Chris Wold. One of the fellow media personnel began to make quite a scene by pacing back and forth, talking to himself, languishing very loudly at the tandem loss of one of the drivers, and giddy-upping as if he was riding a horse. The majority of the media tried their best not to pay attention to him, but eventually he started to make his way onto the track while it was still in use, causing a complete stoppage while security and medical personnel attended to his aid. No official explanation was given in regards to the man’s condition, but he was removed from the track and drifting recommenced.
From that point on, everything ran very smoothly and at a brisk pace, despite a judging dispute between Toshiki Yoshioka and Tony Angelo. Yoshioka eventually made it to the Top 16, which unlike past years only had a few one-more-times to decide the winners. Ken Gushi had his best finish of the season in the Subaru/Cosworth-powered Greddy Scion FR-S, but it wasn’t enough to fend off Rhys Millen’s Hyundai Genesis Coupe for third place. Despite a bit of a breakdown at the end of Friday, Vaughn Gitten, Jr. powered his Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang to his second consecutive win, beating out a very strong challenge from Ryan Tuerck’s Retaks Racing 240LS. Gitten’s throwdown win now pushed him ahead of Daigo Saito and Justin Pawlak for the championship lead with only two more events to go, proving once again the importance of this event.
The end of a beautiful and extremely busy weekend left the entire NWMotiv staff recovering, mostly from fatigue, but others from sunburn on top of that. Overall it was quite a success on all fronts, including the awesome work from NWMotiv’s Amateur Photography Contest winner, Christian Berens. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year, perhaps even with another photography contest. Until then, be on the lookout for our Formula DRIFT Las Vegas coverage in about a month!
Armin Ausejo Day 2
Chris Wold Day 2
Christian Berens Day 2
David Hintze Day 2