Daigo Saito is Victorious at Round 7: Title Fight and is Crowned the 2012 Formula DRIFT Champion

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 13, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Irwindale Speedway for the 2012 season finale. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the event victory and wins the 2012 Formula DRIFT Championship.

Round 7: Title Fight at Irwindale Speedway showcased drifting in its finest form. For the first time in Formula DRIFT and Irwindale Speedway history the event sold out before the gates opened to the public.

“Last year was so amazing we didn’t think we could do it again, not like this“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “This is why we love drifting. We are so energized for season 10 starting April 12-13, 2013.”

The competition was intense as the championship was up for grabs. Entering the event, seven drivers had a chance for the title. This soon changed as top drivers in the chase were taken out early including points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang, defending champion Daijiro Yoshihara, in the America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240 and the 2009 champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Nissan 370Z. This opened the door for both Daigo Saito and Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe who met in the Final Four. Millen, the number one qualifier took himself out as he went hard into the wall giving the win to Saito. The wall took a number of victims through the competition including Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang when he battled Saito in the Finals, giving Saito the event victory. Saito in his rookie year in the Series becomes the first Series rookie to also be crowned Formula DRIFT champion. Saito a seasoned veteran drifter is arguably considered the best drifter in the world winning the Formula DRIFT Asia championship, D1 championship and now Formula DRIFT Pro Championship.

“Luck was with me tonight. I’m very happy to be able to compete in Formula DRIFT this year. I’ve wanted to compete in the Series for so long,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 7: Title Fight and 2012 Formula DRIFT champion. “Thank you to Formula DRIFT and Achilles Tires. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of everyone that helped me get to this point.”

Formula DRIFT enters its tenth season of competition in 2013. Tickets are on-sale currently and can be purchased through the Formula DRIFT website and Ticketmaster. Round 1: Streets of Long Beach will be held on April 12-13, 2013.

Vaughn Gittin Takes the Victory at Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway

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Vaughn Gittin Takes the Victory at Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway;
Yoshihara and Forsberg Round out the Podium

Long Beach, Calif. – June 23, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Wall Speedway for Round 4: The Gauntlet. Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang takes the victory.

Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway saw a sold out crowd continuing the successful season. The Driftstream saw over 200,000 total views in a 24-hour period.

“The drift fans from all over the North East are die hard and came to watch the action until the very end,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “With many of the top drivers hailing from the area, the North East fans saw two local drivers with Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Chris Forsberg on the podium.

The competition was fierce at the half-way point of the season. Finding the podium was the past three season champions. Top 4 competition saw a repeat of the final round from Round 3, with the 2009 champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z battling against Formula DRIFT rookie Daigo Saito, in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430, who currently sits in second place in the overall standings. Forsberg got his revenge and was able to defeat the rookie ending up in third place and moving him up to fifth place overall. The final battle pitted the current 2011 Formula DRIFT champion, Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240SX against the 2010 Formula DRIFT champion, Vaughn Gittin, Jr. Yoshihara had a major correction on his chase run which gave the win to Gittin, for his first podium of the season and improving to fourth place overall. Yoshihara found the podium for his second consecutive event and remains in third place in the standings.

“It took me a little longer than expected to harness this brand new 2013 Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang,” said Vaughn Gittin, Jr., winner of Round 4: The Gauntlet. “My team and I worked extremely hard and overcame the challenges and got back on the podium and it feels amazing!”

The competition increases with only a few points separating the competition on their way to becoming the next champion. The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship continues with Round 5: Throwdown on July 20-21, 2012 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA.

Daigo Saito is Victorious at Round 3: Invasion at Palm Beach International Raceway

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Daigo Saito is Victorious at Round 3: Invasion at Palm Beach International Raceway;
Pawlak Remains in the Pro Championship Points Lead

Long Beach, Calif. – June 2, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Round 3: Invasion at Palm Beach International Raceway for the second consecutive year. Rookie Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the victory and closes in on the points leader Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang.

Round 3: Invasion saw an increase in attendance in the second year of competition at Palm Beach International Raceway. The Driftstream saw over 200,000 viewers in a 24 hour period.

“We’re happy to be able to run the original track configuration due to the improvements by Palm Beach International Raceway which made for an improved event for the fans,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Additional grandstands were brought in to accommodate for the increase in fan attendance. The dedication and investment by the venue shows their support for our Series and look forward to returning next season.”

Points leader and winner of last year’s Palm Beach event, Justin Pawlak and the 2011 Formula DRIFT Champion, Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240SX faced off in a battle for third place. Yoshihara took the win after Pawlak spun out on his chase run and moves into third place overall. The final match of evening pitted Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z against Formula DRIFT rookie Daigo Saito. After a close battle Saito was crowned the winner and has now found the podium for the third consecutive event and increases his chances to win the coveted rookie of the year honors.

“This is the first time being in Formula DRIFT and I was able to take the victory and am extremely happy about that,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 3: Invasion. “I want to thank everyone and my sponsor Achilles Tire. All my runs weren’t perfect, but I am happy with the final outcome.”

The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship continues with Round 4: The Gauntlet on June 22-23, 2012 at Wall Speedway.

Justin Pawlak Takes the Victory at Round 2: Road to the Championship

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Justin Pawlak Takes the Victory at Round 2: Road to the Championship;
Pawlak Remains on Top of the Standings and Becomes the Tires.com Triple Crown Leader

Long Beach, Calif. – May 12, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Road Atlanta for Round 2: Road to the Championship. Justin Pawlak takes the victory in the Falken Tire Mustang increasing his point lead in the Pro Championship Points Standings.

Round 2: Road to the Championship brought the Formula DRIFT Pro Championship back to the Series birthplace nine years ago. Fans came in droves seeing an increase in attendance at Road Atlanta. This marks another consecutive season of growth.

“It’s very satisfying that Road Atlanta and Formula DRIFT have formed a partnership nine years ago to help grow drifting in this region,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “We look forward to our ten year anniversary at this venue next season.”

Justin Pawlak takes his second consecutive victory to increase his points lead. Additionally, Pawlak is now the points leader in the Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize. Pawlak faced Fredric Aasbo in the Need for Speed / Hankook Scion TC and edged out the 2010 Rookie of the Year to take the victory. Walker Wilkerson in the Falken / Fatlace / Garage Autohero Nissan 240SX battled Formula DRIFT rookie, Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 in the consolation round. After a one more time battle Saito beat out Wilkerson to take his second third place finish of the season.

“The boys at ASD and Falken gave me what I need to help me get to that number 1 spot,” said Justin Pawlak, winner of Round 2: Road to the Championship. “Next round is West Palm Beach and with a great car and great team we were able to take the win there last year and plan to remain focused and keep this momentum going.”

The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship continues with Round 3: Invasion at West Palm Beach International Raceway on June 1-2, 2012.