With only one event a month after the season starts in April, Formula Drift fans can be forgiven for feeling like their season is a bit too short. After all, we only get to see these cars eight times a year, and the three-week gap between last month’s Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway and this weekend’s Crossroads at Gateway Motorsports Park is actually one of the shorter spans of the 2018 season.
After crossing the halfway point in Washington, there are only three rounds left for drivers to try and catch defending Pro champion and current points leader James Deane in his quest for back-to-back titles. Meanwhile, after opening its four-race season in Atlanta in the spring, Pro 2 action finally returns this weekend, and will accompany the Pro class for the rest of the year. As you’re watching the live streams from Gateway, keep an eye out for these three things:
Is Gateway Motorsports Park the coolest place in America to watch racing now?
It seems like Gateway has been the talk of the American motorsports atmosphere since last year’s phenomenal return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the track. Since being closed and re-opened, the Missouri facility has added major series one by one, starting with the NHRA, rolling on with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and in just the past two years, IndyCar, ARCA, and Formula Drift. This weekend’s event will be the first major professional drifting round at Gateway.
Has James Deane checked out on this championship?
With three rounds left, Deane is the man to beat in FD’s Pro class, having built an 85-point advantage over Fredric Aasbo with back-to-back victories at Wall Stadium Speedway and Evergreen Speedway. He’ll chase his first career hat trick, and seventh victory in the past 14 rounds, this weekend before the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway and Irwindale Speedway to close out its 2018 calendar. The Worthouse Drift Team driver hasn’t qualified or finishes outside of the top eight all season.
Will we see any more different winners in 2018?
Aside from Deane’s pair of victories. Aasbo won the opener in Long Beach, Chris Forsberg snapped a long winless drought in Orlando, and Kristaps Bluss earned a popular victory in Atlanta. That still leaves a ton of talent winless on the season, including Deane’s teammate Piotr Wiecek, who sits third in points; Justin Pawlak, who qualified first in both Atlanta and New Jersey; and tons of popular names, like Ryan Tuerck, Vaughn Gittin Jr., and Dai Yoshihara. They’ll have to work hard to break through this year.