Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Formula Drift returned to Palm Beach International Raceway over the weekend for the second consecutive year in a row. With a new course design this year, Vaughn and the Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Mustang RTR qualified in 1st place, and fought hard to take 5th place overall at Round Three.
The stands were packed for Saturday’s main event; with an increase in attendance compared to 2011 and 200,000 viewers tuning in live via the Driftstream. After beating out Matt Field in his top 32 battle, Vaughn took full advantage of the hour-long “Half Time” break to chat and snap pictures with fans over at the Falken Tire pits, have some fun racing the HPI RC replica of his Monster Energy Falken Tire RTR against other remote control enthusiasts, as well as toss out swag over at the Exedy Clutches booth.
Back on the track, Vaughn was matched with Michael Essa for his battle of the Sweet Sixteen. Vaughn led first, blasting through the course and making use of the entire track as the judges had specified during the drivers meeting. Essa would take a more shallow line in order to try to pull closer to the speedy Mustang.
Vaughn gave chase next, remembering that Essa had been killing it on the entries throughout the weekend, and to be prepared for anything. Prepared he was as Essa threw it in with crazy angle and VGJR did not let up and continued chasing hard. But Essa was unable to hold it and unfortunately resulted in a spin, as Vaughn eased past his competitor finishing out his run beautifully. Watch the VIDEO of the battle of Vaughn verses Michael Essa.
Vaughn moved on to face his Falken Tire/ Autosport Dynamics/ Ford Racing/ Mustang RTR teammate Justin (JTP) Pawlak in the Great Eight. This was no doubt a highly anticipated battle for both the two competitors as well as their fans. Being the higher qualifier, Vaughn would lead first. He had another amazing lead run, with JTP pushing to stay with him throughout the course. JTP however, was unable to keep it up and lost drift going into the last clipping point.
When it was Vaughn’s turn to give chase, he followed JTP in and remained glued to his fellow Mustang RTR competitor throughout the course. The judges could not come to a decision and decided that a One More Time was needed. Watch the VIDEO of VGJR and JTP’s first pair of runs.
For their OMT battle, neither “BroStang” driver was backing down, as Vaughn led first with an amazing run as JTP aggressively hunted him down through every turn. When it was Vaughn’s turn to give chase, he pushed hard at initiation with intense angle behind his competitor and made slight contact, unfortunately breaking a tie-rod and causing him to spin. Watch the VIDEO of their OMT battle.
“I am really pumped on the weekend overall,” says Vaughn Gittin Jr. “We worked hard to get our Mustang dialed and brought home first place qualifying position and fifth place overall along with some much needed points. This Championship isn't over and we plan to continue clawing our way back up to the top where we belong!”
With his respectable 5th place event finish, Vaughn moves up to 9th place overall in the Formula Drift Championship. Next up for Vaughn on the FD circuit is Round 4 at Wall Speedway in New Jersey. He plans to continue pushing hard in hopes of a podium finish and working his way up ladder in the FD points chase.