RTR Propels Ford to the Top of the Formula Drift Championship
Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa drove their Ford Mustang drift cars to the final four in Orlando.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. played a key role in putting Ford on the map in the world of Formula Drift, so it comes as little surprise that his RTR Motorsports team has helped put the Motor Company atop the manufacturer’s championship standings early in the 2019 season. After having a rough start at the season opener in Long Beach, Gittin and teammate Chelsea DeNofa bounced back in the second event, working through an early crash to hold two of the four positions in the semifinals.
Both Mustang drift cars lost their semifinal run, but in claiming two of the top four finishing spots, RTR Motorsports has set up themselves and the Motor Company to a championship run in 2019.
A Rough Start
To open the season, the RTR Motorsports Mustang drivers qualified in the middle of the field, with DeNofa starting in the ninth spot while Gittin qualified 11th. They both won their first round matchups, with each of the Ford racers beating Nissan racers, but they both lost their second round race against different Nissan drift cars.
The team came into the Orlando event looking to improve on the second round departure in the first event, but things looked bleak early when Gittin crashed his Mustang during the final practice session ahead of the Top 32 elimination rounds. However the RTR team hustled to get the car back in running order, essentially saving the race day for Gittin and Ford Racing.
Once the Ready-To-Rock team got Gittin, Jr.’s Mustang back into running order, he made the most of the opportunity to pile up points. He beat the Dodge Viper of Dean Kearney in the first round, the Toyota Corolla of Fredric Aasbo in the second round and the Nissan S14 of Forrest Wang in the third round to meet Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis and his S14 in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, DeNofa knocked off the Cadillac ATS of Taylor Hull in the first round, the Chevrolet Corvette of Matt Field in the second round and the Nissan S15 of Piotr Wiecek in the third round, setting up a semifinal battle with Chris Forsberg and his Nissan 370Z.
Gittin and DeNofa both lost in their semifinal matchup, but that strong finish helped moved Ford into the top spot in the Formula Drift Auto Club (manufacturer’s) championship.
“This weekend we really came into our new cars with respect to all the major changes we made in the off season” said Gittin, Jr. “Between round one and this weekend’s battles we defined what our new refined suspension and new tires need to excel in the heat of competition.”
The next Formula Drift event will be held on May 9 through the 11 in Atlanta, Georgia.