Vaughn Gittin Jr. has won his share of trophies, but nothing compares to the one he captured on Saturday in the second event of the 2014 Formula DRIFT season at Road Atlanta.
Gittin ventured out on his own, and started his own race team last year. He's taken a hands-on approach, building it from the ground up. From the crew to his easily recognizable Mustang, and even his on-site display at events, Gittin has been involved in every facit of the program. While he went winless in his debut season as an owner/driver, he’s off to a good start in 2014.
“Winning tonight feels amazing and what feels even more incredible, is the way that we won," said Gittin. "We drove our hearts out. We fought as hard as we possibly could.
“I can’t thank my team enough. I can’t thank Ford enough for making an amazing Ford Mustang and Nitto Tire for the unbelievable tires that clearly separated us from the rest of the field.”
Gittin had an excellent start to the weekend with a third-place qualifying round after using his second chance run to boost him closer to the top, and then dispatched Geoff Stoneback in the Round of 32.
Facing his fellow Mustang driver Justin Pawlak in the Round of 16, it was Gittin who advanced, and then bested Kenny Moen in the quarterfinals.
After dispatching Robbie Nishida in the semifinals, he set his sights on the victory, and defeated Fredric Aasbo in the finals.
As a result, Gittin sits in second place in the point standings after Round 2 and trails leader Chris Forsberg by 27.50 points with five rounds remaining.
Pawlak, who had a rough time at Road Atlanta last year primarily due to the unpredictable Atlanta weather, beat Patrick Goodin in his first-round matchup before falling to Gittin.
A battle between the Ford Mustang drivers has happened in the past, but it’s safe to say that this one was the most closely contested. After their initial runs, the judges couldn’t choose a clear winner. The two drivers battled with their Mustangs two more rounds before Gittin was finally awarded the victory.
“I’m very happy with where our Falken Tire Ford Mustang is performance-wise,” said Pawlak. “We had the car setup we needed to be successful this weekend, and I think we showed it by taking Vaughn to two more ‘One More Time’ battles.
“I’m proud of my team for all their hard work and I appreciate Falken Tire for their continued support,” continued Pawlak, who is fifth in the point standings. “I’m not content with where we are in the standings and I’m looking forward to Round 3 in Miami to gain ground on the points leaders.”
Check out exclusive photos from the event at the Ford Racing Facebook Page!
Formula DRIFT Round 3 | Miami Heat will resume in Miami May 30-31, as the series visits Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time.