As Formula Drift slid into Irwindale Speedway for the final round of the season, dubbed Title Fight, the RTR Motorsports team came into the event a bit bruised. The season had not gone the way Vaughn Gittin Jr. had hoped. He had yet to notch a victory in competition, but that would change — after a marathon competition that was extended twice by the judges.
This win is a testament to never giving up and chasing your passion and believing in yourself. — Vaughn Gittin Jr., RTR Vehicles
Vaughn qualified in the 10th spot and fought his way through three rounds of competition — defeating Matt Vankirk, Matt Coffman, and Aurimas Bakchis — before entering the final four. After overcoming that challenge against his teammate, Chelsea Denofa, Vaughn squared off against the number-four qualifier, Fredric Aasbo, in the final battle. After their lead and follow battles, judges called for not one, but two “one more time” runs before Vaughn prevailed over the Norwegian drifter at The House of Drift.
It was a long, difficult season, but Vaughn Gittin Jr. finally earned a victory at the final Formula Drift event of the season. “What an absolutely wild night earning this first-place trophy here at Irwindale to close out 2018,” Vaughn said. “It was the toughest year I have ever had in my career.” (Photo Credit: RTR Motorsports)
“What a wild fairytale night. This has been one of the toughest seasons of my drifting career and I’m just extremely grateful to the entire RTR team that has worked so hard with a never say die attitude. Myself and Chelsea had an insane battle and I’m extremely proud of him earning his third place and what can I say about the final battles,” Vaughn enthused. “Three battles with Fredric Aasbo as he’s fighting, driving, doing everything he can to earn a championship and we come home with the win. This win is a testament to never giving up and chasing your passion and believing in yourself. I’m extremely grateful the team had never given up and constantly believed in what we were doing and 2019 we’re coming stronger than ever.”
Joining Vaughn on the podium for the first time was his teammate Chelsea Denofa (left), who joined the RTR Motorsports team back in 2017. “Saturday night was sick!” Chelsea raved. “Proud of the whole team for keeping Vaughn Gittin Jr. and I on the track as we tore it up.”
Vaughn’s fellow Mustang RTR competitor, Chelsea DeNofa, whom he had to battle in the final four, ended the event with a strong finish of his own. Chelsea nabbed a third-place finish, which put the teammates on the podium together for the first time ever.
As a result of the win in the final round, Vaughn finished 13th in the championship points for 2018, but heads into next season with lots of positive momentum. If the schedule remains true to form, Formula Drift will return to action next April in Long Beach, California, where the Professional Fun Haver hopes to build on this success.