Justin Pawlak Wins Formula Drift Opener at Long Beach

The sliding madness, which is the nature of the Formula Drift Championship, was present on the streets of Long Beach on April 9 for the first round of the season.

Victorious was Justin Pawlak on the wheel of his Ford Mustang, while second place went to Matt Powers in the Nissan S14. Daijiro Yoshihara on the wheel of his Nissan S13 finished the weekend in third place.

I owe it all to the guys at ASD and Falken Tire for this victory. Without them this could not have been possible,” said Justin Pawlak. “This victory feels unreal. I have worked so hard for this and can’t believe I’m on top to start out the season,” he added.

There were some new cars on the grid and also some new drivers that competed at round 1 of the Formula Drift Championship.

With any new season comes change, so seeing fresh faces to the podium is a part of that,” states Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The level of driving skill continues to elevate. It is a sign that the 2011 season will be as competitive as ever. I would not be surprised to see more upsets and new faces to the podium.

The big names of the series were absent from the podium, with Vaughn Gittin Jr., last year's champion, failing to qualify for the knockout round on Saturday. Tanner Foust left the Formula Drift scene last season in order to concentrate on his rally and TV careers, while Rhys Millen only managed to get into the quarter finals.

Season’s standings:

1. Pawlak  102 points
2. Powers  94 points
3. Yoshihara  88 points
4. Forsberg  70 points
5. Mohan  69 points
6. Grunewald  66 points
7. Millen  65 points
8. Tuerck  63 points
9. Aasbo  61.50 points
10. McNamara  58 points
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