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Vaughn Gittin Jr. Crowned 2010 Formula Drift Champion and Finishes 2nd at Round 7

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Monster Energy Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang
Monster Energy Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang
Vaughn Gittin Jr. came out to Round 7 of the Formula Drift Professional Championship with high hopes of putting himself on the podium one last time to finish off his successful season. Not only did Vaughn accomplish that goal when he took 2nd place at Irwindale Speedway - his sixth podium out of seven rounds - but he secured himself as the official 2010 Formula Drift Champion and as the "Driver of the Year" in the Monster Energy Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang.
2010 Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr.
2010 Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr.


Over the weekend, a sold-out crowd filled the paddock and the grandstands at Irwindale Speedway, otherwise known as "The House of Drift". Vaughn has had much success at Irwindale in the past, and he is always welcomed as a crowd-favorite. In 2005 he made history when he won the D1GP USA vs. Japan, becoming the first American to win a D1 Grand Prix event. In 2007 at this southern California track, he brought America home the gold once more by winning the D1GP World Championship. He also won his first Formula Drift ever at Irwindale Speedway in 2008.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. gets Podium finish at Round 7 of the Formula Drift Professional Championship
Vaughn Gittin Jr. gets Podium finish at Round 7 of the Formula Drift Professional Championship


Vaughn qualified in 6th place out of the 40-plus drivers in attendance and he was matched with Formula Drift rookie, Nikolay Konstantinov, in his top 32 battle. Vaughn led first and put his car in all the right places, while blazing through the course with intense angle. Nikolay struggled to keep up with the powerful Monster Mustang. When it was Vaughn's turn to give chase, Nicolay couldn't properly initiate his drift. Vaughn tried to mimic his competitor, but passed him as Nicolay sunk down the bank. Vaughn finished out his run, leaving a thick trail of Falken Tire smoke in his path.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. has taken to the podium six times out of the seven rounds.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. has taken to the podium six times out of the seven rounds.


By winning his battle in the round of 32 and gaining some crucial points, Vaughn officially secured the 2010 Formula Drift Championship. "This is just simply unbelievable," says Vaughn. "Winning the Championship has been a dream of mine for the past seven years and everything we have been working towards fell into place this season. Consistency and reliability were huge factors to our success over the last seven years. Huge thanks to K&N for their amazing products and unconditional support during this quest for the Formula Drift championship. We did it!"
Vaughn Gittin Jr. took 2nd place at Irwindale Speedway
Vaughn Gittin Jr. took 2nd place at Irwindale Speedway


But the day wasn't nearly over for the newly-announced Champion. Vaughn still had one last podium to shoot for. In the top 16, Vaughn was paired with "Rookie of the Year" Fredrick Aasbo, who was the only driver the entire year thus far besides Daijiro Yoshihara to win in a tandem battle against Vaughn. This would be the fourth time of the season that these two fierce competitors would meet on the track.
Monster Energy Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang battles for position
Monster Energy Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang battles for position


Vaughn led first and entered early, maintaining a high line on the bank with a ton of angle. Coming off the bank, he was able to pull a gap and put the Monster Mustang right up on the infield wall as Aasbo tried to close the gap and followed with a more shallow line. Vaughn gave chase next, sticking close to his competitor and mimicking Aasbo's every move on the track. After the Falken Tire smoke had settled from the two vehicles, the judges declared Vaughn the winner; he would be moving on to the Great Eight.

Vaughn found himself faced with Matt Powers in the top eight. Powers had placed fourth in Irwindale last year, so Vaughn knew not to count him out. Vaughn led first and put down another picture-perfect run, with much more angle and speed than his competitor. When it was his turn to give chase, Vaughn put intense pressure on Powers and didn't let up once throughout the course. Vaughn took the well-deserved win, and would be moving on to the semi-finals!

Vaughn would battle it out with Michihiro Takatori in the final four. Vaughn led first and immediately was able to pull a sizable gap on the bank after his initiation. He hit all the clips while Takatori was not able to catch up to the engine-screaming and tire-smoking Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Mustang.

Vaughn gave chase next and was able to reel into Takatori immediately, keeping close to him throughout the course. Vaughn tapped the infield wall and maintained his drift, showing the crowd and the judges that he deserved to be in the finals. The judges agreed and sent him into the finals to face two-time Formula Drift Champion, Tanner Foust.

After two insanely aggressive and incredibly close runs by Vaughn and Tanner, the judges (and the crowd) called for a One-More-Time. During the OMT, Vaughn gave it everything he had, but the judges deemed Tanner an advantage and gave him the win. Vaughn would take the 2nd place spot atop the podium for Round 7 at Irwindale Speedway.

With his 2nd place finish in Irwindale, Vaughn has taken to the podium six times out of the seven rounds - a record number of podiums in one season by one driver in the history of Formula Drift. This was just icing on the cake for Vaughn, as his real victory was being crowned the 2010 Formula Drift Champion. Vaughn is the second driver in the history of Formula Drift to come from a strictly-drifting background - the first driver being K&N drifter, Chris Forsberg, who won the Championship in 2009.

Not only was Vaughn deemed the 2010 Formula Drift Champion, but he was voted the "Driver of the Year" by his competitors, their teams, and industry affiliates.

"Wow, what a year of dreams coming true," says Vaughn. "I turned 30, launched the Mustang RTR, got engaged, and now I am the 2010 Formula Drift Champion. This dream of winning the Championship has been chased since the first Formula Drift in 2004. Our sport has grown a lot since then and I have grown as a driver, learning more and more every year. This year the hard work and dedication paid off huge."

"While I am the guy behind the wheel," Vaughn continues, "there a lot of people behind me on that work extremely hard to make sure I have the tools to do my job and without them, there is no way I could have done it. I sincerely want to thank everyone that has been a part of this journey; I couldn't have done it without you. I'm not sure how I am going to top this epic year, but believe me, I plan to try! 2011... here we come!"

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