All Photos Credit: Raphael Orlove

I hadn’t realized how dark it’d gotten until the fuse blew. The stadium lights flooding the road course at Englishtown blinked out and briefly, for the first time all day, the blare of drift cars stopped.

East Coast Bash runs into the night, all the way up until 10, when the official schedule reads “booze” and everyone packs up to go to the trackside barn-turned-bar, Sneaky Pete’s.

The fuse blew right in the last hour of cars running on track, and immediately the Club Loose crew organizing the event hurried to reset the breakers while everyone else laughed, relaxed and went back to barbecuing. Everything sounded strange for a moment. Unexpected laughter popping up in the dark. No SR20s blipping in the distance, no headlights lighting up clouds of tire smoke.

The quiet didn’t last long. Enough to fill a plate but not finish it. Someone found a key to the breakers, reset everything, and cars filtered back out on track, banging doors (bumpers, headlights, wheels, etc.) as they did all day.

And as they did all the next day, barring the morning, after it thunderstormed through the night and covered much of the road course in inches of standing water.

It was a good year for ECB, everyone running as hard as they’d dare. It’s nice to see the current style of cars in the drift scene here.

Everyone seems more focused on practicality and simplicity than I’d seen in years before. I saw more and more people switching over from worn-out Nissan 240SXs to fresher Nissan 350Zs.

It seems like the only S-chassis still running are ones that are properly built, like Geoff Stoneback’s particularly camera-friendly S13 coupe.

On the other side of the equation, many people already committed to having an unreliable old drift car starting up with AE86 Corollas. Not overly modified. Simple and straightforward.

People want track time, running as much as they can, as reliably as possible.

I’ll be back next year, probably for the bar and bbq alone. It’s the quiet in between the cars that draws me more and more.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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