Wednesday, 10 March 2021 16:20

MB Drift preps for 'Battle of Little Rock'

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A driver skids across a corner on the road course of Rockingham Speedway on Feb. 20, 2021. MB Drift will be hosting its second event of the season at Little Rock. A driver skids across a corner on the road course of Rockingham Speedway on Feb. 20, 2021. MB Drift will be hosting its second event of the season at Little Rock. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Drifting returns to Rockingham Speedway this weekend, but on a different course.

MB Drift will host “Battle of Little Rock” on Saturday at the smaller, half-mile track on the speedway property.

The Little Rock was built as a replica of Martinsville Speedway in 2013 by former speedway owner Andy Hillenburg.

Last month, Clint Mills hosted a go-kart race using half of the track — which the MB Drift Team of Marshall and Kristi Eggerling, Zach Sebald and Devin Crezee plan to utilize for the second of 10 scheduled events for the 2021 season at Rockingham.

MB Drift held the season’s first event on the speedway’s road course Feb. 20.

The RO reached out to the MB Drift team about the upcoming event.

Why the Little Rock this time...and why only half the track?

“We're a grassroots series, so our drivers vary in experience level — some of them are brand new to this motorsport. We structure our season to build driver skills throughout the year. Little Rock has plenty of run-off, has wider paving so the layout is less technical, and is a slower speed than the courses we'll use later in the year. 

“As far as only using half the track, drifting is different than other motorsports in the sense that we don't run continuous laps. Our competition runs are only one lap. Using the half-track layout allows us to manage the course and drivers well and gives for more excitement as the drivers will pass back over the start line going the other direction to finish their runs.” 

Will the Little Rock be easier or more difficult than the road course for drivers? What will the challenge(s) be this time around?

“Little Rock is more forgiving because of the wider paving. The challenges for our drivers this time around will be the pressure and stress that comes with competition. Looking at the course challenges, drifting on banked corners adds another element into determining how to take the best line to link the course from corner to corner.” 

How are drivers scored in drifting? What earns the most points to determine the winner?

“Drivers are scored by a panel of three judges — line judge, angle judge, and style judge. Each competition battle only has two  cars — a lead and a follow. After one run, they switch positions so an even comparison can be made between lead and follow. To earn the most points, drivers have to follow the line as laid out by the judges, link the course in a continuous drift, get as close in proximity to "clipping points" positioned on the course, all in the most "stylish" manner possible.”

MB Drift team members say they were “extremely surprised” when they found out a NASCAR driver was one of the participants.

They knew that top Formula Drift driver Pat Goodin was coming out and that he would be “sharing a car with friend.”

That friend was Cup Series driver Alex Bowman.

“Having a professional NASCAR driver and a professional Formula Drift driver come to our event shows how promising the future of Rockingham Speedway is,” the MB Drift team said in a joint statement. “It was awesome to see Alex using drifting to prepare himself for the NASCAR Cup Series road race at Daytona the next day (which he finished 10th). 

“While most of our drivers are not competing at a professional level, we've now had three professional drivers come to our events (Jonathan Nerren came out in December) (and) we'd love to see that trend continue. There are not many places that grassroots drifters and spectators have the opportunity to be on track and interact with professionals.”

The members of the MB Drift team said they were “extremely happy with driver and spectator turnout” at the February event, considering the time of year and the temperature.

“We loved the local enthusiasm and are grateful for the support from the community,” the team said. “With this kind of support, the future of motorsports at The Rock is extremely bright. We appreciate the opportunity that the venue and the locals are giving us to help breath new life into Richmond County.” 


Last modified on Wednesday, 10 March 2021 16:48