A Personal Journey
This is so surreal to be writing a piece on. First State Drift… The best place to start this off is going to be to talk about 8 years ago where it all began for me and to give you all a little background on myself and my experience with automotive sports. I was 17 at the time, driving around in my riced out ’93 Civic coupe. I was driving home from school one day and out of the passenger window, I see this car just rip it through a corner at a traffic light.
I don’t know if I should be talking about this… but it’s important to set the narrative for how drifting has evolved in the state of Delaware. So this car just tears sideways through the corner. I couldn’t even comprehend what happened at the time. I thought for a second someone was about to crash the car. Fast forward however many weeks and I notice the same car up the road from my house. The sticker on the side said “Delaware drift club”. The car was an s13 coupe.
At this point in my life, I hadn’t been into cars at all. I decide to ask around and as it turns out, there was a club of street drifters for lack of better words. Fast forward again to a few months later. I sell the civic and pick up an s13 hatch for $800 bucks at the local junk yard. That was a steal. I end up buying another engine and a manual transmission from the guy mentioned earlier with the s13 coupe. I meet more members of the club. My friends I grew up with are getting into cars around the same time, maybe a little bit earlier than me. They get “drift cars” too.
I think we got into it pretty late for what was happening with the club. A lot of those guys are a little older than us. They seemed to be transitioning into their adult lives and we were just getting into our young, senior in high school days. Once we were there with our cars, they didn’t really want to drift with us or show us how to do it or go with us anywhere. Naturally we took to some back roads and figured out what we could on our own. That is where it all began for me. Keep in mind this all took place around 2009.
In 2012, I moved to California for school to pursue photography. While out there, I photographed grassroots and pro-am drifting non-stop. I tried to be at every event I could work into my schedule. In 2015, I moved back to Delaware. At the end of 2016, First State Drift had their first event.
Just to sort of recap and to try to put this into coherent sentences… For me… and I’m sure a lot of other people; to witness what started as a club of street drifters evolve into a legitimate and organized drifting event in this state is so amazing. I don’t know details of how it all came to be, but I do know there were many discussions and meetings that led up to all of this happening. We will all find out more about the process in part 2 of this article which will be accompanied with a little Q and A from the organizers. Let’s get ahead to the event.
First State Drift is a beast all it’s own, however, it wouldn’t be possible without the help of Brandywine Motorsport Club (BMC). The events are run in conjunction with BMC’s autocross events.
First State Drift
For me, it’s a little weird to cover this. First, in California, the events I attended were taking place at race tracks like Willow Springs International Raceway or smaller go kart tracks like Adam’s Motorsports Park or Grange. In Delaware, the drift events are in a parking lot at the NASCAR speedway. The course is similar to autocross in the sense that cones are set up and the drivers navigate (sideways) through the cones. Second, the competitiveness that was present in California is not present here… And that almost makes it better. It isn’t better in the sense that it makes for more interesting photographs, because it doesn’t (sorry). However, it is better in the sense that I know every single driver out there is doing it because they love the sport of drifting. They love the camaraderie and the feelings associated with drifting. They just love to drive. There are no trophies. There are no awards. The only thing anyone gets out of it here is satisfaction.
Check out some images of these guys sliding around, and be sure to keep an eye out for pt. 2 where I interview the organizers and get input from the participants!