Daijiro Yoshihara

10 Things I Learned About Formula Drift Irwindale Last Weekend

10. The Best Formula Drift Event in History

FormulaDriftIrwindale This is the first time in Formula Drift history the championship came down to the last battle. A sold out Irwindale Speedway cheered and screamed as tandem battles wound up in crashes, door banging, and dramatic endings. Fredric Aasbo even beat Chris Forsberg in the Final Four but just fell short of his first championship by losing to Daigo Saito.

9. A Championship Based on Qualifying
I will be one of the first people to admit or complain about how boring qualifying is when you look at the big picture of the sport. It drags on, has a slow pace, and generally doesn’t entertain like tandem competition. However, Fredric Aasbo lost the championship based on him qualifying consistently worse than Chris Forsberg this season making it quite impactful overall. Fredric even won more tandem battles through the season and successfully beat Chris Forsberg on several occasions to show he could of earned it but qualifying seems to be his glaring mistake for the season.

8. Dean Kearney Keeps Making this Dodge Viper Work
Dean is one of the drivers who just kept improving throughout the 2014 season and he continued to impress me at Irwindale. He banged up the car a few times and after talking to him at Irwindale, he shared with me that his tandem battle versus Dai Yoshihara was done without front brake rotors (basically no front brakes) which resulted in his tandem follow error. It is pretty amazing how he makes this big boat work around the Formula Drift courses in the modern era.

7. Pro 2 Had Some Positives and Negatives
Some of the Pro 2 battles this weekend delivered top billing and a huge crowd reaction for some battles while one tandem battle in particular was the worst professional drift tandem sequence I had seen in my life. In six laps due to two One More Times we had four spins and three inactive chase runs. All and all I would consider Pro 2 a success and will be interested to see how it grows for 2015, especially with the new influx of drivers who couldn’t make the 32 cut.

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2014 Formula Drift Championship [RESULTS]


All seven rounds of Formula Drift are in the books for 2014. Chris Forsberg ends up the 2014 champion but a margin of just 11 points which came down to the very last tandem battle of 2014. Daigo Saito finally had a motor hold together and was able to make a huge jump in the championship points as well. All Top 32 drivers are given a Pro license for next year while 33 and beyond are relegated into Pro 2. Here is how they finished:

1. Chris Forsberg
2. Fredric Aasbo
3. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
4. Odi Bakchis
5. Forrest Wang
6. Kenneth Moen
7. Darren McNamara
8. Dean Kearney
9. Justin Pawlak
10. Conrad Grunewald
11. Robbie Nishida
12. Ryan Tuerck
13. Ken Gushi
14. Daigo Saito
15. Matt Field
16. Michael Essa
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Falken Tire Stepping Down from Team Ownership in 2015 [RUMORMILL]


Falken Tire is rumored to be stepping back its drifting program after the end of this weekend at Irwindale Speedway. Falken Tire is known in sporting as a “factory team” that staffs its own crew, rigs, and cars while hiring drivers to perform in events. The company is planning to step back after 2014 and just sponsor drivers for next season putting them in line with how most other tire companies function in the sport. It will be interesting to see how this transition works out for certain drivers next season. Sources have told us that Justin Pawlak and Dai Yoshihara have both been offered the cars for next season and some sponsor money. This is the talk around the paddock this weekend.

2014 Formula Drift Round 5 Qualifying at Evergreen Speedway [RESULTS]


Qualifying has wrapped up at Evergreen Drift today with a new top qualifier for the season. Darren McNamara took top spot with a new look in his S14. Falken has figured something out this season apparently. Daigo Saito failed to even get a score finishing with a 0 and going home another weekend. Here is how they qualified and Top 32 match ups.

1. Darren McNamara
2. Robbie Nishida
3. Odi Bakchis
4. Chris Forsberg
5. Ryan Tuerck
6. Fredric Aasbo
7. Justin Pawlak
8. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
9. Chelsea DeNofa
10. Conrad Grunewald
11. Jhonnattan Castro
12. Tyler McQuarrie
13. Pat Goodin
14. Forrest Wang
15. Charles Ng
16. Daijiro Yoshihara
17. Geoff Stoneback
18. Dean Kearney
19. Michael Essa
20. Matt Field
21. Ken Gushi
22. Kyle Mohan
23. Ryan Kado
24. Joon Maeng
25. Kenneth Moen
26. Karl Osaki
27. Nate Hamilton
28. Mike Pollard
29. Matt Coffman
30. Carl Rydquist
31. Taka Aono
32. Tony Angelo

Left Bracket-
Darren McNamara vs. Tony Angelo
Daijiro Yoshihara vs. Geoff Stoneback
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Kenneth Moen
Chelsea DeNofa vs. Joon Maeng
Chris Forsberg vs. Matt Coffman
Pat Goodin vs. Matt Field
Ryan Tuerck vs. Mike Pollard
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Ken Gushi

Right Bracket-
Robbie Nishida vs. Taka Aono
Charles Ng vs. Dean Kearney
Justin Pawlak vs. Karl Osaki
Conrad Grunewald vs. Ryan Kado
Odi Bakchis vs. Carl Ryqduist
Forrest Wang vs. Michael Essa
Fredric Aasbo vs. Nate Hamilton
Jhonnattan Castro vs. Kyle Mohan

Formula Drift Japan Livestream for Top 16


The Top 32 at Formula Drift Japan has just wrapped up but the Top 16 is about to kick off for those of you who plan on having a late night.

Sunday, July 6, 2014 – Main Event

8:10 AM – 5:00 PM (Local Japan Time)– LIVE STREAM: PRO Live Stream Begins ( JAPAN STANDARD TIME)
10:00 PM PST – 10:30 PM – National Anthem / Opening Ceremonies
10:30 PM PST – 1:00 AM – MAIN COMPETITION: Round of 16 to Finals


Watch it Here: http://www.formulad.com/live

Formula Drift Nation Episode 1 [VIDEO]

Here is the official video from Formula Drift Nation Episode 1. Tune in as I do some analysis of the Formula Drift season with host Ryan Sage and Justin Banner. We talk about our Top 3 moments of the 2014 season and I touch on the Dai aster of 2014. We talk about Daigo Saito’s fishing habit, contact being made everywhere with Chris Forsberg, and Chelsea DeNofa’s crashing habit. Enjoy and the show will be back July 8th.

2014 Formula Drift Round 4 – Wall Qualifying [RESULTS]


Qualifying from Wall Speedway is in! One of the biggest (if not biggest) grid we have seen at Wall in history. Also, never have we seen so many ties in Formula Drift history. Almost 75% of drivers were on a point style that came down to style (style points denoted on tiebreakers. Style ties were broke by championship rank.) Here is how they finished up:

1. Chris Forsberg – 93
2. Chelsea DeNofa – 92
3. Michael Essa – 90
4. Dai Yoshihara – 89
5. Odi Bakchis – 87 (46 Style)
6. Tyler McQuarrie – 87 (45 Style)
7. Fredric Aasbo – 87 (44 Style)
8. Kenneth Moen – 85
9. Conrad Grunewald – 84 (43 Style)
10. Forrest Wang – 84 (41 Style)
11. Kyle Mohan – 83
12. Matt Field – 82 (42 Style)
13. Ryan Tuerck – 82 (41 Style)
14. Vaughn Gittin Jr. – 82 (40 Style)
15. Darren McNamara – 79 (42 Style)
16. Robbie Nishida – 79 (40 Style)
17. Marc Landerville – 79 (32 Style)
18. Pat Goodin – 78
19. Dennis Mertzanis – 76
20. Daigo Saito – 75 (37 Style)
21. Mats Baribeau – 75 (35 Style)
22. Justin Pawlak – 74 (35 Style)
23. Jhonnathan Castro – 74 (35 Style)
24. Karl Osaki – 74 (33 Style)
25. Ken Gushi – 73 (36 Style)
26. Tony Angelo – 73 (36 Style)
27. Charles Ng – 72 (36 Style)
28. Ryan Kado – 72 (33 Style)
29. Dave Briggs – 72 (32 Style)
30. Dean Kearney – 70 (37 Style)
31. Patrick Mordaunt – 70 (32 Style)
32. Joon Maeng – 68



Chris Forsberg vs. Joon Maeng
Robbie Nishida vs. Marc Landerville
Kenneth Moen vs. Ken Gushi
Conrad Grunewald vs. Karl Osaki
Dai Yoshihara vs. Dave Briggs
Ryan Tuerck vs. Daigo Saito
Odi Bakchis vs. Ryan Kado
Matt Field vs. Mats Baribeau

Chelsea DeNofa vs. Patrick Mordaunt
Darren McNamara vs. Pat Goodin
Fredric Aasbo vs. Tony Angelo
Forrest Wang vs. Jhonnattan Castro
Michael Essa vs. Dean Kearney
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Dennis Mertzanis
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Charles Ng
Kyle Mohan vs. Justin Pawlak

10 Things I Learned from Formula Drift Round 3 This Weekend

10. Car-​to​-​ Car Contact ​i​​s Becoming More Common
This is the best car -​to​-​car contact of the season to date! ​Chelsea ​DeNofa just managed to connect with Tyler McQuarrie wheel​-​to​-​ wheel​, throwing him airborne. Do you remember the accident that happened when these guys met at Wall Speedway in 2012? In case you don’t, here is the video. Quite a bit of other car ​-​to​-​car contact happened this weekend​,​ including some nice banging around with Matt Field and Chris Forsberg in the ​F​inal ​F​our. Keep an eye on this to be a theme through 2014.

9. Matt Field Deserves a Tip of the Hat
I will never forget the day the world discovered Matt Field as a serious American drifter. It was back at Irwindale Speedway when he sent Daigo Saito into a two OMT battle before finally ​losing to Saito. Something interesting I have noticed since then is ​Field does exceptionally​ well at new tracks where all drivers start without data. Look back to 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway and this weekend at Homestead. This tells me​, as he drives these tracks and learns what he needs to make things work​, ​​he will be a championship contender.
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Norwegian Powerdrift Series Round 1 at Gatebil [RESULTS]


The Norwegian Powerdrift Series kicked off in a big way at Gatebil over the past weekend. Several Formula Drift drivers were on hand including Dai Yoshihara who made his first visit to Norway. Local Fredric Aasbo was also in attendance with his 2JZ powered Toyota 86. Qualifying ended up turning into the main event due to a huge rainout for competition day. You can see a full recap of the weekend over at Onroaders.com here. This is how the podium wound up based on qualifying scores for Round 1:

1st. Kenneth Moen
2nd. Christer Halvorsen
3rd. Robin Alsaker and Kim Sondergaard

Formula Drift Pro 2 Launch Limits Pro Practice at New Track


Formula Drift has released an event schedule for Round 3 at Homestead which kicks off in just at 10 days from now. The venue schedule for Friday looks rather interesting with the insertion of the first ever Pro 2 event. Formula Drift Pro 2 to my shock is basically given a 3 hour and 30 minute plot of time during Friday evening.

This also means after Formula Drift qualifying on Friday the drivers won’t come back to the track until Saturday. This does seem to be interesting to me considering that the Pro 2 time slot is taking up the same time as Top 16 on Saturday. With the new track, it will be interesting to see what drivers hop into Pro 2 (all drivers not in Top 16 Championship Points are eligible)  to get more track time at a new venue. Dai Yoshihara is a name who sticks out above that level in the series right now!


Friday, May 30, 2014
9:00am – Venue Open: Competitors & Vendors Only – Main Paddock
9:00am – 6:00pm – WILL CALL: Open for Vendor/Sponsor/Team – Will Call
9:15am – 9:45pm – PRO: Mandatory All Drivers Meeting – FD HQ
9:45am – 10:15am – MEDIA: Mandatory Meeting for ALL ‘Hot Area’ Access Credential Holders – FD HQ
10:00am – 11:00am – PRO: Open Practice – Group 1 – Track
11:00am – 12:00pm – PRO: Open Practice – Group 2 – Track
11:00am – 8:00pm – GATES OPEN TO PUBLIC – Venue
12:00pm – 3:00pm – PRO: Qualifying – Track
3:15pm – 4:00pm – PRO: Autograph Signing – Pit Garages
4:00pm – 4:30pm – PRO: MANDATORY – All Drivers Meeting; Qualifying Results – FD HQ
5:00pm – 6:00pm – Pro2: Practice – Track
6:15pm – 7:45pm – Pro2: Top 16 – Track
8:00pm – 8:30pm – Pro2: Trophy Ceremony – Podium
9:00pm – 8:00am – Clear Grip (Noise Ordinance, No Revving Engines) – Venue/Track

Saturday, May 31, 2014
8:00am – Venue Open: Competitors & Vendors Only – Main Paddock
8:00am – 5:00pm – WILL CALL: Open for Vendor/Sponsor/Team – Will Call
10:00am – 10:30am – PRO: Mandatory Drivers Meeting – FD HQ
10:30am – 11:00am – MEDIA: Mandatory Meeting for ALL ‘Hot Area’ Access Credential Holders – FD HQ
11:00am – 12:30pm – PRO: Open Practice – Top 32 – Track
11:00am – 8:00pm – GATES OPEN TO PUBLIC – Venue
12:30pm – 2:30pm – MAIN COMPETITION: Round of 32 – Track
2:30pm – 4:00pm – “Halftime Break”
4:00pm – 4:30pm – National Anthem / Opening Ceremonies – Track
4:30pm – 7:00pm – PRO: MAIN COMPETITION: Round of 16 to Finals – Track
7:00pm – 7:30pm – Trophy Ceremony & Closing – Main Paddock