Formula D’s Vegas event is one of the most unique events on the circuit. Not only is it the only event which is still run on a skidpad (with entry speeds reaching triple digit mph), but the 110F degree daytime temperatures force the sanctioning body to stage the majority of the race at night. The event is dubbed as the “After Dark” showdown, and this year’s event would prove to run well past midnight before Rhys Millen piloted his Hyundai (like Sunday) Genesis to the win. Joining Millen on the podium was runner-up Darren McNamara and third place winner Matt Powers.
The Vegas event included an inflated number of entries as international drivers Saranon “Non” Pornpatanarak from Thailand and Emmanuel “Demolition” Armandio from Singapore made their Formula D debuts after their success in FD Asia over the past few years. Unfortunately, Non wasn’t able to qualify in the top 32 while Armandio made the top 32 show, but crashed in his battle against Michael Essa. The Falken Tire team also had a few changes as Justin Pawlak’s Ford Mustang suffered an engine failure in the week leading up to the event, so the team made the decision to put Pawlak in the Autosport Dynamics-built 350Z normally piloted by Tyler McQuarrie. McQuarrie was then asked to pilot the former Nissan Silvia S15 driven by James Deane in 2010 and Calvin Wan in 2009, the move done in an effort to provide Pawlak the best chassis to gain points on points-leader Dai Yoshihara. Both Pawlak and Yoshihara lost in the top 16 round, keeping the points chase tight entering the final event of the season.
Las Vegas is known for the ‘go big or go home’ attitude inside the casinos, but that same attitude was carried over to the Las Vegas motor speedway track. Several drivers hit the tire barrier surrounding the outside wall while attempting to brush the outside clipping point established by the judges, none more dramatically that Kyle Mohan. Mohan’s Nexen Tire Mazdatrix RX8 suffered a brake failure at over 103 mph, stuffing his car hard into the tires and sending Mohan to the hospital to be checked out (thankfully, he was ok). Other drivers who crashed include “Demolition” Armandio in his Achilles Tire 350Z, Jeff Jones in his CX Racing S13, Joon Maeng in his Nitto Tire Mazda RX8, and Jim Guthrie in his CarCrafters RX7.
Overall, the points chase has only gotten tighter entering the final round of competition with Dai Yoshihara leading by less than 20 points over Justin Pawlak, and six drivers mathematically in contention to win the championship. Irwindale has become known as the “House of Drift” and will award the eighth Formula D championship later this year in the “Final Fight” event. Discount Tire will also award a $10,000 USD check to the winner of their Triple Crown mini-series, which concludes at Irwindale as well. The event is never short of action or excitement, and we’ll bring you full coverage of the event!
Round 6: After Dark Event Results
1. Rhys Millen Red Bull / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe Winner
2. Darren McNamara Falken Tire Saturn Sky Second Place
3. Matt Powers Need for Speed / Nitto Nissan S14 Third Place
Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2011 Point Standings after 6 Rounds
1. Daijiro Yoshihara Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 470 Points
2. Justin Pawlak Falken Tire Ford Mustang 451.25 Points
3. Darren McNamara Falken Tire Saturn Sky 435.50 Points
4. Chris Forsberg NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 429 Points
5. Matt Powers Need for Speed / Nitto Nissan S14 418.50 Points
6. Ryan Tuerck Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro 370 Points
7. Conrad Grunewald Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro 357 Points
8. Vaughn Gittin Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang 349 Points
9. Tyler McQuarrie Falken Tire Nissan 350Z 341.50 Points
10. Kyle Mohan Nexen Tire / Mazdatrix Mazda RX-8 323 Points
11. Rhys Millen Red Bull / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe 317 Points
12. Fredric Aasbo Need for Speed / Hankook Scion TC 304.50 Points
13. Toshiki Yoshioka Retaks Nissan S13 299.75 Points
14. Aurimas Bakchis Bakchis Racing / Forged Racing Nissan 240SX 255 Points
15. Ken Gushi RS*R / Hankook / Scion Racing TC 251.75 Points
16. Ross Petty Garage Boso / Falken Nissan S15 208.50 Points
Tires.com Triple Crown (after 2 of 3 events)
1. Daijiro Yoshihara Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 212 Points
2. Chris Forsberg NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 153 Points
3. Darren McNamara Falken Tire Pontiac Saturn Sky 144.50 Points