ROCKINGHAM — Nick Abbott made history on Saturday, becoming the first driver in the 18-year history of the MB Drift series to sweep the entire season at Rockingham Speedway.
Abbott also secured his season winner status with his fourth consecutive victory in the Battle of Little Rock III, taking $4,000 and a championship belt back home to Henderson.
The young driver seemed confident following his first win in May, saying he was “coming for the win — first place overall.”
Abbott’s goal was to place in the remaining three competitions, but he admits he didn’t think he’d score four first-place wins in a row.
“I really did not think I would pull it off, honestly,” he said the day following the fourth and final round. “I really wanted to podium every event, but ended up winning every event.”
Abbott started off Round 4 as the top qualifier — his second time this season — and with a first-round bye on the bracket.
The first opponent for Abbott was Dan Stoneburner, who knocked him out of the competition at the 2022 Battle of Little Rock.
Abbott’s next challenger was Jeremy Coble, who bested 2021 season champ Joe Busam.
Heading into the final event, Busam trailed Abbott by 105 points and placed second in the first two competitions of this year.
Abbott then slid past Kyle Clayton to face Gray Champion in the final round of the bracket.
Champion, of Kernersville, lived up to his surname, eliminating 2022 season winner Justin Bauer — who took out teammate Cameron Griffin — and Said “Bussin” Maharramov on his way to a second-place finish.
Maharramov landed in the third-place spot after taking out Derick Gaskins and Tevin Baysa, who was the No. 1 qualifier and third-place winner of Round 2.
This was the first time in the winner’s circle for both Champion and Maharramov.
“The MB Drift Round 4 final was an all out blast,” said Marshall Eggerling, co-founder of the series. “Not only was it exciting to watch some drivers reach new heights in their drifting careers, it was also the first time ever our series saw a clean sweep of all four rounds by a single driver.
“Rain hampered the start and finish of the day, but luckily the competition was completely dry giving a consistent surface for the drivers competing.”
Eggerling said Little Rock was the fastest track of the season. The previous three competitions were held on the infield road course of the main track.
Despite getting knocked out early, Busam and Bauer finished second and third, respectively, for the season.
Maharramov came in fourth overall, followed by: Wade Smith (5); Champion (6); Baysa (7); Griffin (8); Drew Riggins, who didn’t compete in the final round (9); and Max Czibere (10).
Abbott currently has the most first-place finishes at Rockingham Speedway since the track reopened to competitive events in 2021.
Justin Ball rolled across the finish line last year for his second win at the Rock in the FASS Big Rig Series, and Matthew “Mad Dog” Davey has taken the checkered flag twice in the Allison Legacy Race Series on the road course at the speedway’s open house.
While Richard Petty holds the record for most Cup Series wins with 11, former NASCAR driver Mark Martin holds the record for most wins at the Rock with 14 total victories: two in the Cup Series; 11 in the Xfinity Series (formerly Busch Series); and one in the K&N Pro Series.
However, Abbott is unlikely to rack up as many track wins as the NASCAR legends, as the MB Drift rulebook prohibits him from competing in 2024 and requires him to petition to compete in future years.
The rule is to prevent drivers from dominating the grassroots series.
Both Abbott and Bauer plan to compete in the Formula Drift Pro-AM series next year.
Abbott said he would still like to participate in MB Drift’s non-competitive events and to serve as a judge in the competitive rounds as his schedule allows. He also plans to drive in other drift events including Hyperfest at Virginia International Raceway.
MB Drift’s final event of the season will be Halloween Havoc Oct. 21-22, which includes a trunk-or-treat, costume contest, a DJ with a laser light show and drifting on both the road course and at Little Rock. Ride-alongs are free for spectators 18 or older.
Kids 12 and under get in free and adults in costume will be admitted at half-price.
Eggerling said it’s the biggest event “and most fun of the year.”
“We hope to see all the locals there.”