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Final Fight at 2010 Formula Drift Irwindale

FONTANA, CA -- After finishing second in the "Title Fight" at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA, Formula Drift's final event of the year, Team Falken's Vaughn Gittin Jr., driver of the Monster Energy/Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang, became the Formula D Champion of the 2010 season. 
 
It was the 11th podium finish for Team Falken in seven Formula D races, a season in which the tire company's factory-supported teams dominated all year long. Falken placed first in five of the seven events.
 
 Three Team Falken drivers were in the top five in the final standings. Total points between the top five drivers were close, but Gittin Jr. was clearly the favorite after taking two wins in the six races leading up to the Title Fight. He finished the season with 632 points. Irwindale winner Tanner Foust eventually finished second in the standings at 568.5, and Team Falken Driver Daijiro Yoshihara ended up fourth overall, just one point behind third place Ryan Tuerck. Team Falken Driver Darren McNamara took fifth. "This was Jr.'s year plain and simple, said Jonathan Bradford, Falken's Drift Team Supervisor. "There is a lot to be said about finishing on the podium six out of seven events this year. It was a pleasure to be involved with a team that left everything on the track and drove with an all-in attitude. We have successfully rewritten the record books and I would like to personally thank the fans that rooted for Falken throughout this unbelievable season." "Our team's success would not be possible without the support, hard work and dedication of our two fabrication/engineering facilities, Autosport Dynamics (ASD) in Charlotte, NC and SPD Metalworks in Anaheim, CA," added Nick Fousekis, Senior Manager, Consumer Marketing. "I'd also like to thank all of the sponsors, including our newest, Monster Energy, for their faith in Falken's program. Last but certainly not least, we thank the fans of drifting. Without you, the sport would not have grown into that it is today." The Irwindale event started off well, as Falken's Darren McNamara qualified first, followed by Yoshihara in third. Gittin Jr. was sixth. Both McNamara and Gittin Jr. made it to the Top 4, but McNamara lost a chance to take a podium when he spun out in the battle for third place. "On behalf of everyone at Falken Tire, we wish to express our best wishes to Vaughn," said Andrew Hoit, Falken Director of Marketing. "This was a great season for Falken, and we entertained close to 500 guests over the weekend at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. I'd also like to salute the efforts of our other team members: Dai Yoshihara; Darren McNamara; Tyler McQuarrie [who finished 8th in the standings]; and Justin Pawlak [who finished 11th]; as well as our privateers, all of whom, like the factory teams, competed on Falken Azenis RT-615K tires: Fredric Aasbo [13th]; Ross Petty [19th]; "Mad" Mike Whiddett [21st]; James Deane [24th]; and Dean Kearney, who came from Ireland. Their participation successfully enhanced our overall effort, and we'll all join the celebration." 

Drifting takes competitive motorsports to the extreme, and has successfully attracted strong crowds, loyal fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life. Falken quickly realized how popular and demanding this format would become, and since 2003, has been a solid fixture within the sport. The focus is on skill and precision driving, as competitors in specially prepared, high-powered vehicles intentionally execute controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course.


 


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2011 Formula Drift Round 1 - JTP Dominates Long Beach
Team Falken started the 2011 Formula Drift season the way it finished last year, with one of its factory drivers on top of the podium. Justin Pawlak, in just his second year with the tire manufacturer, took his inaugural first place at the Long Beach opening round, with Team Falken teammate Daijiro ("Dai") Yoshihara in third.
 
Before a capacity crowd, Pawlak took the victory on board his 2011 Ford Mustang with a new engine built by Ford Racing and Roush-Yates and ran on Falken's Azenis RT615K, as did all other Falken team members. Pawlak qualified 11th, while Yoshihara was second among the top 32, alerting the other competitors he was the driver to beat on the streets of Long Beach. While Defending Formula D Champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr., struggled in qualifying, he was an important part of the weekend, meeting and greeting his fans as well as supporting the rest of the Falken team in the main event. Among the Falken "inter-team competition," Pawlak beat Darren McNamara in the top 16 round, and Justin went on to best Dai in the Top 4, completing a "One More Time." Justin beat Matt Powers in the final, while Dai defeated 2009 Formula D Champion Chris Forsberg to earn third. "Justin earned this win through timing and endurance," declared Jonathan Bradford, Team Falken's Formula Drift manager. "He has grown rapidly over the past 12 months, and it is fitting that he would take his first podium as a Falken team member at one of our home tracks."
 
Falken continues to excel in activating its marketing efforts in association with Formula Drift and the strong crowds of drift fans in Southern California. With a new team of Falken Spokesmodels in the paddock next to the company's multiple support trailers, Falken hosted 350 representatives and guests from both Monster Energy Drink and Ford Racing in their hospitality region. "This is an important victory for us because the race is in our backyard and we had a lot of fans, customers and Falken Tire enthusiasts in the stands and the paddock," said Nick Fousekis, Falken's Director of Motorsports Marketing and Events. "We've proven all the work the team and each individual driver have done during the off-season successfully moved Falken up another level, and we'll keep climbing all season long. We also appreciate the tremendous support from car builders Autosport Dynamics and SPD."
 
After the first round, Pawlak is at the top of the Championship standings, Yoshihara third, while McNamara is in 10th. Final Falken teammate Tyler McQuarrie finished in 11th. Ross Petty, a long-time independent competitor running Falkens, placed 14th. 
 
Round two will be held May 6-7, at Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA.





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