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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

91st Annual Loudon Classic - Car Drifting at the Track

The 91st Annual Loudon Classic had some great motorcycle races.  Unfortunately the day we went the motorcycle stunt riders had already gone.  I was told it was a mistake and they were only booked for one day.  By the  time the track realized it most of the stunt riders had departed.  They were fun to watch last year so I was disappointed.

As I was walking around the infield looking at the bikes Kevin said I needed to come check something out.  They had a drifting track set up with cars running the course.  I thought it would be interesting so I headed over. 

What do I know about drifting? … nothing … I did read up a bit on it and one person put it this way: "The concept of drifting is to hold a slide through a series of opposing turns without regaining traction."

This is what I saw.

Cars entered and lined up at a starting line.  Cement barriers were used on one side of the course for spectator safety.  On this course the cars would accelerate straight for a couple hundred yards.  The driver would then break the back tires free by turning the steering wheel sharply, hit the emergency brake, or a combination of the two.  This would start the car sliding into a left hand corner. 

If the car couldn’t stay on course the driver could cut right to a right hand drift loop.  If staying on course, they would continue a left hand drift to a short straight then continuing left for 180 degrees.  Continuing to another small straight then a hard shift to a right turn 180 degrees eventually straightening out to the exit.

If this was a drift competition the drivers would be judged on 3 things: LINE (the ideal drift path a vehicle must take on course and is marked by inner clipping points and outer clipping zones dictated by the judges).  ANGLE (the maximum drift angle at which a driver can maintain and control his/her vehicle throughout the marked course).  STYLE.  (this is a drivers personal style, is subjective, and includes speed, aggressive flicks, closeness to walls, extreme angle, degree of difficulty, fluidity and extreme proximity to the lead vehicle (in case of head-to-head competitions)).  Going off course, spinning out, losing the drift, and contact with another car results in low scores or a zero score.  Typically 2 runs taking the drivers best score for the final results.

Low gears and high rpms kept the car drifting.  Smoke … rubber chunks hitting you as cars went by … noise ... skid marks … it was all there.  Special drift tires, lots of horsepower, and some great driving made it fun to watch. We watched some drift the whole course from that first left turn which was impressive and required some pretty good speed. 

We also saw some not make the corner and do the extra right loop, spin outs, and one car that missed a fence by less than a foot.  It was a good save.  

Later in the day they had drift races with multiple cars on the course at the same time.  Being behind the car in front with the tire smoke must make it hard to see. 

Throughout the day some cars lost parts like bumpers and molding.  Others had dents and dings.  It must be part of the game as they didn’t seem to mind.

It was fun to watch.  Wonder what it would feel like to be a passenger …

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