Drifting into Memphis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Drifting comes to Memphis Motorsports Park

MEMPHIS – In a blur of sliding vehicles and tire smoke, Memphis Motorsports Park will host “Memphis Drift & Drag” presented by Traction Optional this Sunday, Aug. 3.

Rain or shine, the event will feature high-powered cars intentionally sliding through a series of turns at the ultimate limit of control. Gates open to drivers at 7:00 a.m., and the track is open to spectators 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

While drifting practice will take place in the drag strip pit area, the day will also offer drivers a chance to quench their need for “straight line” speed on the championship drag strip, much like a regular Thursday night session of Comp Cams Test-N-Tune presented by Tennessee Used Oil Recycling, where racers can burn rubber, compete against the quarter-mile clock or other racers, and avoid the obvious pitfalls of street racing in a safe, controlled environment.

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Drifting, by definition, is “a sporting event using rear or all-wheel drive cars to traverse a tight course at the ultimate slip angle at each turn’s apex,” with the object being “the utmost car control using both steering and throttle input to pass each clipping point at an angle substantially greater than that of normal driving.”

This practice day provides drivers a chance to fine-tune their performance for competition, where they are judged more on style and execution than speed. In other words, the better the show, the more points awarded.

Drifting originated in Japan and has been popular on the West Coast for several years, but did not make the leap to the U.S. mainstream until the 2006 release of the movie box office hit, “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” Memphis Motorsports Park hosted its first sanctioned drifting event in 2007.

Spectator admission is only $10. Entry fee for the test-n-tune opportunity on the drag strip is $20.

Pre-registration for drifting practice is $75 in advance; $100 at the gate. The drifting portion of the day is limited to 40 participants.

For more information, call Memphis Motorsports Park at (901) 358-RACE (7223) or visit TractionOptional.com.