ROCKINGHAM — With only a single third-place finish during MB Drift’s previous three competitive rounds, Joseph Busam slid his way to double first-place honors Saturday at Rockingham Speedway.
The Ohio native not only won Round 4, but also managed to manji to the top of the leaderboard as the 2021 season champion.
Heading into the season finale, Busam was the third-place winner of Round 1 and was tied for second in the point standings with Jody Utsey, who placed second in Round 2.
“I really didn’t do that great for the whole season, I just stayed consistent … just out of reach on the podium,” he said, adding that he didn’t win a single battle in Round 1. “And I finally got aggressive today. I think that’s what did it.”
Busam landed the No. 2 spot following his solo qualifying runs prior to the competition, his personal best for the season.
During competition, drivers run tandem as one car leads and the other follows — then they switch for the second run, with the loser being eliminated and the winner moving forward to the next slot in the basketball-style bracket.
While growing up helping his dad work on the family vehicles, Busam became interested in cars.
“I saw an event on Facebook one day and I watched it … and I saw the guys out there driving and I thought, ‘I could probably do that,’” Busam recalled.
He then bought a ‘99 BMW 320i that was drift-ready and learned on that.
“I figured if I wreck that, I don’t care,” he said. “If I wreck this,” he added, referring to his ‘08 Nissan 350Z, “I’d care a little bit more.”
He got his start in the motorsport with Drift Indy and drifted there for two seasons before moving to Fuquay-Varina last November. This is his first season with MB Drift and his second with his current car.
“It’s fun,” Busam said about deciding to go into drifting rather than other motorsports.
Echoing previous comments, Busam also spoke highly of the camaraderie of the drifting community.
His teammate Nathan McDuffie — who placed third in Round 2 and was in a three-way tie for third in the standings — blew a motor and another driver lent him a car for the day.
“Those kind of people are who I like to surround myself with,” Busam said.
While with Drift Indy, Busam drove at Kil-Kare Raceway — a three-eighths-of-a-mile round track with an infield road course.
“It’s kinda like the Little Rock, with a bank and big wall — big scary wall,” Busam said.
“The fact that there’s no walls down here is really good, especially for the beginners coming out,” he said about Rockingham. “It’s a great track to learn on over here.”
Joseph Busam stands by his Nissan 350Z after winning MB Drift’s fourth and final competitive round.
MB Drift held its first competitive round at the Little Rock, the half-mile replica of Martinsville Speedway, using only half the course. The other rounds were on the infield road course, with a different circuit layout each time.
Rockingham Speedway is notorious for eating up tires as stock cars make their laps. And, as Busam has noticed, it’s no different in drifting.
But he also has more power at the Rock than he had at Kil-Kare, “so that makes a big difference, too.”
Busam said he ran nitrous for a few runs on Saturday, “but it was acting funny, so I just shut it off — didn’t want to blow it.”
As for his $1,000 winnings for being the season’s top driver, Busam said the money is already spent on coilovers and stage wheels. He already has a budget for tires.
Like Busam, driver Dan Selwa came in second in the competition and for the season.
Prior to Saturday, Selwa was tied for third, along with McDuffie and Drake Carter.
Carter, who was the only one of the top six drivers without a top-three finish in the previous events, finally earned a third-place win and landed at the No. 5 spot for the season.
T.J. Gutierrez, who was the winner of Round 1 and remained the points leader, was knocked out of the competition by Round 3 winner Brandon Goodman. He finished third for the season.
Rounding out the top eight for the season were: Utsey at fourth; McDuffie at sixth; Goodman at seventh; and Steve Larsen at eighth.
On Sunday, the MB Drift team — Marshall Eggerling, Devin Crezee and Zach Sebald — posted the point standings and congratulated all of the winners:
Seeing some top drivers honing their skills is amazing to be a part of but we also love seeing the beginning drivers make their way up the season points ladder as well. All of it really makes all the long hours worth it. Even getting to mid-field against more experienced drivers is an accomplishment to be proud of. We hope they continue to build their skills going forward and next season.
Although the competitions are over, MB Drift still has three events at the speedway this year: open drift days on Sept. 25 and Nov. 20; and the Halloween Havoc Fall Matsuri Oct. 23-24.
Season winners for 2021 pose with the MB Drift team. From left: Joseph Busam, Marshall Eggerling, Dan Selwa, Zach Sebald, T.J. Gutierrez and Devin Crezee.