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Drift racers take to airport runway

Thomson and the McDuffie-Regional Airport were hosts to Clear To Drift, a drift-racing exhibition sponsored by the Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce and Spirit Aviation.

"The people from StreetWiseDrift approached us about hosting this event," said Mike Carrington, the executive director for Forward McDuffie and the acting-Director for the Thomson McDuffie Chamber of Commerce.

"We talked about it and agreed to host it and see how it goes, and hopefully take it from there."

"We're hoping this will become a regular event, possibly twice a year," Carrington said. "Depending on how it goes, we hope to be working with the racing people and see about possibly building an actual track for it to be held at."

The event generated a far more positive response than had been anticipated.

"We really didn't know what to expect," Carrington said. "We've hosted a lot of car shows, beach blasts, that sort of thing, but this is our first shot at hosting drift racing. We figured, 'Well, if we can get 500 people to attend, that will be good.' But we've gotten a tremendous response. We had over 1,500 people on the Web site saying they were going to attend, and judging from the crowd, it looks like it could be more than that."

The event was scheduled to start at 9 a.m., but there wasn't a clear end time set.

"The end time is kind of determined by how many tires they go through," Carrington said. "I think they keep going until they run out of tires. It looks like it will run until four or five, and at the end of it, there are several drivers that have volunteered to take people around the course for a small fee."

Additional sponsors for the event included, Pro-Am Formula Drift, NOS Energy Drinks, Sizzling Signs and others.

"Admission's only ten dollars," Carrington said. "And children under 12 get in free. We wanted it to be an affordable event for families, and we put in a playground for the kids to play in while the dads get to watch racing for Father's Day."

Future events planned for the area include fireworks on the lake on July 1, Scarecrows on Main Street, and the Christmas events.

"We've got a whole year's worth of activities planned for the area," Carrington said.

It wasn't clear whether this event was an exhibition or a competition.

"The drivers are definitely competing," Carrington said. "They've got a lot of money tied up in these cars, and they're competing for pride, if nothing else."

Web posted on Thursday, June 23, 2011

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