Vaughn is awarded his first-ever FD win at Irwindale

Irwindale, CA, 10/11/08 – The grandstands at the “House of Drift” were completely packed at Saturday’s sold-out Formula Drift, “The Final Fight.” It was only to be expected from the endless line earlier in the day that wrapped around Irwindale Speedway consisting of excited drift fans ready to see their favorite drivers battle it out. This colossal event brought out celebrity fans of drifting such as professional skateboarder and TV personality, Rob Dyrdek, and professional rally racer and cofounder of DC Shoes, Ken Block.

Vaughn was geared up for qualifying Saturday as his practice runs proved he was a force to be reckoned with. The ASD crew had done a great job insuring that the Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang was prepped for the competition.

Vaughn qualified eighth and would be matched to battle Bill Sherman, the 3rd place winner of Round Six in Sonoma, and who had been on fire all weekend.

For the battle of the Sweet 16, Vaughn led first coming in with an entry speed of 78 mph. Vaughn formed a smokescreen coming off his Falken Azenis RT615 tires as Bill attempted to keep up with the Ford Mustang. The judges awarded Vaughn the advantage with an eight to Bill’s six.

The roles reversed as Bill led next and Vaughn gave chase. Vaughn kept close to Bill with better angle. The two competitors were awarded the same scores as the previous run. Vaughn’s 18 to Bill’s 12 meant that Vaughn would be moving on to the next round.

Vaughn learned that he would next be battling seasoned Japanese driver Ryuji Miki in the Great Eight. Vaughn’s only other run-in with Miki in the past was in Sonoma in 2007 where Vaughn came out of the match victorious – and he planned to repeat history in Irwindale.

For the first pass, Vaughn led with amazing line and speed, not to mention he had incredibly smooth transitions through the course. Miki attempted to keep close to the Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang, but made a few small corrections in the process. Vaughn was awarded the advantage for the run.

Miki led next while Vaughn gave chase. Vaughn shadowed Miki’s run, but pushed harder and proved to have more angle and smoke. Vaughn was awarded the advantage for the round – 17 to Miki’s twelve.

Next up on the hit list, Vaughn was paired with 2008’s Formula D “Rookie of the Year”, Michihiro Takatori. Vaughn led first and was able to pull away from Takatori on the bank. Vaughn hit the transition clip on-point while Takatori failed to do so. Vaughn was awarded a two-point advantage over Takatori.

Takatori led next while Vaughn followed much higher on the bank, pumping out more smoke as he remained glued to Takatori’s bumper. The judges liked what they saw from Vaughn as they awarded him a score of 16 to Takatori’s twelve. Vaughn was moving on to the finals to face the 2007 and 2008 Formula D Champion, Tanner Foust.

Going into the finals, Tanner led first with Vaughn high on the bank, as he had been all day, keeping up with Tanner through the entire run. Vaughn was so high on the bank that he actually tapped it while retaining full drift, causing his bumper to come off. Vaughn was awarded a two-point advantage over Tanner.

In the next pass, Vaughn led as Tanner tried to keep up with the Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang. The crowd was on their feet and going crazy. When Vaughn heard that the judges had awarded him the rightfully deserved win, he jumped on the roof of the blue and teal Mustang to scream in celebration, while his team and friends ran to congratulate him.

Vaughn was very excited to stand on the top podium position after a season of ups and downs. Not only was this win a great way for Vaughn to end his 2008 Formula Drift season, but it is a foresight into the upcoming 2009 season. Vaughn will be driving his new 2010 Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang next year and he is confident that he will be a dominant force in the competition.

“This season has exclamated the fact of how incredible my fans and partners are,” says Vaughn. “The unconditional support through a rough season like this means a ton and I sincerely thank you all for it. After multiple podium finishes, it’s been a long time coming for me to win first at an FD event. I couldn’t have dreamed a better way to end the season and give everyone something to look forward to in 2009.”

With this 1st place finish in Irwindale, Vaughn concludes the 2008 Formula Drift season in 8th place overall with 356.5 points. Vaughn hasn’t quite hung up his racing suit for the season just yet, as he has been invited to compete in the first-ever Red Bull Drifting World Championship. This monumental event will take place in Long Beach, California November 15-16 and will involve only the world’s top drifters. Vaughn plans on taking his momentum from his FD Round Seven victory and transferring it into a World Championship win.

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