Drifting comes to Texas Motor Speedway

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by GEORGE RIBA

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wfaa.com

Posted on May 12, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Updated Friday, May 13 at 11:40 AM

FORT WORTH, TX - If you like to burn up a set of tires every few minutes, then this sport is for you.

"I think it started out as a road race driver just over driving the car," says Formula Drift driver Michael Essa.
 
It's called drifting. It can get hard to see the road when the inside of the car fills up with smoke from the tires burning up the track.
 
The sport was glamorized in movies like Tokyo Drift from the Fast and Furious series. These days it's become a competitive sport called Formula Drift. It's not road racing.
 
"When your road racing, you have the little extra edge where you can slide the car a little bit and catch it," Essa says."In drifting, you don't have that since your already sliding the car.
 
Fans attending the Indy race at Texas Motor Speedway in June will get a dose of the sport.
 
"There is a little bit of a learning curve, but you know my mom doesn't know anything about motorsports and she doesn't even know what I do," says Ryan Safe, co-founder of the sport. "I've had her come out to events before and she understands, especially when you put two cars in tandem."
 
Drifting began in Japan in the late 70's and didn't arrive in the United States until the mid 90's. Drivers are judged by speed, position on the track, their angle and style which is the subjective part left in the hands of judges.
 
The sport appeals to a younger generation but if you like to over steer and intentionally lose control of your car, than drifting may be the sport for you. By the way, it helps to have a tire company as a sponsor.
 
“Nitto is our tire sponsor," says Essa. "They've been really good with us. We burn through a lot of tires."
 
Essa says on typical weekend, he'll go through 40 sets of tires.

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