This past weekend was Formula Drift’s fifth event of the season, taking place out in scorching Las Vegas. To combat the heat, the event actually took place late at night and was fittingly named “Round 5: After Dark.” With the championship now coming down to the wire, teams have been swapping out motors and finding new ways to gain an advantage against the more consistent teams as familiar faces such as Samuel Hubinette, Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust are barely in championship contention; with Tanner Foust being the closest in third place.
But the weekend would belong to the dedicated team from Falken Tire, once again sweeping the podium with a first, second and third finish. Sitting on top however wouldn’t be Daijiro Yoshihara or Vaughn Gittin Jr., both of which had secured event wins this season, but rather their teammate Tyler McQuarrie in the Nissan 350Z convertible. Gittin Jr. would got himself in a Mustang vs. Mustang tandem battle against Tony Brakohiapa but the skilled veteran Gittin took third place and maintain the points lead.
The final tandem battle of the night pitted McQuarrie against Yoshihara – with Yoshihara having been amazingly consistent throughout the season, while McQuarrie battled ups-and-downs but stayed persistent and optimistic. All his hard work would finally pay off as he took the win after Yoshihara’s S13 had mechanical troubles.
This is McQuarrie’s first career victory in Formula Drift and is just icing on the cake for another fantastic weekend from Falken Tires.
Official press release available after the break.
Long Beach, Calif. – August 22, 2010 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Round 5: After Dark. Tyler McQuarrie piloting the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z found the top of the podium alongside his Falken Tire teammates for their 2nd ever sweep.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the event to a sell out crowd under the stars and lights in the Nevada desert. Round 5: After Dark featured the Vegas Pro Am finals, Fatlace One of One Showcase car show, Monster truck demonstration, Drag Races, and was highlighted with the Formula DRIFT championship competition. The competition heats up with only two events remaining in the 2010 Championship season.
“This event in Las Vegas is challenging for everyone involved with Formula DRIFT including the staff, teams, and sponsors, but at the end of the day the event exceeded all expectations with a sell-out crowd, amazing competition, and a tightening chase for the Championship heading into Sonoma,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The level of competition is at an all-time high and teams are setting the bar for the sport of drifting worldwide.”
The action filled weekend came down to a battle of the V8’s. Making the Top 4 for his first time, Tony Brakohiapa in the Cooper Tire / BSP Tuskegee Airmen Mustang went against point leader, Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang for third place. Gittin gained the victory and maintains the championship points lead. The final battle pitted Falken teammates Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 against Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z. Mechanical problems forced Yoshihara to forfeit from the competition giving McQuarrie his first ever victory and moves him up the rankings into 9th place overall.
“The Falken Tire Nissan 350Z was unreal in every practice and through qualifying. It was one of those events where I could just feel it,” said Tyler McQuarrie, winner of Round 5: After Dark. “To get my first career victory here in Las Vegas feels incredible and for the Falken Tire team to get the second ever sweep in history is a milestone for the team.”
McQuarrie will carry the momentum of the victory to the next stop of the Formula DRIFT championship at his hometown track for Round 6: Point of Impact on September 10-11. This is the last event before the Finals in October and the drivers will be sure to put it all on the line for a chance at the title. Tickets are available on-line.
Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2010 Point Standings – Top 16
1. Gittin, Vaughn Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 439 Points
2. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 417 Points
3. Foust, Tanner Rockstar Energy Scion TC 386 Points
4. Tuerck, Ryan Mobil 1 / Maxxis Tire / Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice 361 Points
5. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Saturn Sky 342 Points
6. Hubinette, Samuel SHR-Dodge / BF Goodrich Dodge Challenger 304 Points
7. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / CFR Nissan 350Z 296 Points
8. Millen, Rhys RMR / Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe 291.75 Points
9. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Tire Nissan 350Z 275.50 Points
10. Pawlak, Justin Ford Racing / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 267.50 Points
11. Takatori, Michihiro BF Goodrich / Exedy Nissan S13 239.50 Points
12. Ng, Charles Charles Ng Racing Mazda RX-7 228.50 Points
13. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro 213 Points
14. Gushi, Ken Scion Racing / RS*R Scion TC 203.50 Points
15. Maeng, Joon Full Tilt Poker / Nitto Tire Mazda RX-8 190.25 Points
16. Petty, Ross Falken Tire / Garage Boso Nissan S15 186 Points
Round 5: After Dark Event Results
1. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Tire Nissan 350Z 1st Place
2. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 2nd Place
3. Gittin, Vaughn Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang 3rd Place
Tires.com Triple Crown – Event 2 of 3
1. Foust, Tanner Rockstar Energy Scion TC 169 Points
2. Tuerck, Ryan Mobil 1 / Maxxis Tire / Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice 167 Points
3. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 162 Points