Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsEvents
2017 Race Recap: Three Mustangs Compete at Formula Drift Long Beach
While we have seen a variety of Mustangs run through the Formula Drift circuit, it’s been mainly a Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Justin Pawlak show. New for this year however, is a fresh Stang to the stable driven under the RTR banner by Chelsea DeNofa. Not new to drifting but new to Mustangs, DeNofa had previously ran a four door E46 BMW with similar livery to his new Mustang.
“The Mustang is super reactive and very nimble, I am excited to continue to learn to drive it,” exclaimed DeNofa. “I’ve only got about 20 tires (20 laps) of testing with the car, so not a ton of seat time yet.” DeNofa actually won the 2016 Long Beach event with his BMW so he had a lot on the line for 2017.
Both DeNofa’s and Boss Gittin’s Mustangs are identical. “Last year we had no data on the car,” explained Gittin. “Every event we were learning what the car likes at each track with the new S550 chassis. Though the biggest change for this year was a new engine combination from Ford Performance and Roush/Yates to get about 1,000 naturally aspirated horsepower.
Solo proprietor JTP Justin Pawlak has been happy with his setup and only slight tweaks have been made in the way of suspension modifications to his car. In addition, Pawlak is building a production version of his angle kit to inspire other S550 owners to go out there in drift.
With a wide range of engine combinations found at Formula Drift, Pawlak is the only driver we know of that’s running a stone stock crate motor. An 11:1 Coyote Aluminator and a Roush supercharger is all he needs to make nearly 1,000 horsepower at the crank. Also keep an eye out for a full feature on JTP coming up soon.
Qualifying favored Gittin as he took the number one spot with a solid 97 point qualifying score. Pawlak would come in at 14th with an 81 and DeNofa 24th with a 72.
During Top 32 eliminations Gittin would get an easy bye run into the Top 16. Pawlak would take the win over Pat Goodin but unfortunately DeNofa would lose his Top 32 matchup as he spun coming into the second turn on the course during his follow run.
Both Pawlak and Gittin wouldn’t make it past Top 16. As Gittin would lose to Viper driver Dean Kearney and Pawlak lost a hard-fought battle against Ryan Tuerck.