Learning the Craft: Grassroots Drifting

by Andy Noggle

Just outside Madison, Wisconsin lies Columbus 151 Speedway.  It's a family owned semi-banked quarter mile oval, a classic Midwest circle track, and home to Friday night stock car races throughout the summer. But every few weeks on a Saturday morning, as the staff are picking up the empty beer cans and hot dog wrappers from the last night's races, the track comes alive again.


A lone spectator braves the noon day sun as others seek relief under the overhang at a SlideSociety Drift Day.

Yoshi works to raise his AE86 Corolla in preparation for swapping wheels/tires.

A group of individuals get together to indulge their thirst for adrenaline.  They are drifters who call themselves SlideSociety Drifting. They are not professionals (there is nobody named DK or Han either) and there are no $100,000 purpose built drift cars present at tech inspection.


Alex drifts through turn 4 in his beautiful Toyota Cressida that is 5 speed swapped, with a welded diff, and hydro e-brake.

What you have are real people who love to get sideways in their daily driver, drift car, and everything in between.


Chenue is seen drifting turn 2 at Columbus 151 Speedway in the early days of SlideSociety Drifting.

Mark R., President of SlideSociety, describes it like this:

“Flashback to 2009. One of my friends told me that there is drifting going on at Columbus 151 Speedway. I had started drifting a couple years before, but I was in between Corollas, so to speak. So I just chilled and watched my friends until the end of the season. At the time, what is now called SlideSociety, was called 151 Speedway Drifters. We used to meet up every Thursday and go from 5pm to dark. Back then if we had seven cars at the track, it was a good night, some nights there would only be one person out there. “

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Thursday, September 19, 2013 2:45 AM
I truly believe that grass-roots efforts like SlideSociety are the future of motorsport. These groups can be hard to get started, but it seems like once they pick up a bit of momentum they become unstoppable. Just look at LeMons. It went from a 2-race calendar to a cross-country monstrocity in just a few short years.

The internet age has brought a proliferation of information that amateur racers in the 60's and 70's would have KILLED for. It has never been easier to get together with a couple of buddies and build a perfectly competent race/drift car.

People moan that big-budget racing series like F1 are dying, but I really couldn't give less of a shit. With all of the incredible, action-packed series like Formula D and Global Time Attack gaining popularity we are truly entering a golden age for motorsport. Groups like SlideSociety will continue to ensure that there are open, available, economical avenues for normal people to get into cars and have a great time. This creates a perfect environment for budding talent to shine and make its way into the big leagues. It also ensures that there are tons of fun-loving gear-heads around to act as an enthusiastic fan-base to cheer on the more talented drivers as they rise to the top.

There have been all kinds of stupid trend-pieces lately about how car usage is on the decline in the USA and how millennials have no interest in cars. I think that is just a bunch of hog-wash from out-of-touch writers sitting in their stuffy little offices at the New York Times. There has never been a better time to be a young car-lover and fantastic groups like SlideSociety drive that point home like none other.

Way to be guys. Great article. I would love to read about more stuff like this.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:25 AM
... and here I'd been wondering where to find a drifting event local to here. Funny coincidence.
Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:54 PM
LOL, those grassroots folks eventually want to graduate into the FD right? They seek exposure and stardom....
I have yet to see what does the FD do for the car community. Rules are twisted based on the particular team and car used (in other words, rules are not equal to everyone), and you have drivers/teams with VERY limited budgets that face teams with $100,000 full-blown race car. That's what I would call "a leveled field".

I can't wait for the sport to die, the folks running the circus will move onto something else, and a new chapter will start.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, September 19, 2013 6:25 PM
... wow, spoken like someone who doesn't actually do anything. The only reason to do something isn't just to go graduate to doing it professionally eventually, someday, hopefully. For most people, the actual reason to do something like this is... to do it, often with other people who have fun doing the same sort of thing.

I don't engineer and fabricate grassroots roadrace stuff with the intent of moving up to ALMS, my dad and friends of ours don't have aspirations of driving professionally, so on and so forth. It's fun, it's a hobby.

Who, in the context of anything discussed in this article, really cares what FD does or doesn't do? I mean seriously, what the hell?
Friday, September 20, 2013 1:22 PM
@Dan ReRosia, who told you I don't do anything?

Don't kid yourself! People that pick up hobbies are in it to become better at it, whether is chess, hourse-riding, doing SCCA or origami.

Moving from grassroot drifting to FD is a dream of ALL drifters (in US at least).

The more/better you drive, the more you get noticed. Eventually someone will approach you and ask you if you're interested in join his/her team and so forth. It's always been like that, it's always gonna be like that.
Sunday, September 22, 2013 8:38 AM
that LS swaped 350z is Keith Carlos
Mark Reuterskiold
Mark Reuterskioldlink
Sunday, September 22, 2013 8:48 AM
I had written lengthy responses to you JDMized twice on here and it hasn't posted them, so I'll give you the gist of it.

You cannot generalize what everyone wants out of a motor sport. First and foremost, the reason people do it is because of their love for it. If they didn't love the sport, the they'd be in a different one.

I started SlideSociety because I love the sport and I want others to enjoy it with me, not because I want to be famous, I know my events will never compete with others in the Midwest. I do it to grow the sport and teach people how to do it.

Stop talking about FD, this has nothing to do with FD.

Also, you talk a lot about nothing and have no experience in what you're talking about, you don't really know how it is, so don't talk.

hopefully this will post up.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Sunday, September 22, 2013 3:30 PM
Mark: I tend to copy all of a post that I wrote into the clipboard before hitting post; the specific failure mode is that if someone posts something between when you last loaded the page and when you posted, it goes away. FYI.
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