Coming off a 3rd place finish in Formula DRIFT’s Long Beach event just one month ago, Dai Yoshihara had the motivation needed heading into round 2 of competition. Being host for the 8th consecutive year, Road Atlanta was home of Formula DRIFT Round 2: Road to the Championship.
Pumped for competition, Dai came out of the gates strong and determined. After 2 rounds of qualifying, Dai landed himself the 4th spot in overall qualifying order. Still feeling strong from qualifying, Dai competed against Jeff Jones in the Top 32 battle and won advancing himself to the main competition of Top 16.
For Top 16 competition, Dai was paired up against Rookie of the Year, Fredric Aasbo and his Team Need for Speed Scion tC. Probably the fiercest battle Dai had to face all night, both drivers drove near flawlessly. However, with cleaner lines and impressive style, Dai bettered his competitor and was advanced to the Great 8. Matched more than a handful of times, Dai went up against teammate and 2010 Formula DRIFT Champion, Vaughn Gittin. Exiting the horseshoe, a small hiccup from Gittin’s Ford Mustang gave Dai the advantage that moved him to the Final 4.
By this time of competition, a podium finish was in sight and Dai was on cruise control to be on the top spot. During the Final 4, Dai went up against John Russakoff, a familiar competitor in the Formula DRIFT series. Due to Russakoff’s car spinning, Dai was now guaranteed a podium spot and was one more step closer to a back-to-back victory.
The final round of competition was up against another teammate, Darren McNamara, who piloted Falken Tire’s Saturn Sky. Lead and chase runs from both drivers were tight and faultless. Although extremely close in battle, the judges found Dai to be the victor and round 2’s champion.
Defending his 2010 victory, Dai found himself on top of the podium once again and now the current points leader in the championship chase. “Winning back to back at one of my favorite tracks is amazing,” explains Yoshihara. “There’s a lot of drifting left in the season but I’m pumped and ready more than ever.”
In addition to his back to back win, Dai was again out and about throughout the pits spreading the word of his charity organization, Relief For Japan. Reaching out to his fans and fellow competitors, Dai was able to raise nearly $2,500 for his organization that will be donated to Japan’s relief effort from earthquakes and tsunamis that hit Japan earlier this year. For more information on Relief For Japan, please visit www.rfjp.org.