I know I'm a bit late on here, however, I just wanted to share Round One in Long Beach from my eyes. You've heard the "better late then never" motto? Long Beach is an awesome way to start off the season; the energy of the city and the crowd just feels electric! The course is challenging and takes 100% commitment. One wrong move and you're parked for the weekend. In the weeks leading up to the event, I couldn't sleep because I was so excited to debut the 2010 Falken Tire Ford Mustang, and to get some competition adrenaline flowing.
Here's me during the top 16 introductions, showing UFC fighter Rampage Jackson my chain!!! (The GT badge flew off my car during "durability testing" when I hit a jump at about 80mph, so Dean my mechanic made me this sweet chain as a present, thanks again buddy). Rampage always rocks his big chain… so I wanted to one-up him!
Straight out of ASD in Charlotte, the car was incredible. Long Beach is always hard to find traction, however, after a few changes "my guy" Ian made, we had those Falken tires ripping the asphalt.
Once the car was dialed in, I just went out there and got extra comfortable and was even able to have some fun with my pal Chris Forsberg. I love driving with him.
Due to the top 32 tandem setup, I really don't care where I qualify, so I just go out there and throw out whatever feels good at the time.
Tandem is when I get down to business! Check out this video of my qualifying run.
My first tandem battle put me up against Drift Alliance Ace slash nicest dude in the world slash extremely dedicated slash privateer driver Joon Maeng. I never in my life have felt bad about beating someone until this battle. He did a great job! I felt much better after talking to Joon and him telling me how happy he was and how much fun he had running on the track with me; I felt the same way. The top 32 tandem is great because guys like Joon are going to get so much practice in tandem which means they will be progressing very fast now.
My next battle was against Yazu Kondo in his Corolla. For the first run, I led. I gave him the jump and let him get up to speed, as not to leave him on the straight. I ran a pretty fast run and created a pretty large gap while holding nice angle the whole course. When he was leading, he threw out the spyhunter oil slick all over my car and windshield when his motor exploded. I know how ridiculous that feels from past experience….
My sweet new Astar's suit flew in Saturday morning. I am very happy with it. Pretty loud, huh?
So my top 8 battle was with Sam, my arch enemy #1 in the series. I knew it was going to be a battle, as it always is running with him. What I didn't know was that it was not going to be the cleanest run we had ever had.
On our first pair of tandem battles, Sam left the line like it was a drag race and created a pretty big gap coming out of the first turn. By the end of the course, I had closed the gap. When I led we had a pretty good match and the judges wanted to see one more time.
Learning from Sam's initial drag race launch, on the second time following I jumped him on the yellow light and we came out of turn one door to door. I kept on his door through the course and all of a sudden, he pretty much just parked it right in front of me. I could have spun and avoided impact, but I feel like that's exactly what he wanted me to do (just like he did to Tyler earlier in the day). So I just gave him a Mustang kiss instead, which spun him. I continued to finish my run without a flinch.
On our second run, I clearly should have won. However, because I made contact and his "abrupt braking" was not clear from the review video, the judges awarded him the win. He definitely didn't brake as hard or early in our first run, but whatever the case, it's the past and I wouldn't change a thing about it. There has been some dirty play in the past and I have promised myself to never bow to it and I won't. Our front end is strong like Horse!!!!!!!
While we didn't win, we were victorious. The Falken Tire Ford Mustang came out to its first event and ran flawlessly and performed very well. I feel great about my team, my driving, and where my head is at. Most importantly, hearing the Long Beach crowd screaming for me over 680 hp scream's as I came through the course made everything worth it!
I cannot wait for Atlanta, see you there!!!!
-Vaughn Gittin Jr.
P.S. I am giving away tickets to Round 2 in Atlanta. If you are interested, go to www.vaughngittin.com\tickets and enter. Contest ends next Tuesday at Midnight EST. Good luck!