No Stars Left in New Jersey by The Stand-ins
A cooler climate than expected greeted the competitors at Round 6 of the Formula Drift Championship, held as part of the Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway, but the reception from the crowd was as strong as ever. Team Falken brought all five factory entrants, intent on taking the win, as well as reaching true enthusiasts and motorsports fans at this important double-billed weekend.
While all Falken members – Darren McNamara, Daijiro Yoshihara, Tyler McQuarrie, Calvin Wan and Vaughn Gittin, Jr. – successfully qualified on their Falken Azenis RT615 tires, competition proved tough, and the team’s best result was Gittin’s 7th place overall finish in the ASD built 2010 Falken Tire Ford Mustang GT ultimately being defeated by the events overall winner, Stephan Verdier.
Other major Team Falken news of the weekend was the incredible effort put forth on behalf of Yoshihara. “Dai” qualified 9th in a car that had only two hours of practice time on it, having been built in just nine days after his original Lexus was heavily damaged at the previous event in Seattle. Most competitors were amazed at the speed in which the car was built, thanks in part to SPD Metal Works based in Placentia, CA.
Sonoma, famous for its many vineyards, is also notorious for its changing weather conditions, as Friday’s Top 32 competition was at least 20-degrees warmer than Saturday. Tyler McQuarrie and his Nissan 350Z felt the heat and ultimately faced start-up difficulties as a result of high ambient temps and a sensor issue. Wan also had a challenging event following a light collision with competitor Chris Forsberg, who eventually advanced.
While results were disappointing, spirits remained high, as Team Falken continues to record two drivers in the top five in the championship, with Gittin in third and McQuarrie in fifth.
All teams get a breather as the final round, Judgment Day, is set for October 16-17 at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA where Team Falken will be fully prepared and ready to conquer the famous House of Drift.
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