Five drivers in battle for Formula Drift championship

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James Deane in line to be the first to win three consecutive years
James Deane in line to be the first to win three consecutive years | Rebecca Nguyen photos

Only five drivers are in range of taking the Formula Drift championship for the 2019 season, which ends this weekend at Irwindale Speedway in California.  

The Southern California track has been nicknamed “The House of Drift” because it is where American drifting culture got its start more than a decade ago. The final and Round 8 of the 2019 schedule will be livestreamed at FormulaD.com/live.

So who are the fab 5 still with a shot at winning the championship?

James Deane from Ireland leads the standings with 498 points. Fredric Aasbo from Norway is only 19 points behind.  Deane ‘The Machine’ won the 2017 and 2018 championship and with this current lead he may be looking at three consecutive championships.

Piotr Więcek from Poland is third and 67 points behind, and one point ahead of Aurimas Bakchis of Lithuania, who had held the points lead early in the season.

Chris Forsberg at Formula Drift Texas

Rounding out the five fighting for the title is three-time Formula D championship American driver Chris Forsberg, who is 94 points off Deane’s pace.  Forsberg has not seen a championship since his 2016 win.

While the championship is out of reach for the rest of the drivers, there are battles taking place for the top-10 rankings. Ryan Tuerck is in sixth place with Chelsea DeNofa seventh, 2011 champion Dai Yoshihara eighth, 2013 champion Michael Essa ninth and 2010 champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. 10th.

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Bryan Young has been in the drift scene since 2008. He has owned a few drift cars for drifting and has taught drifting to newcomers. He has volunteered as a crew member/spotter for local ProAm driver Austin Kriegle and a control room operator for the Maximum Driftcast podcast. He currently drifts a 1991 Lexus LS400 with a manual transmission and other modifications.

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