EVENT | VegasDrift | Round 1

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So a new beginning for me. I flew into Las Vegas on Wednesday of this past week and luckily for me I got to shoot my first event on Saturday, VegasDrift Round 1. It was very exciting to see yet another drift series. Having been to UDC, IDC, Drift Allstars and FormulaD it was going to be interesting to see what a series like VegasDrift could do.

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Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the venue and seemed to be huge although the drift track was ran in a seperate area beside the oval but within the complex so to speak. I guess it was very typical to see a stand named after a NASCAR champion and legend like Richard Petty.

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After been dropped off to the track the pit area was much like any other drift pit area. People milling around and the sounds of impact wrenches sounding off all over the place. The organizers were in the middle of doing the driver briefing and I recognized individuals like Forrest Wang of Formula D fame and…

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…Danny George. Although I don’t know the guys it put me strangely at ease, just that little piece of familiarity I guess. Shortly after Nick Dizon one of the main guys behind VegasDrift did the media briefing, and much like any other drift series it was the usual do’s and dont’s. I really don’t know why I was expecting anything different to be honest.

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One thing I was delighted to see was that Vegas had some really nice street cars. My initial impression of Las Vegas from past visits was that the car scene was a mixture of American Muscle and expensive supercars. So to see cars like this Lexus GS, of which I spotted at least 3, was very cool.

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Another spot of familiarity for me to feel at home with was the amount of S-body Nissan’s in the field of drift cars. The S-body is definitely the weapon of choice especially the beloved S13 240sx be it in coupe or hatch form. The one strange thing was that the noises they made were not what I was use too. Whistling superchargers and growling V8’s!

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Shooting in the sun is not that unusual for myself, even at the Irish Drift Championship but shooting with no cloud made things very difficult for me. Trying to find a spot where I had the sun to my back was very difficult as you can see in the shot below of…

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…Mike Fulkerson in his S13 Hatch. I’m afraid you guys are going to have to give me some time to learn who is who and what is underneath the hood/bonnet. I think I’m going to have to also remember to use both the American/European description’s for what I am talking about.I might have to get Hunter McLeod to proof read my articles!

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This strawberry faced S13 hatch was driven by female driver Melyssa Grace. Like a lot of drifters she progressed well through the day and she learned the nuances and speed of the layout that VegasDrift had constructed.

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I really love this shot of Travis Avery from Colorado. I love it because it’s an FC RX7, I love it because it is straight on with the rear of the car but also notice the heat haze pouring from the car – AWESOME!

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It didn’t go everyone’s way during the day. Shawn Hartum who made the mammoth trip of 26 hours from his home in Canada had a mishap at the last corner in his RHD Orange FD RX7.The STR Racing S13 decided it didn’t like the first right hander after the initial transition and ended up in the gravel. This was the only real sizable down time for the entire day.

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The track layout was excellent and Vegas Drift had put on three separate tracks for the professional competition and then two practice tracks as well. I thought this was great as it allows the professional competition to flow and the amateur guys and learners could shred rubber all day long.

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The awesome cars just keeping flowing – this very cool retro TE Corolla was lurking in the paddock. The driver was kind enough to hold station as I snapped the car. I think I am slowly being converted over to being a Toyota fan.

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The Get Nuts Lab guys and girls were out in force at the event with their own booth and several cars in the paddock and out on track. Mikey Stark (above) was very impressive with some great aggressive entries and plumes of tyre smoke added in for good measure!

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This PS13 made me weak at the knees. Black, aggressive cambered front wheels and some, quite frankly, ridiculous aero… I loved it! I spotted this car a while back as it has been featured on the net and in magazines so I am told.

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Get Nuts Lab driver AJ Gallant in his S14 shadows Brandon Patterson into the first initiation
 

There you have it, my own little perspective on my first event away from “home”. I met some great people during the day and I am hoping to make the rest of the championship during the year and to get to know all the media, drivers, fans and organizers. “Is that it?” I hear you say?? No, it is not. Myself and Tim Walsh have completed a look at the battles on OMGdrift – Click here to check that out.
 
Words & Photos: Patrick McCullagh
 

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