Philly native Geoff Stoneback had a roller coaster 2015 Formula DRIFT season. From lows that included dealing with the death of his best friend, videographer/editor Mark Lenardon, to highs, like beating FD champions Tanner Foust and Fredric Aasbo at the Road Atlanta round of the series. Now in his third year of professional drifting, the newly signed Turn14 driver is behind the wheel of a 1,000hp Nissan 370Z built by Chris Forsberg Racing. Unfortunately, he was edged out of his Top 32 battle with Chelsea DeNofa at the 2016 opener on the streets of Long Beach. We caught up with Stoneback after his battle for a chat.
SS: Geoff, can you tell us exactly what happened in your battle with DeNofa?
GS: During the parade lap I entered and initiated, but hit a slippery spot, and the front end went into the wall. So the team and I called for five minutes and got the car repaired for my battle against Chelsea Denofa in Top 32. I knew he was going to initiate hard into the turn with max angle. When I initiated, I threw the car in like an S-chassis and not like a Z-chassis. I hit our slick spot and spun, which gave Chelsea the advantage. In my lead we both entered at the first turn. I had to touch and go which was a little bit off of the second outer zone, but I had a good eight-car gap on Chelsea. I finished the run and thought we would go one more time, but Chelsea got the win and we were sent packing.
SS: Can you tell us about the car you're campaigning this year?
GS: It's a 2015 Nissan 370Z built by Chris Forsberg and MMA Motorsports. It's got a 1,000hp VK56. It also has the traditional standard stuff, such as a dogbox, Voodoo arms, Winters quick-change rear end, BC Coilovers, ...
SS: How did the weather in Long Beach effect you and your car?
GS: It was tough because the team and I made decisions to go back and forth, wet and dry. They probably changed it about seven times this weekend. When the left bracket was done, we went full dry set up. Literally right when I hopped in the car it started pouring and we're like, "Let's go rain set up." It was dealing with situations like that that made it tough, but as a team we worked out well.
SS: Can you tell us about how your drifting career began?
GS: Basically, I had friends in high school that showed me drifting videos and I thought, "This is the coolest thing ever." So I bought a Nissan 240SX and totaled it the same weekend. I just fell in love with it and eventually found Club Loose and been going there ever since. I never really planned on being a professional driver, it just happened. I'm just rollin' with it and enjoying it.
SS: What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?
GS: The rest of the year, hopefully no rain. I'm just learning a lot with the team and with Chris Forsberg. This event was really good even though the outcome wasn't what we wanted. The vibes are there, everything's there, so we should do better all the rest of the rounds.