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Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

The 2011 Formula Drift season reached its halfway point with round four in New Jersey. Leading up to the race the story had been all about Team Falken Tire. Justin Pawlak won the first and third rounds in Long Beach and Florida, while Daijiro Yoshihara was victorious at round two in Atlanta. The team was looking to make it four out of four at Wall Stadium, but many challengers wanted to make sure that their streak ended there.

 

As the field of 35 drivers went out to qualify for the main event, two of the usual suspects were noticeably absent. Rhys Millen and Samuel Hubinette both took a pass on this round, instead choosing to participate in other off-road racing events. With those former FD Champions out, the door was opened for some newcomers to show off their skills. Rookie Otto Graven from South Africa qualified 13th and made it as far as the top 16 in competition. Ryan Kado also qualified well in 9th, but would not make it past his first battle against the more experienced Toshiki Yoshioka from Japan. In the end, it was local favorite Ryan Tuerck in the Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro SS who qualified first ahead of 2010 Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr., and Daijiro Yoshihara.

 

 

 

In Saturday’s tandem competition, all was going well for Tuerck until the Final Four when he faced off against Conrad Grunewald in the Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro SS. Tuerck came into the first turn too hot, nailing the guard rail with his left side hard enough to break both of his wheels, tires, and even front brake hub! His team tried to repair the car, but could not restore it to racing condition in the allotted time, giving Grunewald a slot in the final.

 

 

On the other side of the bracket, Justin Pawlak went up against Falken teammate Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Great Eight. The roar of their two Ford Mustang V8 engines was fierce through Wall Stadium’s banked turn, and in the first run Pawlak did an incredible job to match Gittin’s lead line. He was so excited about it that he even gave a fist pump out of his window as he crossed the finish line. Pawlak lead the second pass, and although Gittin is usually great at following, he made a few errors in his drift through the flat middle section. The judges picked up on this, and awarded Pawlak the win. In the final four, Pawlak would face another Falken brother in Yoshihara. Their battle was less intense, and Yoshihara simply couldn’t match the speed and angle of Pawlak’s Mustang. Yoshihara lost the fight, taking third place for the team since Tuerck was unable to compete in the consolation round.

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

The final round pitted Grunewald and Pawlak in a knock out battle to decide the top spot of the podium. Their muscle car duel began strong with Grunewald leading, pouring out a ton of smoke from his Hankook tires. At the transition, Pawlak lost sight of the line briefly. His car straightened, losing drift and ground on Grunewald during the chase. On the second pass, both drivers were flawless, Grunewald’s black and white Camaro matching Pawlak’s green and blue Mustang at every turn. At this level of competition, even a small mistake can be the difference between a one-more-time battle, and defeat. Pawlak’s error in the first run meant that the judges awarded Grunewald the victory, his first ever as a pro driver!

 

 

 

Pawlak’s second place allowed him to increase his overall points lead in the Pro Championship to 57 over Yoshihara. In July, the series heads to Evergreen Speedway outside of Seattle for round five. Performance Auto and Sound magazine will be there for every minute of the action, so check back here for more Formula Drift coverage as the rest of the season unfolds.

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Extra Stats From Round 4:

 

Qualifying Results:

 

Driver:                                   Car#               Score:

 

1. R. Tuerck                      #44              91.2

 

2. V. Gittin                        #1               89.2

 

3. D. Yoshihara                  #9               89

 

4. C. Grunewald                 #79             86.3

 

5. T. McQuarrie                  #17              85.9

 

6. C. Forsberg                    #64              84.2

 

7. J. Pawlak                      #13              83.9

 

8. J. Russakoff                   #85              81.5

 

9. R. Kado                        #614             81.4

 

10. K. Gushi                      #33              81.4

 

11. R. Petty                      #808             79.2

 

12. J. Maeng                    #51              78.2

 

13. O. Graven                    #113             76.7

 

14. K. Mohan                    #99              75.7

 

15. D. McNamara               #8               74.6

 

16. M. Field                       #777            72.7

 

17. K. Moen                      #76              72.6

 

18. F. Aasbo                      #151            72.4

 

19. M. Essa                       #101            71.3

 

20. M. Waldin                    #23              69

 

21. O. Bakchis                   #723            68.9

 

22. C. Ng                          #84              68.6

 

23. E. O’Sullivan                 #35              67.6

 

24. T. Yoshioka                  #21              65.2

 

25. M. Powers                   #665            64.7

 

26. L. Lonberger                #28              61.7

 

27. W. Wilkerson                #95              61.7

 

28. D. Mertzanis                 #323            60.9

 

29. T. Aono                       #86              55.6

 

30. D. Kearney                  #43              53.2

 

31. J. Guthrie                    #27              27.9

 

 

 

Round 4 - Top 4 Finishers:

 

1. Conrad Grunewald – Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro SS

 

2. Justin Pawlak – Falken Tire Ford Mustang

 

3. Daijiro Yoshihara – Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13

 

4. Ryan Tuerck – Gardella Racing / Mobi1 1 Chevrolet Camaro SS

 

 

 

2011 Season Points Standing after Round 4

 

1. Pawlak, Justin

Falken Tire Ford Mustang

363 Points

2. Yoshihara, Daijiro

Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13

306 Points

3. McNamara, Darren

Falken Tire Pontiac Saturn Sky

291 Points

4. Forsberg, Chris

NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z

280 Points

5. Powers, Matt

Need for Speed Nissan S14

273.50 Points

6. Grunewald, Conrad

Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro

272 Points

7. Tuerck, Ryan

Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro

245 Points

8. McQuarrie, Tyler

Falken Tire Nissan 350Z

244 Points

9. Gittin, Vaughn

Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang

228 Points

10. Yoshioka, Toshiki

Retaks Nissan S13

213.75 Points

 

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway
Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway

Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Guantlet - Conrad Grunewald Wins at Wall Speedway


Video courtesy of TheSs1ckness