Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. Fields Trio of Sponsored Drivers for 2013 Formula Drift Season Kicking Off in April at Long Beach

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Nitto Tire is sponsoring three topnotch competitors for the 2013 Formula Drift racing season, running on Nitto NT05 competition radials, with the season starting April 12-13 on the Streets of Long Beach.

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Nitto Tire, a leading innovator in high performance tires, has announced its sponsorship of three topnotch competitors for the 2013 Formula Drift racing season. All three will be taking to the track on Nitto NT05 competition radials, a max performance tire that provides precise and responsive handling. Matt Powers will be in his third season as a Nitto-sponsored driver, while Chelsea DeNofa and Vaughn Gittin Jr. are beginning their first full season with the team. Round 1 of the 2013 Formula Drift season is set to take place April 12-13 on the Streets of Long Beach.

Recognized as North America's professional drifting championship series, Formula Drift attracts fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life. This high-skilled, high-powered motorsport demands that drivers maneuver their cars into well executed, controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course. Judged on execution and style, rather than finishing time, drifting is a crowd pleaser and often compared to the freestyle nature of skateboarding and motocross.

Here are the details on each of Nitto’s 2013 Formula Drift drivers:

Vaughn Gittin Jr.

  •     Vehicle: Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Racing RTR Mustang
  •     Entry: #25
  •     Residence: Baltimore, MD
  •     Team: Monster Energy / Nitto Tire / Ford Racing
  •     Career Rankings: 2012 – 2nd, 2011 – 11th, 2010 – 1st

Gittin has become one of drifting's most iconic figures and his vehicle is one of the sport's most identifiable. He is known for an aggressive, foot to the floor, big smoke driving style. In 2010, he earned his first Formula Drift Championship, becoming the second-ever champion with a strictly drifting background. Also in 2010, Gittin launched his brand for a new generation of Mustang with the RTR, a dealer-installed package for the 2011 Ford Mustang GT V8 available at select Ford dealerships. Overall, he has achieved three wins and multiple podiums throughout his Formula Drift career. He has traveled to China to compete in WDS (World Drift Series) and winning the championship in the process. In 2011, he was a featured driver for Ford’s "Octane Academy." This is the first season for Gittin as a Nitto-sponsored competitor.

Matt Powers

  •     Vehicle: Nitto Tire / Fatlace Nissan s14
  •     Entry: #665
  •     Residence: Pacific Beach, CA
  •     Team: Deal With It
  •     Career Rankings: 2012 – 10th, 2011 – 6th, 2010 – 16th

A guy who likes to race “because it’s fun,” Powers also takes to similar endeavors like surfing and biking. When he’s home in SoCal, he prefers to take his practice circuits at Willow Springs Raceway north of Los Angeles. Some of his career highlights include: 2011, The Final Countdown, 6th place overall, 2 podiums, 1 first-place qualifier, Hardest Charging Driver, Best Style, Most Improved Driver; December 2012, 2012 Red Bull Drifters championship. Underpinning his success, Powers credits “all my sponsors, friends and family who believe in me and have my back, which is awesome.” This is the third season for Powers in the Need for Speed Nitto Tire Nissan S14.

Chelsea DeNofa

  •     Vehicle: BC Racing / Nitto Tire BMW E46
  •     Entry: #88
  •     Residence: Orlando, FL
  •     Team: Chelsea DeNofa Motorsports / BC Racing
  •     Career Rankings: 2012 – 17th,

DeNofa has had his hands in several forms of automobile racing, with an array of driving techniques that have set him apart in drifting, club racing and stunt driving. His drifting career began at age 15 when his mother drove his car to his first major drift event in Miami. Schooling in road racing and stunt driving soon followed. After earning his SCCA Pro racing license, he began competing in several series. When his focus turned to the exploding sport of drifting, he quickly made a name for himself at nearly every event on the East Coast and the majority of pro events throughout the states. DeNofa was granted back-to-back NOPI and D1 Professional Drift licenses and seen in several TV shows and magazines. In 2010 and 2011, he won back-to-back XDC championships in his BMW M3 and entered Formula Drift competition in mid-2012 in the BC Racing / Nitto Tire Mazda RX8 R3.

For details on Round 1 of the 2013 Formula Drift season at Long Beach, visit http://www.formulad.com/schedule/pro-championship/long-beach.php.

Information on Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. and its products can be found on the web at http://www.nittotire.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NittoTire and on Twitter at @NittoTire.

About Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.
Nitto Tire (http://www.nittotire.com) develops performance tires for all uses, including racing, off-road and street. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing facilities in Japan and the United States, Nitto provides innovative and high-quality performance tires for the most demanding automotive enthusiasts. For more information, visit the company’s website or contact the company directly. Nitto is a registered trademark of Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., 5665 Plaza Drive, Ste. 250, Cypress, Calif., 90630.

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Rachel Reenders
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