AEM's Chris Forsberg and the NOS Energy Nissan 370z Took 2nd at Formula DRIFT Round 5

2011 Formula DRIFT season with AEM sponsored Chris Forsberg
2011 Formula DRIFT season with AEM sponsored Chris Forsberg
Fans flocked to historic Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington, and were treated to some of the most exciting drifting of the 2011 Formula DRIFT season to date. The skies were clear and the pavement was dry, contrary to Washington's typical weather, and that provided the perfect catalyst for packed grandstands and awesome racing.

"So, I have a tough time calling 4th place a curse, but so far this season, we have had two 4th place finishes, one 5th, and one 6th, which had us in 4th place overall, so to me, it almost felt that way," said team driver Chris Forsberg. "Either way, the 'curse' is no more! This weekend we took our NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370z to a 2nd place finish which pushed us up to 3rd place in the overall championship race!" This season-best finish didn't come easy for Chris or the rest of the NOS Energy Drink Nissan team.
Chris Forsberg and the NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370z
Chris Forsberg and the NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370z


Chris Forsberg commented, "Every event usually kicks off with a practice session on Thursday, but there was a down-pour of rain early in the day so practice was canceled. Even though Formula DRIFT decided to re-open the session for an hour or so, the track was still very wet. Having a new car this year, Thursday practice is important for us to work on the set-up, but because the rest of the weekend was forecasted to be sunny and warm, running on a wet track would be no good to us. So, we would have to wait until Friday."

"When we hit the track Friday for practice, our differential broke on only our 2nd full throttle run," said Forsberg. "We already had limited time to practice, but now with this happening, I could only hope to get in a couple passes before qualifying. Kevin and Sergio did an amazing job as they rushed to get the car fixed and back on track before the session was over. I pulled back up to the line with 5 minutes remaining, plenty of time to get in a pass or two but just as I pulled up, Formula DRIFT had to end our practice session because another competitor had crashed hard and had to be towed off track."
AEM sponsored Chris Forsberg
AEM sponsored Chris Forsberg


Even with all this early adversity, Chris pushed his VK56 powered Nissan 370z to a 15th place qualifying position. Chris was placed against potential Rookie of the Year Otto Graven in the Top 32, and their battle was so close that the judges called for a "One-More-Time" battle, which Chris won with a hard push through the technical course. Sweet 16 saw Chris Forsberg paired against Dennis "Greekdrifter" Mertzanis, a very talented privateer drifter. Their runs were very closely matched, but Dennis made a critical error coming off the bank, giving Forsberg the win.

The Great 8 placed Chris Forsberg in a battle he had not seen in two years, driving against fellow Drift Alliance member Ryan Tuerck. "I was really looking forward to it. On our first run, I chased Ryan around the bank and into the infield but as we flipped into the last corner, he spun out right in front of me," Forsberg commented. "It was very unlike him to do that and I couldn't believe that it happened! Our lead run was nice and smooth so the judges advanced us into the semi-finals!"
NOS Energy Drink Nissan 350z
NOS Energy Drink Nissan 350z
Forsberg was pitted against fellow Hankook tire teammate Rhys Millen in the Final 4. Rhys Millen had been on point all weekend, but a small mistake in catching his bumper on the wall caused him to straighten out momentarily, and ended up being the reason for Forsberg making it to the finals against veteran driver Daijiro Yoshihara.

"He (Yoshihara) was obviously having a great day, but I knew we could beat him. I also knew that I could chase Dai harder than anyone else, so I stood on the gas and stayed locked in with his car all the way through the bank, while beating him with more angle at the same time," said Forsberg. A fluke mistake led to Forsberg ultimately losing the battle against Yoshihara. "As I punched the shifter forward, my hand slipped over the top of it and flew right into the ignition switch! I couldn't believe it... I just shut the car off in the middle of our run!"

The NOS team's 2nd place finish was bittersweet, as they had 1st place within their reach." Chris and the rest of the AEM sponsored NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370z team are currently sitting in 3rd place in the chase for the 2011 Formula DRIFT championship with only two stops remaining. Drift fans won't want to miss the high speed smoky action as Formula DRIFT makes its way to Las Vegas for some After Dark drifting, August 26th and 27th, or when every driver goes all in at the Title Fight at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California, October 7th and 8th!

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