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Drifting is coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway and it begins this week.

HAMPTON – Each summer O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags is a weekly effort to push the limits of how fast vehicles of all kinds can travel down the pit lane dragstrip.

This Friday in addition to the drag racing there will be another test of man and machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway: drifting.

“It’s all of the good parts of a high-speed car chase in a movie put onto a racetrack. All the engine noises, the tire smoke, the thought of ‘is that guy going to lose control’ and seeing them pull off some cool maneuvers,” said Gregg Bucell. “That’s what makes it cool to me.”

Bucell’s a drifting enthusiast who manages a shop called Koru Works in Marietta that soups up performance cars. Naturally, that includes transforming peppy sports cars into drifters.

“There’s a common misconception that these cars are setup to be loose – they’re actually setup to get the most mechanical grip out of the rear axle,” Bucell explained. “That helps us modulate the car with the throttle, so realistically we just let the steering wheel float around and actually steer the car with the brake, clutch, and throttle.”

Bucell says the first ever drifting exhibition during Friday Night Drags this Friday night is going to be the perfect opportunity for experienced drifters to test their skills and for newcomers to learn the craft.

“For beginners who want any assistance to know what a proper setup on a drifting car is, we’ll be there to give that advice,” Bucell said. “One of the most exciting things about drifting is it’s open to anybody who wants to get into it with a rear-wheel drive car. Heck, I remember doing it in my mom’s old Mercury!”

With an overwhelming response to the first-of-its-kind opportunity, entries to Friday night’s exhibition have sold out. Those participants will get several hours to hit the drift course with the peace of mind that safety personnel are always on standby.

“When you get to drift in a controlled atmosphere like Atlanta Motor Speedway, you can push the car to its absolute limit while knowing you’re safe,” Bucell said.

Spectators will be able to watch the drifting exhibition, along with the night’s drag racing when Atlanta Motor Speedway's O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine return to the pit lane dragstrip on Friday, July 12.

Grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m., and nightly drag race eliminations start just after 9:00 p.m. Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is just $20 or competitors can purchase a combo ticket for $30. Spectator tickets are just $10, and children 5 and under are free.

More information can be found at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags or by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at 770-946-4211.

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor.

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