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Motorsports Venues - Justin Pawlak Wins Inaugural Formula DRIFT Championship Event At Palm Beach International Raceway


JUPITER, June 5, 2011: Thousands of fans invaded the road course at Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) this weekend for the first-ever Formula DRIFT Championship event at the south Florida track. Crowds were on their feet to watch the Top 32 drivers compete side-by-side in the tandem elimination rounds until one driver was named Formula DRIFT – Round 3: Invasion Champion.

Saturday’s competition intensified as the Top 32 cars pared down to the final two. It was a battle of the Ford Mustangs as Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Justin Pawlak fought for the PBIR title. In the end, the judges named Pawlak the event champion. This marks Pawlak’s second win of the 2011 season; his first win was the opening race at Long Beach. Darren McNamara rounded out the podium in third place.

“South Florida race fans were part of history this weekend as Formula DRIFT made its debut at Palm Beach International Raceway,” said Jason Rittenberry, President and CEO, PBIR. “As the ‘Invasion’ city on the Formula DRIFT tour, this event aligns with our plans to expand the range of events we have at PBIR. Thanks to our fans for coming out to the track this weekend and for being part of the inaugural Formula DRIFT event.”

During the tandem elimination rounds at PBIR, drivers accelerated on the front stretch exceeding speeds 100 miles per hour and entered the first turn nearly backwards. Sliding and smoking tires inches apart, the tandem cars drifted in front of the packed grandstands before making one final turn near the judging tower. Each pair of drivers made two passes during the tandem rounds unless the judges were undecided in their ruling. The judges would rule “one more time” for several pairs and once that ruling was declared, the crowd cheered even louder.

The next event at Palm Beach International Raceway takes place on Friday, June 10. The sixth installment of the 2011 Midnight Madness is a two-fold event. Test and tuners take to PBIR’s quarter-mile drag strip while amateur drifters help transform PBIR’s road course into a drifting circuit. Drag racers looking for the ultimate challenge can participate in the ‘Beat the Heat’ segment of the test and tune.