Orlando Speedworld is the third different Florida race track that Formula Drift has visited in the past three years, but it definitely has its own character. While Palm Beach International Raceway (2011 / 2012 / 2013) and Miami-Homestead Speedway (2014) both raced on modified road courses, Orlando Speedworld is a 3/8-mile banked oval that is bigger than Wall Speedway’s 1/8-mile oval (that will be the fourth stop on the Formula Drift circuit) and smaller than Irwindale’s 1/2-mile oval that will finish the season. The course is only two turns, but the uneven pavement on the infield that some have referred to as a ‘WOOPS‘ section similar to a motocross track is an added hazard drivers will need to plan for. The first banked turn is piloted clockwise with an outer zone along the wall for the entire bank. As the drivers exit the bank, an inner clip sits at the start of the infield. Drivers will transition from one direction to the other across the infield, stabilizing their car through the ‘WOOPS‘ section and hitting a second inner clip before ridding the second outer clipping zone around via the apron of the opposite turn in counter-clockwise rotation.
Ken Gushi topped a field of 38 drivers in qualifying in his GReddy Racing Scion FR-S with Matt Field earning second qualifier and missing the top position by only a single point. Ryan Tuerck, Justin Pawlak, and Tyler McQuarrie earned third, fourth and fifth qualifiers respectively, all also only earning one less point than the driver ahead of them.
In case you missed the event or the live Formula Drift Driftstream, here’s a play-by-play of how the top 32 tandem battles shook out.
Fast forward to the Ford Top 16 or Nitto Final 4.
Air Force Top 32
Ken Gushi vs. Kyle Mohan
Gushi Lead: Gushi initiates high on the wall and pastes his car on the top line through the entire bank, showing why he earned the #1 qualifier position! Mohan is about two to three cars behind and takes a slightly lower line, but keeps a consistent two to three car lengths of distance through the course. Gushi’s car has more angle at all times and hasn’t skipped a beat since his podium in Atlanta.
Mohan Lead: Mohan initiates a bit higher on the bank on his lead, but Gushi is close behind him. Gushi is only about a car length behind Mohan through the entire bank, gives Mohan room to transition on the infield, then sucks back in to Mohan for the second outer zone. Overall, Gushi has much better proximity, and although Mohan didn’t make any major mistakes, this run unanimously goes to Gushi.
Kenny Moen vs. Michael Essa
Moen Lead: Moen has looked better this weekend than at the first to events of the year, and is looking to get back in podium form. Moen has a good lead run, Essa is a few car lengths behind through the bank. Moen has much more angle and good smoke through the entire run, Essa is running a lower line on the bank and isn’t making up much ground. Moen likely has the advantage.
Essa Lead: Essa continues running the shallower line on the bank, but Moen has much better proximity and stays close to Essa through most of the run! The difference in proximity is very clear to see, and Moen is the unanimous winner of this match-up due to his better chase run.
Dai Yoshihara vs. Alec Hohnadell
Yoshihara Lead: Yoshihara’s BRZ has been hot and cold, but is starting to look more consistent this round after a blown motor last round. Yoshihara has a clean chase run and is on the higher line on the bank, with good smoke and angle through the course. Hohnadell is running a shallower line on the bank and is several car lengths behind Yoshihara, but doesn’t have any notable mistakes.
Hohnadell Lead: Hohnadell looks faster on his lead run then in chase, Yoshihara has good proximity through the first outer zone. Hohnadell’s car is billowing smoke, and as they transition through the infield, Yoshihara makes a move to dive in for closer proximity but finds himself lost on track and misses the second inner clip. This is a major mistake, and likely a zero for the run. Hohnadell earns the unanimous win.
Mad Mike Whiddett vs. Dan Savage
Whiddett Lead: This is a re-match of the Atlanta top 32 matchup that Whiddett won. Whiddett initiates well, Savage is several car lengths back and initiates much later than requested by the judges. Whiddett has a qualifying-like run with plenty of smoke, Savage doesn’t make up much ground through the run and will definitely be at a big disadvantage on his lead run.
Savage Lead: Savage has a much better initiation, and looks to be having a better run on his lead. Savage looks to drop at least one tire and possibly two past the yellow line in the second outer zone; Whiddett had given plenty of room to Savage, probably for good reason, and slowly closes the gap through most of the course. Savage’s mistakes are too much to overcome, Whiddett wins the second consecutive matchup between these drivers.
Justin Pawlak vs. Jhonnattan Castro
Pawlak Lead: Pawlak initiates high on bank and maintains the high line that was requested, Castro slowly reels him in on the bank. Castro is within one-car length as the cars transition through the power alley, and maintains his proximity as they enter the second outer zone. Pawlak maintains better angle especially through the second outer zone, but this is one of the better chase runs on a proximity basis we have seen so far today!
Pawlak calls his competition time-out between the runs.
Castro Lead: Pawlak has a great chase run through the big bank, only a few inches between his car and Castro’s after initiation! Pawlak has a few steering corrections from him but the proximity is impressive! Entering the infield, Pawlak over-rotates and loses drift at the second inner clip. Castro finishes the run flawlessly, the mistake is too much for Pawlak to overcome and all three judges vote to move Castro into the top 16.
Vaughn Gittin Jr vs. Conrad Grunewald
Gittin Jr. Lead: In three previous matchups, Grunewald has never defeated Gittin. Gittin has a good initiation and stays high on the bank, Grunewald leaves a bit of room through the infield as Gittin has had one of the rowdier transitions through the ‘WOOPS‘ section all weekend. Grunewald closes the gap a bit through the second outer zone, but Gittin finishes the course about four-car lengths ahead of Grunewald.
Grunewald Lead: Gittin is much closer to Grunewald on the bank than Grunewald was in his chase, but a gap opens up again through the infield. Grunewald runs his line and looks fairly consistent through the course, while Gittin hits the second inner clip and runs a middle line through the second outer zone in an attempt to close proximity. Neither driver really had a good chase run, wouldn’t be surprising to see this go One More Time. All three judges agree, they go One More Time!
Gittin Jr. Lead: Gittin Jr has a good initiation and run through the bank, Grunewald is a bit closer to Gittin on this run compared to the previous run, but still about three-to-four-car lengths behind through the entire course. Neither driver makes a major mistake on this run, but neither driver really excelled either.
Grunewald Lead: Just after initiation, Gittin is right on Grunewald’s door! Gittin keeps the proximity through the course, Grunewald runs a good line, but Gittin’s proximity is what the judges have asked for in the chase position. All three judges vote for Gittin Jr. to move on.
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Jeff Jones
McQuarrie Lead: Jones initiates on a higher line on the bank, but McQuarrie pulls a fairly substantial gap. Coming through the infield, Jones loses drift during his transition and stays straight for most of the infield. Jones re-initiates just after the second inner clipping point but likely will earn a zero. McQuarrie has a smooth clean run with plenty of smoke, clearly has an advantage for the chase run.
Jones Lead: Jones has a similar lead run at the start, running high on the bank while McQuarrie leaves a bit of space and runs a slightly lower line on the bank. Through the infield transition, Jones appears to get lost during the transition and drives completely off course back onto the second bank (which isn’t part of the prescribed course). At the same time, McQuarrie misses a clipping point, also resulting in a zero. Judges look back to the first run and McQuarrie had the clear advantage, McQuarrie is given the unanimous win.
Chris Forsberg vs. Geoff Stoneback
Forsberg Lead: This is a re-match of the top 8 matchup from Atlanta, which Forsberg won. These drivers are very familiar with each other as they drive together at Englishtown Raceway in New Jersey quite often. Forsberg is high on the bank on his lead, Stoneback has good proximity on the bank but loses proximity through the infield and ends up taking out a clipping point cone. What started as only a two-car gap ends up as a six or seven car gap by the finish, Forsberg likely has a huge advantage.
Stoneback Lead: Stoneback initiates right on the wall, Forsberg is about a car length closer through the bank than Stoneback was in his chase. Stoneback opens up a gap through the infield but rides up the second bank (which is considered off-course) and takes out one of the outer clipping zone markers which will be a major deduction and possibly a zero. Forsberg doesn’t make any major mistakes and finishes the run strong, earning the unanimous vote into the top 16.
Matt Field vs. Matt Coffman
Field Lead: Field has looked strong all weekend and has had big angle and smoke on all of his runs including his qualifying run which earned him second place. This run is no different as he runs a high line on the bank, Coffman actually has good proximity through most of the bank, but Coffman over-rotates on the transition through the infield and washes out while taking out the second inner clip. This will definitely be a zero score run for Coffman, Field keeps his composure and finishes the run flawlessly, he will have the advantage entering the second run.
Coffman Lead: Coffman initiates and runs the bank well, Field leaves a three to four car gap through most of the bank. Coffman over-rotates coming into the infield, Field passes Coffman as Coffman’s car comes to a halt and finishes the run. Field will take the unanimous decision.
James Evans vs. Forrest Wang
Evans Lead: This is Evans’ first appearance in the Top 32 tandem battles in his Formula D career, while Wang has been here many times. Since Evans qualified higher, he will lead first as past experience means nothing. Evans has a good clean lead run, not running the highest line on the bank but not running the lowest either. Wang is several car lengths behind Evans through most of the course and may have dropped a tire on the infield. This is not one of Wang’s finer chase runs.
Wang Lead: Evans lower on the bank, Wang has great angle and smoke through the bank, Evans isn’t far behind. Evans gives Wang room to transition then dives in for the second outer zone, closing the gap from three car lengths at the start of the outer zone down to one car length by the finish. A replay shows that Evans creeped into Wang’s lane on the run-up to the first corner, which is considered a “strike” and requires a re-run. Drivers will be allowed to change tires and we will re-run this second run.
Wang Lead re-run: Wang looked rejuvenated and has a big, smoky run through most of the course. Evans is about four car lengths behind at the initial initiation, and slowly closes the gap down to about two car lengths especially through the second outer zone. This isn’t as strong of a chase run from Evans, and if he loses this decision, creeping into Wang’s lane may have been his undoing. Judges side unanimously for Evans, judges may have decided that Wang’s follow run had too many mistakes to overcome.
Pat Mordaunt vs. Marc Landreville
Mordaunt Lead: Mordaunt is high on the bank but Landreville is less than a car length behind Mordaunt through most of the bank! Landreville lets the gap open up on the transition through the infield and gets a bit offline during his transition and takes out a clipping point. Mordaunt extends his lead through the second outer zone and will likely have a big advantage going into the second run. Officials have to rip Landreville’s drivers side fender, side skirt and front bumper off between runs as it’s hanging off and likely unsafe.
Landreville Lead: Landreville has a good lead run, Mordaunt gives space through the outer zone, but Mordaunt closes the gap through the infield and is less than a car length away from Landreville through the second outer zone. This is almost an exact inverse of how Landreville ran his chase run, the deciding factor may be that Landreville took the clipping point out on his chase. Judges vote unanimously for Mordaunt.
Robbie Nishida vs. Chelsea Denofa
Nishida Lead: Nishida’s G37 is looking much stronger this weekend than in its initial debut in Atlanta. Nishida has a nice clean run, Denofa makes a surge on the infield to close the gap but loses drift and goes off course. Nishida finishes his run without any mistakes, Denofa is likely at a major mistake.
Denofa Lead: Denofa’s car appears to be having mechanical issues as his car has very shallow angle and is hitting the rev limiter through the big bank. Nishida keeps drift, Denofa straightens out. Through the transition to the infield, Denofa gets back on power and kicks the car sideways again. Nishida leaves some room for Denofa but keeps the car in drift, while Denofa continues to struggle. This is tough to watch as Denofa has had more mechanical issues than nearly any other driver it seems. Nishida gets the unanimous win.
Ryan Tuerck vs. Kristaps Bluss
Tuerck Lead: These drivers have driven as teammates in Europe a few times in the past. Bluss creeps into Tuerck’s lane before the first corner similar to what happens between Evans and Wang. Both drivers initiate, but the red flag is flying. Tuerck’s rear wheel is flopping around, not sure if that was from contact with Bluss or un-related. Drivers are flagged down and the run is stopped short; we will have a re-run, but track officials will inspect Tuerck’s car first.
Fault is given to Bluss. Tuerck’s car has broken parts (looks to be suspension related), and is given “adequate time” to repair the car. The remaining runs of top 32 are run, and the team is still working on the car, so Tuerck is given the win into the top 16 and will be allowed to continue repairing the car until the opening ceremonies.
Brandon Wicknick vs. Dean Kearney
Wicknick Lead: Wicknick is another driver who seems to finally be working some bugs out of his car. Wicknick has a good run, high on the bank with good smoke and angle. Kearney is a few car lengths back, then makes a correction through the infield and hits a clipping point. Kearney is able to close the gap substantially through the second outer zone. Kearney is less than a car length away as they cross the finish line.
Kearney Lead: Kearney opens up a huge gap through the first outer zone, and maintains a seven or eight car gap through the entire course. Wicknick takes out a clipping point marker for the second outer zone, it’s clear that Kearney has substantially more grip. All three judges vote for Kearney to move on.
Odi Bakchis vs. Daigo Saito
Bakchis Lead: Saito is looking to right his season while Odi is looking to maintain the championship lead. Saito has an issue warming up tires and calls his competition time out before the first run. Saito is unable to fix his car, and Bakchis will move into the top 16.
Fredric Aasbo vs. Masashi Yokoi
Aasbo Lead: These drivers have had some fierce battles at Formula Drift Japan rounds in the past. Aasbo has a clean lead run, Yokoi has about a two car gap through most of the run. Yokoi isn’t overly aggressive on his chase, but Aasbo isn’t able to open up a huge gap. A good clean run from both drivers, no major mistakes, but also no distinct advantage either.
Yokoi Lead: Not a very high line on the bank but good angle by Yokoi. Aasbo maintains a similar, lower line on the bank and sacrifices some steering angle to gain proximity. Yokoi has big smoke, and as Aasbo transitions through the smoke cloud on the infield, Aasbo has to make a major steering correction that might be interpreted as a second initiation and possibly a zero. All three judges vote for Yokoi! Aasbo knocked out in top 32, this could be a major dampener for Aasbo’s championship run.
Ford TOP 16
Top 16 intros have all 16 cars on track as Tuerck’s car appears to be fixed. There’s also some light sprinkles in the air, which could make top 16 a little interesting.
Ken Gushi vs. Kenny Moen
Gushi Lead: Gushi has another fantastic chase run and isn’t afraid to run up along the wall despite the moisture. Moen is also used to inclement weather and is running a very similar high line in chase. Both drivers have great runs, Moen stays pretty close to Gushi through the entire run. Gushi’s run was great, but Moen’s run was solid as well. It would be tough to pick an advantage right now.
Moen Lead: Moen hits a cone, which requires a restart. As Moen slows before the first corner, Gushi goes to initiate and taps Moen’s car. Drivers are given a chance to check out their car for damage. Contact is determined to be ‘no fault’, so drivers are given ample time to make repairs. Moen’s lead run happens after the below McQuarrie vs Forsberg battle. Drivers are given a warm-up lap, then when Moen leads, Moen runs a good solid high line on the bank and paints the outside line in outer zone two on the apron to the opposite bank. Gushi slowly reels in Moen, starting with around a three car gap and reducing it down to around one car by the time they cross the finish line. Judges reward the aggressive chase by giving Gushi the win.
Alec Hohnadell vs. Mike Whiddett
Whiddett Lead: The precipitation has definitely increased prior to this run. Whiddett initiates on a little lower line, but quickly rises towards the top of the wall and rides the high line around most of the bank. Hohnadell isn’t far behind, and after the transition on the infield, Hohnadell is less than a car length from Whiddett. Seem like Hohnadell is likely to have an advantage due to his fantastic chase run. A look at the replay shows that both drivers may have had a momentary straightening shortly after initiation, will have to see what the judges decide.
Hohnadell Lead: Hohnadell opens a big lead before the first corner and takes a good high line on the bank. Hohnadell rubs the wall, and Whiddett is high near the wall as well. Whiddett really doesn’t close the gap much at all, and Hohnadell has a six-to-seven-car lead through the majority of the course. Judges vote unanimously for Hohnadell.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Jhonnattan Castro
Gittin Jr. Lead: There’s standing water on the track, both drivers are given a practice run to get a feel for thee new conditions. Gittin looks very comfortable in the rain, while Castro is having some struggles. Gittin is high on the wall, Castro is a little lower. As they transition through the infield, Castro looks to be struggling to get the car sideways again. Gittin opens up a gap and finishes the run strong, Castro has several corrections again on the second outer clipping zone.
Castro Lead: Castro initiates a little low on the bank, Gittin looks to be giving Castro some room intentionally. Gittin slowly closes the gap and is fairly close to Castro after the transition on the infield. Castro looks to be incredibly slow, Gittin taps Castro but both cars are able to maintain drift. Gittin keeps extremely close distance to Castro through the end of the course, and spins just after the finish line. Announcers mention that although the drivers were told that they had to maintain drift through the finish line or risk earning a 0, it’s likely the given the weather conditions, Gittin would not be punished. Judges vote unanimously for Gittin to move on.
A 15-minute weather break is called due to the passing storm in hopes that clear skies are just a few miles away.
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Chris Forsberg
McQuarrie Lead: The track is still wet, but the immediate precipitation has stopped. Drivers are again given a quick practice run to feel out the conditions in the interest of providing the best show to the fans. Speeds are down, but both drivers put on a great show given the conditions. McQuarrie runs high along the wall on the bank, Forsberg is about two cars back. Both drivers splash through the standing water on the infield and transition smoothly, then Forsberg closes the gap down to about one car. Both drivers finish strong, no major mistakes.
Forsberg Lead: Forsberg has a bit more angle as the lead car, McQuarrie is about three-car lengths back through the big bank. Both cars transition through the infield without any issue, then Forsberg extends the gap through the second outer zone to around four- or five-car lengths. Based on proximity, it looks like Forsberg takes the win, and the judges agree unanimously.
Matt Field vs. James Evans
Field Lead: Field spun out on his practice run as he came off the bank, but holds it together during his competition run. Both drivers run mid to upper lines, Field has substantially more angle through the entire course than Evans. Evans was around three-to-four car lengths behind Field through most of the course, a distance that is a bit on the safe side but probably warranted given the still wet conditions.
Evans Lead: Evans has another smooth clean run, showing strong car control despite the mix of wet and dry pavement. Field is a few car lengths behind Evans, definitely not more distance than Evans but probably equal or possibly slightly closer. After transitioning through the infield, Field closes the gap down to about two car lengths and maintains drift through the entire course. One judge votes for a One More Time while the other two judges vote for Field, giving Field the win.
Pat Mordaunt vs. Robbie Nishida
Mordaunt Lead: Mordaunt initiates with a high qualifying line, Nishida is a bit lower in his line but running strong. Mordaunt opens up a bit of a gap through the infield, but goes a bit wide and taps the marker for the start of outer zone two while shedding his rear bumper. Mordaunt continues to paint his rear tire along the paint marking the rear zone, Nishida closes the gap a bit due to shallower line and angle, but Mordaunt looks fairly strong.
Nishida Lead: Nishida initiates fairly high on the bank but taps the wall mid-bank and loses drift! Looks like Nishida may have possibly dropped a tire on the infield transition, while Mordaunt runs better line with more angle, and closes the gap to Nishida through the course. One judge asks for a One More Time, but the other two judges vote for Mordaunt.
Ryan Tuerck vs. Dean Kearney
Tuerck Lead: Tuerck has won all three previous battles against Kearney. Both drivers spin as they enter the infield on their practice run, but maintain drift during their competitive run. Tuerck has a great high line on the bank and we’re finally starting to see some tire smoke. Thankfully, both drivers are able to maintain drift through the infield, and Kearney uses a slightly shallower line especially through outer zone two to close the gap and is just inches from Tuerck as they cross the finish line.
Kearney Lead: Kearney scrapes his spoiler along the top of the bank and maintains good speed through the bank and the first outer zone. Kearney opens up a gap through the infield and runs the outside line through the second outer zone. Tuerck closes the gap through running a shallower line and possibly shallower angle. Both drivers spin out nearly across the finish line, it’s unclear if this will count as a spin or not. Replay shows that Kearney might have dropped a tire through outer zone two as well. One judge votes for a One More Time, the other two judges vote for Tuerck. We really wish we could hear an explanation from the judges in situations like this.
Odi Bakchis vs. Masashi Yokoi
Bakchis Lead: Yokoi taps the wall during his practice run, and we have a bit of a delay. As we get underway for the runs that count, Bakchis spins transitioning into the infield. Yokoi spins as well while following Bakchis, but this will likely be blamed on Bakchis spinning first. This is a major upset in the making!
Yokoi Lead: Yokoi has a smooth run, nothing overly impressive. Bakchis tries to get aggressive coming off the bank and loses drift, Yokoi stays flawless on his run. Judges vote unanimously for Yokoi, this will be a substantial shakeup in the championship points!
Nitto Great 8
Ken Gushi vs. Alec Hohnadell
Gushi Lead: Gushi continues his strong run with a great line through the first outer zone on the bank, Hohnadell attempts to close the gap just before entering the infield and has to stomp the brakes to prevent running into Gushi, which forces him to spin. Gushi continues the run smoothly and will have a substantial advantage going into the second run.
Hohnadell Lead: Hohnadell is running a middle line on the bank, similar to what he has run all day. Gushi leaves about three car lengths of space between them through most of the bank, Hohnadell slides too far and drops two tires off course through the infield transition. Hohnadell gets back on throttle and finishes the course strong, but his mistakes are too much to overcome. Gushi moves on! As the number one qualifier, Gushi is guaranteed a consecutive podium finish, the first time he has podiumed in back-to-back events in his career.
Chris Forsberg vs. Vaughn Gittin Jr
Forsberg Lead: Forsberg has a good initiation while Gittin has a correction and has to re-initiate. Gittin closes the gap on Forsberg midway through the bank. As they transition into the infield, both drivers spin. It’s difficult to see if Forsberg was in the process of spinning and Gittin followed to avoid hitting him, or if Gittin got too aggressive and either hit Forsberg or didn’t give Forsberg room to transition back.
Gittin Jr Lead: Gittin has multiple corrections, and slows substantially through the infield transition. Forsberg has to slow substantially and loses drift to avoid hitting Gittin, but it seems that the drop in speed may be too much to be considered avoidable by Forsberg. Two judges give the win to Forsberg, a third votes One More Time because he felt that the spin on the first run was the fault of Forsberg.
Matt Field vs. Pat Mordaunt
Field Lead: Field initiates and his S14 is pouring smoke from the rear tires! The bank is definitely drying out quickly. Mordaunt has decent proximity (about three-car lengths) through the first outer zone, but loses a lot of ground through the infield transition. Field holds great angle and an outer line through outer zone two, Mordaunt closes ground again over the final portion of the course, but Field definitely had a better run. Advantage seems to be in Field’s favor.
Mordaunt Lead: Mordaunt doesn’t have the same amount of smoke as Field, but has a good line on the bank. Mordaunt appears to drop at least one tire and possibly two as he transitions through the infield. Mordaunt keeps a three to four car gap on Field for most of his lead run, but his line is a bit unpredictable. Field definitely appears to be more consistent and stable, although Mordaunt was closer in his chase run if proximity were the only judging factor. Judges move Field on to the final four.
Ryan Tuerck vs. Masashi Yokoi
Tuerck Lead: Tuerck has a good line through the bank, the tire smoke is definitely getting thicker with every run due to the bank drying out. Yokoi’s car catches fire mid-bank, similar to what happened with Forsberg in Atlanta. Track officials red flag the battle due to the fire and extinguish the fire which appears to be coming from the fuel cell in the trunk. Yokoi will get a 0 due to safety concerns. Yokoi calls his competition timeout to fix the car.
Yokoi Lead: Yokoi’s car is back and ready for action! Yokoi goes big on the bank with tons of smoke and even bumps the top of the wall mid-bank! Tuerck is several car lengths behind Yokoi, this might be considered an inactive chase. Tuerck closes the gap a bit through the infield transition, and continues to close the gap through the second outer clipping zone. The fire was too much to overcome for Yokoi, Tuerck gets the win and is into the final four!
Nitto Final 4
Ken Gushi vs. Chris Forsberg
Gushi Lead: The top three qualifiers are all in the final four, Forsberg is the lone wolf who qualified twelfth. Gushi continues his excellent lead runs and opens up about a two-car gap on the bank. Gushi extends that gap to about three cars through the infield transition, but Forsberg drops it back down to about two-car lengths through most of outer zone two. This is a tough battle to call, both drivers are looking very solid!
Forsberg Lead: Gushi is just inches from Forsberg through the entire bank! Exiting the bank, Gushi taps Forsberg and Forsberg’s car catches fire. Track workers red flag the run, and Forsberg pulls his fire suppression system. Judges determine that Gushi was at fault for the collision, and the fire may have been partially sparked by the collision. Forsberg gets the win, and will be given “ample time” to fix his car for the finals. Gushi is guaranteed 3rd place as the top qualifier.
Matt Field vs. Ryan Tuerck
Field Lead: Both of these drivers have had highlight reel runs all day. Field is high on the bank, Tuerck is just a short car length behind him, tons of tire smoke from both cars! Transitioning through the infield is flawless, both drivers finish the course strong!
Tuerck Lead: Tuerck continues his fantastic lead runs, Field is looking strong on his chase as well! Through the transition, Field loses a bit of ground and has shallow angle for a second before pushing more angle out of the rear. Field closes the gap up again through the second outer zone. The small mistake from Field gives Tuerck the win. This run easily was one of the best of the day, and easily could have gone One More Time due to the quality of the runs. Field will earn fourth due to qualifying lower than Gushi.
Go Pro Finals
Ryan Tuerck vs. Chris Forsberg
Unfortunately, this was the final that could have been. Forsberg was allowed a reasonable amount of time to fix the suspension damage from his collision with Ken Gushi, but was required to use his competition timeout once that was fixed due to his car not starting. The team worked through the five minute time allotment to troubleshoot the issue, but couldn’t get the car fired up before the clock struck zero. In 10 previous matchups, Forsberg has defeated Tuerck eight times including most recently in Atlanta this year, but Tuerck would get the decision this time by default.
The win is Tuerck’s third in his career, and his tenth career podium. For Forsberg, the podium finish is his 26th in his career, four more than the next closest driver (Dai Yoshihara). Gushi’s podium is his first career back-to-back podium and the seventh in his career.
Story by Jacob Leveton
Photos by Alex Wong