October 8, 2011 marked a day of hard work, vigilance, and the most interesting Formula DRIFT event in the history of the series. Daijiro Yoshihara came into the final round of the 2011 Formula DRIFT season as points leader and was looking to take the championship home. Host of the final round, Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA sold out to drift fans from all around the world with attendance records passing previous years.
During Top 32 battles, Yoshihara was paired up with Jeff Abbot. The competition went flawlessly as Yoshihara blazed through the rigorous Irwindale track eventually advancing him to the main competition of Top 16. Yoshihara's unexpected loss against Ken Gushi in the Top 16 round nearly closed the door on the chances of winning the championship. Fate will now only tell who the eventual champion would be. Not being able to do anything but be a spectator of the event, Yoshihara and his crew waited patiently to see how everything would unfold. As the event moved forward, it would seem that Yoshihara would be destined to take the championship home. Justin Pawlak who sat in second in points eventually was knocked out in the Great 8, which brought Yoshihara back into the chase. Chris Forsberg who was also in contention to win was knocked out in the Final 4, which left Yoshihara waiting on one last battle to see how his fate would unfold.
Teammates Tyler McQuarrie and Darren McNamara went head to head as Yoshihara and his crew waited in the pits to see the outcome. McQuarrie’s flawless runs would knock out McNamara, which would finally name Yoshihara the new 2011 Formula DRIFT Champion. Yoshihara and his crew celebrated as his team in great congratulatory fashion lifted him in the air. This would be Yoshihara's first championship since his first competition 8 years prior. "I am so proud of my team for all the great teamwork," explains Yoshihara. "It's because of my team, all my sponsors, my fans, and my friends; I was able to drive my best. Winning the championship this way was not my ideal situation but it definitely proves that it was a team effort and I am 110% honored to be a part of this team. I will prepare harder for next year and will try my best to defend my championship title."
Yoshihara was also crowned winner of Discount Tire's Triple Crown prize as he was able to accumulate the most points throughout the season. It is the first time in history that a Discount Tire sponsored driver would win both the Formula DRIFT Championship and the Triple Crown. Yoshihara is expected to continue his drifting later this year at the 2011-2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas. An announcement of his plans for 2012 will be released later this year. For more information on Daijiro Yoshihara and Formula DRIFT, please visit www.daiyoshihara.com.