Home Local Sports MB Drift drivers to compete for Round 4, season championship at Rockingham...

MB Drift drivers to compete for Round 4, season championship at Rockingham Speedway

Wade Smith slides around a corner on the Rockingham Speedway infield road course during qualifying for MB Drift's first competitive round in May. Photo by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Who will be the “Last Man Sliding” Sunday at Rockingham Speedway for MB Drift’s final competition of 2022?

It could be points leader and Round 3 winner Brandon Goodman of Burlington.

Or it’s possible that 2021 victor Joe Busam of Fuquay-Varina could claim the double title for the second consecutive year after winning Round 2 and coming in third in Round 3 to wind up second on the leaderboard for this season.

Despite not yet having a chance to pull up to the winner’s podium, Nick Abbott of Henderson and Wade Smith of Charlotte are third and fourth, respectively, in the points standings, with Justin Bauer of Durham — who placed second in Round 2 — filling out the top five.

Kyle Vanderpool, currently seventh in points and who placed third in Round 2, is the only one of the other top 10 drivers — Dustin Walker (6), Andy Wright (8), Drake Carter (9), and Derick Gaskins (10) — to have a podium finish this season.

If any of them manage to place in the competition, they have a shot at being one of the top three season winners who will be awarded a front angle kit built by JUST Engineering, the season’s title sponsor.

The layout for Round 4 will be a heart-shaped kokoro circuit — a reverse of last year’s Round 3 course. As the team explained in a Facebook post in 2021, kokoro “is the metaphysical representation of heart and soul in Japanese.”

This is MB Drift’s second year at Rockingham Speedway. The grassroots drifting organization kept its branding after being forced to find a new venue due to the closure of Myrtle Beach Speedway, where they had been for 15 years.

As part of the deal with the track Rockingham, MB Drift periodically provides paving, widening the corners of the road course, which has also been used for the Allison Legacy Race Series competition during the speedway’s open house in March, and for the the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge Rock the Roval Summer Showdown in July.

Advertisements

MB Drift also helped out with the ImportExpo event earlier this month.

In 2021, MB Drift put on 10 events at the Rock, with Formula Drift driver Pat Goodin and NASCAR Cup Series driver Alex Bowman showing up at the Icebreaker Challenge.

This year, MB Drift scheduled six two-day events, bookended by the Spring Matsuri in April and the upcoming Halloween Havoc in October.

The competitions for both years have been held on the road course and at the Little Rock to give drivers different layouts on which to test and build their skills.

Dustin Walker leads a run against Paul Smith during the Battle of Little Rock.

“This has been a wild year, with growing substantially from the previous year here at our new home…,” the MB Drift team said in a post Thursday evening. “We do this for the drivers and fans as we could ask for nothing more than the excitement and smiles that seem to be endless throughout the track.

“Even though we are an extremely small team with some awesome volunteers, we strive to make your drift experience with us a laid-back, safe, and memorable time for everyone with an insane amount of seat time!”

Before the competition on Sunday, drivers will have the opportunity to get practice runs in from the time the track goes hot at 11:30 a.m. until sundown. There will be two course layouts earlier in the day and the competition route will open at 4:30 p.m. before qualifying starts at 6:30.

Qualifying resumes at 11:30 a.m. Sunday with the top 32 drivers facing off in a basketball-style elimination bracket for the competition starting at 1 p.m.

Tickets for spectators are available at the gate at $20 for one day or $30 for both, and kids 12 and under get in free. Anyone 18 or older is also able to take a free ride-along during non-competitive runs.

Previous articleJV Raiders rout Southern Lee in second straight shutout
Next articleFirstHealth’s tiniest patients take part in read-a-thon
Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.