The sixth season of the Formula Drift series wound to a close in Irwindale, California this weekend, and the finale certainly lived up to the host venue's 'House of Drift' reputation. The high speeds and excessive angle required to navigate the speedway's bank required a "go big or go home" attitude in order for drivers to move through the rounds, and there was no playing it safe for seasoned veterans.
The 2009 Formula Drift season began with the debut of a slew of radical new platforms. It was anyone's guess as to what methodology would win out come October. Driver Chris Forsberg proved that the tried and true ride, with a few years of service under its belt, was the key to securing a championship. Forsberg powered his V8-equipped Nissan 350Z to the top 16, earning him enough points to take the 2009 Formula Drift Championship title. Nipping right at Forsberg's heals in the point race was fellow Drift Alliance member, Ryan Tuerck. Tuerck showed that Pontiac is still well and alive by sliding his Solstice GXP to the top of the event podium. Hit the jump to get all the results and a rundown on the season finale.
Formula DRIFT 2009 Champion Crowned and Round 7: Judgment Day Results;
Ryan Tuerck takes the event victory and Chris Forsberg wins the championship title
Long Beach, Calif. – October 17, 2009 – Formula DRIFT entered the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for the final event of the season. Ryan Tuerck takes the Round 7: Judgment Day victory, while Chris Forsberg takes the overall championship and the Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize.
The Toyota Speedway at Irwindale hosted the final event of the 6th season of Formula DRIFT. The sold out crowd was not disappointed as the drivers provided non-stop action throughout the event weekend. The event also provided plenty of additional entertainment for the fans including the Jtuned Auto Gallery, Famous Stars and Straps stunt bike demo, and a performance by the "Far East Movement."
"Given the state of the current economy, Formula DRIFT and the sport of drifting have continued to make strides forward," said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. "This has been made evident tonight and a great way to cap the season to a sold out venue."
The final event of the season lived up to all the high expectations with the drivers putting it all on the line to win the coveted championship. 2-time Formula DRIFT champion Tanner Foust met rookie and privateer Matt Powers with his Nissan 240 in the consolation round for third place. Foust outmatched the rookie and secured his third place finish. The finals came down to and Ryan Tuerck in the Gardella Racing / Mobil 1Pontiac Solstice and Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z. McQuarrie tapped the wall and spun on the 2nd run giving Tuerck the victory and 2nd place overall in the final championship standings. McQuarrie finished the season overall in 3rd place for the highest finish of his career.
"It feels amazing," said Ryan Tuerck, winner of Round 7: Judgment Day. "To be able to relish in this win for the next 6th months is truly awesome."
Heading into the final event, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Maxxis Tire Nissan 350Z maintained a healthy lead in the championship standings, but not a guaranteed title. Forsberg clinched the 2009 Formula DRIFT championship by beating Doug Van Den Brink in the Top 32 portion of the event giving him enough points overall to be crowned for the first time as champion. Forsberg also won for his second time in his career the Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize and was awarded a check for $10,000 and a custom wheel trophy and also became the first driver to win both in the same season. This marks the first time that the champion has come from a purely drifting background whereas previous champions had other motorsport experience.
"We've been chasing the championship for the past 6 years since Formula DRIFT first started and everyone is out here to do the same thing. We just run as hard as everyone else and did the best we could," said Chris Forsberg, 2009 Formula DRIFT champion and Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize winner. "Coming into this last round I saw that Tuerck was just crushing it in practice and I knew that if we didn't get enough points we would lose the championship and Tuerck would take the event and the title, so I'm proud of him doing that and I'm totally psyched for what my team was able to accomplish to win the championship."
For more information and details visit the Formula DRIFT website at: www.formuladrift.com
Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2009 Point Standings
1. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Maxxis Nissan 350Z 527 Points
2. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice 521 Points
3. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Nissan 350Z 485 Points
4. Hubinette, Samuel NuFormz Dodge Viper 462.25 Points
5. Gittin, Vaughn Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang GT 451.50 Points
6. Foust, Tanner Rockstar / Hankook Scion Racing tC 447.50 Points
7. McNamara, Darren Falken / Sears Auto Center Saturn Sky 426.50 Points
8. Nishida, Robbie Hankook Tires / Dynamic Autosports Nissan 350Z 425.25 Points
9. Pawlak, Justin Bergenholtz Racing / Nitto Mazda RX-8 416 Points
10. Gushi, Ken RS*R Scion Racing TC 388.50 Points
11. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / America's Tire / Falken Nissan 240 381 Points
12. Brakohiapa, Tony Cooper Tire Ford Mustang 379.25 Points
13. Petty, Ross Garage Boso / Falken Nissan S15 377.25 Points
14. Aono, Taka Technosquare Toyota AE86 Corolla 369.75 Points
15. Verdier, Stephan Cooper Tire / Crawford Performance Subaru STI 364 Points
16. Miki, Ryuji APEXi / Hankook Mazda RX-7 341.75 Points
Round 7: Judgment Day Event Results
1. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice Winner
2. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Nissan 350Z 2nd Place
3. Foust, Tanner Rockstar / Hankook Scion Racing tC 3rd Place
Tires.com Triple Crown Bonus Point Final Standings
1. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Maxxis Nissan 350Z 262 Points
2. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice 256 Points
3. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Nissan 350Z 233 Points
Full official standings available on: www.formuladrift.com