ROCKINGHAM — Tires will be smoking on Rockingham Speedway’s road course this weekend as MB Drift returns to kick off its competitive series.
Round 1, titled “Suns Out, Guns Out,” will be a two-day event with a free drift day on Saturday and competition on Sunday.
“It’s gonna be a ton of fun,” MB-drift co-founder Marshall Eggerling said in a video Wednesday evening. “There’s gonna be some crazy competition … The course is a little on the tight side.”
In preparation for the event, Eggerling and other organizers were at the track last weekend to spread more than 120 bags of concrete along sections of the course. MB Drift has been making gradual improvements to the road course as part of the deal with track owners.
The latest additions, Eggerling said, were to prevent dirt drops, help make the track flow better and to improve spectator safety.
Eggerling added that the recent improvements were made specifically for the Round 1 course.
“Our courses typically build in speed as we go throughout the season,” Eggerling said. “So we start with the lower-speed stuff and get faster and faster as we go. So that way, when we do have those newer drivers, we can build their skills at the lower-speed level and get them comfortable.”
In the video, which went live over social media, Eggerling and Zach Sebald encouraged drivers to take advantage of the seat time on Saturday to get comfortable with the course layout.
Drivers qualify solo, but the competition pits them against each other, running 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.
Judges for the first round are drifters Gabe Asturias and Christian Nelson.
According to the post announcing him as a judge, Asturias began drifting in 2003 and his first competitive event was with MB Drift in 2006. In addition to being a driver, he has also been a photographer for the drifting scene.
Nelson, who was at the Spring Matsuri last month and previously competed in the MB Drift series, now drifts in the Formula Drift Prospec series.
First-place winners of each round this season will win $500 and a free oil change thanks to sponsors On Point Parts and Extreme Oil Solutions. Second place wins $250 and third place earns free entry for a future event.
The first round of last year’s competition was Battle of Little Rock — held on half of the half-mile oval — which was won by T.J. Gutierrez, who finished third for the season.
The other four rounds were held on the road course, with Joseph Busam taking first place at the final competition and for the year.
With Saturday being National Armed Forces Day, active duty military personnel get in for $10 each day — or for free if they show up in uniform. Spectator tickets are $20 per day or $30 for both days.
Free ride-alongs with the drivers are available to all spectators 18 or older.
After 15 years at Myrtle Beach Speedway, MB Drift had to find a new home when a zoning change led to the closing of the venue. The team moved the events to Rockingham in late 2020 and held its Ice Breaker in February 2021 — with a special appearance by NASCAR driver Alex Bowman.
In all, MB Drift had 10 events at the speedway last year and was a large part of the track’s revival.
This weekend’s competition is the second of six two-day events slated for this year. The next three competitive events are scheduled for July 9-10, Aug. 13-14 and Sept. 17-18 — and the season ends Oct. 22-23 with Halloween Havoc.
The track goes hot at noon Saturday, with drifting action until 8 p.m. Qualifying for the competition begins at noon Sunday.