We headed into the 2013 Formula Drift season with high hopes for Fredric Aasbo and the Papadakis Racing team, and for good reason. Since Fredric was brought into the Scion Racing family two seasons ago, he’s earned multiple carbon fiber trophies, been honored with various awards, and come teasingly close to the FD Pro Championship podium.
With Formula Drift Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway in the books, it’s looking more and more like this might be the year it finally happens.
Fredric took advantage of some early practice sessions to feel out the new track. By the time qualifying came around, he couldn’t have looked more at home sliding the Hanook Tire Scion Racing tC through the early snap transition and around the edge of the long outer clipping zone.
He proved that was exactly the case by going out and earning the 2nd highest qualifying score of the event. The points went a long way in strengthening his championship campaign, however, his seeding also placed him in a tough spot with contenders Mike Essa, Chris Forsberg, and Daigo Saito all in his half of the bracket.
Fredric’s Top 32 and Top 16 battles ended with unanimous wins in his favor, as he knocked out Chris Jeanneret and Mats Baribeau respectively. That set him for a Great 8 battle against Mike Essa – one that many spectators felt was worthy of the event’s finals.
The tandem went back and forth, as Fredric held a solid line and good angle through his lead run, and stayed close to Essa all throughout his chase. Though the judges would eventually call it in Essa’s favor, the finish gave Fredric enough points to rearrange the top of the 2013 FD standings.
By making it 6 for 6 on Great 8 finishes this year, with a podium thrown in for good measure, Fredric’s now at 3rd place in the race for the Formula Drift Pro Championship with just one event left in the season. With only 64 points separating him from 1st place, Round 7 at Irwindale is going to be his best shot yet at leaving his name in the record books.
Ken Gushi and the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S went through a rough patch earlier in the year as they were hit with unforeseeable mechanical issues, but the GReddy Racing team has done a fantastic job getting things back on course.
Thursday and Friday practice made it clear that everything was starting to round back into form for Ken and the GReddy team, and they made good on that by submitting their highest qualifying score of the season. With their ticket to the Top 32 punched, Ken and the team headed into the night preparing for their matchup with Danny George the following day.
Ken threw down a superb lead run, as he brought the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S right up to each of the designated clipping points while maintaining a good degree of angle and smoke. Although he took the same line and angle during his chase run, two of the judges ended up calling it One More Time.
The first half of the rematch played out largely the same as the first, with Ken hitting all the clipping points. However, during his turn to chase, Ken pushed too hard and ended up taking the car off course which resulted in a loss. While liquids being spilled from Danny’s car may have actually been what caused the loss of traction, the outcome was upheld after a protest.
It’s been a season full of ups and downs for Ken and the GReddy team, but they’ll be pushing hard to close out the season strong. Irwindale Speedway is Ken’s home course, so it’s a strong bet that he’ll be leaving everything the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S has to give out on the track for the final round.
This season has been similarly transitional for Tony Angelo and his team. Having debuted the TAngelo Racing Scion FR-S earlier this year at the Streets of Long Beach, much of the ensuing time has been spent getting it dialed in and prepped for the rigors of the FD season.
The TAngelo Racing team has just begun finding their stride, and by qualifying 29th overall at Formula Drift Texas, they’ve now made it two consecutive events in the Top 32. Though getting adjusted to the new platform has somewhat limited Tony, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what he’s capable of with the car.
In spite of issues Tony’s car was having with its nitrous set up throughout the weekend, Tony submitted a respectable chase run during his battle against Forrest Wang. Tony threw out an even better run as the lead car, even pulling a small gap, though the judges ultimately ended up ruling against him for the matchup.
Given how competitive Tony and his team are, it’s fair to say that the season hasn’t gone quite the way they expected going into the year, even if they’ve done as much as they possibly could with a new car. Regardless, the team is clearly trending upwards, and from what we’ve seen, there’s still a ways to go before the hit their ceiling.
The FDTX episode of Driven 2 Drift is coming soon, so be sure to check back here regularly. In the meantime, we’ll be in the garage with the teams, gearing up to take on the 2013 finals at Irwindale Speedway!