When you’re out making your tour of the Formula Drift circuit year after year, you begin to develop special relationships with certain tracks. For some drivers, it might be the place that they got to experience what standing on the podium feels like for the first time. For others, it might be the course that’s closest to home, where their friends and family watched their passion grow from a wayward hobby to a professional career.
For our team, that track just might be Evergreen Speedway. Of course, if you ask Ken, Tony, or Fredric, they might all have different answers. Ken, as most people seem to know, was drifting in the parking lot of Irwindale Speedway before he was a licensed driver. Tony, as an instrumental member of Drift Alliance and Club Loose, can always seemingly be found at Etown Raceway Park in New Jersey. And Fredric, of course, just picked up his first ever event win at Wall Speedway.
Collectively, however, our success at Evergreen Speedway began in 2010, when Tanner Foust won the event behind the wheel of the Papadakis Racing-built Rockstar Scion tC. It continued in 2011 when, in the wake of the 2011 Norway attacks, Fredric picked up his first podium flying a Norwegian flag on the tail of his Papadakis Racing Scion tC. The following year, Ken and GReddy Racing earned the best finish for a Scion FR-S to date by making the Final Four at the event. And, last year, Fredric grabbed yet another podium at the track, after an intense battle that saw his opponent debead his tire trying to keep up.
That continued this weekend, with solid performances from all three of our drivers. Tony Angelo kicked things off in qualifying by earning a score of 64 during both of his runs, forcing his way into the main event. The score had him slotted in the 32nd spot, and while that had him set for a battle against eventual winner Darren McNamara, his smooth driving throughout the event arguably were good enough for him to be seeded higher.
Nonetheless, Tony and the TAngelo Racing team rose to the challenge the same way they do any other, as they pushed the TAngelo Racing Scion FR-S to the limit during his chase run. Though his drive started strong, as Tony went harder to get more proximity to the lead car, he ended up tapping the wall which knocked him out of drift.
The team called 5 minutes for repairs, and while they were able to eventually make the necessary fixes, the allotted time just wasn’t enough which gave the battle to DMac. For their efforts, however, Tony and his crew got a chance to see a little more of what the TAngelo Racing Scion FR-S is capable of now that everything has finally come together.
With the final leg of the season coming up fast, Tony is set to cause some upsets and potentially rearrange the championship standings. After a quick trip back home for some development and practice, TAngelo Racing will be all set to dive in head first as we make a return trip to Texas Motor Speedway.
By contrast, the work that Ken and GReddy Racing have put into the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S has already begun to bear fruit. After some tough matchups during the previous few rounds, Ken was able to put together not just a solid event this past weekend, but also took home a victory in what was debatably the matchup of Round 5.
After qualifying 21st, and defeating his Top 32 opponent to make it to the Top 16, Ken’s 2JZ powered GReddy Racing Scion FR-S was matched up against Ryan Tuerck, also driving a Scion FR-S with a 2JZ motor. In a match that was about as even as a match could possibly be in Formula Drift, Ken and Ryan traded blows back and forth, sticking closely to the other’s door while riding the line about as close as could physically be done.
The judges, accordingly, called it One More Time, as the teams headed back to the paddock for a fresh set of tires before going at it again. In their rematch, Ken once against pushed hard, enough to get Ryan to hit a clipping point and a deduction going into Ken’s turn as the lead run. There, he once again put together a flawless run, which earned him a trip into the Great 8 tying his season best.
While his event ended there, his result showed a huge amount of progress and gave the team some momentum that should be key going into the final two rounds. The team is heading back to their Irvine headquarters to get some work done before Texas Motor Speedway, but their strong setup should make them feel right at home once they get to the high-speed track.
And once again, as one of the hands-down most consistent drivers in the series, Fredric Aasbo continued his streak of Great 8 finishes at Evergreen Speedway. In doing so, he put together a drive that saw him take out Nate Hamilton, Kyle Mohan, and Odi Bakchis in subsequent order. Though these battles are rarely easy, with a few millimeters often serving as the difference between an extended run and an early exit, Fredric has been able to showcase a form that almost makes his driving seem effortless.
In the nearly four full seasons that he’s been behind the wheel of the Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC, Fredric has developed an intuitive feel for it – a rarely seen trait where he’s almost able to will the car wherever he wants it to go. It’s a big reason why, in just a few years, Fredric has turned into one of the most feared drivers in the series, despite the humble and unassuming personality he has off the track.
His performance was so strong in fact, that the only thing that was able to stop him was the car itself. In his Final 4 battle against Dean Kearney, technical gremlins caused the Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC to shut off mid-run, causing him to lose drift and earn a sizeable disadvantage going into the second half of the battle.
After calling 5 minutes to get the car back in order, Fredric laid down another of his signature runs, hitting all the clipping points in subsequent order while nearly completely eliminating any errors. However, the deficit from the first run was just too much to overcome, and the team saw their weekend end with a remarkable finish in the Final 4.
On the strength of Ken’s Great 8 finish and Fredric’s Final 4 appearance, Scion is now at the top of Formula Drift’s OEM Manufacturer’s Championship with a 30.5 point lead. It’s going to be a tough battle from here on out, but with the teams and drivers we have driving under our flag, it’s also one that we feel confident about taking come the end of the season.
Likewise, Fredric’s performance has helped our tire supplier, Hankook, increase their lead in the Tire Manufacturer’s Championship to an overwhelming 156.5 points. It’s not over yet, but with just one more strong performance from one of our drivers at the next round, that championship could potentially be wrapped up by the end of Round 6.
We’ll be back in the garage getting ready for everything left on the calendar, but in the meantime, be sure to check back often for the rest of our content from Formula Drift Seattle including the latest episode of Driven 2 Drift!