Chris Forsberg wins season-opening Formula DRIFT event in Long Beach

Leave a comment

Chris Forsberg took home top honors this weekend in the season-opening Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach event.

Forsberg and his Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z paced the field, earning a stout 104.0 points.

“It feels amazing to be on top of the podium, especially here at the first round of the eleventh season of Formula DRIFT,” Forsberg said. “We will try to keep the momentum with our new changes and take the championship home.”

Norway’s Kenneth Moen was second in his Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX.

Top qualifier and 2013 series champion Michael Essa was third in his Essa Autosport/Yokohama BMW M3.

The event, held Friday and Saturday, kicked off the seven-round series, which is now in its 11th season. Race organizers said a sellout crowd of more than 20,000 attended.

Formula DRIFT will once again have all of its races televised on the NBC Sports Network. Airing time for this weekend’s event will be July 27 (2:30 pm ET), July 29 (4:30 pm), August 3 (1 pm) and August 5 (4:30). For the full NBCSN telecast of Formula DRIFT events, click here.

Round 2: Road to the Championship takes place in Braselton, Ga., on May 9 and 10.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

 

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Event Results

1. Chris Forsberg, Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z Winner

2. Kenneth Moen, Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX 2nd Place

3. Michael Essa, Essa Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 3rd Place

 

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2014 Standings After One Round

1. Chris Forsberg, Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 104.50 Points

2. Kenneth Moen, Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX 84.50 Points

3. Michael Essa, Essa Autosport/Yokohama BMW M3 74.00 Points

4. Justin Pawlak, Falken Tire Ford Mustang 68.50 Points

5. Fredric Aasbo, Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC 52.50 Points

6. Forrest Wang, Get Nuts Lab / Hankook Tire / STR Racing Nissan S14 51.00 Points

7. Aurimas Bakchis, Feal Suspension / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX 51.00 Points

8. Darren McNamara, Falken Tire Nissan S14 51.00 Points

9. Vaughn Gittin Jr., Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR 39.50 Points

10. Tyler McQuarrie, GoPro Mobil 1Chevrolet Camaro 38.00 Points

11. Pat Goodin, Enjuku Racing Nissan 240SX 35.00 Points

12. Ryan Tuerck, Retaks Maxxis Tires Air Force PSI Scion FR-S 35.00 Points

12. Conrad Grunewald, Megan Racing / Top 1 Oil / BRE Chevrolet Camaro 35.00 Points

13. Kyle Mohan, GT Radial Energy-X Mazdatrix RX-8 35.00 Points

15. Mats Baribeau, Gold in the Net Toyota Mark II 33.50 Points

16. Dennis Mertzanis, Hyundai Genesis Legato AR1 33.50 Points

 

Manufacturers Championship Standings After One Round

1. Nissan      122.00 Points

2. Ford      108.00 Points

3. BMW      94.50 Points

4. Scion      87.50 Points

5. Chevrolet      73.00 Points

6. Lexus      35.00 Points

6. Mazda      35.00 Points

8. Toyota      33.50 Points

9. Hyundai      19.00 Points

10. Dodge      17.50 Points

 

Tire Championship Standings After One Round

1. Hankook      157.00 Points

2. Falken      119.50 Points

3. Achilles      102.00 Points

4. Nitto      90.50 Points

5. Yokohama      74.00 Points

6. Kenda      52.50 Points

7. GT Radial      35.00 Points

7. Maxxis      35.00 Points

MRTI: Barber Motorsports Park Preview

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

After a month break, the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, with two of its series tacking the 2.38-mile road course in Birmingham, Alabama.

Both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires have double-headers this weekend, with Pro Mazda returning to Barber after not running there last year.

The season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg was a tale of two completely different stories, with two different winners – Pato O’Ward and Santi Urrutia – and more than a fair bit of chaos for Indy Lights, while Pro Mazda saw Rinus Veekay sweep the weekend.

Talking points for both series heading into Barber are below.

Indy Lights

Santi Urrutia heads to Barber leading the Indy Lights championship on the strength of finishes of second and first in St. Petersburg. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
  • Santi Urrutia displayed great patience at St. Petersburg, finishing second in Race 1 and winning Race 2 after rivals like O’Ward and Colton Herta faltered. However, Barber has not been one of his better tracks, with finishes of 11th, 15th, and 13th in three of his four Indy Lights starts. Yet, he did win Race 2 at Barber 2016, so he has had success there before, and he will be one of the favorites heading into the weekend.
  • Pato O’Ward looks poised to be a title contender in 2018 and will look to avenge a somewhat disappointing outing at St. Petersburg. O’Ward had the speed to sweep the weekend, winning Race 1 handily and dominating Race 2, but a mistake late in the race saw him overshoot Turn 4 and briefly stall before he could rejoin, relegating him to seventh. If O’Ward can show the pace he showed at St. Pete, he might end up being the man to beat.
  • Colton Herta will look to rebound from a St. Pete weekend in which he flashed the speed that caught everyone’s attention last year, but also committed the same mistakes that ultimately prevented him from taking a championship. After finishing third in Race 1, Herta crashed while chasing then leader O’Ward in Race 2. Herta won Race 2 at Barber last year, and getting another win this weekend, along with staying mistake free, would go a long way to erasing his problems from St. Pete.
  • Aaron Telitz is also looking to rebound after a down weekend, as his St. Petersburg weekend lasted all of two corners across both races – he won the Pole for Race 1, but crashed in Race 2 qualifying, and the Belardi Auto Racing team could not repair the car to allow him to race. After the team borrowed a chassis from Carlin for Race 2, Telitz get collected with Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni right off the start, and he crashed again, this time in Turn 2. Telitz finished on the podium at Barber in 2016, the year he won the Pro Mazda championship, and he’ll look for more of the same this weekend.

Pro Mazda

Rinus VeeKay swept the Pro Mazda weekend in St. Petersburg. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
  • Rinus Veekay had a perfect weekend to open the Pro Mazda season. The Juncos Racing driver outdueled Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson for the Race 1 victory, and then ran away with Race 2 to complete the weekend sweep. Veekay was expected to be a title contender after moving up to Pro Mazda in 2018, and if he can repeat his St. Pete performance, then he may leave Barber as the heavy favorite in the championship.
  • Not to be forgotten, Parker Thompson sits second in the Pro Mazda title chase, and looks to avenge losing out to Veekay in St. Pete Race 1, and then fading somewhat to finish fifth in Race 2. Thompson was the only driver to regularly challenge Veekay and Oliver Askew in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season, and he and Exclusive Autosport have adapted nicely to the new Tatuus PM-18. If they can show the same form at Barber, and then finish the job with at least one trip to Victory Lane, then it could set the stage for another titanic Pro Mazda championship fight.
  • Last year’s USF2000 champion Oliver Askew had a quiet weekend in St. Pete, finishing fifth and sixth in the two races. He swept the Barber races in USF2000 last year, and will need a similar performance to vault himself forward from his current place of sixth in the standings.
  • Carlos Cunha and David Malukas head to Barber third and fourth in the championship after solid St. Pete weekends – Cunha had finishes of fourth and third, while Malukas had finishes of seventh and second. Neither was necessarily looked at as a title combatant entering 2018, but repeat performances in Barber could vault them into title contention.

A full weekend schedule, including the Mazda Road to Indy sessions, can be viewed here.

**Note: NBCSN will broadcast Sunday’s Indy Lights race (Race 2 from the weekend) on Monday, April 23.**

Follow@KyleMLavigne