One Big Benefit Of Small-Time Racing: Awesome Spectator Accessibility

March 10 ’21 Feature Photo: Drifting into sunset.

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One Big Benefit Of Small-Time Racing: Awesome Spectator Accessibility ©One Big Benefit Of Small-Time Racing: Awesome Spectator Accessibility

One of the most important aspects of motorsport is accessibility. When it’s feasible, it’s great for crowds to get as close to the action as possible. This is why the Long Beach Grand Prix is one of the best races in the world and why drifting is so fun to watch. Amateur events, like what’s in this picture, might not be as quick but often have the least barriers to getting trackside.

March 10, 2021 Car Autance Feature Photo Details

Car(s): Nissan S13 and S14, and more
Location: The Balcony at Willow Springs International Raceway, Rosamond , CA
Photog: Peter Nelson (IG: @16vPete) (Twitter: @16vPete) (Web:
Camera: iPhone 7, image processed in VSCO

At Willow Springs and other small tracks, people can get right up close to the action. At that range you can almost to the point of feeling the heat come off the tires and exhaust pipes. It’s actually not uncommon to get hit with hot tire boogers at super-up-close events like amateur drift events… which you’ll want to watch out for.

I took this photo during an impromptu visit to the Balcony at Willow Springs International Raceway. It was a hot Saturday evening out in the Mojave Desert, and I had just rolled up to hang with friends prior to attending a track day at the facility’s Streets of Willow the following morning. My friends weren’t there yet, but up the hill at the Balcony were some loud, bouncing rev limiters, so I made my way up there to watch.

What I happened upon was a really fun amateur drift competition, filled with the normal, capable RWD fair; S13s, 350Zs, etc. It was so fun hang out and watch, as well as snap a few quick shots on my iPhone. The sunsets at Willow Springs are almost always gorgeous; everything came together to make for great photos. Luckily, there was enough light to not make the photos too blurry, but enough to convey the sliding motion.

What a great time. Considering the up-close entertainment, it’s no surprise that drifting has been and continues to be many kids’ introduction to motorsports.

Here’s the photo in 1080p if you’re interested:

Image: Peter Nelson

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