Entering into his first drift competition in 2009, Danny finished second overall in local competitions. Danny’s driving set and driving performance did not go unnoticed by a vast majority of the judges, as they pushed him to move forward in his drifting career.
During the 2010 Formula Drift season Danny decided to continue with his drifting career, competing in both VegasDrift and TopDrift Pro-Am, allowing him to earn enough points to compete in the Formula Drift Pro-Am nationals. Finishing with the fastest speed and qualifying in third place, Danny was hand-picked and rewarded one of two wildcard spot by the judges in the Formula Drift professional series. This is astonishing considering Danny only ran one year as an amateur competitor.
Understanding that Formula Drift Pro Series is fierce, Danny devoted his efforts in 2011 to building a vehicle that would be worthy enough to compete at the professional level. Because people told him it couldn’t be done, Danny wanted to prove them wrong.
Formula Drift implements an open pit policy, allowing the fans to interact and mingle with drivers during race day. Danny realized what would set him apart from other drivers and took advantage of the open pit policy. George’s main goal from his rookie year was to make a point to relate and interact openly with the fans and supporters. By doing this, Danny not only promotes the sport of drifting, he also builds long-term loyal fans to his racing team and the brands/companies he supports.
Danny had placed 34th out of 68 drivers in 2012, yet his biggest accomplishment was winning the “Spirit of Drift.” This award is a huge feet considering it is voted on by not the fans, but his peers, teams, and members of Formula Drift.
“Formula Drift held the annual awards banquet the very next day. Rookie driver Danny George just wanted to win one award. It was the Spirit Of Drifting, and it represents someone who embodies the true spirit of the drifting community. I cannot think of anyone else who deserved that award more than the Crabbroker himself. For Danny, drifting is a family affair. His whole family supports him fully and loves it more than anyone else in the world. His is just a small guy in a small car with a huge heart.”– Larry Chen, Speed Hunters 2012
With the average successful Formula Drift program costing over $100,000, George was finding himself slightly short with funds to compete for the 2013 drift season. George quickly thought of a way that would not only provide him the remaining funds for the season, but to incorporate the fans that gave them even more involvement in the sport.
He quickly became a fan favorite and fans were calling him “…the people’s champ, Danny George. Danny managed to fund his season this year by running a sponsorship campaign that enlisted the help of hundreds of people all over the world” [Larry Chen, Speed Hunters 2013]. The fan based sponsorship proved to be successful with over 500 fan donations. Through the fan based sponsorship Danny “definitely” created a “unique and great way for him to know his fans on a different level” [Oliver Petalver, Drifted 2013].
Danny had taken “The Miata That Could” to new heights, setting new records for the Miata in drifting history. Not only did George move 14 positions from 2012 into 20th position in the field of 66 drivers, he ranked higher than factory supported drivers and the fans loved him. “If his fans want to see him on the mountain, then by God they’ll see him on the mountain” [Andrew Bohan, Life Blasters 2013]. And that is exactly what the fans did when they voted Danny to win Fan Favorite Car of the Year. Danny was up against big name team drivers such as Vaughn Gittin Jr., Fredric Aasbo, Chris Forsberg, Robbie Nishida, Daigo Saito, and Ryan Tuerk. Yet, his fans proved to be loyal and voted for he v8 powered Mazda Miata.
“The fans go to vote for a car of the year and they opted for the fan sponsored Mazda Miata built by Danny George. They spoke with dollars and paid to plaster images of themselves and their pets all over the orange Mazda Miata. A very cool fan sourced drifting program that we imagine will be around for years to come.”– Wrecked Magazine, 2013