Mark Gearhart
October 12, 2016

Formula Drift Irwindale is always the most exciting event of the series. Not only because it’s the final bout for the year, but also because everyone lets it all hang out. Crashes as you move into eliminations have become all but commonplace as drivers push their vehicles to the limit.

Coming into the final race of the season Vaughn Gittin had a chance at the championship as he sat in third place

Coming into the finals there were three people that had a chance at the championship crown – Fredric Aasbo, Chris Forsberg, and RTR Mustang driver Vaughn Gittin Jr., who was going to need to pull all the tricks out of his bag to take it all.

Roush Mustang racer Justin Pawlak was out of the championship contention but qualified a respectable 5th place, eight places higher than Gittin’s 13th.

Pawlak ended up with a respectable 5th qualifying position out of 32 cars
Gittin ran Pat Mordaunt three times in his Top 32 battle.

When Top 32 started Saturday afternoon at Irwindale, Justin Pawlak headed against Faruk Kugay, who broke on the second run, giving the win to Pawlak. Vaughn Gittin Jr. would compete against Pat Mordaunt…three times. During the first battle, the deciding tie came when Gittin would tap the inside wall and slightly straighten, along with not following Mordaunt close enough. During the third run Gittin held close to Mordaunt until Gittin crashed on his lead run. While at the end on the big oval, Gittin’s rear bumper hit the wall a little too hard, which straightened up the car and sent him into the wall. Bummed and out of contention, he waved to the crowd from the back of the tow truck.

As Pawlak pushed into Top 16 he would face Alex Heilbrunn, who also ended up breaking. Going into the Great 8 Pawlak paired with the same driver who took out Gittin – Pat Mordaunt. Unfortunately, Pawlak spun when transitioning into the inside oval and handed the win over to Mordaunt. The final battle consisted of top qualifier Dai Yoshihara and Matt Field. Everyone though that Dai had it in the bag until a steering failure prompted a one-more-time and then a subsequent crash into the wall.

Unfortunately, Vaughn Gittin made contact with the wall and the team was unable to get the vehicle repaired within the five-minute time limit.
Pawlak would go to against Mordaunt as well in his Great 8 battle and ended up spinning as he transitioned into the inside oval on his follow run.