Pennzoil Powers Professional Drifters Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa
When drifting their powerful RTR Mustangs around the track, the professional Fun-Havers, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa, are proving week after week why they rely on the power of Pennzoil Synthetics to lubricate their RTR Motorsports engines during Formula Drift competitions.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. is a jack of all trades when it comes to piloting motor-vehicles. He is a world champion drifter, off-road racing champion and professional Fun-Haver. Gittin Jr. is known for his aggressive, foot-to-the-floor driving style and he won his first Formula Drift title in 2010 and recently earned the 2020 Formula Drift Championship. His experience and success has made him known as one of the pioneers in the sport of professional drifting.
Joining the RTR Motorsports team in 2017, Chelsea DeNofa quickly showed he was the real deal in Formula Drift, stringing together highly competitive seasons since he joined the team. Last year’s season cemented his spot on the team, earning a second-place finish in the overall standings, behind his teammate and champion, Gittin Jr. Known for his drifting, racing and stunt driving skills, DeNofa has quickly learned from one of the best, earning himself the title of ‘Hardest Charging Driver’ in the 2020 Formula Drift season.
With protection from Pennzoil under their hoods, the duo is attempting to secure another one-two finish for this year’s Formula Drift season. Now that the 2021 Formula Drift season is in full swing, Pennzoil asked Gittin Jr. and DeNofa some questions so their fans can learn a bit more about the fun-havers.
Question: For people who aren’t familiar, how would you describe what the fun-havers are all about?
Gittin Jr.: We are about having FUN and sharing fun anywhere and anytime. A lot of our fun comes from being behind the wheel of incredible vehicles. However, being a Fun-Haver is also a mindset. Fun-Havers have a glass half full perspective and always find and share the fun no matter what challenges may come their way at any moment. For us, it’s all about inspiring this mindset and putting smiles on faces through our various passions!
Question: For each of you individually, what is the craziest stunt that you’ve ever attempted?
Gittin Jr.: Doing a high speed 360 into a turn at the Nürburgring was pretty crazy. I’m not sure if the stunt was as crazy as the general circumstance, along with the risk if I didn’t “land it.” Despite the pressure, I pulled it off perfectly! Spraying gravel and hitting a drone with the gravel all in one go too! Check out the “King of the Ring” video if you want to see!
DeNofa: Back in my BMX days, there was this gap (jump) in Miami that was 10 stairs down, across an alley road, and eight stairs up on the other side. It took me four different times going there and two bike frames to jump successfully and clear the gap. The gap was probably about 25 feet without a ramp, so the speed in order to make it was as fast as you could go – and then some! I would love to go back there, probably the craziest thing I have ever done.
Question: How did your career in drifting begin?
Gittin Jr.: This is a tough question because there was no “start.” I would say really my first organized event I attended is where it started, that sparked a fire in me that turned my focus to progressing my car and my skills as fast as I could. From then on, all I did was work and spend the money I earned to hook up my car and drive as much as I could. I really did not think about it much more than any other serious hobby I had at the time. I was just doing something I really enjoyed and I certainly did not see it evolving into what it has become since those early days almost 20 years ago!
I say there was no “start” because it all just snowballed progressively and relatively naturally because of chasing a dream and following my passion. If I had to put a date on when I turned drifting into my career it would be 2007 when I quit my job to commit to my passion and go all in. That same year, I won the world championship.
DeNofa: Back in 2002, I was learning and understanding how to drive a car by sliding it around. As soon as I knew how to work the clutch and not stall, I was shredding tires and having fun. My career didn’t really start until 2006 when I graduated high school and started competing in a national circuit. It was the lowest cost motorsport back then and I saw an opportunity to grow with the sport and be a part of something extreme.
Question: What is your favorite car to drive off the track and why?
Gittin Jr.: I might be a bit biased, but my answer is any Mustang RTR. Despite the obvious bias, my team and I have built the exact driving and owner’s experience that I crave behind the wheel into our Mustangs so it’s a close to perfect driving experience to me.
DeNofa: I find purpose and excitement in every car I drive. It’s most important that the car does its purpose well and I find excitement in that. It’s cool how well my F-350 tows and how comfortable it is. Pretty rad how my $500 car still does everything I need it to. It has its quirks and requires simple effort, but I enjoy it. Dude, the GT500 is ridiculous, it blows the tires off in 4th gear!
Question: What is your dream car and why?
Gittin Jr.: I don’t really have a sole dream car. For me it’s more about what is the current dream. Whatever car/vehicle achieves that dream is my dream car.
DeNofa: I actually own a rolling chassis of my dream car. One day it will be back on the road. It’s a 1969 Alfa Romeo GT-V. It’s all about the styling and suspension design that was way ahead of its time. In my opinion it signifies the best time for affordable sports car design.
Question: What is a bucket list item that you want to accomplish soon?
Gittin Jr.: You will have to stay tuned for that one. I recently visited the Faroe Islands to check one off the list!
DeNofa: I really want to do a trip to the Isle of Man and race scooters or low-displacement Grand Prix bikes with some friends. I don’t think I could handle a real bike, but racing that city track with a group of friends is going to happen soon!
Week after week, Gittin Jr. and DeNofa continue to show that the Proof is in the Pennzoil.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. & Joey Logano
PENNZOIL Transcript—United States/Latest/Fun Havers Profile
[Title] Touge Battle | Vaughn Gittin Jr. Vs. Joey Logano
Description: Vaughn and Joey have some fun on the road.
A Ford Mustang driven by Vaughn Gittin and a Factory Five Ford driven by Joey Logano race down a North Carolina backroad.
[Background music plays] Electric guitar
[Title card/Fun Haver with green and black animated graphics]
[Touge Battle, Price Road]
[Image of Vaughn] Featuring Vaughn Gittin Jr.
[Image of Joey] And Joey Logano
[Image of Vaughn’s Mustang] 1969 Ford Mustang RTR-X, 5.0L Coyote V8, 450 HP
[Image of car] 1935 Factory Five Ford, Ford Performance FR9 V8, 850 HP
[Background music plays] Electric guitar plays in the background with engines revving
Logano drifts his Ford ahead of Gittin Jr. around sweeping turns in the road. The two cars drift.
An in-car camera view of Gittin Jr. driving his Mustang with his helmet on, shifting and grabbing his handbrake to enter drifts.
A drone shot, head-on view of the cars drifting is shown, with Logano leading Gittin Jr. on the road.
A head-on view of the cars drifting into a turn is shown, with a focus on the rear-end of Gittin Jr.’s Mustang.
[Background music plays with the engines revving]
A togue up and down the road ensues, with the car engines revving and tires screeching as the two cars navigate the road.
A head-on view of the cars drifting into a turn is shown, where Logano slows down to allow Gittin Jr. to drift by him. Gittin Jr. drifts slightly into the side of the road to pass Logano, taking over as the lead car. The shot ends with a close up of Logano’s front bumper.
An aerial view of the cars racing is show, with tire smoke coming from Gittin Jr.’s car. The cars are shown drifting around an uphill turn.
Animated photos of the two cars driving with neon green graphics is shown. The images then show Logano’s Pennzoil #22 helmet and the two cars drifting on the street.
[Background music plays] Electric guitar fades
[Title card/Fun Haver]