The action of drifting, when the rear slip angle of a car is greater that the front slip angle and a loss of traction occurs between tires and track, can occur in different types of auto racing. This may be unintentional, with drivers either spinning off the track or being able to rectify the over-steering that caused the drift, or intentionally, with drivers using the technique to gain an advantage. In recent years, drifting has developed into a recognized motorsport in its own right, with drivers intentionally over-steering to get their cars to slide sideways while still being in control. Drifting competitions are held in many countries around the world, where competitors are judged by a set of criteria which may include speed and angle, as well as adherence to the line through corners which is set for each competition and amount of smoke created. In some competitions audience response and driver showmanship are taken into account when selecting a winner.
Drifting as a sport is believed to have originated in Japan, with motorcycle and car racing champion Kunimitsu Takahashi being considered to be the “father of drifting” as, in the 1970s, he created many of the original drifting techniques still used today. Takahashi’s drift techniques were picked up by Keiichi Tsuchiya who took to practicing his moves on mountainous passes. He was given the nickname of “Drift King” for the part he played in establishing drifting as a motorsport, and for his use of drifting in standard racing events. The video (Pluspy) focusing on Tsuchiya’s drifting skills continues to inspire today’s drivers.
Sponsored by the Japanese drifting magazine Option, one of the first drifting events in the United States took place at the Willow Springs Raceway in California. The sport has gone from strength to strength since then with the premier series in the United States being Formula D. This exciting championship series consists of seven events that take place at race tracks across the country. Judges take into account execution and style and so the winner will not necessarily be the competitor who finishes the course in the quickest time.
Tracks in the US that currently host drifting events include the Long Beach GP street circuit; Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA; Palm Beach International Raceway; Wall Speedway, NJ; Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; and the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA. Described as the merging of extreme sports with traditional racing, drift racing offers plenty of action and excitement – for both drivers and spectators.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup was introduced to NASCAR to increase the competition mid-season, as well as to generate greater fan interest and higher television ratings. Certain changes have been made to the format since its inception in 2004, but The Chase continues to add drama to the NASCAR season.
The Chase was introduced in 2004 after Matt Kenseth won the Winston Cup in 2003 by such a large lead that much of the season lost its excitement, reducing ticket sales and TV ratings. Matt Kenseth had won only a single race all season, however, due to the point system and his consistent placing throughout the season, Matt Kenseth won. Because of his large point lead it was also a forgone conclusion, killing any possibility of a tight finish. On the other hand, Ryan Newman took first place in 8 races that season, but only finished in sixth place. This point system had proved more than once to be a dampener for spectators, who would rather switch the channel to watch the NFL. Thus the Chase for the Sprint Cup was introduced.
So how does the Chase for the Sprint Cup work? Once 26 races in the season have taken place, 12 drivers with the top points then qualify for The Chase. At this point the 12 NASCAR drivers’ points are adjusted to start with 5 000 points, along with an extra 10 points for each win the driver had during the season so far. These drivers will continue to compete for the last 10 races of the season. All 43 of the season’s drivers will still compete for wins and prize money under the standard point system. Drivers who win receive 190 points. Any competing driver who leads a lap in the course of the race will be awarded 5 bonus points. Also, 5 bonus points are given to the driver who leads for the most laps. At the end of the season’s final 10 races, the NASCAR driver with the top point total is named champion of the Sprint Cup Series. This Chase for the Sprint Cup format almost certainly results in a points’ battle right until the last race of the season, adding to the thrill of the sport.
Today’s final two stages saw the Spanish team confirm the lead it had built up over the three days of the Rally Corona México, Rally of Nations, to be finally proclaimed winners. Xevi Pons and Dani Solà were victorious in ten of the rally’s eighteen stages, accumulating a total of 1,067.5 points, followed in second place by Austrians Manfred Stohl and Andreas Aigner, who together won on four occasions. At the close of the competition, 128 points separated the two countries. The last place on the podium was taken by France, led by Didier Auriol, who, with the help of Brice Tirabassi, managed the fastest time on only one of the stages. Spain,
therefore, takes away the 50,000-dollar first prize.
Austrian driver Stohl has no reason to feel defeated, however, his being the fastest individual driver with a winning total time of 2’57:28.7 for the 18 stages, just 14.4 seconds faster than his fellow countryman Aigner. Stohl, meanwhile, walks away with 15,000 dollars for being the fastest driver on each day of the competition.
The final order of the first ten places remained unchanged from yesterday, the drivers setting out today to hold on to their positions, though still putting on quite a show for the hundreds of fans who gathered on the Guanajuato sierra, and at León’s racetrack, where the Scotiabank Super Special stage took place. The prize-giving and closing ceremony took place, as it does
every year, at the Foro del Lago, where fans came to say goodbye to the competitors.
This first edition of the Rally of Nations was enjoyed by all those who took part, all of whom expressed their admiration for this new format, one which will undoubtedly draw many more competitors in the future. The first edition of this event confirms the enormous popularity of the state of Guanajuato’s roads as a venue for rallies, it having brought together major names
from the rallying world, as can be seen from its line-up.
Rally of Nations’ unofficial positions
NASCAR has long been the realm of aggressive male drivers who just ‘fit’ in the auto racing industry. But what if you don’t ‘fit’, but you still love the sport of auto racing? What if you don’t have great sponsorship or famous parents? NASCAR has been supporting the dreams of minority drivers for some time now – and their efforts are paying off.
Long blonde hair surrounding a pretty face is usually accompanied by minimal clothing and a buxom body in the racing fraternity. But Kristin Bumbera is no average car-hood pin-up. No, she’s nothing like that. Her long blonde locks hang over the back of a well-sponsored racing suit and, instead of adorning the hoods of cars, she gets behind the steering wheel and grinds up the tarmac with the best of them. The 21-year-old Late Model driver from Sealy, Texas, has already claimed two victories and 11 top-five finishes during the course of 2008 when she took part in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Now she is hoping to pursue her dreams and take her career even further by joining 24 other hopefuls this weekend in NASCAR’s sixth Drive for Diversity class. All 25 drivers will be individually tested and evaluated at the South Boston Speedway in preparation for the class. Only 14 spots are available in the Drive for Diversity class, each of which will earn a fully funded ride for 2009.
Thus far the candidates for the class include 16 women and nine men. Ages range from 17-29 and all of them are excited at the prospect of winning the grand prize. The program will place ten of the winners in the Whelen Series, while four others will be driving in the Camping World Series. This is the next step in the career of all these drivers and is one they possibly wouldn’t be able to take without the assistance of NASCAR. Unlike a number of her competitors, Bumbera will be trying for a second year in the program after a very successful first year. She looks forward to the day when a female driver makes a real mark in NASCAR instead of just becoming another â€˜female pioneer’. She faces stiff competition from a number of other really good young drivers who are equally eager to make their mark on the NASCAR world. No doubt the final results of the class will see some great new blood injected into the industry.
The past weekend in Columbus, Ohio, was a very exciting one for auto racing enthusiasts. Eight champions were crowned in the various Lucas Oil sportsman categories following the outcome of the highly successful fourth annual JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals on the weekend of September 20-21, 2008.
The SPORTSnationals were held at the National Trail Raceway where more than 500 different competitors took part in a variety of action-packed events. In the end there were a lot of thrills and spills and the best of the best emerged to claim their trophies. Robert Baily of Wabash, Indiana, won the Comp Eliminator title and Jeff Taylor managed to lay claim to the Northern SPORTSnationals Super Stock title for a second time. Female driver Katie Sepanek from Moosic, Pennsylvania, became one of the few women to have won an NHRA national event when she was given the Stock Eliminator title ahead of fellow competitor and former champion Kevin Helms. Helms only just missed his chance to recapture the JEGS Crown by loosing to Sepanek. He won the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals in Bella Rose last April and has to win at least two of the three JEGS SPORTSnationals to capture the limited edition JEGS trophy. He still has one more chance at the crown, however, since the third JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals is set to take place in Fontana, California, from October 3-5, 2008.
Other racers who managed to go home with a trophy were Super Comp winner Don Trasin (Pickerington, Ohio), Super Gas winner Gary Linkhorn (Cumberland, Ohio), Don Moyer (Pickerington, Ohio) who won the Super Street trophy, Ronnie Davis (Suwanee, Georgia) who took the Top Sportsman award and Bill Webb (Centerburg, Ohio) who managed to go home with the trophy for Top Dragster. The Coughlin family also enjoyed a good weekend, with John Coughlin getting the best finish in a quarterfinal finish in Super Stock. Mike and Troy Jr Coughlin each won their opening races but were unable to make it past round two of eliminations. After an action-packed weekend of fantastic racing, fans and drivers alike will no doubt be looking forward to the final instalment in the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals this year. So make sure you don’t miss out by making your plans for the October SPORTSnationals now.