ROCKINGHAM — Thirty-one drivers squared off in an elimination bracket Sunday afternoon for a shot at $500 in the Battle of Little Rock.
The event was the third of four competitive rounds of MB Drift’s 2022 season at Rockingham Speedway and the only one on the half-mile track, which was built as a replica of Martinsville Speedway. Last year’s first round was at Little Rock.
Joe Busam, who won Round 2 in July, qualified first so he had a bye run in the first elimination Round. Busam also won the fourth round and was crowned the season champ in 2021.
But several other top qualifiers weren’t so lucky.
Wade Smith, who qualified second, blew a tire at the begining of his second run against Tevin Baysa and Nathan McDuffie had to bow out on his first run against Darin Onorati.
Points leader Justin Bauer, who qualified 20th, was eliminated in the first round by Devin Bruce, who started at 13th. Bauer came in second last month.
Drake Carter and Andreas Mesner, who qualifed ninth and 24th, respectively, had several do-overs before the judges finally advanced Carter. Last season, Carter placed third in the final round and finished fifth for the season. Heading into that round, he was the only driver in the top six without a podium finish.
Also advancing to the sweet 16 were: Drew Riggins, who won first place in Round 1; OK Drift team members Brandon Goodman, who won Round 3 in 2021, and Corey “Shake” Mendenhall and Kyle Vanderpool, who placed fourth and third last month, respectively; Dan Stoneburner; Nick Abbot; Kyle Clayton; Dustin Walker; Paul Smith; and Todd Cooper
The RO will have more on the Battle of Little Rock later this week. See photos from the first elimiation round below.