The time had come, Final Bout Friday was actually happening. With only a 5 hour drive to Shawano,WI, I left early Friday afternoon aiming to get the track before sundown. At the two prior final bouts I’ve always enjoyed getting there the night before to walk the pits; by then a good amount of teams are there and staged, ready for the next day. The scene upon arrival did not disappoint. Almost every team was unloaded and staged in the pits, which is quite the feat considering teams came from both coasts. After many months of anticipation and being teased by social media posts, seeing all of these cars and teams together in one spot was an incredible site and didn’t disappoint by any means.
Saturday was the biggest day of driving on the schedule; 10am-11pm, with a few breaks and the team tandem competition in between. After attending the drivers meeting and hearing the break down of events I walked the pits one last time to see the cars in their cleanest states before a crazy weekend of tandem drifting. A practice/warm up session was first up to give the teams some seat time at a pretty technical track; USA International Raceway. The track has several large elevation changes and many technical corners, gaining the nickname “roller coaster of love” to many in the Midwest drift community.
Late into the morning practice session it began to rain….hard. A few drivers came out to enjoy the slick surface and short wait times on the grid. Thankfully, the staff of the event agreed that the competition would be pushed back until the rain had stopped. Not to long after that the rain tapered off, the crowd and drivers began to file back into the pits. With the team tandem competition up next, excitement was back in the air. Word came through the pits that all drivers needed to be on track for team introductions.
A parade of some of the raddest drift cars in North America began to line up for team intros. Let’s be honest, aside from the team tandem competition, style is the biggest theme of the event.
Team Tandem Competition
Teams range in sizes from 3 to 7 drivers. Each team would get two runs on the competion course. All teams took two runs. From the total 24 teams, 4 were selected to go head to head in a run off.
After the field had been narrowed down to 4 teams (High Fade, Animal Style, Garage Moon Power and Full Clip), a crowd chant encouraged one more run between Garage Moon Power and Full Clip. The competition over, all four teams made their way to the main spectator area while the judges tried to comprehend all the driving they just saw.
After a few minutes of debate and crowd polling…. Garage Moon Power would take the trophy for Final Bout 3!
After the competition, was the start of some of the hardest driving the Midwest has seen. All the teams were bringing their ‘A’ game and extended that into the night. The night drifting session was insane from start to stop. Lights were brought in and laid out on the track where the competition was held. Tandem trains went late into the night and a few cars getting alittle to close to the wall.
The energy from Saturday night carried into Sunday and the driving was nuts. Teams driving together and mixed up led to some amazing visuals. So with that in mind, I’ll leave the highlights below that I caught Sunday as the event wrapped up.
Leaving the event it was hard to wrap my head around all the awesome moments that happened over the two short days. I don’t think there was a better way to send off a great grass roots event. 3 times I’ve gone and each time I’ve come away with a new appreciation for drifting. This is the last shot I took on track Sunday, I think it’s the perfect way to sum up the weekend and Final Bout as an event.