28th Sep2018

Man vs Wall: The Salt City Drift RMR Finale

by Michael Chandler

Last weekend was Rocky Mountain Raceway’s last Midnight Drags and the last Salt City Drift event at the facility.  Being that it was the last event at the venerable facility, everyone came out and tried their best to get as many runs and passes in as they could.  Many succeeded, but a few failed in that endeavor.  Let us talk about all of those people, and remember that there were no losers among those who came out!

After getting into the facility (which took forever because everyone who kept putting off driving at RMR realized that this was their last chance), we had the driver’s meeting.  Josh was not having any shit, and threatened to kick out anyone who held up the lines.  Why was he so adamant about not putting up with that kind of bullshit? Because there were more cars at this event than at any other SCD event!  KEEP IT MOVIN!!!

After the threats subsided, Dave grabbed the volunteers and gave them a briefing on what he was looking for.  Not sure who the hell that dancing guy is, but shoutout to you!.. You fuckin weirdo.  Also, shoutout to the guy who ran the start line for most of the night.  It’s a hard job, but he stepped up. 

He also had some moves!  LOOGIT THAT SEXY MOTHER FUCKER!!!!

And then we got to driving!  I managed to get a shot of Joshten’s no longer purple S14 before he blew his head gasket.  I didn’t shoot that many photos at night, mostly because I was shooting video!  It’ll be done eventually, and when that eventuality comes to pass you’ll be the fourth or fifth to know!

I an, intellectual/idiot, slept in my van.  My small van.  My small van that was full of stuff.  It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t as bad as you’d think.  Morning came, and I was greeted with bacon and smiles from Josh Willette.  It was very welcomed.

Some of us went a different route…

Don’t worry, his sexy ass recovered.

Eventually everyone woke up/showed up, and a brief driver’s meeting was held.  And then we got to driving.

And there was much rejoicing.

Then the dude with the S13 Silvia (right hand drive and everything) ate the wall, and wound up on the news.  Then I went home, because I had other things to get done.  It was a fitting farewell.  Most everyone had a good time, and nothing burned to the ground.  RMR will be missed, but never forgotten.  

And now a big ass gallery!

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28th Sep2018

This is The End: A Farewell to RMR

by Michael Chandler

It’s always weird when an institution closes.  Be it the neighborhood restaurant, or a store you’ve been going to all your life, or the school you and your friends and all your older siblings went to, it never feels quite right when a place like that closes.  The same can be said for Rocky Mountain Raceways, which held its last Midnight Drags and Salt City Drift event last weekend.  What makes this weirder for me is I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Well… had.  I hated that it was always such a production to get in to.  Getting my wristband was never an issue.  Jordan or OP always made sure I was on the volunteer list for the drift events, and the ladies in the ticket office were always easy to work with.  It was everyone else that made it a pain.  Actually, it was pretty much just the people at the paddock gate.  It was always fun having them tell me to go to tech, even though I told them several times that I wasn’t drag racing.  Or them stopping me at the gate, and holding me there while other drivers went in, and keeping me there until they were good and ready to let me in.  Such good, infuriating times that made me wish for the coming destruction to come sooner.


But once I got in, it was a different story.  Inside is where all my friends would be.  Old friends, new friends, friends who don’t quite know my name but know who I am.  And they’d be everywhere: stands, drift paddock, and in the drag paddock.  I would see guys I haven’t seen since the Utah Hondas days.  It was great!  I loved seeing everyone, and RMR was the place.  But now it’s counting down its final days, and I’m getting sad thinking about it.

And it’s sad on a whole other level, because there is an epidemic of small ovals and drag strips across the country being torn down.  The reasons are many, but the result is the same: a link to a bygone era of racing heritage and history is being demolished.  Racing legends like Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Tony Stewart, Al Unser (Big and Little), Alan Kulwicki, and so many more got their starts on tracks like RMR.  With them still standing, we could get a glimpse into the early stages of the careers of these giants.  But now we’ve got stories told by the people themselves on another free podcast.  It’s like seeing your childhood home torn down, or the first place you ever worked becoming a parking lot: you’ll always have the memories, but something is still missing.

There’s a poem by Jim Harrison called “Larson’s Holstein Bull”.  It’s my favorite poem, but that’s not saying too much because I don’t know a lot of poetry.  I think it’s fitting in this instance.

Death waits inside us for a door to open.
Death is patient as a dead cat.
Death is a doorknob made of flesh.
Death is that angelic farm girl
gored by the bull on her way home
from school, crossing the pasture
for a shortcut. In the seventh grade
she couldn’t read or write. She wasn’t a virgin.
She was “simpleminded,” we all said.
It was May, a time of lilacs and shooting stars.
She’s lived in my memory for sixty years.
Death steals everything except our stories.

That last line has always stuck with me, because it’s one of the truest things I’ve ever heard.  Places will close, and become something else.  Buildings will be torn down, and new ones built in their place.  People will leave us, as quickly as they joined us sometimes.  Things will change, but we’ll always be able to look back on what was.  For better or worse, we’ll always have the memories and the stories.  And for the time being, we’ll have the people.

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08th Jun2017

Back in the Bowl: Salt City Drift Round 2

by Michael Chandler

I went and did some drifty stuff in the middle of the Porsche GT3 Cup madness.  Friday night the Salt City Drift folks got together at RMR, and slid the bowl with varying levels of success.  There was a competition, but I bailed long before that went down.  Anyway, here’s a gallery

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06th Jun2016

Salt City Drift Round 1: It Didn’t Rain!

by Michael Chandler

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Yes!  It actually happened!  There was an organized, legal drift event that went off without fear of rain!  And it was a solid six-ish hours (drivers meetings, loading and unloading of cars, and so forth) of driving!  Of course local hero Brandon Wicknick was there!  And so was Nick Stucky!  Although his banana mobile decided it wanted to plantain.  And Derrick Lopez came out, in an SR20 powered S13 hatchback, that was a lot like Brandon’s.  Just more pedestrian in the looks department.

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Scott Bradshaw and Dane Seering were out in LS powered S13 coupes.  Scott went with a bass boat theme, while Dane went with a general death and destruction vibe.

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We had some friends come up from Southern Utah, and they taught us some valuable lessons: You can link the whole track if you have a twin cam KA in your 240 and have enough lights, and a stock E46 M3 is ready to party as soon as you pull the right fuses.  It wasn’t just a drift event, it was a learning experience.

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Speaking of learning, there were a lot of new faces out there!  It was good to see some guys who weren’t afraid to go out, suck out loud, and seek out answers as to why they suck, from people who don’t.  That’s how you learn kiddies: go, do, suck,, figure out why you sucked, go again, do again, suck a little less.  I hope we see these guys out again, because by the end of the night they made some progress in the right direction!

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We also had our first contest!  Blaize Potts, in his KA24DE powered S13 coupe, finished in first.  Nick Nengas in a virtually stock 350Z finished in second.  Third place was occupied by Hayden Campbell in his E30 BMW.  This wasn’t just a contest for the sake of having a contest.  There are season long stakes on the line!  Whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins a roll cage, or possibly a set of wheels.  Not bad for coming out and sliding with your buddies!

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The next event is June 18th, out at Utah Motorsports Campus.  This is a daytime event, running from 9am until 5pm.  There’s a mandatory lunch break, so you won’t miss out on any driving because you want a burger.  We hope to see all of these (mostly) smiling faces, along with yours out there!

YOU THINK YOU WOULDN’T GET SOME BONUSES?

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03rd Jun2016

We’re Drifting TONIGHT!!!

by Michael Chandler

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YYYEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!  It’s finally happening!  From 5pm until midnight, see local heroes, Scoundrels, some Not Very Good guys, and whoever else shows up slide around the bowl at Rocky Mountain Raceways.  It’s gonna be a hell of a time, and you should come out to it.

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Originally I had planned on writing a long post about how you can’t set out to create an underground scene, and that something can’t be underground if you create a public Facebook event for it, then invite a ton of people to said “underground” event.  And I was going to say something about how the street scene, for better or worse, will never die.  And in a way, it shouldn’t.  I was also going to throw out a “Golden Ticket”, but I didn’t work out the logistics and I have a sneaking suspicion that whoever’s car wouldn’t pass tech.  Such is life in the mean streets.  But instead of an 800+ word column, you get this sub 300 word invite to come join us tonight!

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Who knows?  You might come away with an awesome prize!*  To review: Tonight, Rocky Mountain Raceways, 5PM until Midnight, in the oval.  Be there, you babies.

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*You’re not getting a damn bumper, or any big car parts.

04th May2016

We’re Drifting This Friday!

by Michael Chandler

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DRIFTING IN A LEGAL* SENSE IS BACK THIS FRIDAY!!!  From 5PM to Midnight (gasp!) the Salt City Drift guys and girls and other pronouns will be kicking off their season in the bowl at Rocky Mountain Raceways!  There will be solo runs, and tandem!  And a competition!  Yes, I said competition.

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See local heroes take solo and tandem runs, all while trying to get their hands on that sweet sponsor money.  Who is that sponsor?  O’Reilly’s Auto Parts.  How much money?  A $100 gift card.  When is this happening?  Around 10pm.

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That’s not a bad way to start a season.  Come on out, enjoy some drifting!  It’ll be fun!

 

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**I say legal, because I know what kind of hooligans some of you are.  Just a friendly reminder: being a renegade in the streets is acceptable for skateboarding, but not for drifting.  Don’t street drift, and we won’t make fun of you when you mess up your car after learning a valuable, albeit hard, lesson.
19th Jan2016

Look, Drifting

by Michael Chandler

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Erik Brooks sliding his 180SX during a Salt City Drift event at Rocky Mountain Raceway last year.  He’ll be back out this year, but the 180 will be a little different.

06th Aug2015

Salt City Drift Goes to an Oval

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

After the surprise stop at Miller Motorsports Park, the Salt City Drift folks made their way to West Valley to slide around the oval at Rocky Mountain Raceway.  The last time I was shooting drifting at RMR was… Good god, was it that long ago?  Well, we returned and things were just as interesting.

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Stucky was there in a FB RX-7 with no handbrake.  Race cars don’t need handbrakes!

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Nick made it like an old Japanese drifting video: lots of revving, throwing the car around, and sparkly pink!  By the way, this jack of many trades is for sale.  Go find Nick and make an offer to own this quality piece classic J-Tin.

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On the complete opposite end of the spectrum: a first generation CTS-V!  6 lug hubs and all!  This almost broke my brain.  I don’t know who was driving this, or why the hell they went with a CTS-V of all things, but I’m sure the answer to one of those will reveal itself.

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Y’ALL READY TO GET KAWAII AS FUCK?!?!? One person in this picture is!

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Josh Hadlock put the parasol down long enough to throw his Corolla around and make a ton of smoke.  This was the loudest thing at the track, with it’s uncorked 1UZ sending its V8 roar reverberating off the walls of the oval.  It was raw, and hateful, and glorious.

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And then things came to an abrupt end.  Unfortunately, the Corolla did not survive its run in… brush… smashing with the wall.

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Josh is fine though.  There are a lot of salvageable parts on the car, so all he’s got to do is find another Corolla to shove that stuff into.  Ashes to ashes, and so forth.

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Speaking of Corollas, Quin was there in his.  You remember Quin, right?  Anyway, he has a Corolla.  He also has an A31 Cefiro, but let’s talk about his Corolla.  It’s orange, it runs, and he can slide it around.  Good to see him out and about.

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This thing has a V8

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It doesn’t always have a bumper though.  But look at how excited Brad is!

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So, there wasn’t so much a defined “crowd” at this event.  The people would come and go from the wall as their friends would go out and come back to the grid.  Most people just stood on the lengths of railroad ties that were laid around the outside of the track.  This girl got creative, and climbed to her perch.  Then some safety people told her to get down.  But you know who else got down?

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ERIK BROOKS!  He always gets down when there’s an event.

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The heat wasn’t treating his 180SX too well, but he was still out there doing some stuff.

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I ran into a couple of fans/readers/guys who were excited about free stickers before I left.  This is what they drive.  You, dear readers, have excellent taste in cars.

And with that, I was off.  This wasn’t the biggest event, but it was a fun one.  You guys should come out, and either drive or watch.  There really aren’t any excuses for not coming out to one.  Driving is cheap, spectating is cheap, either is fun, you can ride along with some of the drivers if you want!  The next event is the 21st of this month, at RMR again.  Get there!

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11th Sep2012

Midnight Drags 09/07

by Trent

LS1 Turbo FC Mazda RX-7

We are motorsports fortunate in Utah. We have a world-class racing facility at Miller Motorsports Park as well as an off-road, motorcross, and rock-crawling course out there. Parking lots are full of auto-x on the weekends, and Rocky Mountain Raceway hosts the midnight drags on their 1/4 mile track. It’s always great having somewhere to go to test out your car. All of this is within 1 hour of Salt Lake City too.

Turbo LS1

Well it had been some time since we’d been out to the drag strip to see some of that action, and with one of our friend’s customer’s car running out there, we figured we’d make the trip. I brought a camera and lens with me to show the way.

White and Black Evo drag race

The last time I was at the drag strip, it was littered with Subaru’s, my old STi included. It seems to have switched to the Evo crowd. There were plenty of them. Of course, the usual Mustang and Camaro combo came out to show everyone what can be done for relatively cheap.Fox Body drag race8.8 second 1/4-mile Mustang

I was impressed by some of the vehicles, and also surprised to only see one 10-second Honda Civic. Utah has more than a few of them, but they must have been busy that night. Also surprising, no less than 4 Dodge Vipers showed up. I haven’t seen that many together in some time.VIper and Mustang drag race

Unfortunately we realized the fun we were missing out on at the end of the season, so expect more from the drag strip next year.

RMR midnight drags700HP Mitsubishi Evodrag race Evo

Photos by Trent Bray and Michael Chandler.  Words by Trent Bray

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