Aasbo Clinches Second at 2022 Formula DRIFT Utah
As the fastest course on the 2022 Formula DRIFT schedule, Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville, UT hosted the FD PRO Championship Round 7: Type S Elevated presented by Autozone as well as the Final Round of the Link ECU PROSPEC Championship for the first time in the 19-year history of the drifting series. ENEOS ambassadors Fredric Aasbo and Rich Whiteman took on the dynamic challenge of initiating into the first turn at more than 100mph, all while navigating a tricky course requiring precision and nerves of steel while peering through clouds of tire smoke to complete each run successfully.
Qualifying first in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra, Aasbo was one of 14 drivers to score 90 points or more. Aasbo topped the list with 94 points, but was one of three drivers with an identical score. He took the top spot thanks to a superior style score over second place Dylan Hughes and Jhonnattan Castro in third.
In competition, Aasbo powered past Alec Robbins in the Top 32 before defeating Kazuya Taguchi in the Top 16. There he went up against Mike Power in the Great 8, then advanced to meet Chelsea DeNofa for an all-out battle in the Final Four.
That DeNofa battle ended in a spectacular fashion when the drivers’ tires made contact in Outside Zone 2. The hit caused Aasbo’s tire to explode off the wheel, taking the rear quarter-panel with it. The drivers continued through the course without losing drift, despite significant damage, and crossed the finish line to complete the scored run.
Judges deemed DeNofa at fault for being slow in the turn, which initiated the crash. As a result, Aasbo advanced to the final against Toyota teammate Ken Gushi. But the damage from the DeNofa collision was too severe and he was forced to forfeit the match, claiming second in the event. Even so, the podium result put Aasbo in a great position heading into the finals, closing the points gap to Championship leader Matt Field.
“I feel like I say this every year, but the standard of competition continues to grow stronger,” said Aasbo. “We’ve worked hard to be within striking distance of the title; now we need to keep doing what we do best and hope to have some luck on our side at Irwindale.”
The defending champion is a close second in the standings, only 14 points behind Field.
Qualifying fifth with the Freedom Motorsportz / ENEOS Toyota JZX100, Rich Whiteman was excited to tackle the high-speed course for the final round of the 2022 Link ECU PROSPEC championship.
Facing Jack Davis in the Top 32, Davis had car issues and was unable to complete the battle. With an easy pass to the Top 16, Whiteman was happy to take a bye-run but noticed a loss of power, and after finishing Outer Zone 3, the JZX100 experienced major engine failure.
The team tried to source a replacement motor but the revised PROSPEC schedule would only allow two hours before heading into the Top 16, unlike previous rounds where the Top 16 takes place the following day. Without any options, Whiteman made the best of the situation, mounting the JZX100 front end onto Ricky Hoffman’s S14, giving him the opportunity to still appear in the Top 16 introduction ceremony and provide some fun for the FD fans.
“This year was full of ups and downs but we made huge improvements and learned many lessons along the way,” said Whiteman. “We’re going to take this knowledge into 2023 and continue our pursuit for a championship!”
Whiteman ended the Utah round in ninth place and 12th overall in the 2022 PROSPEC season.