Formula Drift kicks off 2019 at Long Beach

Here we are! The start of the 2019 Formula Drift Pro Drifting Championship is upon us. We have a number one qualifier. We have a full field of 32 cars! We have a beautiful California weather day at the Legendary Long Beach circuit. The stage is set! It’s time for Formula Drift Top 32!

First out of the gate to do battle in 2019 would be Jeff Jones and his Doc X 370z against number one qualifier Matt Field in his Borla Exhaust, Falken Tire, Chevy Corvette. Loud and proud, the V8 symphony kicked off the day with Matt leading Jeff. Both drivers had decent runs with Jeff making small mistakes in the chase.

Jeff leads with his injured finger after he dropped a transmission on it the night before. Jones put down a solid lead with Field in a decent chase. To the judges for the first time in 2019. Matt Field takes the win.

Next up would be Matt Coffman and Ken Gushi. Coffman would lead first in his 240sx with Gushi getting all up his door on the chase! Slight contact looks to be made but both drivers powered through it!

Gushi and his Greddy FRS lead next putting down a nice lead run with Coffman having some issues in the chase position. Ken Gushi gets the win.

Chris Forsberg at the NOS energy drink 370z would face Dirk Stratton. Forsberg lined up to lead first against the Drift Vette of Stratton. Forsberg looked solid with the new engine setup putting down a good lead with Stratton having a decent run but also a few issues in the chase.

The Ligenfelter Vette leads next with Forsberg stuck to his door in a fantastic chase run. Chris Forsberg takes the win.

An exciting battle between the returning Pat Goodin and Chelsea Denofa was up next. Chelsea and RTR put down a great lead with Goodin in a pretty rad chase.

Goodins lead saw his S14 go hard at the course putting down a shallow but solid lead. Definitely looking forward to what Pat is going to bring to this season! Chelsea Denofa takes the win.

Dai Yoshihara took on Sébastien Gauthier in the next Top 32 battle. Dai would have an advantage going into the second run after Gauthier straightened in the chase position.

Sébastien would put down a great lead run possibly catching Dai off guard causing him to lunge in at the end of the lap to gain proximity and would spin out!! Judges rule OMT.

JTP vs Alec Holnadell saw the Falken Mustang and the Nexen tire S14 put down a pretty solid first run with JTP having a slight advantage going in to the second run.

Hohnadells lead saw JTP go Grave Digger on Alec as he got into him hard during the first initiation. Call is OMT from the judges.

Federico Scerifo would get his chance at redemption next against the s14 of Odi Bakchis after last year’s disastrous fire in Round 1. Odi would lead first off, with Federico putting down a crowd rising chase that made everyone jump up in this house!

What a show for the Italian native in his second FDLB attempt!

Swapping positions Federico would now lead a decent lead run shallow on the first touch and go but great attempt at beating a champ like Odi! The season looks promising for the Ferrari team in 2019. Odi takes the win.


The OMT battle of Dai and Gauthier up next. Dai leads first in the Turn 14 BRZ with Sébastien again making a similar mistake as his first run in the chase position. Timeout. Not being able to get his car ready in time Sébastien would have to bow out of competition. Dai takes the win.


Rookie Mitch Larner makes his Formula Drift debut against Michael Essa in the chase position first looking solid against the FD veteran.

Larner would lead next with Essa door to door with the rookie putting down a great chase. Essa takes the win.

Champion James Deane was up next in his 2019 competition debut against the brand new RX8 of Kyle Mohan. Deane leads first and puts down a great lead with Kyle Mohan unable to initiate in the chase and shutting down the car immediately and having to call a competition timeout.

After the timeout Mohan would lead the two time Formula Drift Champion. Deane would put a oor to door chase down and making hard contact with Mohan in the last section. Leaving both drivers with seeming zero runs. The judges rule James Deane wins.

The OMT battle of Hohnadell and Pawlak saw Alec make a mistake on the chase in the first run. The car didn’t look good and he was unable to complete the second run. Pawlak’s Roush Mustang’s bye run moved him on to Top 16.

Jhonathan Castro vs Dean Kearny up next. The Dodge Viper was first to chase as Castro took a shallow lead line allowing Kearny and the Oracle Lighting Viper to really put down a close and exciting chase run.

With Castro in the close proximity chase position we have become accustomed to, heade a slight mistake at the end causing him to spin. Dean Kearney gets the win.

Ryan Tuerck wrecked hard in practice right before Top 32 causing him to be unable to compete.

Ryan Litteral and his Koruworks 350z Moves on to Top 16 after his bye run.

Frederic Aasbo and his Rockstar energy drink Corolla took on the Toyota Supra of Dan Burkett. Aasbo lead run was slid with Burkett making a few mistakes in the chase position.

The Rad Industries Supra lead next but the former FD champ proved he is super consistent and put the Corolla in the right spots. Frederic Aasbo takes the win.

Next up the new Verocious Cadillac AtsV of Austin Meeks vs Piotr Weicek Worthouse S15. Piotr layed down a near perfect lead and just gapped the new car out of the gate and never let up. Super fast!!

Meeks was next up to lead, with Weicek on his door the entire run laying down one of the best chases so far in the day. Piotr Wiecek takes the win.

Pro 2 2018 champion Travis Reeder up next against Alex Heilbrun. Reeder had to use his S13 couple after a controversial banning of the new Napoleon Motorsports El1 Camaro. Both driver put a solid first run down with Heilbrun leading Reeder. No real mistakes for either.

Swapping spots for the second run Reeder putdown a phenomenal lead run that saw Alex make a mistake and spun on that last inside clip. Travis Reeder takes the win moving on to his first ever Formula Drift Pro Top 16.

Forrest Wang and the Get Nuts S15 vs Taylor Hull and his Comp cams Cadillac AtsV.

Wang puts down a thrilling lead run but Hull doesn’t back down at all and just stays with Wang all the way through! Great run!

Hull would take the Drift Caddy out in lead next with Wang super close in chase but still making a great lead run. Hard one for the judges. Wang takes a hard fought win.

The last battle of Top 32 saw Vaughn Gitten Jr’s Monster Energy Mustang RTR, take on Kaz Taguchi and his Achilles GTR Drift beast. Gitten leads first with a great lead and Taguchi making a mistake in chase.

Taguchi would lead next taking the UP Garage GTR wall to wall in a nice lead but Vaughn would stay with him and have a solid chase. Gitten takes the win.

Top 16 is set. See you after the halftime intermission.

TOP 16

First battle of Top 16 saw number one qualifier Matt Field line up against Ken Gushi. Matt starts out first with a killer lead and Gushi stays with him nicely for a nice run to start the Top 16.

Switching positions, it was Gushi’s turn to lead the way. Gushi had a good lead but way more shallow the the second outer zone, leaving the win to Matt Field!

Chris Forsberg lined up next to battle Chelsea’s Denofa. The 370z lead the way first with Denofa’s Mustang RTR locked on his door with a super close aggressive chase run.

Chelsea came out of the gate swinging on his lead backing it into the touch and go and standing in it. Forsberg stayed right with Denofa in an exciting run! Judges say Forsberg gets the win!

Dai Yoshihara vs Justin Pawlak up next. Dai leads first with a nice lead run with JTP staying in close proximity. Solid run.

Pawlak leads next but Dai hits the wall on initiation and hands the win to JTP.

Next up the Essa Autosport BMW of Michael Essa vs Odi Bakchis. Odi would lead first looking very typical in form. Essa follows with a nice chase with decent proximity.

Essas lead run next was intense with Essa throwing big angle off the start and tapping all the walls in super close battle. Judges say Odi gets the win.

Irish battle next up with James Deane going against Dean Kearney. Deane leads with his s15 putting down a decent if not shaky lead and Kearney stays with him the whole run making contact and staying in drift! Great battle. Kearney would need to use a competition timeout to fix cosmetic damage.

Second battle saw the Viper leading this time with the Worthouse Drift S15 in tow. Dean came out swinging for the fences going super deep into the touch and go and throwing James off his game. Deane struggling to regain the cars composure and proximity took it too hard at Kearney spinning in the last section. Judges vote OMT!

Next up Frederic Aasbo lined up against Ryan Literal. Aasbo leads out first Ryan follows with a decent chase. Aasbo put down a good lead run.

Aasbo’s Toyota Corolla put on a show in the chase run staying with Literals every movement! Judges give the win to Frederic Aasbo.

Travis Reeder vs Piotr Weicek up next. The first run saw Weicek lead with Reeder needing to take shallow lines to keep up with the higher powered Worthouse S15.

Reeders lead was a beautiful run but Wiecek stayed tight on him the whole run leaving it in the judges hands. Piotr gets the win!

Forrest Wang vs Vaughn Gitten Jr looked to be an exciting battle. Wang leads first coming out firing! Wang throws his S15 around the Long Beach circuit with Gitten trying to play catch up.

Gitten leads the next battle with a way shallower lead than Forrest and Wang was able to stay with the Monster Energy Ford Mustang the whole way. To the judges, who say Wang Moves on to Top 8.

Finally the OMT between Deane and Kearney. Deane leads out first with overheating Viper coming in hot and spinning right behind him after contacting the wall. In a twist of events James Deane shuts down his ride and also score a zero for an incomplete run. James Deane calls timeout.

After the timeout both drivers come out and out down a great run. Hard one for the judges. James Deane gets the win.

Top 8

Matt Field vs Chris Forsberg. Forsberg is just looking so good this season already and puts down a nice chase again, this time on Fields Corvette, staying on his door up until the very end of the run.

Field take s the chase position for the second run following Forsberg under the bridge and makes a huge mistake and goes into the tires. Judges give the win to Forsberg.

Second battle of Top 8 was Justin Pawlak vs Odi Bakchis. Odi first to lead with Pawlak in chase. Both drivers lay down near perfect runs in a heck of a show. Advantage nobody there.

Next up Pawlak leads and the chase specialist Bakchis shows why he earned that reputation putting together another solid run. Another hard call for the judges. I saw no mistakes really. Judges agree, OMT!

Third battle was Piotr Wiecek vs Forrest Wang. Piotr leads A Super exciting first run with Wang slamming the walk in the chase position but still hanging right along with Wiecek. The crowd certainly loved that show!

The Worthouse driver takes up the chase position for the second run which Wang and the Get Nuts Labs S15 put a hell of a lead run down causing Piotr to get a tad lost in the smoke line and dive in super shallow on the last clip. Going to the judges who all choose Forrest Wang to move on to the Final 4.

Next battle of Top 8 had Frederic Aasbo vs defending champion James Deane. Deane leads the way, with an aggressive Aasbo in chase. Right from initiation Aasbo is on him tight! Deane’s front end washes out right before the finish with a slight straighten.

Aasbo leads next in the Corolla with Deane S15 in tow. Deane goes in hard and ends up washing the front end out yet again. Aasbo takes an exciting win against the defending Formula Drift Champion.

OMT battle between Bakchis and Pawlak up next. Odi leads again with a great run and Pawlak again stays right with him in another fantastic drifting run!

Pawlak leads next in his Roush Mustang and takes it too hard into the touch and go and makes the car straighten. Odi moves on to the Final 4.

So here we are! The Finale of the first Formula Drift event of the year is set. There has been plenty of great drifting. A few controversial calls and moments. And a whole mess of burnt rubber. But this is FD and this is what we all love! Wang vs Aasbo. Forsberg vs Bakchis. This is going to be a good one! Send it boys!

Final 4

Frederic Aasbo vs Forrest Wang

First run saw Wang lead Aasbo with a fantastic lead. Aasbo puts down a phenomenal chase. No clear advantage on that one. Aasbo calls a competition timeout for an issue with the motor.

After a spark plug goes into the turbo housing Aasbo is forced to retire from the event. Wang goes to the Finals!

Chris Forsberg vs Odi Bakchis

Odi leads out in the first run with a fantastic lead run. Forsberg stay in tight throughout the run.

The 370z leads on the second run and again another pretty solid run from both drivers. Odi Bakchis get the win unanimously and moves on to face Wang in the Finals.


Forrest Wang vs Odi Bakchis

A great finals has been set up! Wang and his super stylistic drifting and sick angles against the superb skills and Style of Odi Bakchis. S15 vs S14. 2jz vs LS! This is drifting! Forrest is still looking for his first Formula Drift win and getting against Bakchis is going to be a tough battle, but a great one for all of us, the fans!

Here we go! Watch for yourself below!

Video by Formula Drift

2019 Formula Drift Round 1 – Long Beach Results

1st Place: Odi Bakchis

2nd Place: Forrest Wang

3rd Place: Chris Forsberg

All Photos By Justin Miller / IG:

Full gallery of photos at the link below! Check em out!

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