Home Local Sports PHOTOS: MB Drift’s Battle of Little Rock – Top 8

PHOTOS: MB Drift’s Battle of Little Rock – Top 8

Nick Abbott leads the first run against Dan Stoneburner in a battle for the final four of MB Drift's Battle of Little Rock on Aug. 14. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — And then there were eight.

After getting the thumbs up from judges on two previous elimination rounds, eight drivers battled for the top four spots at MB Drift’s Battle of Little Rock at Rockingham Speedway on Aug. 14.

The first match-up in the quarter finals of the grassroots drifting series’ third competition of the season pitted Drew Riggins, of Burlington, against Joe Busam, of Fuquay-Varina.

Riggins won Round 1 in May, but didn’t compete in Round 2; and Busam, who was the top qualifier for the weekend, came in first in Round 2 in July and won the fourth round and the season in 2021.

Both drivers were behind the wheel of a Nissan 350Z.

Although last year was Busam’s first with MB Drift, the Ohio native ran with Drift Indy for two years before moving to the Tar Heel State. Riggins has been drifting a little more than a year, and managed to win his first competition.

Joe Busam, left, and Drew Riggins glide around the first hairpin turn of the course.

After each taking a turn leading with the other following, Busam, the more experienced driver advanced to the final four.

The next battle was between fellow OK Drift team members Brandon Goodman, of Burlington, and Kyle Vanderpool, of Graham.

Goodman took the top spot in 2021’s third competition and Vanderpool placed third last month — after taking out another OK Drift driver, Corey “Shake” Mendendhall.

Vanderpool nearly lost his bumper and did lose the round, with Goodman moving up.

OK Drift team members Brandon Goodman, left, and Kyle Vanderpool make contact around the banked corner in the center of Little Rock.

The third showdown featured Dan Stoneburner, of Elgin, South Carolina, against Nick Abbott, of Henderson.

Abbott qualified seventh heading into the competition and Stoneburner qualified 15th.

Neither has made it to the podium this season — although Stoneburner has a few wins under his belt from previous years and Abbott was fourth in points from the first two rounds.

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Stoneburner eventually got the win after the judges made them go again — but not before Charlotte’s Paul Smith solidified his final four berth with a win over Dustin Walker of Welcome.

Paul Smith, left, and Dustin Walker come out of the first hairpin turn of the course before turning into the bank.

The RO will have the conclusion of the Battle of Little Rock later this week.

Click here to read the recap of the first elimination bouts.

Click here to read the recap of the top 16 battles.

See more photos of the top eight below.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.