October 14, 2011 (Howell, NJ) Round 7: Title Fight, goes down in the record books as the best event Formula Drift has ever put on. There was not only an amazing fight for the championship, the driving was fierce and the crowd was sold out. The fans were so loud; it was reminiscent of a college football game. Team owner, Gary Gardella reflects about this epic event, “Looking up into the crowed and seeing the excitement and glow on everyone’s face gave me the best feeling. I am sure all of the people that are involved with the series felt the same way; it was awesome.”
Each battle starting with the top 32 was extraordinary. All of the drivers drove their hearts out to try to make it to the top of the podium. Adding to the excitement for the fans was all of the unexpected crashes along the way. Some of the top drivers were driving so aggressive they were on that fine edge, which is just unbelievably amazing. Some of the crashes or mishaps came from top drivers such as Samuel Hubinette, Chris Forsberg, and Justin Pawlak, to name of a few.
The championship battle was so tight that in the beginning of the final 4, the title could have gone to 4 different drivers; Darren McNamara, Justin Pawlak, Dia Yoshihara and Chris Forsberg. After it was all said and done Dia Yoshihara came away with the 2011 Formula Drift championship.
Although Gardella Racing did not take the podium or championship, overall the team had a phenomenal event. Tuerck drove the car as hard as any other driver out there this weekend, but luck was just not on our side. Tuerck and the Mobil 1 Camaro had a very good qualifying run during their first attempt on Friday night ending with a score of 86.1 to put the duo in the number 1 spot on the ladder. Unfortunately, the team was unable to hold onto the number one spot for long because during the second round, Samuel Hubinette took over the number 1 spot with a 92.7. At the end of the second session Tuerck landed in the 4th spot.
“What’s crazy about Formula Drift,” commented Gardella, “is that no matter what spot you end up in on the elimination ladder, it’s difficult. With so many good drivers and some of the best car control drivers in the world, it is always a long shot to win.”
During Saturday’s eliminations, Tuerck and the Mobil 1 Camaro, faced one of the top drivers from Norway in the top 32, Kenneth Moen. Moen has become one of the top drivers in Formula Drift in a very short amount of time. Tuerck ran well, but Moen had a bit of an advantage. When the drivers switched and Moen was in the lead he ended up beating himself by putting the car into the lower bank wall and coming to a stand still.
In the next round of 16, the team faced Kyle Mohan in the Mazda RX8 and it was a wild battle. Tuerck may have had the most amazing follow lap of his career. In the lower bank where the judges sit, Tuerck drove right up on the inside of Kyle Mohan’s door; touching it, but not unsettling it. Keep in mind, in this area of the course most drivers are doing around 50-60mph.
Tuerck advanced and now faced the rocket ship, Hyundai Genesis Coupe of Rhys Millen. The game plan was not to let Rhys get way out in front on his lead lap, but some things are easier said then done. Millen entered the bank and started to pull on Tuerck due to his lack of angle and Tuerck went into the bank with a ton of angle and Nitto tire smoke, which just slowed him down too much to keep up with the Hyundai. Over all, it was a good battle between the two, but Millen was able to edge Tuerck to move onto the next round. Millen then went on to go to the final against Tyler McQuarrie, but lost after he made contact with the wall in the lower bank.