Formula D Long Beach: Part 1

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long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinAfter a quick off-season full of rumors and anticipation, we finally got to see everyone’s cards on the table. Daigo Saito’s entry into Formula D was one of the most talked-about subjects but there were plenty of other changes too.

long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinJoe showed up with his new EOS 1N on Thursday to see what was going on at the track. The rest of the rounds have practice all day Thursday, but since Long Beach is a street course they like to keep it in street mode as much as they can. Joe found Walker Wilkerson’s now V8-powered S13 occupying Ross Petty’s spot in the Falken pit.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinJoe and Justin got ProAm driver John Jimison to park his car on the street during traffic so they could shoot it. Crazy guys.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinJoon Maeng was hanging out and staying up on his Twitter game.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinlong beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinDallas-based Scion Racing photographer Chris Harrington was excited to show off his 190cc Ruckus. He was deep into the project when I visited him in February so I’m glad he got it done in time. Kyle Pollard was also back, with a new livery for a new season.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinThere were plenty of familiar faces everywhere, most without anything to do but hang out and say hi. Everyone was excited to catch up, as many had not seen each other since Irwindale in October.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinThat evening, a bunch of the cars and drivers were gathered up for a parade through the streets of Long Beach and over to Tantalum, a California/Asian restaurant on Alamitos Bay.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinOnce at Tantalum, the cars were put on display and a great time was had by all. So great there are no photos of it!
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinOn Friday we finally got to check out some action. Tyler McQuarrie stunned the drifting world when he quit Falken, and then everyone wondered what he was going to for 2012. Tyler showed up in the Camaro that Ryan Tuerck was driving last year, complete with Yokohama tires, which haven’t been seen in Formula D since 2005.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinNot only is Tyler driving Gardella’s car, he’s running the whole program. I doubt he’ll have to give his car to anyone else this year.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinThat left Tuerck to find another car, so he went back to his roots, teamed up with Retaks, and brought out an S13. They put the vinyl on the car just in time for qualifying, where he pulled off the #1 spot. Not bad!
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinSaito played it safe and gripped the course before letting all 1200 of his horses drag him around it.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinWe saw that Ross Petty was indeed running the same Ron Paul vinyl that was on the car at tech day, and not a Falken sticker in sight. I really want to know what’s up with the custom number panels some cars have. Way back at the beginning of Formula D, drivers just got blank ones and had to get the numbers made somewhere, but some had better taste than others. I was happy when they got standardized, so hopefully someone is keeping a close eye on these things.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinMatt Field had new sponsors and a new livery, but remnants of his old Van Halen-inspired scheme live on in the interior.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinLuke Lonberger’s car remained mostly unchanged except for the recolored livery. With his 2011 engine problems far behind him he was eager to drive at Long Beach again, but he fell just short of the Top 32.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinRookie Gabe Stone joined the field with his LS6-powered M3. He had only just given the car a shakedown at Willow Springs the day before so he didn’t have high hopes. He was happy just to have made it to the event and not wad the car up on one of Long Beach’s quite unforgiving walls.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinMike Phillips didn’t fare as well.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinJustin Pawlak’s car only had a few minor changes, but he was driving as beastly as ever.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinConrad Grunewald’s Camaro was bascially the same as last year and he laid down some consistently solid runs.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinMike Essa’s BMW had a hard top on it. Last year his car was the only open-top car left after there were so many in 2010. Now it’s got a roof but Saito’s car is open-top. It seems like they just cant get rid of these guys.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinMatt Powers was in a completely new car and gave the car a shakedown even more last minute than Gabe’s.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinKen Gushi put his new FR-S to the test against Robbie Nishida’s backup S13. Robbie’s SC300 will hopefully be ready for Atlanta.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinKen didn’t seem to having too much trouble with the new car.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinDaijiro Yoshihara’s car had some suspension changes, but overall the car looks pretty much the same as last year. As the defending champion, I’m sure the guys at Falken aren’t taking any chances.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinTony Angelo made his return to driving with this Scion tC. Maybe this move will quiet down some of the controversy about the judging.
 
long beach formula d drift daijiro yoshihara daigo saito chris forsberg rhys millen conrad grunewald justin pawlak bil baldwinI think this was Yoshi’s first trip back to Socal. He was actually born in Cherry Valley, just east of the LA area.
 
Check back soon for Part 2!
 
 
 
.:Bohan
Photos by Bohan, Ayala, Chris Harrington, and Brandon Kado
 
 
 

7 thoughts on “Formula D Long Beach: Part 1

  1. That dog sure was sweet till he thought I was taking his little piece of banana hahah Amazing pics, great people, great drifting!

  2. Pingback: REZULTATAI: “Formula D: Streets of Long Beach” | driftzone.lt - It's all about going sideways

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