Vaughn Gittin Jr. edges Chris Forsberg for 2nd straight Formula DRIFT win at Homestead

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Vaughn Gittin Jr. out-drove points leader Chris Forsberg in the final round to earn his second consecutive victory in this weekend’s Formula DRIFT “Round 3: Miami Heat” event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Gittin and his Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR held off Forsberg and his Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z to win his second win in the series’ first three events.

“It feels really amazing to be here and come to a brand new track and work with my team to get my Monster Energy, Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR on rails to be able to hit every mark and compete with some of the best drivers in the world,” Gittin said. “Back-to-back wins is just amazing and we are working hard and it just feels good that it’s paying off and I’m just pumped.”

While Forsberg kept things close, Gittin earned just enough points to not only win the event, but also to move into second place in the Formula DRIFT standings, just 10 points behind Forsberg.

Kenny Moen, in the Achilles Radial/Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX, finished third.

It was the first time that the Formula DRIFT series has raced at HMS.

“Homestead-Miami Speedway provided a great new venue for our Championship,” Formula DRIFT president Jim Liaw said. “The increasingly bigger fan base was treated to some impressive driving all weekend with the first event PRO 2 Series competition and Round 3 of the Pro Championship.”

The 2014 Formula DRIFT Championship season continues with Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway in New Jersey on June 20-21.

 

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Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro Round 3: Miami Heat Event Results

Winner: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR

2nd: Chris Forsberg, Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z

3rd: Kenny Moen Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX

 

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2014 Standings After Three Rounds:

1. Chris Forsberg, Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z, 263.00 points

2. Vaughn Gittin Jr., Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR, 253.00 points

3. Kenneth Moen, Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX, 205.50 points

4. Fredric Aasbo, Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC, 189.50 points

5. Justin Pawlak, Falken Tire Ford Mustang, 140.00 points

6. Robbie Nishida, Achilles Radial / Bridges Racing Lexus SC300, 132.50 points

7. Forrest Wang, Get Nuts Lab / Hankook Tire / STR Racing Nissan S14,129.50 points

8. Aurimas Bakchis,Feal Suspension / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX, 121.00 points

9. Tyler McQuarrie, GoPro Mobil 1Chevrolet Camaro, 114.00 points

10. Michael Essa, Essa Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3, 109.00 points

11. Darren McNamara, Falken Tire Nissan S14, 102.00 points

12. Chelsea DeNofa, BC Racing Nitto Tire BMW 3-Series, 92.00 points

13. Conrad Grunewald, Megan Racing / Top 1 Oil / BRE Chevrolet Camaro, 90.50 points

14. Ryan Tuerck, Retaks Maxxis Tires Air Force PSI Scion FR-S, 90.50 points

15. Ken Gushi, GReddy Performance X Scion Racing Drift FR-S V2, 89.00 points

16. Matt Field, CX Racing / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX, 84.50 points

 

Manufacturers Championship Standings After Three Rounds:

1. Ford            393.00 points

2. Nissan      334.50 points

3. Scion      312.00 points

4. Chevy      204.50 points

5. BMW      201.00 points

 

Tire Championship Standings After Three Rounds:

1. Hankook     452.50 points

2. Nitto            422.00 points

3. Achilles            338.00 points

4. Falken            242.00 points

5. Yokohama      128.00 points

 

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Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.