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Drifting: Home for the misfits

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Do you have a ‘home away from home’? A place where the second you see it, you can’t help but smile?  The second that you step foot on the property you can feel a weight off your shoulders? Where you can breathe again, feel safe, loved and find happiness.  Many of us in drifting are lucky enough to know these feelings, at our home track.


Since my first drift event in 2018 I have always felt like drift days were a home for the misfits.  Those of us that never really fit into a specific group before, all of the sudden have a feeling of belonging.  Bringing people from all walks of life and ages.  I’ve noticed this common evolution of drifters; most have been skateboarding or on bmx bikes since teens, which used to be seen as sports for the “outcasts”, then they get into cars, usually stancy honda boy things first, then more tuning and modifying, usually leading to either drag strip or street racing, next comes autocross and/or rally, finally the final step of evolution, drifting.  Finally finding that adrenaline rush that was once found with younger knees and younger backs, better for the body, much more expensive, but so good for the soul.  Anyone that drifts will tell you it’s worth it.      





I’ve met all walks of life through drifting; welders, engineers, business owners, OTR drivers, artists and even some professional drivers.  Kids, yes I’m calling them kids, that are 16 at the track with their parents supporting them every step of the way.  Parents are also coming to see what their adult children are so passionate about, and what we don’t know how to stop talking about.  Parents that attend drift days get to see their children happy, surrounded by friends, loved and fitting in.  Some come to just hang out for the day and watch, while some help work on the car or go with for a few ride-alongs on track. Parents just being there supporting means everything.  These opportunities are hard to come by today, a chance for families to see their black sheep of the family fitting in, learning about what they’re passionate about, which is just a part of what makes it special for so many of us.  If someone that you care about is into drifting, just a few hours at the track means the world. Now we are also getting to see driver’s themselves bringing their own families to events.  Sharing and teaching what they love with their own children.     





These events allow another group of misfits a place to belong.  The car enthusiasts that have a passion for creating with photography/video.  Many of us creatives have felt like outsiders, misfits for a lot of our lives.  Then we find this community where we can share our love and curiosity of cars.  Drift media allows us to constantly challenge ourselves, be it through our camera settings, meeting new people, trying new spots, new tracks, cars going sideways or still, candid’s and so much more.  I have become known for my candid photos on the paddock, which is an honor to capture memories in the making. Many others have followed suit by documenting the whole experience of a drift day, not just the cars, which is great.  I’ve been lucky enough to capture my friends' big moments on track, good and bad.  Making me feel more like I belong, it's a way for my shy awkward self to start a conversation.  I have the privilege of capturing drivers for the first time at a track, a new car set up, taking a parent for a ride along or each lap getting closer to the infamous USair wall.  It could also be aero flying off, losing a wheel, or an exploding transmission on track.  So many things happen in drifting while cars are being pushed to their absolute limit, 30-70 drivers walking around each with their own stories yet to be captured and told is exciting.  It’s beautiful to see how these moments bring people together, to help get each other back on track or delivering drivers their lost aero. A comradery many haven't experienced before.    





When you’re a bit of a misfit, feeling seen is simply comforting.  This is why I enjoy sending drivers (that I can find them) photos directly from an event.  People's joy when surprising them with photos of themselves or their car will never get old.  Hearing the actual story behind the smiles or car on jack stands is the best.  Hearing that I can turn around someone's bad day is unbelievable. Again brings that sense of belonging and valued that I haven’t felt in any other community.  Track staff is also a huge part of making the track feel like home, many of them are also drivers, media or just people that love the sport.  They don’t get enough credit for their long days out there, so remember to thank your staff!




If you don’t have this feeling at drift events, I am sorry. We as a community have failed you then. None of us are perfect, it’s easy once feeling that sense of comfort to stay in that bubble.  This happens to all of us in any situation.  For those of us that do have this feeling of home, it is important to remember it’s up to us to continue providing that welcoming feeling as others did for us.


I don’t want to go calling other people misfits that maybe don’t feel as I do on this. So, I was curious if this was just me, or if others felt like they were misfits that found a home also.  I posted a poll on my photography page's instagram story and the results were so comforting.  Yet again, this community helps me feel less alone in this world of chaos. Misfit or not, I hope you enjoyed this and to see you on the next drift day!  


Lots of love,

Katelyn



…. Of course the doggos also help with the feeling of home.




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This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. Thank you , and it's my feeling also.

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