I walked all the way around Road Atlanta on Saturday. It's a long and painful story, but on the way back I was forced to wade through an army of obnoxious youths in town for the Formula Drift event. Now, I like drifting for what it is – a cool, spectacular dance on pavement. I'm not such a huge fan of the fans. No, it's not the superior attitudes or the shut-up-I'm-okay drunkenness, or the cigarettes (really? Kids still start smoking?). It's the general lack of interest in actual racing motorsports. The drift stands were packed for practice, but barely a soul not associated with a team could bother to stretch an eye toward the Trans Am race, even though the cars were just as powerful and much faster.
It was slightly troubling. Was this the beginning of the end? Was I staring at patient zero in the final great epidemic that finally killed the last vestiges of American racing? Would the art of the apex die off with its masters?
First of all, no. As I mentioned earlier, there were plenty of non-obnoxious youths on hand last weekend for the Global Time Attack series, and they knew how to take corners just fine. But there does seem to be a widening generation gap in racing. The young punks just don't have much appreciation anymore. But is it entirely their fault? I'll bet many of those drift fans would start racing if they had the chance.
At nearly 30, I find I'm pulled between the Punks and the Olds, so here's some advice for both, from an inbetweener, on how to bridge the generation gap in racing.
It's over on Streetside, because my kids don't like Falafel.