We stack 'em deep. Photo by Mario Johnston
For years, the Drift Indy team has been working to recapture and distill the essence of what first gave drifting its sparkle however many years ago, and the 2022 season felt like a big step in the right direction.
Y’all remember that snow from opening day? And dudes were still out there shredding. The media tent out in the infield doesn’t come with a fireplace but I’m gonna keep lobbying for one to be installed.
I could've sworn these dudes were drifting through a foot or two of snow.
Anyways, looking back at my photos made me realize it wasn’t exactly the blizzard I was remembering. I guess the track wasn’t a literal ice rink? Regardless, that weekend takes the crown for worst weather at an event that I’ve been to from the drift day at Grissom Air Force Base from a few years ago.
Next up was the year's first clinic and Street League Volume 6, or, as I like to call it, Haypocalypse.
Looks like this was taken when the hay bales were still somewhat together.
Look, we all know the hay bales maybe turned out to be a not-so-great idea, but did y’all really have to plow through it so many times? I had my jeans cuffed that day and the cuffs had hay in them for a month after that. That day made me worried for what everyone’s rides would’ve looked like if we’d decided to throw some k-rails there in the “gooch” instead of the bales.
Still, volume 6 produced some pretty awesome battles.
What’s not to like about a final eight of Colten Terrell, Justin Wantz, Joey Ritter, Kyle Antonovich, Aaron Creps, David Whelen, Jacob Anderson and Mylan Zwiebel? Every single one of those guys shreds. I could describe each of those matchups, but instead I’m just going to direct you all to our video recap.
The final four inevitably produced yet more incredible driving. I suppose Jacob Anderson’s disqualification is something of an elephant in the room. I’ll admit I’m not well-versed on the pre-Volume 6 rulebook so I can’t comment on whether the tire rule was potentially misleading or confusing. It’s a shame, and no one can argue that he’s a superb driver, but rules are rules.
Regardless, the three eventual podium finishers earned their spots there. Colty took home the dub, David Whelen snagged silver and Kyle Antonovich received bronze. Colty and Kyle’s battle was incredibly tight and a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Two super-smooth drivers in stylish cars competing and putting on a show for everyone is what Street League’s all about.
Next up for the year were May’s Drift Day and the June Drift Night. In the interest of transparency, these events were before I was brought on as staff to start writing for the blog, so I don’t really have any notes to refer back to. Nothing standing out in my memory probably means that, as per usual, the drivers turned tons and tons of laps and a good time was had by all.
July’s Luau was an event I was prepared to write about, thankfully, and I encourage you to give my article a little readthrough here. Plus, that lets you decide if I’ve gotten worse as a writer over the past few months.
As I believe I mentioned in that recap, the drivers were killing it that weekend. The grid was absolutely packed toward the end of the day Saturday and the trains were pretty spectacular. Having trains that big outside of No Star Bash isn’t something I can remember seeing all that many times.
Having fifteen cars sliding feet — and often inches — away from each other speaks to the skill of so many of the drivers we’re lucky enough to have in the midwest.
August’s Street League Volume 7 was pretty damn special. Jason Brothers’ stand-out performance in Lite and deep run into the main event afterwards were probably the story of the event.
Josh Estey clinched main event gold, with Coy Pendleton and Justin Medina completing the podium trio, in that order.
I guess it's decided. Mustaches are officially in again.
A Bobby’s Crew driver winning the main event, combined with their impressively consistent practice runs, probably should have clued everyone in to the very high probability of them winning the Teams competition as well. And guess what! They did!
Sure, some of their cars might be a little rough around the edges, but you can’t knock their driving ability or their… in-syncness? In-syncness. Sure.
Oh, I should probably mention that we had Chelsea freakin’ DeNofa there earlier that same weekend for our advanced drivers’ clinic. From everyone I spoke to and heard talking about it afterwards, the general consensus was that it was a very challenging, but rewarding clinic.
Can confirm, Chelsea's a really nice, normal dude who loves drifting just like the rest of us.
The first track layout Chelsea came up with was one I’d never seen anyone run at Kil-kare, and it really put the drivers through their paces.
I can only imagine how good it must’ve felt to eventually overcome the tricky long accel and short decel zones that he set up. His little suspension tips and tweaks made near-immediate differences for a lot of the drivers and it was very cool to see everyone progressing as the day went on.
No Star Bash needs no introduction. Hell, I mark it on my calendar every year before I even mark my girlfriend’s birthday.
Food trucks, vendors, a car show and more drifting than anyone could ever ask for. It’s insane. Also, it’s not for the faint of heart. NSB’s infamous trains are intimidating even for our most experienced drivers, but at the end of the day it’s a huge part of what keeps drivers and spectators coming out year after year.
No Star Bash’s eleventh iteration brought out tons of OGs. On the media side of things, Nick Quigley, Jason Carroll and Mario Johnston brought their impressive individual experience to round out our roster.
I mention it in the full recap, but watching CMJ and Mike Feiock driving together was very cool. It’s a little bit of a cliche, but any one of these guys could give quite the history lesson on Drift Indy, if not on drifting as a whole. That goes for plenty of our event regulars as well as most of our staff, but those select few have definitely earned the shoutout.
Finally, Halloween Jam closed out what was an all-around banger of a season. There’s always something special about the last event of the season. I think knowing that it’ll be several months before we can all hang out and slide at Kil-kare again adds some melancholic undertones. Those undertones are hard to pick up on when train after train of cars is ripping through the track, though.
I don’t know where everyone got those vaguely toddler-sized skeletons that were the perfect size to sit under a wing or in the trunk, but they definitely added to the spooky Halloween vibes.
Still waiting on the Spirit Halloween x Drift Indy collab...
The costumes were somewhat lacking this year, though, I will say. Sure, we got photographer David Estes ripping some fat clouds through a mask during the drivers’ meeting and Josh Cook in a pretty sick cowboy costume, but nothing else really stands out in my memory. Did I dress up? Admittedly, no, but that doesn’t let everyone else off the hook.
Ripping. Fat. Halloweeny. Clouds. Photo by Jordan Harmon
The event finished up with a very wholesome awards ceremony. Hearing everyone drunkenly waxing poetic about the Drift Indy community never fails to warm my heart.
Like rookie of the Year Jason Brothers said, “anybody who gets to experience these events knows there’s nothing like it. These events are amazing and I can’t wait for next year.”
I won’t go into specifics, but I have it on good authority that 2023 could very well be Drift Indy’s biggest and best year yet. Of course, a great schedule, big events and amazing staff don’t mean anything without an awesome community of drivers and spectators. 2022 was a great season for styled-up cars and driving and there’s little doubt in my mind that you guys are going to keep upping the ante for years to come.
I’ll conclude this recap of a spectacular year with this quote from Edgar:
“Drifting is bigger than all of us.”