Formula Drift Driver Introduction: Dirk Stratton
1. Give the Drift Illustrated fans a brief history on what got you into drifting?
The first time I saw drifting in person was at Pitt Race with Clubloose 2 in 2011. I was there to watch bike racing and stumbled across the skid pad where they were drifting. Snooping around the paddock I came across a V8 swapped Celica owned by Henry Russo. He insisted that I go for a ride with him, and my mind was blown. Fast forward a little over a year later one of my good friends Ben Bissett had an SR20 powered S14 that he let me get behind the wheel of and practice sliding at Drift Cleveland. From that moment I told myself I had to get my own car!
2. What was your first drift car?
1990 Nissan 240sx Hatchback SR20
Fortune Auto 500 series Coilovers
3. Tell the fans a story about your first year behind the wheel of a drift car?
My first ever drift event in my car was 100 Drifters of December in 2012 at Summit Point, which is a really huge event that consists of all Road Courses. Definitely not the best event to go “learn” how to drift, but with my buddy Ben Bissett teaching me and tons of patience I started to get the hang of it. Surprisingly I did well, learned a lot, and didn’t even break my car! It was so wild with the amount of drivers there but I think it really helped me progress and learn very quickly. Chris Forsberg, Geoff Stoneback, and Dan Savage were drifting their “Pro” cars there and at that time I didn’t even know who they were or anything about Pro drifting.
4. What was your first Drift Competition?
My first competition drift event was The Streets of Detroit Pro Am event with the MidWest Drift Union in 2014. I was still drifting the same S13, although now with a 5.3L L33 (LS) engine swap, full cage, dual calipers, and Parts Shop Max angle kit. Up until this point I had only driven fun events tandeming with my buddies. There were about 50 cars there that year, and I qualified well (10th to my best knowledge). I had no idea what I was getting into as I didn’t take any extra wheels or tools up to “grid”. I can’t remember if I went out in Top 16 or top 8 but either way I had an absolute blast with this new challenge and learned a ton! This is where I met Nick Swann, who ran this event for MDU.
5. How did you land your first sponsor?
This is a tough question to answer so I will give a couple of my best answers. First and foremost my family business is Stratton Chevrolet, a Chevrolet dealership in Beloit Ohio so I will have to say this is my is first supporter to my race program from the beginning. After that Nick Swann helped me get some of my first outside partners that were Cosmis Wheels, Grip Royal Steering wheels, and Hooker Blackheart Exhaust.
One of my best partnerships to date is with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. Sometimes you just mesh well with certain companies, this partnership started with me walking into their booth at SEMA and just starting a casual conversion. Having a nice looking newer car to present definitely helps out here.
6. Alright Favorite track for drifting and favorite driver?
So far, I had a blast driving at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe Washington.
I guess I have to say Kristaps Bluss for his all-out driving style and for the fact that he builds his own cars and they are insane to say the least.
7. Tell us something you learned running the Pro2 series ?
WE learned a lot as a team competing in Pro2, it is hard to explain as it is more of a learn by doing type of situation. The biggest thing is just learning the schedule, how Formula Drift works, judging criteria, and for me the different tracks that I had never driven before. Also spare parts are a must have.
8. What are your plans for 2018.. (What events,Car, Build, Demos)
For 2018 we plan to compete in the full Formula Drift Pro season with our C6 Corvette we call the DRIFTVETTE. We have the Lingenfelter L28 2015 body style LS7 powered Camaro set up for drifting and have plans to attend Gridlife, LS Fest, CarCraft Summer Nationals, and Hyperfest.
9. Lets talk about your partners/Sponsors. Who helped you get here?
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering
Pfitzner Performance Gearbox
STR racing wheels
Turnone Power steering
Ignite Racing Fuel
ARE Dry Sump
10.Tell the fans how to find you online and in person for 2018?
Check my website www.driftvette.com
My Instagram @dirk_stratton , @driftvette
Stop by my pit or the autograph sessions and say hi!
5 Bonus Answers. Give us 5 things we didn't know about you.
I started out in Motorsport with Drag Racing
My Corvette started as a base model salvage title car
My family is physically involved in my race program
I enjoy building my own cars
I love driving beater cars too fast off road.
This is six, but I needed to let you know I like Dos Equis.