2012 Formula Drift Long Beach RD1 – On Track

The season opener of Formula Drift (FD) was insane – bigger and badder. Round 1 of FD kicks off at the unforgiving course of Long Beach, lined with concrete walls, its known to gather victims.

Such as Matt Field during his tandem run with 2011 champ, Dai Yoshihara.

Matt can be seen here assessing the damage, after calling 5 minutes, he ultimately could not continue.

Here is a video of the crash. you can see us in the green at the end of the tire barrier. via. GTChannel


Long Beach is also the home of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the IndyCar series which is held a week after FD. FD, however didn’t disappoint, as the sold out crowd cheered for their favorite driver(s) while squished like sardines, the fans didn’t mind and filled the grandstands and any available standing space – even pinned up to the fencing.

There were a lot of big things going on this year: Tony Angelo going from FD judge back to drifting with the Scion Racing Team,

Ken Gushi debuts the GReddy Scion FR-S,

and 19 Rookies took the pavement of Long Beach in their quest to become the next big name in drift. A couple highlighted rookies were Jhonnatha Castro,  a Dominican Republic Champion, and the hyped Diago Saito, a 2010 Japanese D1 Grand Prix champion.

But for us, we were rooting for the Fontana Nissan / Nissan RaceShop S14 of Mauricio Ornelas Jr., a privateer rookie from the Inland Empire. (here is our interview with Mo)

Mauricio’s story leading up to Formula Drift was compelling and described the hard work it took just to get the S14 to tech inspection – then competition. You can read his story here. Mauricio’s busted axle took him out of the top 32, but we know he will be back in round 2 even stronger.

Mauricio is being seen here having a few laughs with fans in Fontana Nissan’s booth.

Top qualifier was Ryan Tuerck in his S13,

The Scion Racing team qualified all 3 cars and 2 was able to reach the top 16. (Here is the media event for SR)

Fredric Aasbo finished 12th,

while teammate Ken Gushi drifted his new FR-S into 9th place. A impressive accomplishment for the GReddy Performance and Scion Racing team.

Here is Chris Forsberg during opening ceremonies.

Chris drifting his NOS / Hankook Tires 370z

Here is Vaughn Gittin Jr. losing his tail end.

In the end, Justin Pawlak took the top podium spot,

while Dai took 2nd. I think he had a little motivation with Randyl Dawn in the passenger seat during the opening ceremonies.

Rookie Diago Saito in the Achilles Tires SC pushed out Matt Powers for the 3rd spot.

With the little break from the track, there was a little time to snap some shots. We will have more later on the paddock and the Slammed Society show, but here are a few preview snaps.

Our headquarters for the weekend was UTI‘s booth where Gene Tjin‘s Lysholm Camaro sat with the newly painted Forgestar F14‘s.

Mark and company was having a good time, but who wouldn’t when you have the lovely Ms. Jessica in the booth.

Our other HQ was Fontana Nissan, where Mauricio‘s S13 and Scott’s Project Shart Racing was repping, along with the beautiful Marissa Hiroko. If anyone is in town the weekend of May 6th, be sure to stop by the Fontana Nissan’s Cuatro Meeto.

While Fontana Nissan‘s Kerryann De La Cruz chatted up with the armed forces in the Whiteline booth.

DaYUUM’s Paul Dabao was hanging around HPI Racing‘s booth all day, offering some good advice about HPI cars.

We also spotted Mikey Dang from PVR Motorsports doing what he does best with the videos.

Having lived in Long Beach for the past 12 years, this building is my favorite by far. It’s on the corner of Ocean Blvd, and Shoreline Drive.

Here is Track Santa holding down turn 10.

Here is an awesome video put together by Mikey Dang of PVR Motorsports

Stay tuned for part two of our coverage with the Slammed Society and paddock. Also be sure to check out ShopFD.com and get your Formula Drift swag!





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