ROCKINGHAM — Will Nick Abbott be able to pull off three consecutive wins at Rockingham Speedway?
That’s the question heading into MB Drift’s third competitive round of the 2023 season: Metal on Metal.
Abbott, of Henderson, only had a single third-place finish in 2022 but has taken the top spot in the first two competitions this year and leads in points.
However, 2021 season champ Joe Busam, of Fuquay Varina, is on Abbott’s zip-tied bumper in points, having placed second in both comps on the speedway’s infield road course.
Earlier in the year, Busam won the Little Rock Shootout during the Spring Matsuri.
Although he has yet to have a top-three finish this year, 2022 winner Justin Bauer is third in points, followed by: Tevin Baysa, who placed third in Round 2; and Drew Riggins who finished third in Round 1. Riggins won the first round in 2022.
Rounding out the top 10 are: Paul Smith (6); Wade Smith (7); Cameron Griffin (8); Said “Bussin” Maharramov (9); and Cameron Swaim (10).
Riggins and Paul Smith could move up the leaderboard if they can repeat their performances at Catch My Drift’s Sofa King Awesome Event at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama earlier this month.
The top four drivers to podium at that event also drive in the MB Drift series: Kyle Vanderpool (1); Paul Smith (2); Riggins (3); and Cody Doyle (4).
In the MB Drift standings, Vanderpool is parked at 24th and Doyle is tied for 12th with Darin Onorati.
Brandon Goodman, who won Round 3 in both 2021 and 2022 and has been among the top 10 in the previous years, didn’t compete in Round 2 of this season and currently stands at No. 22 in points.
This past weekend, several MB Drift drivers took part in CMD and Clean Culture’s Autofest at zMAX Dragway in Concord.
Nathan McDuffie and Andy Wright were eliminated in their first bouts, but Abbott, Doyle, Griffin, Wade Smith, Devin Bruce and Brandon Oswalt all made it past the first elimination bracket. However, Abbott failed to advance following his top 16 matchup against Formula Drift Pro driver Jonathan Nerren.
Doyle outslid Griffin to earn a top 8 spot, but was also bested by Nerren, who went on to win the event. Christian Nelson, a former MB Drift competitor and judge and FD Prospec driver, placed third and Dustin Miles came in second.
(Note: Nerren and Nelson are not currently listed as FD drivers, but Miles is a current Prospec driver.)
For Round 3, which will have an ‘80s theme, drivers will be testing their skills on the heart-shaped Kokoro Circuit.
Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m., followed by the competition at 2 p.m.
MB Drift made Rockingham Speedway the new home of the grassroots series in 2021, after running events at Myrtle Beach Speedway from 2005-2020.
Two more events remain for the season after this weekend: the fourth and final competitive round Sept. 9-10; and its annual Halloween Havoc Oct. 21-22.
Competitions are on Saturdays with the track open for fun runs on Sundays. During open drift times, free ride-alongs are available for spectators 18 and older.
Note: This story has been updated to include a driver who competed at the previous week’s CMD event. 7:44 p.m. 7-25-23
Note: This story has been updated to include another driver. 4: 11 p.m. 7-26-23