Team Falken started the 2011 Formula Drift season the way it finished last year, with one of its factory drivers on top of the podium. Justin Pawlak, in just his second year with the tire manufacturer, took his inaugural first place at the Long Beach opening round, with Team Falken teammate Daijiro ("Dai") Yoshihara in third. Before a capacity crowd, Pawlak took the victory on board his 2011 Ford Mustang with a new engine built by Ford Racing and Roush-Yates and ran on Falken's Azenis RT615K, as did all other Falken team members. Pawlak qualified 11th, while Yoshihara was second among the top 32, alerting the other competitors he was the driver to beat on the streets of Long Beach. While Defending Formula D Champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr., struggled in qualifying, he was an important part of the weekend, meeting and greeting his fans as well as supporting the rest of the Falken team in the main event. Among the Falken "inter-team competition," Pawlak beat Darren McNamara in the top 16 round, and Justin went on to best Dai in the Top 4, completing a "One More Time." Justin beat Matt Powers in the final, while Dai defeated 2009 Formula D Champion Chris Forsberg to earn third.