Grassroots á la dragstrip. I traveled to Champion Raceway in Central Point, Oregon to check out their first ever drift event.
Champion Raceway is a quarter-mile dragstrip in Medford, Oregon. Operated by Kirk and Michelle Hobson, they have some awesome drag racing events coming up this year. By hosting their first ever drift event, they are helping car culture grow diverse and expand its audience.
Doing a 3 hour drive to Medford isn’t extremely long, but with company the trip is much more tolerable. Justin, pictured above, came along for the ride. Due to a freak accident involving a camera, some gum, a paperclip and tinfoil, the camera had to be surgically attached to his face. How he is able to eat is no small mystery.
Not really. Justin has a face and he can eat just fine, although I did inhale my breakfast faster than he did.
Because it was in Southern Oregon, some familiar faces from Drift Evolution were there to take part; Zak Abercrombie, Benny Shapiro and Tim Redler, to name a few. They were all new faces to me, and it was new territory to discover.
The track layout was fairly simple, alternating corners and a tight hairpin turn. The original idea was to include some of the pavement near the entry gate, but because it rained the night before the ground was totally muddy with lots of standing water.
As usual, Nissan was very well represented with a heaping helping of 240sxs.
However, I don’t believe a t-top version of the 240 was ever available, but it looked fantastic with that huge NASCAR-like spoiler and warplane teeth decals.
A missile is never truly a missile until the car starts looking like a busted up, veteran boxer. Chuck Vasquez’s FC RX7 has been around the block, and probably hit that block a few times, too.
As the nuclear explosion in space began to hit the horizon, it was time for some competitions. First off were judged solo runs. The criteria was similar to Formula Drift; line, angle, speed and so on.
Next were tandem competitions. Not too many registered to tandem, but the runs were fierce! Most notably, the battle between Chuck and Benny were so good, the judges had to OMT. Unfortunately there were no graphs showing which, the leader or chaser, the judges preferred. I assume it was because there were no knobs.
Anyhow, we did get one whole Matt Coffman to come out and help judge!
The day drew to a close with some burnouts.
Lots of smoky…
Fire spitting burnouts.
That night also saw the demise of Zak’s KA engine. after giving it a good throttling on the burnout competition, it fired its last cylinder.
I have to say, this event was a totally different experience for me. It wasn’t like Pat’s Acres where you can get absurdly close to the cars as they drift past you on a track meant for carting.
Muffled PA speakers, electronic music on loop, people floating around the paddock and trackside to catch a glimpse of some smoky shindigs; It’s the little things at events like this I reminisce greatly about and what, to me, make grassroots events so great.