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Matt Field’s Formula Drift New Jersey Weekend Ends Early Due to Debeaded Tire

Photo Courtesy of Alex Wong, Emotive Image

Matt Field debeaded a tire against Jeff Jones at Wall Speedway, ending his weekend early

Matt Field’s Formula Drift New Jersey weekend ended unfortunately early in the Top 32 round of tandem due to a debeaded tire. While Field felt strong going into both the qualifying and tandem rounds, the results would not be a full reflection of the hard work of the Drift Cave Motorsports / Falken Tire team. Overall, Field sits in 15th position overall at the halfway point of the Formula Drift season, and looks to use the final 4 events to move up into the Top 10 overall.

Thursday’s practice session was one of the best of the season for the team, with Field’s confidence carrying him through Friday’s early practice session as well. After laying down a conservative first qualifying pass to get a score on the board, Field pushed hard in his second pass and unfortunately found and exceeded the limits of the track. A small miscalculation of a few inches pushed Field into the jagged guard rail that lines the top of the bank at Wall Speedway, which whipped the front of the car around and caused some major cosmetic damage. Thankfully, the damage was restricted to the body panels, and the Drift Cave Motorsports team had the car looking 100% before packing up for the evening on Friday.

Photo Courtesy of Alex Wong, Emotive Image

Matt Field tandeming with Falken Tire teammate Odi Bakchis during practice prior to FD New Jersey

Field's scored first qualifying pass put him in 14th position, which matched him up with Jeff Jones. Jones has been looking stronger and stronger in the Pro class this season, and Field wasn’t planning to take the matchup lightly. After some strong practice runs with drivers like Odi Bakchis and fellow AEM Induction-sponsored driver Fredric Aasbo, Field was feeling enthusiastic for the matchup. Field opened up a several car gap on Jones after initiation, but a small adjustment with the handbrake mid-bank caused one of the Falken 615k+ tires to debead.

Amazingly, Field continued the run flawlessly on three tires and looked to have an advantage entering the second run. However, Formula Drift rules don’t allow a driver to re-mount a de-beaded tire if it happens on the first run of tandem, which effectively disqualified Field from the competition. Had the de-beaded tire happened in the second run, the runs would have been scored normally and Field may have moved on.

Field and his team were disappointed with the outcome, particularly knowing that their air pressures weren’t low and the de-beading was a pure fluke occurrence. Jones made a solo pass and was granted the tandem win. After debriefing with the team, Field signed autographs for several fans and even gave away a damaged rear bumper to a fan.

Photo Courtesy of Alex Wong, Emotive Image

Matt Field got some tandem practice in with AEM driver Fredric Aasbo at FD New Jersey

Looking ahead, Field hopes to discover the second-half magic he had during the 2016 season which lead to two event wins and a Top 8 appearance in the final four events. Field felt that he had a car that could have earned a Top 8 finish or beyond at Wall, and only an issue like a de-beaded tire could hold them back. The Formula Drift circuit will take more than a month off before heading to Autodrome St. Eustache raceway just outside of Montreal for Round 5.

Photo Courtesy of Alex Wong, Emotive Image

Matt Field opened up a big lead in his tandem battle with Jeff Jones but lost due to a debeaded tire

Photo Courtesy of Alex Wong, Emotive Image

Matt Field debriefs with his Drift Cave / Falken team prior to tandem competition at FD New Jersey


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