For years Chelsea DeNofa has been one of the great underdogs in American drifting. He’d either outdrive other more expensive, more powerful cars with his little BMW 3 Series or blow up trying. Now he’s under the wing of one of the most professional teams in Formula Drift, at the wheel of a new Ford Mustang. Team switches don’t get more dramatic than this.

This isn’t quite up there in terms of drama with Ken Block having to leave Subaru, but it’s definitely a more extreme change when it comes to the scale of the team. DeNofa’s little BMW efforts were always down on budget, down on power, down on reliability compared to nearly everybody else he competed against.


Seeing him eke out a win last year against the most well-established names in FD felt like a win for ordinary grimy hot rodders welding diffs in their E36s.

I for one am greatly excited to see him in one of the most extreme big-budget builds in drifting anywhere in the world, Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s RTR Mustang team. These Mustangs are set up like dirt track cars, with weight jacking that has them steered on the throttle, lifting an inside wheel off the ground. With more power and grip, these cars would be doing wheelies. Probably.

In any case, I am extremely excited to see DeNofa in a car with presumably enough power and durability to stand up to his driving.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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