First Place for Vaughn Gittin Jr. @ FD Round 2
Epic battles raged throughout Formula Drift Round 2: Road Atlanta - when the smoke settled Vaughn Gittin Jr. came out on top! Of the win, Gittin Jr. says, "Tonights win feels amazing, not because we won, but because of how hard we fought as a team. Huge respect to our competitors for all the awesome driving they brought tonight. You all pushed me super hard and I greatly appreciate you making this victory super amazing!!!"
Gittin Jr., in his Nitto Tire/ Monster Energy RTR Mustang, was joined on the podium by Fredic Aasbo in 2nd and Chris Forsberg in 3rd. After qualifying on Friday in 3rd, Gittin's first battle in the Top 32 was against Geoff Stoneback. He then went on to face off against Justin Pawlak, fellow Ford Mustang driver, in the Top 16. Here's a recap of how Gittin's battles went down...
Top 16 — Gittin Jr. Vs Pawlak
With Gittin Jr. leading, both cars initiated in unison like their strings were being pulled by the same puppeteer. Gittin Jr. and his Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Mustang were too hot and slid right off course. Pawlak also ventured into the grass. When JTP led he over rotated on initial drift, got out of synch, and ended up losing drift. There was a mist falling at the time so a "one more time" (OMT) was awarded.
JTP and Gittin had not one, but two OMTs which ended the Top 16 round. In the first one, understandably Gittin Jr. was a touch tentative at initial drift but went really wide with a nice, open angle through Keyhole. JTP was close early on, doing well to match angle, but got pulled by a hair near the end of Keyhole. As leader, JTP bobbled a bit on initial drift and set some sweet angles but Gittin Jr. had amazing proximity, looking like a smoky shadow. 2 OMT- 1 Gittin Jr. Would the third time be the charm?
With Gittin Jr. leading, Pawlak ran into the side of the Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Mustang punting it off track. JTP was cited as being at fault. So in the next run, Gittin Jr. just had to keep it close. That's what he did and Pawlak spun out at the end of Keyhole, putting an exclamation point on Gittin Jr.'s advancement to the round of 8.
Great 8 - Gittin Jr. Vs Moen
Gittin showed some bravery coming into the initial drift hot and heavy. His Nitto tires held and he puffed some serious smoke while taking Keyhole wide and at an acute angle. Moen was late on the transition out of Keyhole and couldn't match strides with the Mustang. Moen led and Gittin Jr just kept it close to advance.
Final 4 - Gittin Jr. Vs Nishida
Gittin Jr. led stoutly, showing big angle while gapping Nishida on the last set of turns. Nishida was a touch shallow going into Keyhole, giving an advantage to Vaughn. Nishida put together a good lead run but Gittin Jr. was on his game as the Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Mustang lifted its front left tire going into Keyhole. Gittin Jr. out-pivoted Nishida in the final set of turns. A 3-0 vote put Gittin Jr. in the final.
The Final Battle — Gittn Jr. Vs Aasbo
Gittin Jr. led and checked out from the get-go taking a daylight lead all the way from Keyhole to the finish. Aasbo answered the bell, gapping Gittin Jr. through Keyhole and keeping him at bay for the entire run. The vote was an unsurprising 3 OMTs.
One More Time for the Final
Gittin Jr. once again pulled on Aasbo early, took a dramatic wide line though Keyhole with more pitch in his angle compared to Aasbo. Aasbo did get closer near the end of the run but never pressed the issue. Aasbo put down a smooth lead run. Gittin Jr. charged into Keyhole, where his car seemed superior throughout the night, and closed dramatically, disappearing into Aasbo's considerable tire smoke coming out of Keyhole. Gittin's big angle and smooth transitions through the last series of corners put him over the top.
This win places Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his Monstor Energy/Nitto Tire Ford Mustang in second for overall points towards the 2014 Formula Drift Pro Championship. Congratulations to Gittin Jr. and his whole team! For a full Top 16 covering each battle on the bracket, visit DrivingLine.com.