Fredric Aasbo second in Utah as Formula Drift title comes down to finale
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (September 18, 2022) – Rockstar Energy Toyota driver Fredric Aasbo scored second place on the full-throttle Utah track this weekend to gain ground in the Formula Drift championship. Heading into the Irwindale finale next month, the defending champion is a close second in the standings, he is 14 points off the lead in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra.
“The course at Utah Motorsports Campus was amazing – full throttle everywhere and with beautiful mountain views to top it off,” said Aasbo. “And I enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many new fans.”
It was the first time for the series in Utah and Formula Drift reported a sell-out event.
Aasbo qualified the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra first on the high-speed and flowing track in Utah. On sticky Nitto tires, he powered past Alec Robbins in the round of 32 before defeating Kazuya Taguchi in the Top 16. He met Mike Power in the Round of 8 and advanced to battle Chelsea DeNofa for an all-out battle in the Final Four.
That battle ended in a spectacular fashion when the drivers’ rear tires made contact in the second turn. The hit caused Aasbo’s tire to explode off the wheel, taking the rear quarter-panel with it. The driver continued through the course without losing drift, despite significant damage, and crossed the finish line to complete the scored run.
Judges deemed DeNofa at fault for over-slowing in the turn and advanced Aasbo to the final match against Toyota teammate Ken Gushi. But the damage to the car was too severe and he was forced to forfeit the match, claiming second in the event. Even so, the podium result puts him in a good position heading into the final round next month in Southern California.
“I feel like I say this every year, but the standard of competition just keeps getting higher,” said Aasbo. “We’ve worked hard to be within striking distance of the title and now we just need to keep doing what we do best and hope to have some luck on our side at Irwindale as well.”
Aasbo is looking to win his third title in the series. He is a two-time champion, having won in 2021 and 2015.
For his part, teammate Ryan Tuerck’s weekend ended early when he found himself blinded by smoke in his Top 32 match and the Rain-X / Nitto Tire Toyota GR Corolla Hatchback hit the wall. The result leaves Tuerck fifth in the standings, still among the top six drivers that remain mathematically in the hunt for the title.
Between them, teammates Aasbo and Tuerck have achieved five podium results in seven rounds of competition, with Tuerck winning the season opener in Long Beach and Aasbo topping the podium at Round 2 in Atlanta. There has been a different winner at every round of competition so far this year. With one round to go, Partner Toyota has a strong lead in the manufacturer's championship and Nitto Tire tops the Tire Cup.
The Papadakis Racing team now returns to their home shop in Los Angeles, California, where they will return the cars to top shape for the exciting season finale October 14-15 at their home track, Irwindale Speedway.
Before Irwindale, fans can catch up on the full season of action for Tuerck and Aasbo by tuning in to weekly episodes of the new Rockstar Energy YouTube series “Controlled Chaos.” Each Thursday, Rockstar Energy brings fans behind the scenes with the Papadakis Racing team to showcase the highs and lows of competition weekends as the championship contenders battle it out for the title.
The episodes, produced and directed by Transition Productions for Rockstar Energy Drink, will drop weekly on Thursdays at https://www.youtube.com/rockstarenergy. Highlights and more will be showcased on the athletes’ own social media channels, as well as by the Formula Drift series.
The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history, earning the 2021 and 2015 titles with driver Fredric Aasbo, as well as back-to-back championships with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008. Tuerck joined Papadakis Racing in 2020 and has shown strong results, bringing home a third-place championship trophy in his debut season with the team and sixth overall in 2021. Partner Toyota has won the manufacturer’s cup seven times since 2014.
Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, the sport has rapidly grown to one of the most popular youth-oriented motorsports in the world. Here in the United States, Formula Drift officially launched in 2004 and its national schedule of eight events routinely host capacity crowds, while live-streamed multi-platform broadcasts attract millions of online viewers.