It all boils down to Saturday - the 2016 Formula DRIFT Championship, that is - and while the title likely seems bound for one of three past champions, it was 2011 champ Dai Yoshihara, someone not even in the running this season, who locked up the number one qualifying position for Top 32 tandem eliminations in his Turn 14 Distribution Subaru BRZ. He clouded up the Irwindale Events Center short oval with a blazing pass that netted him a high score of 89. Ryan Tuerck in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Toyota 86 was a close P2, and not far behind them was Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Laboratory Nissan S14, Wang opting for the 14 instead of his S15 for this last round of the year.
Of the drivers still in the fight for the 2016 title, current points leader and 2009 and 2014 FD champion Chris Forsberg, who qualified fourth, will drive his NOS Energy Drink 370Z against 29th qualifier Faruk Kugay and his S14 in the first round of Top-32 eliminations. Second in points and reigning series champ Fredric Aasbo, driver of the Rockstar Energy Drink Scion tC, qualified 11th and drew the Oracle Lighting Dodge Viper of Dean Kearney, who qualified 22nd, for their first eliminator. 2010 champ and third in points Vaughn Gittin, Jr., qualifying 13th, will pilot his Monster Energy Drink Ford Mustang RTR against 20th qualifier Pat Mordaunt in the Drift Paddock 350Z. Finally, the driver with the longest shot at the 2016 title, fourth in points Odi Bakchis, will pit his 14th-qualifying ARK Performance Hyundai Genesis Coupe against Pat Goodin's Penzoil ISR Performance S13, which qualified 19th.
For their part, Yoshihara, Tuerck, and Wang will all get byes to begin their competition, as only 29 drivers qualified for the first round's roster of 32. The action begins with Top 32 at 3:40 p.m. PST, followed by a break and then resuming with Top 16 at 7:30 p.m. PST. If you can't be at the House of Drift for the last Formula D shootout of 2016, make sure to catch it on the Live stream - you won't want to miss it.