Life is hard for amateur drifters. Competing in a sport where major damage to your car is not only a possibility but more just a matter of time can't be good for one's mental health. Yet the few-the proud-march on. This season saw plenty of drama, upsets and the emergence of some undeniable new talent. For the lucky ones who survive the trials of Pro/Am competition, the reward of receiving a Formula Drift Pro license is enough to make it all worthwhile.
The scene at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California, for the Pro/Am Nationals Event was fun and lighthearted, without all the typical flair of a Formula D Pro event. Spirits were high on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Southern California. There were no bikini contests, stunt bikes or DJs-just drifting. Walking through the pit and staging areas, we saw hundreds of little stories just waiting to be told. The cars looked used, abused, tattered and torn. Battle scars are rights of passage for any drifter; they are worn as badges of pride and rightfully so. These guys have been through a lot to get here to the Nationals, all without deep-pocketed sponsors and full racing teams. You can see it in their eyes-they want this.
On the season's final day with so much on the line, the competition was fierce. Impressive showings by all the drivers gave fans an exciting day at the familiar drift venue. The back wall at Irwindale can intimidate even the most experienced drifters, and seeing the young blood attack at full bore was nothing short of exhilarating.
As you might expect, a fair number of wrecks happened throughout the day, but isn't that half the fun of watching drifting anyway? When it was all said and done, Chelsea DeNofa proved his worth by sliding his M3 into third place on the podium while Mike Pollard and Ian Fournier battled it out for first and second. Pollard held it together like a champ until a run in with the wall put him behind Fournier, who took first place for the day.
In total, an amazing 19 Formula Drift 2010 licenses were handed out to participants. With so much fresh meat in the field, the '10 season is sure to hold plenty of surprises and fast-paced action. We can't wait for the season to start!
|1.||Ian Fournier||4-door Skyline|
|2.||Mike Pollard||S13 hatch|
|3.||Chelsea DeNofa||E36 M3|