Vaughn Gittin finishes 8th in Sonoma

SONOMA, California, Sept., 15, 2008 – Vaughn Gittin Jr. was excited to make his return to Infineon Raceway for Formula Drift’s Round Six, as he placed 2nd at this event one year earlier and was eager to receive a podium finish once more.

Vaughn was on fire during practice Friday and Saturday. His runs were consistent every time; a fast, early entry into a wide line hitting every clipping point along the way while maintaining good speed, angle, and smoke.

Vaughn’s first qualifying run Saturday was a conservative one. This was a smart tactic for Vaughn to secure a spot in the top 16, and then go harder on the next run in order to place higher. His entry speed after coming down the hill was 92 mph. The judges awarded Vaughn an 89.67 for his run.

After round one of qualifying, Vaughn was the 15th place qualifier, which was right on the ledge, so he needed to lay down a much more extreme run to not only secure his spot in the top 16, but to secure a better place in the qualifying order.

For Vaughn’s second qualifying run, he came down the hill of the Sonoma track like a raging bull and initiated early with intense angle. His initiation speed was an improved 95 mph. He kept his speed and angle consistent going into the first clipping point with a wide line. The Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang charged into the final turn leaving nothing but a trail of thick smoke behind. The judges were impressed by Vaughn stepping up his game and awarded him a score of 93.58.

Vaughn lined up at the top of the hill against Dai in what would be the battle of the muscle cars and the crowd was going wild in excitement for these two crowd-favorite competitors.

In the first pass, Dai led while Vaughn remained tight to his back bumper through both clipping points. Vaughn and the Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang left a smokescreen behind him as he made his way through the course. The judges awarded Vaughn an 8; a two-point advantage over Dai’s 6.

In the next pass, Vaughn led with a great initiation and tons of smoke. The judges favored Dai on this run and flip-flopped the previous scores. This tie meant that the competitors would have to go “one more time.”

For the first pass of the OMT, Dai led and Vaughn once again kept only inches from Dai’s back bumper from initiation to the very last clipping point. Vaughn was given a one-point advantage; Vaughn with an 8, Dai with a 7.

In the next run, Vaughn led; clocking an entry of 95 mph. Dai tried to stay on Vaughn, but couldn’t lay down a clean enough line. Vaughn pulled away going into on the second clip and Dai couldn’t catch up in time to the Ford Mustang. Vaughn was awarded a 9; a three-point advantage over Dai’s 5. Vaughn had won the round and was moving on to the Great Eight!

Vaughn was paired to battle it out with Tanner Foust, 2007’s Formula Drift 1st place champion, in the Great Eight. Vaughn was extremely excited to go against Tanner again in Sonoma. A year earlier at this track Vaughn had beat Tanner in an incredible battle.

In the first pass, Tanner led with Vaughn giving chase.  Both drivers had great angle and speed through the teardrop and into the first clipping point. Tanner was awarded a three-point advantage; Tanner with an 8, Vaughn with a 5.

In the second pass, Vaughn led and took off like a rocket ship going down the hill trying to insure a gap between himself and Tanner. Vaughn initiated deep and went into the first turn wide, a little too wide, as he found himself off track a bit while still holding a good line. Tanner also went off course after straitening up. Both were awarded a 0, but Tanner had the advantage from the earlier run and would move on.

Vaughn was disappointed about not moving past the top eight, but was proud he beat Dai, 2007’s 3rd place champion and 2008’s current 3rd place competitor. He was also very content with his 8th place finish; as it moves him up from 12th place to 10th place overall in the Formula Drift series with 238.5 points.

Vaughn looks forward to the final round at Irwindale Speedway October 11th where a podium finish could move him up a few more spots in the Formula Drift series points chase.

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