“I went to Formula D in Jersey and all I got was this lousy tan, right?!” Hell no! (But partially yes, LOL.) Round 4 at the Wall Stadium Speedway was an F’n blast! And not only did the event provide epic battle after battle as the top 32 dwindled down, but from a photographer’s standpoint and as a first time visitor to the venue, I truly could not comprehend how luscious the shooting conditions were, and how much excitement was actually blasting past my face.
See, the Wall Stadium Speedway is really nothing more than an extremely tight, banked, oval track—probably no more than a 100 yards long, or the size of your local 70’s banked cyclorama (for a better comparison). Though previous years have routed drivers in a compressed figure eight with a center crossover, the big boys over at Formula Drift decided to change the game and alter the course to a two-lap, five-turn agenda for the first time in 9 years—allowing drivers the opportunity for a more solid transition between turns. Yet, even with the course change, many competitors still found themselves struggling to avoid annihilation on the first banked wall of death, while I as a photographer, stood no more than 36 inches away in effort to capture the tread-shreddin’ glory of the infamous Gauntlet.
Beginning with the amp’ing preliminaries, fan boy favorite, Danny George finally temporarily progressed into the top tier while ladies man Ken “The Gush” Gushi viciously battled it out with Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the top 32 for another questionable elimination. Keeping the event sideways, Round 2 champion Daigo Saito seemed to remain calm and precise under pressure throughout more than a few close battles between the top 16 and final 4 rounds, allowing himself to slide away with another victorious win… With four rounds down and three to go, the favor is more than in Daigo’s hands as 2013 champion—though only time will tell who will remain atop the ladder. See you in Seattle for Round 5, folks!