Driver Spotlight: Joey Ritter

Joey Ritter

It was pretty damn cold at Media Day. He doesn't always look so bundled up.

Drift Indy Street League has been host to quite a few hugely impressive moments. We've seen upsets, crazy OMTs, driving through mechanical issues and, of course, plenty of underdog stories.

If we look back to Volume 4 we can see one of my personal favorite examples of one such underdog moment: Joey Ritter's DISL Lite gold medal and subsequent deep run into the main event bracket.

Not too many folks have an action named after them. Wrestlers, some basketball players, soccer players etc. But now Joey Ritter's name has become synonymous with an underdog story. Last year we saw Jason Brothers "Joey Ritter" Joey himself by being promoted from Lite and then making some big moves through the main event.

Like I've mentioned before, Joey really gets what DISL is all about. Plus, he's just a really nice dude! Check out some of my conversation with the 27-year-old Kil-kare local from a few weeks ago:

How'd you get into drifting?

So, Geoff Donati gave me my first ride along and then I went and bought a Z a week later. So, that was summer of 2019, and then I bought the car and I worked on it for a couple months and then made it to No Star Bash 2019. That was my first event ever.

What was the first DISL event you drove?

I think it was Volume 4. It was the first Lite competition. I got bumped up to main and made it to like the top 8? And then got knocked out by Colten Terrell. It was a really close battle but then I had something loose and I spun out in the last turn and was like "Ah man." But I love Street League. 

Favorite DISL moment?

Probably battling Estey in Volume 5 or 6. Estey's always fun. Like, I've always looked up to his driving style, I think he's sick, so battling with him was pretty awesome. I think he gave me my first little love tap ever, too. 

Estey and Ritter battling at a DISLHere we see Estey and Joey going head-to-head at an earlier DISL Volume.

What are your goals while you're driving?

Oh, I definitely focus on being smooth. I try to like maintain a consistent speed and like just transition smoothly just to make it easier on like the guy behind me. It's smooth, but yeah, I don't, not really a big angle guy maybe for initiation, but yeah.

Who's your favorite tandem partner?

Clint is definitely my favorite. I love to tandem Clint. He and I have been driving together since before Team Shade was a thing. We met at a Test and Tune and tandemed while that was still allowed. I mean, we probably tandemed together every week for like two months. Like, every test and tune we could go to we would go and tandem together. So, yeah. Him and I have the most experience together. Even in our trains now it's usually him and I up front and we switch off.

Joey and Clint

Just two shredders doing their thing. All the Shade boys rip, but Joey and Clint are always so in sync.

Where'd the name "Team Shade" come from?

 Nobody could decide on a color. Everyone was arguing about it and we're like, ah, we're just gonna be different shades of blue and it'll be team shade. And then we finally agreed on a color and we're like, well, we don't wanna -decide what the name should be cause that was a whole other thing to get into, so we just left it at that. If you get all five of us to agree on anything, it'll probably turn out okay. We all have very different styles, but everything turned out pretty good.

Joey's 350z

 The new Shade livery is TITE

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The Whip:

Joey's kept his 350 pretty simple which, as we all know, likely has had a lot to do with his consistency and ability to turn lap after lap. He's rocking GK Tech angle, including lowers, uppers and the bolt-ons, BC coilovers with 12k up front and 8k in the rear, a Hotchkis front sway bar and the OEM bar in the rear.

His car makes about 10 or 15 horses over stock thanks to a plenum, an intake and a tune that bumps his redline up to about 7 grand. An extra 500 revs over stock might not sound like much, but that little bit makes getting around Kil-kare that much easier.


Joey's 350Z