Is Midwest Drifting Dead? 

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By Ford Kuhnel

The Kansas drift scene is in big trouble. A few months ago, Heartland Motorsport’s Park closed due to unpaid tax increases and a decline in motor sports. This has had a huge impact on drifting and other motor sports in the state of Kansas. Without Heartland Motorsports drifters, drag racers, and time attack drivers are left without a home. What can the Kansas racing community do? 

Heartland Motorsports Park was the biggest motorsports complex in the state, located in Topeka, Kansas. Heartland offered a variety of different racing disciplines like drag racing, circuit racing, and the main event, drifting. With a new drag strip being built just outside of Kansas City and Hallet Motorsports Road course just inside the Oklahoma border, this closure leaves drifting with nowhere to go. Drifting is a small community but popular amongst young car enthusiasts including my friends and myself. The sport was really starting to grow in Kansas with every event getting bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, it got caught off before Kansas drifting could really take off. Here is what me and my friends decided to do about it. 

The news of Heartland closing left us worried we were not going to be able to go drive this semester. So, we sought out to do something about this. After further research there were no other places in the state that offered drift events on their schedule. Mayhem Maker, the event host for Heartland, had went silent after their last event. This left my friends and I with two options: hit the streets or go out of state. Although drifting originated on the streets of Japan, it is very illegal here. Not wanting to lose our licenses and have the cars we built impounded, the decision to go out of state would be the best option. The closest state to us is Oklahoma, so we started there.  

After a few days on Instagram, my friends and I found an event host with a list of tracks at their disposal. After some group discussion and build timelines being pushed back, we chose to go to FullLock Drift’s final event of the season. This event was at MacArthur Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The track is a go kart track behind a recently developed apartment complex. It was a fun little track with a tight entry corner and some elevation change. But it was not beginner driver friendly. MacArthur Park is a pretty technical track that required precise car placement to get around the track fluently. This track was different from the tracks I’m used to. Heartland was a big open skid pad with cones lining big sweeping corners, which was decent for my meager 200 horsepower car. MacArthur Park was very different. That required me to drive my car differently, and I much prefer the style of driving MacArthur forced me to do. However, the track did have some downsides. The track was rough with huge ruts on the edge of the corners from people going off track. There were potholes in important sections to put your car, forcing you to either send it over them and risk damage, or miss the corner. Lacking mechanical sympathy, I sent it. Overall, this track was well worth the weekend adventure, and I would recommend it to anyone.  

Just bear in mind the cons, my friends and I all experienced the down sides at different points in the day. Jay, the silver E46 BMW, blew an axel three laps in due to the ruts on the track. However, he got the axle changed in an hour. Olhin, the black E36 BMW, bent an arm or something because by the end of the day the front suspension in his car was making an awful noise. As for me, I blew the transmission up in my car because of the hill and my lack of low-end power. Even with every car taking damage we still had fun. FullLock are great event hosts allowing us to get as many laps as possible. We plan on going back and checking out the other tracks in Oklahoma as well.