Team FALKEN’s James Deane Celebrates Second Consecutive Formula Drift Title At Irwindale Speedway
Falken teammate Piotr Wiecek scores third in the overall championship standings as team mourns passing of Falken member
On a rare wet weekend in Southern California, Formula Drift Defending Champion and Falken Tires Team Driver James Deane proved that every point counts as he earned his second consecutive Black Magic Formula Drift Pro Championship title by a mere four points over second place at Irwindale Speedway’s Formula D finale on October 13th. Deane finished the season with 595 points over Fredric Asabo with 591. Falken teammate Piotr Wiecek took third with 507.
Recognized and respected for its high performance on- and off-road tires, Team Falken brought its eight drivers to Irwindale, known as the “House of Drift,” ready to defend Deane’s title. With a wet track, thanks to a sustained downpour the night before, the Falken teams worked hard to maintain strong qualifying runs and gain momentum during Saturday night’s eliminating rounds.
The drivers’ and team’s enthusiasm was tempered, however, due to the passing of Falken’s popular Spokesmodel Kelsey Quayle. All Team Falken members wore custom T-shirts and drivers sported matching decals bearing Kelsey’s name on their cars.
“Though we all share in the loss of Kelsey, she would have acknowledged that it was a fantastic season,” declared Deane, who had maintained the championship lead for much of the year. “Naturally, I wanted to win tonight, but we did well enough to hang onto the points lead and take home the championship. It was a wild ride, however, having to wait two hours for the final round, where we had no control on the outcome. With all the cameras in our faces and all the attention on us, all we could do was remain upbeat and watch like everyone else pressed up against the fence. I know Kelsey was smiling from above when we secured our second championship
“As always, I’m extremely grateful to my sponsor, Worthouse, and to Falken for bringing out its best product in the AZENIS RT615K+ tire for all of us to use,” Deane added. “This is such a great feeling to take home a second championship; it just validates what a strong team we have at Falken.”
“Emotions ran high last night for a number of reasons,” stated Steve Wong, Falken’s Supervisor, Passenger Car Motorsports and Events. “Nothing made us more energized than to compete in front of our ‘home crowd,’ but when James got knocked out in the Top 16 Round, his shot at a second Formula D title was definitely on the line. It wasn’t until the end of an epic battle in the finals when James, the Worthouse Drift team and Falken could celebrate his second championship. Being able to secure Falken’s fourth Formula D championship is just a fantastic achievement. We’re so proud of James and what he’s accomplished. We’re also very pleased to take home our third consecutive Tire Manufacturer’s Cup trophy.”
Formula Drift’s Falken driver standings after the final round: 1st– Deane; 3rd– Wiecek; 5th– Justin Pawlak; 7th– Matt Field; 9th– Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis; 10th– Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara; 11th– Ken Gushi; 19th– Jeff Jones.