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2012 Formula DRIFT: Long Beach

Long Beach, Calif. - April 7, 2012 - Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang earns the victory at the first event of the 2012 Formula DRIFT season. Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Nissan 240SX takes second place while Formula DRIFT rookie Daigo Saito, in the Achilles Tires / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 rounds out the podium.

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach kicked off the 2012 season to a sold out audience. The largest driver pool participated in the two-day event with the largest rookie field of any season with 19 rookies.

"Starting the season to a sold out crowd is a great feeling," says Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. "The drivers stepped up and provided a highly competitive event that sets the tone for the rest of the year. We're looking forward to how the season will unfold."

Justin Pawlak found the top of the podium for the second consecutive season in Long Beach taking the lead to start the 2012 Pro Championship season. Pawlak battled the 2011 Formula DRIFT champion, Daijiro Yoshihara, in a hard fought battle to win the event. Yoshihara defeated Formula DRIFT Asia champion and rookie Daigo Saito in the Top 4 to move on to Finals eventually taking second place. Saito defeated Matt Powers, who finished in third place in 2011, in the consolation round to find the podium in his very first Formula DRIFT Pro Championship event. Saito is now leads the new X-Mini Rookie Challenge.

"Its just amazing to come back to Long Beach and put down another win 2 years in a row," said Justin Pawlak, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. "This is a great way to start the season and go for the championship."

The 2012 Pro Championship season continues for Round 2: Road to the Championship at Road Atlanta on May 11-12. Tickets are available to purchase online now.

For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com

TunerPlayground staff photojournalists Albert Chang and Nick Ruiz had a blast at this event and can't wait for the next one. See you guys soon!
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