NASCAR Takes on Drifting [VIDEO]
There’s a new Ford Mustang driver in town, and it’s definitely a surprise. Joey Logano, the 28-year-old NASCAR Cup Series Champion of 2018, will be trading in his Ford Fusion and jumping into a new Mustang for the 2019 season.
While Ford was shooting a promo video for the big announcement, I was invited to join and photograph Joey with his new Mustang at Charlotte Motor Speedway, now famous for its Cup Series Roval.
This was my first time seeing a Stock Car driving on a big oval, as my experience is mostly from the world of import cars and drifting. Joey ran a few laps in the Cup car, and the sheer speed he was attaining blew me away. I could almost feel the downforce the car was generating by the blast of wind to my face as it slipped past the spot on the fence line where I was shooting.
Turns out the second big surprise was pairing Joey with Vaughn Gittin Jr., Ford’s “Fun Having” Mustang driver (I mean, Formula Drift driver). Of course, things got rowdy from that point on.
Even without a running a true race compound tire, they were able to reach some blistering-looking speeds on the everyday performance Nitto NT555 G2 tires, wrapped around RTR wheels.
The unassuming Stock car doesn’t look like it can generate that kind of grip, especially when you place it next to a GT car with carbon this, and carbon that, plus a giant rear wing.
The video starts with Vaughn in his RTR Mustang, sneaking up on Joey in the Cup car. Joey notices, and they start drifting parts of the Charlotte road course. Yes, Joey drifts the Cup Car—big steering wheel included.
As the video concluded, they were joined by an additional Mustang for a three-car donut burn-out. This mystery driver was Vaughn’s teammate Chelsea DeNofa—he pilots the other RTR Mustang in the Formula Drift series.
Tech talk in the drift community has created its own language throughout the years which I noticed had left Joey a little confused during the briefing he had with Vaughn and Chelsea before the filming began. But, as soon as he was behind the wheel himself, he was able to translate the drifting terms into ideas and actions he understood. Normally, it takes a person a long time and lots of practice to become good at drifting—it was remarkable watching Joey learn. It took him roughly 10 minutes to really pick it up, and by the end of the shoot, he was drifting tandem with Vaughn and his RTR Mustang.
It was amazing to see someone from another racing discipline attempt drifting, and it was incredible to watch the three drivers interact with so little practice. They are truly professional drivers. Now, all I’d like to see is Joey Logano make a guest appearance at a Formula Drift round. Although, I don't think the prize money is as good.
See more photos from the video shoot in the attached gallery below.