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Racing News: Annual Formula DRIFT Awards Recognize Top Achievers

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Formula Drift
2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Champion James Deane (center) with second place Fredric Aasbo (left) and third place Piotr Wiecek (right).

Annual Formula DRIFT Awards Recognize Top Achievers

Formula DRIFT (FD) honored the top drivers, newcomers, fan favorites and the people who play an important part behind the scenes at its 2018 awards banquet last weekend:

2018 FD Pro Awards:

  • 2018 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship: James Deane
  • Auto Manufacturer’s Cup: Toyota
  • Tire Manufacturer’s Cup: Falken
  • Fan-Favorite Driver: James Deane
  • Fan-Favorite Car: Ford Mustang RTR driven by Chelsea Denofa
  • Top Qualifier of the Year: James Deane
  • Rookie of the Year: Dirk Stratton
  • Best Drifting Style: Forrest Wang
  • Hardest Charger: Chelsea Denofa
  • Takedown of the Year: Piotr Wiecek
  • Most Improved Driver of the Year: Matt Field
  • Comeback of the Year: Matt Coffman at FD Seattle, where he qualified 22nd and finished eighth.
  • Perfect Event Award: Fredric Aasbo
  • Spirit of Drifting: Michael Essa
  • Giving Back Award: Daijiro Yoshihara
  • Special Recognition: Chris Forsberg for being the first driver to surpass 200 wins in head-to-head FD battles.
  • Spotter of the Year: Amy Bakchis
  • Crew Member of the Year: Stan Williams from Justin Pawlak Racing
  • Crew Chief of the Year: Garrett Nikolich from Forrest Wang’s Get Nuts Lab
  • Team Manager of the Year: Stephan Papadakis from Papadakis Racing

2018 FD Pro2 Awards:

  • 2018 Formula DRIFT Link ECU Pro2 Championship: Travis Reeder
  • Fan-Favorite Driver: Dylan Hughes
  • Fan-Favorite Car: Nissan 350Z driven by Alec Robbins
  • Top Qualifier of the Year: Brandon Schmidt
  • Rookie of the Year: Sebastien Gauthier
  • Most Improved of the Year: Crick Filippi
  • Comeback of the Year: Travis Reeder at FD St Louis, where he qualified 14th and won the event.

Fry and Rupert Victorious at California Hot Rod Reuion

The 2018 California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, completed competition at Auto Club Famoso Raceway last Sunday crowning not only event winners but also many champions in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series. Mendy Fry piloted her High Speed Motorsports dragster to victory with a 5.61-second pass at 259.36 mph in the Nostalgia Top Fuel final taking out Rick McGee. Fry was the top qualifier for the weekend and achieved the low ET for the event in the semi-finals with a 5.550 ET. In Nostalgia Funny Car, Jason Rupert took home the Wally when he ran a 5.63 pass at 259.51 in his ’69 Camaro bettering Rian Konno’s 5.855 pass at 241.84. Other winners included Brian Hope in AA/Fuel Altered, Drew Austin in A/Fuel, John Marottek in Junior Fuel, Steve Faller in 7.0 Pro, Bernie Plourd in Nostalgia Eliminator 1, Robert Johnson in Nostalgia Eliminator 2, Lindsey Lister in Nostalgia Eliminator 3, Brian Rogers in A/Gas, Val Miller in B/Gas, Bill Becker in C/Gas, Bill Norton in D/Gas, Scott White in AA/Gas, Roger Holder in Pro Mod, Jack Goodrich in A/FX and Alex George in Hot Rod. The 2018 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series champions are Fry in Top Fuel, Bobby Cottrell in Funny Car, Austin in A/Fuel, Marottek in Jr. Fuel, Brad Denny in 7.0 Pro, Dustin Lee in Nostalgia Eliminator 1, Johnson in Nostalgia Eliminator 2, Ed DeStaute in Nostalgia Eliminator 3, Frank Merenda in A/Gas, Kevin Riley in B/Gas, Chris Rea in C/Gas, Ed Carey in D/Gas and Dale Hicks in Hot Rod.

With a top speed of 503.334 mph, the Turbinator II is now the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle.

Turbinator II Makes 503-mph Run at Bonneville

Team Vesco and the Turbinator II are the first to be inducted into the 500-mph club, thanks to a run at the Bonneville Salt Flats earlier this month. With a top speed of 503.334 mph, the Turbinator II is now the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle. Featuring Mickey Thompson’s land-speed tires, the Turbinator II is driven by a Lycoming T55 turbine engine from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Unfortunately, Team Vesco’s history-making run wasn’t enough to land them in the official record books, as land-speed records require the average of two runs. Inclement weather conditions prevented the crew from making a second pass and solidifying the official record. In August, Danny Thompson set the land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats after a two-way average run of 448.757 mph in the Challenger II, a racecar originally built by his father Mickey Thompson more than 50 years ago. Thompson’s run broke the 439-mph record held by George Poteet.

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