Lewiston drift race could be headed out of town

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LEWISTON — A drift-racing event originally planned for May of this year has been postponed again, and its new organizers say they may have to look elsewhere for a venue.

Aaron Perry of Maine’s Finest, a media company focused on automotive sports, has taken over the “Drift the Streets” event from the Lewiston-based Don’t Panic Consulting.  

However, when it finally comes together it may not be in a downtown setting. 

Perry said his team has worked over the past few months to find a suitable venue in Lewiston or Auburn to host the two-day race and car show but has not been successful in finding a road wide enough to accommodate its needs. 

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“It’s still a cool idea,” he said. “There’s still people that want to be a part of it. U.S. Drift is still interested in being a part of it, but it’s got to get changed.”  

Drift racing is a motor sport in which drivers intentionally over steer, lose traction in the rear wheels through turns while maintaining control at a high speed.

Competitions pit drivers against one another, and they are judged more on technique and skill than on winning a race. The sport received a boost a decade ago from the blockbuster film, “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” featuring a teenager who becomes a drift driver.

Plans approved by the City Council last year called for a track that would include parts of Lincoln and Oxford streets, even taking drivers through the parking garage at the corner of Mill Street. The surrounding area would have vendors and a car show.

However, Perry said U.S. Drift, an official circuit for the sport, has requirements that a track be at least 40 feet wide, or three lanes, to allow two cars to drift simultaneously, and Perry and his team has not been able to find something that works in the Twin Cities.

The downtown idea wouldn’t be feasible, he said. The downtown area that was originally approved by Lewiston wasn’t big enough. 

He told the Sun Journal on Wednesday that they also tried the Lewiston-Auburn Municipal Airport and even the Auburn Mall. Perry said Norway Savings Bank Arena was on board to host the associated car show. 

Earlier this year, one month before it was set to take place, Don’t Panic Consulting postponed the event to summer 2018. Recently, the business said it would be handing over the event, and the date on the Facebook event page for “Great Falls Drift Festival” was changed to Oct. 31, 2019. 

Comments appeared again from frustrated fans, who are now skeptical it will ever happen. 

A spokesman for Don’t Panic Consulting said Wednesday, “We decided to give the event to Aaron and Maine’s Finest instead of canceling the event entirely. The streets in the area of Lewiston and Auburn are not wide enough to sustain a tandem drift event.” 

Perry has since posted updates on the event page, letting fans know that they are looking outside the Lewiston-Auburn area for a new venue. While they’d like to keep it in the Lewiston area, he said, it’s not looking good for staying here. 

He said the cities were excited to be on board, and “understood how exciting this could be.” 

“I want to keep it in the area because that’s where it was promoted, but outside of a miracle where the town wants to shut down a three-lane road for three days, it’s just not going to happen,” he said.

arice@sunjournal.com 

A drift-racing event originally planned for May of this year was postponed until 2018. A “placeholder” date of Oct. 31, 2019 was later posted on Facebook. Now it could be leaving Lewiston or not happening at all. 

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