News>> Justin Pawlak Takes The Win At Long Beach

Falken Tire driver, Justin Pawlak has just done it again. It seems as if he has some sort of sixth sense when it comes to this street course.

He was in total control for every single one of his tandem runs, positioning his car with relative ease, even to brush up against the circuit’s many walls.

It seems as if he has gotten a little bitter sweet revenge on Daijiro Yoshihara after he lost last years championship to his Falken Tire teammate by just six points..

The biggest upset of the event was when Vaughn Gittin Jr. knocked himself out going up against Odi Bakchis, almost spinning and tagging the wall while leading. This is a rough start for the Monster Energy driver, but he has the rest of the season to make up for it.

Another big upset was Formula Drift rookie Daigo Saito taking out Rhys “Mad Skillz” Millen in the top 16 bracket.

Daigo would move on and eventually he met Matt Powers in the battle for third place. It was a close tandem session, but Daigo edged Powers out for the last podium stop in his first Formula Drift appearance.

I should also mention that Rookie of the year contender Chelsea Denofa looked amazing all weekend. In fact, he made the 2nd most amount of smoke, 1st belonging to Daigo.

What a great way to start the season for Justin!

Larry Chen

Final Results:

1. Justin Pawlak

2. Daijiro Yoshihara

3. Daigo Saito

4. Matt Powers

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Hell yeah Daigo!


hell yeah congrats to JTP, also i'm stoked to see Daigo took third in his first event just goes to show you dont have to sellout to the V8 crowd to be competitive


Coverage has been disappointing...


congratulations JTP.

nice fight from daijiro.

welcome saito.

welcome partybreaker aka rookies,

and why vaughn gittin jr always got problem? :(


Daigo Saito may be a Formula Drift rookie.... But he is a D1GP champ.....


watched for the first time on streaming, really enjoyable... Saito's car is CRAZY it was burning those tyres to ashes!!!


Saito Vs. Millen was a upset?

"i got a special guest with some wheat thins."


I CALLED IT! I knew Saito would podium I had a feeling. AND he did it without the need of a dumb V8. There's other ways to make power, people. And Daigo just showed us how.


Hey Larry, I wonder who is in the picture in the link below, haha.


First off, I would like to give a GIANT congrats to the top 4. They did a hell of a job all day. Next, I want to know why so many Americans want to see Daigo succeed? I mean, I for one want him to as well, but think about what thats saying. If Daigo continues to be a force to be reckoned with all season, its showing the rest of the world that us Americans are in essence TRASH at drifting. If a D1 champion can come to our homeland and on our courses and dominate, and especially not ever being on one of these courses before.... All in all, if Daigo continues to kick arse itll be a sad day for us Americans. We've been able to hold our own against the worlds finest drifters. From Europe to Aussie land to Japan, we've shown what American drifters are capable of in such a short amount of time. I for one dont think there should be all the V8 hate. I feel we should rep for our country. End the V8 hate. Be proud of what american V8's have done for the drifting community. They've given the sport so0o0o much recognition that its never seen before. Whether it be good or bad. Introducing V8's has helped us go faster, push harder, and produce a better show without wasting as much money as it would to build the wonderful RB26's, the indestructible 2JZ's or the ol' reliable SR20's. Dont misunderstand me, these motors are engineering marvels, but at the end of the day ask yourself what drifting is about. Its a show. Again, end the V8 hate and rep your homeland! Lets go USA!


but Matt was killing it... congrats to JTP, Dai, Daigo and MTP ;)


more info on that 3-series? You dont see euro cars in US drifting too often


i wanna see a feature of daigos car.


congratulations JTP.

nice fight from daijiro.

welcome saito.

welcome partybreaker aka rookies,

and why vaughn gittin jr always got problem? :(


coverage absolutely sucks... daigo absolutely awesome.


Why are people surprised at Daigos performance? The man is a beast!


Daigo taking out millen is an upset? puh lease.


I saw it in and I was really disappointed about the competition.

Nothing of close runs and was very bad to see what the guys of the competition can do to take of Saigo of the competition a really shame.


I'm mad I couldn't see any live coverage. But either way I'm excited for FD's return


not hatin...but the new 'tang look pretty crap with the blue-n-teal-livery...just sayin...=S


I'm mad I couldn't see and live pictures. But either way I'm excited for FD's return


Rad. You call Daigo beating Millen an upset?! Daigo has so much more raw talent, I'm actually surprised he wasn't higher on the podium!


1. Thank you all drivers and teams for putting on another great event

2. Andy Yen and Ryan Lanteigne show there bias for Falken/ASD while Brian Eggert was spot on up until the final.

3. JTP was gifted the win after repeatedly putting over 8 inches of his composite rear into the walls without spinning. That's not exactly skimming the wall and should have been penalized.

4. The driftstream cameras kept viewing un-occupied track during the most important runs of the day. The simi finals and finals

5. Plenty of close runs that definitely should have been OMT, see #2.


Daigo defeating anyone in FD cannot be considered an upset.. Should be the other way around. People want to see him win because he comes from the country that made drifting a sport in the first place. Not because they dislike their own country, I don't think "drifters" take it that deep, so relax. Personally, I like Saito's style. Big power 2J Toyotas wherever he goes whether it's Japan, the states or Asia.. He enjoys the sport of drifting, puts on a show for the fans, and does it all without selling out.


People say daigo is a rookie.... do they not realize this guy is a D1GP champion, FD asia champion... Granted hes new to the FD but i dont think he should be classed as a rookie by any means


the best part was when vaughn gittin knocked himself out... he deserved that because being there, you can tell he was over cocky when he was against Odi... the most disapointing was saito being classified as a rookie because he is going to win the money in the rookie challenge when the true rookies deserve that...


Great to See Diago kicking Team America Ass


the best battle was in top4, Dai vs Daigo.


@ Acc

Chealsea DeNofa out of Texas.

Hella crazy and a force to be reckoned with in the future.


Whats with all the v8 hate? I guess its kind of "taking the easy way out" of getting lots of powrer and torque, but you want power and you want it to be reliable. Put those 2 together and you have an american v8. Easy choice when your in america. I think americans are backing daigo so strongly because he's running a non-american v8 and want to see that do as well as the american v8s.



You do know that Daijiro was last year's champion and he's Japanese right? Why would it be a sad day for Americans? It's just drifting, it's supposed to be FUN not HAHA I'M BETTER THAN ALL OF YOU. People hate V8s so much because there are just a handful of drivers that don't have them. They should just rename Formula D as V8 Driftcars America.

Anyways, how is Daigo beating Millen an upset? I don't understand why people are downplaying the rookies. It's the same thing DeAnda did when JR didn't advance; he completely ignored Odi and just blabbed on about JR's chase run.


POLITICS thats all, daigo should have won!


Daigo is out for blood yo. He is taking everybody out man!


Well Dai is from Japan but if Im correct he was a grass roots type of driver. But it a matter of Competition if there is any then what would there be of our american drivers? There always someone to aim for plus big power is always the key to winning its a matter of power to chassis balance on a specific track. Am I wrong with this thought?


I watched the whole event live and I was yelling at my laptop! I loved every minute of it! For those that had problems viewing it..there were multiple sites to stream from. Go to hit live and choose the stream service!


I would not count Vaughn Gittin Jr. out just yet he had similar "issues" last year and went on to do ok.


I saw saito's car being weighed and inspected just after the battle for third place. Can anyone confirm that Mattpowers' car was also weighed and inspected after the battle?

I would love if these weigh-ins and tire size measurements after the battles were posted. There are a lot of inconsistencies in formula D scrutiny (not necessarily intentionally) but I think making them public would simply be a preventative measure for the future.


Daigo Saito is no rookie in any drift series. His addition to Formula D 2012 just gives everyone a very interesting storyline to follow. It's not such a big deal, Ryuji Miki was an ex-D1GP champion competing in Formula D long before Daigo showed up this year.


Why do all the cars have such massive ground clearance?


"Formula Drift rookie Daigo Saito" lol


V8 hate is here because V8 are boring to look at when drifting. And how in the hell Daigo taking the 3rd place is an upset. Millen sucks compared to Daigo, big time! I'm actually surprised he only took the 3rd place considering how low skilled FD tracks are compared to D1 tracks


lol Saito the best drifter in the world you homo americans!!!


When you enter a series for the first time, you are considered a rookie. It matters not what your experience level is. That is why Daigo is a rookie. You don't make exceptions for competitors backgrounds in other series when it is explicitly written in the rulebook a certain way.


All you whiners take notice: Daigo got served by a V8 with HALF the claimed power as his 2J. Deal with it! Never seen Daijiro drive so hard!


well, v8's have usually a dull sound, not too high revving, thats my problem with V8, they simply sound dull

I've seen daigo push harder plenty of times in his jzx's, he barely knows his new car and still does well :) allthough US are starting to get betteR :)