The usual staff of Texas Motor Speedway have seen the likes of NASCAR, Indy Car racing, and GT racing; never before have they experienced the Xtreme Drift Circuit though. When the clouds looming overhead began to spat water down towards the track below, they even waited for (what they thought was a sure fire) call canceling the event. Fortunately, that’s not the XDC way.
When we all arrived in the morning to get staged and let the drifters get some practice time in on the track, we were greeted by none other than Mother Nature wishing us endless spins and off-track excursions suitable for a range rover. Luckily the drivers were able to withstand the mighty super-soaker-of-doom being shot at them from above; after some successful practice runs along the rain dwindling down to a light drizzle, the drivers retreated for a meeting while the rest of us began to inspect the cars becoming very intimate with countless rags.
Cars and scattered tents took the place of the trailers that usually line the infield of Texas Motor Speed, along with DJ’s mixing it up and what appeared to be a high school-esque band on a big blue stage near the back of the event. Everything from exotics to domestics could be found lined up, occasionally with a girl complimenting the view.
Not only could you find the competing cars resting for their upcoming abuse and glory, but you could even catch some ground rupturing rigs. Who said a tow car had to be boring?
Now that the rain had stopped, the drivers had been briefed and the event had been opened up to the public, it was time for some tasty sideways action in the form of qualifying. The track was still a bit damp, but for the most part it wasn’t as much of an ice rink as it was earlier on in the day. That didn’t stop some people from performing some unintentional pirouettes though.
After some ride-alongs had been given to four lucky fans and a Time Attack race featuring literally all of two cars concluded, the judges (including Formula D’s Chris Forsberg) settled in their seats and the Top 16 stormed onto the track for some practice runs and the opening ceremonies. The second the drivers fired up their stallions the fans roared their approval, the air encasing the track ebbed with an electric excitement.
It certainly was a treat for all of us watching as one by one each pair of cars put on an orgy of noise, smoke, and speed. Welcome to Texas.
Despite suspension problems all throughout the day that rendered him unable to place, Chelsea Denofa was still able to show in some of his runs why he was the points leader going into the event.
The final battle for first place was between racing-driver-gone-drift Doug Van Der Brink in his incredibly mean turbocharged Mustang against Nate Hamilton in his very blue Sil40. Tires howled in pain, fans roared in approval, and engines attempted to jump out of their bodies; man it was a great battle.
After 4 nail biting runs, Doug and his Mustang claimed first and Nate grabbed his first podium at an XDC event with second place. With that, the event began to draw to a close; those that placed got their bigger-than-average checks, the awards were given out to those that entered for them to be judged, and everyone began to pack up and head home. A great day in Texas, and a great day with the XDC. Finals are going to be swarming into Phoenix, Arizona next month; good luck to all the drivers!
For more and higher resolution pictures, check out the gallery here!