• Oct 10, 2011
Formula Drift headed to Irwindale Speedway to decide who would be crowned the 2011 champion in front of a sold-out crowd. Going into the event, the title race was the closest it had ever been with Falken Tire teammates Daijiro Toshihara and Justin Pawlak separated by just 12.75 points. Each driver had two wins and three podiums this season, leaving the final event to decide the title.

Initially, it seemed that Yoshihara had blown his chances when Ken Gushi knocked him out of the round of 16, leaving it up to Pawlak to claim the championship for his own. Pawlak failed to capitalize in the next round, though, when he tagged the wall during his second run and was beaten out by fellow Falken driver Darren McNamara. The final points tally had Yoshihara just 5.75 points ahead of Pawlak, the closest finish in Formula Drift's history. This is the first championship for the Japanese native, who is an eight-year veteran of the series.

"It's a great feeling and a dream come true," said Yoshihara after the event. "After eight years of driving it finally paid off. I owe a lot to my team and sponsors. My new goal will be to defend the championship and win it outright during the event."

You can see our images from the final Formula Drift event of the season at Irwindale Speedway in the gallery above.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Matt Farah
      • 3 Years Ago
      Come on Drew, you left out the best part of the whole story! Falken Tire driver Tyler McQuarrie was given his walking papers the morning of the final race, Saturday morning. Most people didn't know this, but at the "great eight" section of the race, Jared, the announcer, mentioned that it would be his final race with Falken (though suspiciously left out that he was fired). Then McQuarrie MURDERED the race finishing first in the last round, and giving a nice little middle finger to Falken for letting him go.
        The box
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Farah
        To be fair, Rhys Millen was tearing it up out there that night. He kind of handed the final round to McQuarrie after he tapped the wall on the first run. McQuarrie's runs in the final round weren't spectacular. The most exciting run that night was probably the Forsberg/McNamara battle.
          onewayroll
          • 3 Years Ago
          @The box
          I'd have to agree, McNamara is something else. But since I'm Irish too I'm a little one sided.
        xshishcaroo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Farah
        He wasn't fired he decided to walk away after what they did to him.
          Matt Farah
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xshishcaroo
          Other drivers I spoke to were saying fired, but I'm sure both sides agreed to publicly say "walked away" to preserve integrity and tyler's image. Either way, a great backstory for the last round
        AP1_S2K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Farah
        hmmm, interesting. I wonder what the reasons were for his "firing".
          Matt Farah
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AP1_S2K
          rumor is, Falken didn't like it that he complained about them giving his 350Z to Justin Pawlek the round before when Pawlek's car was broken. I'd be pissed too.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @AP1_S2K
          JTP seems to be getting special treatment if that's the case. I mean, he was on track to become champion with Dai not far behind. I'm VERY sure Tyler will find a ride next year. With the GRC looking at a larger schedule next year, Tanner Foust might not have time to drive the Scion tC. So Tyler could possibly go over to Rockstar Energy and drive that car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]