2015 Formula Drift New Jersey
Entering Wall Stadium Speedway in Wall, NJ on the morning of Formula Drift, you’re greeted by a sensory overload of tire smoke, loud revving engines, and colorful vendor booths. With practice time incorporated into the pre-race schedule, fans can listen as they anticipate their entrance into the speedway. Inside the guardrails lining the 1/3-mile oval track have seen better days, making it the perfect setting for the chaos brought with the 4th round of the Formula Drift series.
The weather forecast for the weekend had rain predicted on both Friday and Saturday, however the morning of qualifying was littered with sunshine.
All of the teams were busy getting as many practice runs as they could before the dry track conditions disappeared.
Dave Briggs would unfortunately crash with the guardrail later in the day causing some problems with the Briggs Racing S14.
Some tandem practice runs took place, though drivers kept their distance from each other, in an effort to prevent collisions. Illustrated here by Dai Yoshihara in the Turn 14 Distribution BRZ and Kristaps Bluss in the HGK Motorsport E46.
Drivers lined up next to the pits and vendor area as they awaited their lap out on the course for qualifying.
The opening corner has a 30º bank and the judged clipping point rests atop the guardrail at the very end of the turn. This makes the cars navigate on the edge of grip, just inches from a barrier ready to ruin their day.
Daigo Saito in the Achilles Radial Nissan GT-R showing why it’s called the “clipping point” as he rubs his bumper along the railing.
Following the turn down the bank to flat ground, comes the transitional clipping point where the drivers must switch direction as the suspension unsettles while recording their fastest speeds on the course.
Smokescreen engage! Alec Hohnadell lit up the first turn and transition in his Magnuson Supercharged LS3 S14.
Ryan Tuerck looked ready for competition at his hometrack in the Retaks Scion FRS.
Due to the relatively small amount of open real estate at the Wall Stadium Speedway, there is no sponsored car show that takes place. However, you can always find some great builds inside the vendor booths that populate the paddock area. Like this grey Varis widebody equipped BRZ at the Takata booth, sporting some bronze Volk Racing ZE40 wheels.
Another car with bronze Volk Racing ZE40 wheels was this Midnight Purple R34 Skyline with Nismo Z-Tune fenders at the Borg Warner booth.
Not what Subaru intended for this car, but this low Baja XT at the Airlift Suspension booth sat so perfectly on Work VS-XX wheels.
The E-Shift Performance booth housed two very different cars yet both had their own great features. First was this sleek black R32 Skyline with BBS LM wheels and Bride seats.
They also had this unique SUV, a Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG sitting low on a set of Advan GT wheels.
This red Nissan GT-R clad in APR aero was tucking some Volk Racing TE37 Ultra wheels under the fender arches at the Rays Wheels booth.
The weather was much less satisfactory on race day with rain clouds looming overtop and thunderstorm warnings in the forecast.
The steady light rain could be described as spitting all day, as the teams tried to lock in car setups on the damp track before the Round of 32.
The first battle saw Nate Hamilton in the Enjuku Racing 240sx lose his bumper mid-drift against Ken Gushi in the Greddy Racing FRS, and Ken would take the win.
Michael Essa tried to keep the SLP Performance Chevy Camaro steady as the suitable conditions faded, but would be edged out by Pat Goodin in the Enjuku Racing S13.
By the start of the Top 16, the continuing rain had picked up intensity. Bringing with it the appearance of umbrellas and ponchos in the stands.
Although he had failed to advance to the Top 16, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and the Ford Performance “Ultimate Funhaver” F-150 put on a show for the fans.
Watching the drivers skate across the road surface, it was clear the slick track conditions were throwing a curveball they hadn’t prepared for.
Matt Field couldn’t keep the CXRacing S14 from spinning, advancing Gushi into the Top 8.
There were small spells of no precipitation allowing the track to dry momentarily between some runs.
Masashi Yokoi in the D-Max S15 Silvia took some bumps from Justin Pawlak in the Roush Performance Mustang, and kept going to advance on.
Unfortunately, the skies would open once again just before finals.
The next tandem battles would require solo practice runs to test conditions before competition runs.
With torrential rain on the way, the FD staff kept the show moving along. Squeezing the final bout between Dean “Karnage” Kearney, and Fredric Aasbø just before the track became flooded.
Aasbø in the Rockstar Energy Scion TC would seal his win by using what little grip was available to stick to the Oracle Lighting Dodge Viper’s door in the final run.
Having now been at the top of the podium in 2 of the first 4 rounds, only 7 points separate Aasbø from the current points leader of the series.