CARLISLE, Pa. — If you ask two-time Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. how he got to where he is today, he'll say it's because he never stopped working towards a dream he had since he was a kid.
He made a sliding stop in central Pennsylvania at the Carlisle Fairgrounds for the Ford Nationals and tore up the road course on the Fairgrounds for the first time in a decade.
The Baltimore, Maryland native made a stop close to home, where he found his passion.
“I always grew up loving cars my entire life," said Gittin Jr. "My dad was a used car salesman. So, he was always bringing home unique vehicles and taking me and having some fun with them. As a teenager and through elementary years; skateboarding, BMX, racing motocross, and I fell in love with drifting because it was like skateboarding with cars. Showing your style. Showing your personality from behind the wheel.”
Nearly two decades ago, he made decisions with his heart and followed his dream by taking a lot of risks for a big reward.
“At the time I had a good IT job. I was a computer nerd and I spent all my money hooking my car up and going to events and practicing," Gittin Jr. said. "I got to the point where I was one foot in my passion and one foot in my day job and I just couldn’t live with the thought, what if I did this? So, I quit my job almost 20 years ago.”
He followed his passion of fun for, of course, the professional "fun-haver." On Friday, Gittin Jr. took a few lucky passengers for a ride, and for some, it was their very first time.
“Amazing! The way he can do all those things. Wow, it was insane," said Amanda Roy of Dillsburg.
Even being a Formula Drifter and off-road racer, Gittin Jr. is no stranger to the racing in central Pennsylvania and says the setup is fairly the same.
“These cars are set up to be racecars drifting," said Gittin Jr. "So, the same way you set your dirt track car up, to have a lot of side bite and forward drive, is what we’re doing with the drift cars. So, that grip gives the level of precision and control that we need at the pro level to be over 100 miles per hour, door to door, inches from a wall and having the proximity to the various points on the course that we need. For a driver, it’s the ultimate mental and physical car control challenge.”
He recently unveiled the new 2024 Mustang RTR SPEC 2.
RTR means “Ready To Rock,” something Gittin Jr. came up with because it’s his mindset, his lifestyle of just being ready for what life throws your way. The features in the SPEC 2 are definitely for the gear heads.
FOX43's Lyndsay Barna had the opportunity to hop in the front seat with Gittin Jr.
"I can officially say I’ve drifted with a professional for the first time," Barna said. "That was so much fun, and I thank Vaughn for the great hospitality."
Central Pennsylvania racing
It was three nights of racing that kicked off at BAPS, with Kyle Reinhardt picking up his first win of the season. It ended with Devon Borden finding victory lane after a couple weeks' drought.
Friday night at Williams Grove, Camron Smith searched for his first career 410 win as he battled Lucas Wolfe for the lead. With ten laps left, Freddie Rahmer, from seventh, used the bottom to get around Smith for Rahmer.
Danny Dietrich was coming on strong at the end, but he's just a lap short of catching Rahmer. The Eichelberer No. 8 picked up second feature in three weeks at the Grove.
To Lincoln Speedway Saturday, Tanner Thornson was in town for the Steve Smith Tribute. He set the fastest time, but unfortunately, his night ended early when he blew up in the heat race.
The weather was moving in for the feature. Tim Gladfelter led the field as Billy Dietrich jumped the initial start. It didn’t take long for Rahmer to steal the lead coming out of two.
Running in second, Chase Dietz lost it in the middle of the turn. Glatfelter couldn’t avoid Dietz and ran right into him.
That moved Dietrich up to second. A repeat of the Grove with these two battling. On the final lap, Dietrich grabbed his right rear on the wall and went over to bring out the red. He was okay but at the same time, Rahmer spun, slowing up in four, after the red was displayed, as the rain began to fall.
The race was called with one lap to go as Rahmer won back-to-back nights. The 358 feature will be made up at a later date.