Gittin’ First Place In Jersey

It’s been a while since his last victory, but Vaughn Gittin Jr. has just taken victory at Formula Drift New Jersey. Here are some quick highlights, as well as a desktop drop for your enjoyment.

The event was bristling with crazy, intense energy. There wasn’t a spare seat to be had!

Vaughn met his Drift Alliance brother, Chris Forsberg in the final four bracket. Both drivers put on an amazing show, but Vaughn edged Chris out for the win.

In the finals, Vaughn met his Falken tire teammate and nemesis, Daijiro Yoshihara. It was a hard fought battle, but Dai straightened out during his follow run which gave the Ford Mustang driver the win.

There were no hard feelings as both drivers are veterans of the series all the way from the beginning. They know each other well.

Vaughn made so many windmills with his right arm that I was sure that hat was going to fly out of his hand.

This was Chris Forsberg’s second podium of the year and his first ever at Wall Speedway. He’s always seemed to have some sort of curse at his hometown course, so must be pleased with the result.

Our very own Fredric ‘the Norwegian Hammer’ Aasbo drove tremendously well.

He put up a great fight with Falken Tire driver Justin Pawlak, but unfortunately his transmission gave out on the last corner. It’s too bad, as he really held his own against JTP on this run.

Fredric’s teammate, Matt Powers was also putting down some amazing runs.

He went up against a S15 transplanted Darren McNamara in the top 32. The past two times Matt met Darren in battle has ended in a loss for Powers, but this time was different.

This would be the first time Matt has ever beat a Falken driver. He seemed to be quite happy about it.

He then battled it out in the top 8 bracket with another Falken driver, Vaughn Gittin Jr. It was very close, but the judges gave the win to Vaughn and of course he went on to win the event.

No Formula Drift event would be complete without its controversy. Again Daigo Saito met Conrad Grunewald, but this time it would be in the top 8. After a single OMT, Daigo eventually moved on.  Social media as well as forums are buzzing about the calls given from the judges for this particular battle.

Next up was another hard call for the judges. Tyler McQuarrie and Chelsea DeNofa had an insane first run. On their second run both drivers put their cars into the guardrails. The judges decided Tyler won as they attributed that both drivers were at fault for crashing out. Tyler had a slight advantage from his lead run, so the nod was given to him.

This is another call that has fans all across the world buzzing. Thanks to live stream it seems there is much more controversy than ever before about Formula Drift Judging. Check out the video here. Also here is the on-board footage from Chelsea’s view here. What do you guys think?

If Vaughn keeps driving the way he did at Wall Speedway I have a feeling we will have a very interesting championship race…

… although, Justin Pawlak still has the lead for his first championship at 342 points.

Daigo Saito is slowly chipping away at Justin’s lead with just 13 points behind. New Jersey was the first event this year that he did not podium, although fourth place is still a great result for the Japanese drifter.

Rounding out the top three is Daijiro Yoshihara with 291 points. There is still a big chance he can make a comeback to defend his title.

With three rounds left anything can happen. Click on the thumbnails below to download some desktops!

-Larry Chen

More stories from Formula Drift on Speedhunters

More stories from Larry Chen on Speedhunters

 Formula Drift New Jersey results:

1. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
2. Dai Yoshihara
3. Chris Forsberg
4. Daigo Saito

Formula Drift Pro Championship Standings:

1. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 342 Points
2. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 329 Points
3. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 291Points
4. Gittin Jr., Vaughn Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang 279 Points
5. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 265 Points
6. Bakchis, Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis Motorsports Nissan 240SX S14 243.25 Points
7. Millen, Rhys Hankook / Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Genesis Coupe 240 Points
8. Tuerck, Ryan Team Retaks Nissan 240SX 239.50 Points
9. Aasbo, Fredric Need for Speed / Papadakis Racing Scion TC 238.50 Points
10. Powers, Matt Need for Speed / Nitto Nissan S14 212.50 Points
11. Moen, Kenneth Lutz Performance Nissan 350Z 206.50 Points
12. Gushi, Ken Greddy / Hankook Scion FR-S 196.50 Points
13. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro 183.50 Points
14. Essa, Michael GSR Autosport / Nitto BMW ZR4 177 Points
15. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Chevroley Camaro 173.50 Points
16. DeNofa, Chelsea BC Racing BMW M3 138.50 Points


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MTP vs. Jr was certainly at the advantage of Powers, Vaugn made a LOT of corrections and Matts run was much cleaner...
Also, Denofa shouldnt have lost the battle against TMAC, he had to brake in order to not crash into Tyler which caused him to slide outside and into the wall!


I really wanted matt to win but he did a decent job. I think if chelsea hadn't crashed he had a really good shot at the podium. Also in the final battle when JR almost spun but smashed the throttle making tons of smoke and held it, this was a great even. Oh and I love Dmac's new car!


I really wanted matt to win but he did a decent job. I think if chelsea hadn't crashed he had a really good shot at the podium. Also in the final battle when JR almost spun but smashed the throttle making tons of smoke and held it, this was a great event. Oh and I love Dmac's new car!


 @westhave yeah i thought matt should have beat jr... 


y is odi so damn good?


Chelsea should of had that. I was standing 15 feet away when it happened and I think he would of made it but was trying to avoid hitting Conrad.

David Wheels Fleetwood

Great coverage, I think the s15 really suits Dmac.Any chance can I get the picture of Matt Powers pointing in desktop size please?


Larry I'd like your thoughts on this, but doesn't seem like a coincidence that almost 99% of the time, a Falken Tire driver is on the podium? I personally think Formula D is rigged. There hasn't been a non-Falken Tire Champ in the last 3 years. I also would like to know how the judges can justify giving TMac the advantage? Was it because he has a bigger crew and could get his car fixed? Or is it because the judges are just so god damn biased? Tyler had such a f**ked up initiation, and as he started to ride the armco, it put him in it. Chelsea's job is to mimic that line, if TMac crashes, right on the bank, Chelsea can't be held responsible for having no where to go. IMO the judges were bullshitting themselves, and they did it quite a few times through the battles. Like Matt v DMac, and Gittin v Dai, where Gittin had a MAJOR correction where he straightened out at transition and took a VERY shallow line on his chase run. Yet he still got the win? Something isn't right. Either Falken's paying big, or the judges have a favourite.


 @Baljit Singh  
2009 - Chris Forsberg (Maxxis)
2010 - Vaughn Gittin (Falken)
2011 - Daijiro Yoshihara (Falken)
Also, keep in mind Falken only has two championships. They went six years without a championship and on the 7th year Vaughn nabbed it.
I personally think its the nature of a judged sport. As Fredric Aasbo says, it all evens out in the end....


daigo has been such a dirty racer the past two events. i used to like the guy, but now ive got no respect for him if he has to race like that to try to win. i was surprised that the judges made the right call on the daigo v. forsberg race.


Dirty racer? come on it's drifting you don't know nothing about close runs.
The other problem is that this year is very important close runs and If you can't keep closer you are out that's why Japaneses people are the best.


when you completely release the throttle when the follower is 1 feet behind you to force him to brake or smash into you.. Sorry but this is dirty.
And agains Conrad(I think), Daigo put four wheels offtrack and the judges called an OMT??? But I'm not a judge..


Am I the only one who thinks the call in the Tyler/Chelsea battle was the right one? If you actually watch the video, they both hit the wall independently of each other. Chelsea made a mistake and lifted which is what put him up into the wall. Yes, Tyler hit first, but he was the lead car. Chelsea was actually much lower than him in the bank and to me was not following him up there. They both made a mistake and the judges made the right call by basing it off of the first run.
Can't say the same for the other runs, especially Daigo v Congrad and Powers v Gittin. Both could have gone the other way.


@MarcAndreFontaine @Amber_Ale_Beer
right on Marc. FD doesn't need tactics like that.


 @namdoogwerdna chelsea was going for proximity ;)


Thanks for sharing my vid of the crash!


congrats to jr for getting his mojo back. seems like there are a lot more drivers who are in the running for a championship title this year. should make for some exciting final rounds.
 and i like how desktop sized images are offered in just about every article thats coming out. no more asking for wallpapers haha


how can a car following cause the car infront to crash !! that was a weird judges call !! even thow he would not of beeen able to front the start line next battle.

judges wont close proximity over line of the course, it does get a bit hard to seperate thow

diagio is the best driver there anyway ...............


 @namdoogwerdna they did both crash independently, however, tyler crashed much harder causing his car to turn back up bank and get locked up on top of the guard rail.  he was stuck and would not have been able to continue movement had chelsea not shifted his line to match so closely and then reacting to the crash in a way to try and minimize danger, resulting in contact nudging him off.  i think that had tyler been able to continue movement or get out of the way, chelsea's car would have been able to finish regardless of his independent accident.  
go to chelsea's facebook and you can see gopro footage from his car following tyler.  it is a much better angle of what happen. 


Very good point that had Chelsea not crashed, he would have either hit Tyler or gotten out of harm's way and won, but he did crash. It's tough to prove whether or not it was in reaction to what Tyler did. I'm not saying it was an easy call for the judges to make - I'm not a judge so I have no official say here - but I've spent a lot of time around FD and I've seen a lot of calls that were total BS. What I'm getting at is this was not as bad of a call as the public is making it out to be.
I checked out the footage from Chelsea's car - definitely a good angle but it's still tough to judge from there when he lifts and why/how he went up into the bank.
For the record I think Chelsea is a great driver and has been killing it this year. The circumstances are unfortunate and no one is really a winner here.


 @namdoogwerdna if you watch my vid, you can see that when tyler hits the wall, chelsea locked up the front brakes and the car totally changed direction and sadly into the wall. Listening to him talk about the crash afterwords, if i remember correctly, he said he something along the lines of, when he saw Tyler hit the wall, he thought Tyler's car would have changed direction towards the bottom of the track and he would take a higher line. Instead he put himself into the wall and into the back of Tyler's car. How Chelsea could think and try to react in that short amount of time is beyond me but hey, just look at how his line was going and how it changed after Tyler hit the wall.


 @MarcAndreFontaine  @Amber_Ale_Beer 
tactics or not, daigo is not dirty..FD has been so one sided for several years now and has been boring to watch till Saito came in the picture. He is still getting used to what ever rules Formula D has. Remember he is new to the series and track. 


looking at the daigo conrad battle i think that it should have been  a win for conrad not OMT. daigo had at least 3 wheels off and conrad did not do anything in his runs of equal negative point value. i am still a huge daigo fan but am also a fan of fair judging.


Looking at that video, it seems Denofas car changed angle right after McQuarrie hit the wall, just enough time after for it to be a reaction to the McQuarrie crash. I wonder if it was or not.


The chaser's job is to follow the line of the lead car, if that line leads into the wall, and they both hit, it's surely the lead car's fault.
You can see Chelsea realize Tyler is going to hit, then let off the gas, but it's too late...


Hankook girls > Falken girls


 @bigmac69 I think in the quest for the action to be closer, the judges are willing to give major deductions for failing to follow close


 @MarcAndreFontaine Not that I neccessarily agree but I think the judges felt the 2 tires off track warranted and equal deduction as failing to maintain proximity thus the OMT.


 @kids heart  @bigmac69 After all. It is about the show for the fans. Am I right?


Here is the on-board for those of you who missed it


When the judges are too busy using their cell phones during competition, horrible judgments will be made.
More like Formula Figure Skating than professional drifting.


 @pdubkee Tactics in drifting are by definition dirty. They are used to give one car an advantage over another, and that's not what drifting is about. People seem to oversimplify the FD rule that the follow car should follow the lead cars line as closely as possible. They fail to recognise that at the speeds these cars are traveling the follow car can only maintain close proximity if the lead car runs an honest line. If we want proximity we can't have lead drivers pulling tricks like slowing down mid corner or taking wild lines to upset the follow driver as the follow driver will be caught out every time. It's simple physics. And it's not fun to watch. Or to drive.  


 @Brrrrap Damn good point.


There is some serious bullshit going on at these events lately.  All of the all ready mentioned, but for me...the Matt Powers vs. Vaughn Gittin battle was CLEARLY in Powers favor.  It's just ridiculous. I'm considering not even going next year.  It's ridiculous for me to drive 7 hours out there just to watch what is slowly becoming the equivalent of professional wrestling...Not to mention the rudeness that was exhibited by some of the Falken tire crew in the pits afterwards...
Thanks Formula D and Falken tire for teaming up to take the fun out of drifting. 


awesome coverage ;) great shots and thanks for all the nice desktops!!
big props to Mr Larry Chen


 @westhave word bop ;) your sayin it, but better luck next time!!! :D


Whereas some of the calls seemed strange from the perspective of the driftstream, I haven't heard anything about Falken in the pits? 


 @Larry Chen It seemed pretty obvious from the Driftstream that Chelsea most likely went into the wall as a reaction. It's hard to say what the judges saw, but after seeing this video it seems like Chelsea should have by no means be considered at fault, or in the case of the judges, neutral in standing on the second run. 


 @Larry Chen It seems like many fans prefer consistent judging over a good show.. 


Just curious what did the Falken pit guys do? I am sure whatever it was it was unintentional.


 @SamNalven You are right, but what about the new fans that just want to see cars battle it out super close? I guess there is a middle ground somewhere.


 @Larry Chen Understandable. I love watching Diago's proximity and a good crash always wows the crowd, whether it be in Formula D or Nascar (as long as the drivers walk away, and a talented journeyman drifter has the resources to repair his car!) . I'm still new enough to the sport that I still don't fully understand all judging criteria. In a sport where one of the primary deciding factors is judging on "style," then Formula D judges, like NFL referees, will be crucified for their calls by one side or the other, accurate or otherwise. 


they made three terrible calls, all going in favor of the more "popular" or famous drivers.
the daigo/grunewald battle was complete bs. no way they should have gone omt. daigo was all over the track like a kook.


There are so many hero cams. 


This year FD was pretty lame gotta say. Been going since the first one at wall and gotta say over the years its just gotten a bit boring. Daigo was the only reason I went back this year, his proximity is amazing but judges always seem to be on him for something. I never thought his mistakes would give him a loss over the points he got for proximity. Guy is a tandem beast. That and the V8 overload just killing the excitement of this series for me. Watching D1GP on DVD is more fun.


I agree,im just saying dont  bag on one guy regarding these so called dirty tactics, JTP uses this tactics alot, you guys might notice it but he slows down also on his entrys. There are several other fd drivers that does the same thing.  Yet they dont talk about pass runs by other FD drivers that uses the same tactics. Its just fishy to me. They are making Daigo look like the Bad guy here, where he is bringin more fans to the sports as we know it..


 @Larry Chen Their general attitude towards people that wanted to look at their cars or were watching them pack up. I don't know if something happened to their cars or equipment at another event, but the way myself and others were told to leave was extremely rude.  Instead of being asked nicely to leave the area, "hey guys we need to load up our stuff and don't want to run you over" or something along that line, we were met with "guys get away from that car" and "everybody needs to get out."  It was a real mood killer.


 @Larry Chen  @SamNalven i think that is a good way to look at it. the only reason i brought it up was that to my understanding 3-4 wheels off was an automatic zero i could be wrong though. you are probably right they probably went OMT to give daigo another chance since he was the fan favourite and keeping fans happy is important in a newly emerging motor sport.


The # of cameras on the cars is hideous lol seriously looks ridiculous...there use be a more subtle way to capture the action.


This event was kind of lame. It was almost as though the judges were leaning towards the show rather than the actual drift. I'm a Daigo fan but we all know he should have lost to Conrad.  I want Daigo to finish in the top three this year for the championship but I want him to get there without the judges leaning towards him during tandem runs just because he's got some insane style. His pros shouldn't outweigh his cons during runs. He had close proximity during the event but had some pretty bad transitions that he either couldn't adapt to(which I highly doubt) or purposely did to get the proximity.


 @Baljit Singh 


 @Baljit Singh  FD seems that way at times but it's not. As Larry said, Falken only has 2 championships. The thing that comes into play is that their drivers are good and they have the vehicles and equipment to back them up. The McQuarrie/DeNofa battle came down to the first run since both drivers hit the wall. Had Chelsea only hit McQuarrie, then Chelsea would've gotten the win. Understandable that people would find McQuarrie at fault, but the crashes were technically independent from each other. Powers vs McNamara was Powers as DMac put a tire on the bank. 
My questions: How did Forsberg advance past Daigo when he spun in the exact same spot where Aasbo straightened due to a blown transmission? How did Gittin advance past Powers when on his lead run he tapped the guardrail an had to re-initiate and Powers laid down 2 pretty flawless runs? How can proximity (starting to hate this word) outweigh these corrections?


 @TabreseSequeira  @Baljit Singh EXACTYLY! Powers won that battle and it was so clear. How the hell 2 judges(what?) voted for Gittin! F*** these judges.... I guess how you drive is not the most important in FormulaD


good seeing you at the event and thanks for the stickers!!


 @SamNalven at the event they were saying that they were going to treat each accident as a separate thing. they must have felt that from their vantage point that CD was going into the wall anyway. i was sitting about 30ft away when it happened and with all the tire smoke coming at me i couldnt see CD hitting the wall or what caused it. great video indeed.


 @SamNalven one of the things that must happen is some sort of after action report where the judges get a opportunity to really explain their decision and what they are looking at as the runs are. the fans need more info.


 @WilliamCannady That, or maybe they can set up some kind of "who wants to be a millionaire" voting system where the entire crowd gets to punch in their decision on a small voting device under their seats... haha. Pure insanity would ensue. 


i agree, i think this year it seems like the lead drivers are going a little extra aggressive on their lead runs instead of going for the perfect line. now dont get me wrong, i love the aggressiveness but i wonder if it causes the chase driver to give more gap during transitions and reel it in on steady state corners. im just a spectator, i enjoy side to side drifting, daigo's stabbing motion on chase runs are pretty sick, but i dont think most drivers are willing to chance following him too close, due to how fast he runs out of the gate and pushes such a fast pace around the course. i wonder what his average speed is around the course vs other drivers.


 @SamNalven def, i am hoping for some fan integration in the future. i think right now there is a really good community of drift fans who both participate and watch all the drifting possible. they could be a good community to lean on as things go forward. i saw and heard plenty of intelligent conversation about the battles as well as some less than stellar conversations about who is better. either way, i think the fans are getting smarter and its definitely going to be interesting going forward to see how the community starts to influence FD.


 @Larry Chen
 There are many ways to judge drifting, outerline, innerline, raceling, hard style and the calm style.
The big fault is that the judges never follow the same line, making the spectators wonder wtf?In Denofa vs Tyler, has the judges forgot that a 50 mph, on a bank has nothin to say when it comes to the law og fysics?  when braking hard, the car will end up in the wall... 
Id love to see all FD Drivers at Gatebil, where they could have fun, rather going the unatural way as the FD judges want to see.
Sometimes you can se that the judges have their own favourites rather than judging, many examples.
C u in july Larry :)


Ok, I see where you are going. I think because they are the biggest team it takes the longest for them to pack up. The heat and working all day does not help either. I'm sure they didn't mean it. I hope you guys can make it back out someday. I will give you some decals.


 @Ealoken Yes, they would all have fun at Gatebil, but they would also get black flagged just as fast! Remember Fredric got black flagged like 15 times last year :D


 @TabreseSequeira  @Baljit Singh What I do like about this past event is it has everyone talking. It's nice to hear what people have to say about this sport. I swear I've never seen so many people voice their opinions.


Rooting for both Dai's


 @Larry Chen Did I really? I swear it was only 12 times!


 @Larry Chen Did I really? I swear it was only 12 times!


 @FredricAasbo I hope you can beat your record this year.


 @FredricAasbo I hope you can beat your record this year.