2010 Formula Drift – Round 7 Title Fight

Vaughn Gitten Jr.

2010 Formula Drift – Round 7: Title Fight
By David Karey

Ahh car shows, a place where fashion rules over function and performance. Racing tow hooks on street cars, hella-flush wheel offsets and stance, racing seats in compact vans, roof racks with no bikes on every subcompact… it’s a mind boggling list of car fashion modification trends that makes any performance minded enthusiast want to either laugh or want to kill themselves.

show cars
Race tow hooks on street cars, HellaFlush wheels on an Audi S6 Wagon, 4 Bride racing seats in a Scion box, enough baggage racked to put an airline out of business are some of the cool things you see at car shows.  Probably cool if you are into car shows but not of a lot of interest if you are into performance!

But wait a second; I’m not at Irwindale Speedway for a car show. I’m here for the balls to the wall, tire shredding series known as Formula Drift. Thankfully there is a place at this show for people who want to see high performance machines and drivers slide around a course on the verge of complete catastrophic failure, putting their safety on the line for our entertainment. It sits in the middle of a bowl, under enough seating for tons of excited fans. This is Formula D – Round 7, at the “House of Drift”.

DMac vs Tanner
Darren McNamara leading Tanner Foust in one of the final battles of Formula D – Round 7 at Irwindale Speedway.  The McNamera/Foust battle was epic, a settling of a year long feud between the two, the action was amazingly fast and intense going one more time, too close to call until McNamara crashed out totaling the ASD/Falken Saturn Sky.  Not a fan was in their seats!

The 2010 Formula D finale at Irwindale was probably some of the best, most drama filled and intense drifting ever witnessed.  There were many stories, a close title fight between Falken Tire teammates Vaughn Gitten Jr. and Dai Yoshihara was a backdrop to a fight for second and third place in the points as well between Dai Yoshihara, Ryan Tuerck and Tanner Foust.

Dai Yoshihara
Dai Yoshihara piloting the Discount Tire/Falken Chevy LS V8 powered Nissan S13 on the front straight of Irwindale Speedway in the top 32.

Most of us here on MotoIQ know about Mike Kojima’s involvement with Falken Tires, more specifically with Formula D driver, Dai Yoshihara. Dai was the only driver in the FD field with real a chance of beating Falken Teamate Vaughn Gitten Jr. for the championship.  The pressure was on Dai and in his top 32 elimination round; he made a mistake, coming into the inner bank of the course too fast and too deep, over rotating in a half spin, bleeding off speed to a near stop.  This resulted in a collision between the Falken/Discount tire S13 and privateer Matt Field who was coming in very fast and shallow in an attempt to close the large gap Dai had put on him. The force of the impact broke the Falken/Discount Tire’s car steering rack and tie rod.  With no steering control at all Dai spun into the barriers with the car too badly damaged to continue.

Dai Yoshihara crash
Unfortunately, Dai crashed out, breaking the car on the same run as the photo above this. The car was unable to move on its own power, so it had to be towed which ended the team’s season and left the team off the podium.

It was a very somber moment, leaving the team out of contention for the championship and even anyplace on the championship podium. The accident left the Falken/Discount Tire S13 team 1 point short of a 3rd place season finish, respectively placing 4th for 2010. Hats off to the team and all the hard work that got them where they had to go this year. 

Dai Yoshihara and Mike Kojima
Dai Yoshihara and Mike Kojima discussing mechanical failure, and consoling each other over the loss of the event and 2010 championship.



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