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Drifter Luke Fink likes the traveling life

Former BMX rider reaches the age of cage

Luke Fink, a drifter headed for home.
Luke Fink, a drifter headed for home.
Video:

GOLDEN DREAMS: Luke Fink, a drifter headed for home


I meet him at LAX, at one of those tables where you go to charge your iPhone. He’s watching video of cars hurling themselves around bends in clouds of smoke and burning rubber. I can’t help stopping and looking over his shoulder as one stock car crashes into another one, a purple one, and sends it slamming into the safety wall. A wheel sails serenely past the camera.

I express some sympathy for the purple car, and am surprised when the fellow watching the video says, “Yes, it’s mine. Well, the team I drive for’s car.”

His name’s Luke Fink. He’s an Aussie, uh, drifter-driver. “I’m doing a lot of drifting at the moment,” he says. “Drifting from Australia to New Zealand to Japan to America and finally all over again. So a fair bit of drifting.”

Drifting? If you saw any of the Fast and Furious movies, you’ll know what it’s all about: street racers sliding sideways around turns, barely in control but looking oh-so-cool. And with that hugely successful franchise to back it, “drifting” (as in, cars ceaselessly squealing around corners, hidden in a fog of their own tire smoke) has become America’s fourth-most-watched motor sport (after NASCAR, Formula One, and Super Bikes).

Video caught on iPhone: Luke Fink’s purple car wrecked by collision

“That crash? I wasn’t injured,” says Luke. “I was a little bit rattled if anything. But I was fine. My car was reasonably good, considering the accident we had. The other car was destroyed, but the driver of that car was fine, too. I come from a professional BMX” — Bicycle MotoCross — “background, and for me, as I got older, we have a saying: ‘With age, get a cage.’ So I went from the BMX riding into the drift cars, where I had a roll cage, something around me to keep me safe.”

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But even cages don’t save you from the ultimate horror, fire. “Ironically, earlier in this day, in the event before the finals, I was actually on fire,” says Luke. “For half of the track, the back of my car was completely on fire. I didn’t know. I did see red lights flashing from the track lights, telling us that something was wrong on the track. I ignored them because I could a see the car in front of me and he was fine, and we were the only two on the circuit. So my thing was, Maybe they accidentally pressed the button. Then we get to the finish line, and there’s a lot of commotion going on, waving at us and everything. And where I stopped, I could actually see my pit crew off to my right, and they looked concerned, and I looked up, and I screamed out to the boys. ‘What’s going on?’ And they’re like, ‘YOU’RE ON FIRE!’ And I’m like, ‘Should I get out?’ And they’re like, ‘YEAH!’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ Quickly got out of the car, and luckily, okay.”

He’s 40 now. Why continue with this dangerous sport? “I get to travel to all these cool places, and when you’re doing it, the feeling, when you get in the car, there’s nothing else. You know, the whole world disappears, and it’s just you and the car, not only competing, but having fun at the same time. It’s all the exciting parts of motorsports in one. The sideways, the smoke, the sparks, the crashes, the fire — things are constantly happening.”

My other question is, if drifting is so famous, why haven’t I ever heard of it? “You just haven’t been watching TV at the right time of day!” Luke says. “It’s on in a lot of countries, and internet-wise, it’s absolutely everywhere. I had a video the other day on Instagram, going to 5 million views.”

There’s a price, of course: a home life. “Here I am in LAX, finally heading back to Australia. I haven’t been home for more than one night in the past two months. So it’ll be very nice to have more than a couple of nights in my own bed. And have fun with my family.”

He says I can see him on YouTube (Fink and Co) and Instagram (Luke Fink).

Any advice to kids dreaming of doing this professionally?

“Get a really good job, and then, start drifting yourself.”

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Luke Fink, a drifter headed for home.
Luke Fink, a drifter headed for home.
Video:

GOLDEN DREAMS: Luke Fink, a drifter headed for home


I meet him at LAX, at one of those tables where you go to charge your iPhone. He’s watching video of cars hurling themselves around bends in clouds of smoke and burning rubber. I can’t help stopping and looking over his shoulder as one stock car crashes into another one, a purple one, and sends it slamming into the safety wall. A wheel sails serenely past the camera.

I express some sympathy for the purple car, and am surprised when the fellow watching the video says, “Yes, it’s mine. Well, the team I drive for’s car.”

His name’s Luke Fink. He’s an Aussie, uh, drifter-driver. “I’m doing a lot of drifting at the moment,” he says. “Drifting from Australia to New Zealand to Japan to America and finally all over again. So a fair bit of drifting.”

Drifting? If you saw any of the Fast and Furious movies, you’ll know what it’s all about: street racers sliding sideways around turns, barely in control but looking oh-so-cool. And with that hugely successful franchise to back it, “drifting” (as in, cars ceaselessly squealing around corners, hidden in a fog of their own tire smoke) has become America’s fourth-most-watched motor sport (after NASCAR, Formula One, and Super Bikes).

Video caught on iPhone: Luke Fink’s purple car wrecked by collision

“That crash? I wasn’t injured,” says Luke. “I was a little bit rattled if anything. But I was fine. My car was reasonably good, considering the accident we had. The other car was destroyed, but the driver of that car was fine, too. I come from a professional BMX” — Bicycle MotoCross — “background, and for me, as I got older, we have a saying: ‘With age, get a cage.’ So I went from the BMX riding into the drift cars, where I had a roll cage, something around me to keep me safe.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

But even cages don’t save you from the ultimate horror, fire. “Ironically, earlier in this day, in the event before the finals, I was actually on fire,” says Luke. “For half of the track, the back of my car was completely on fire. I didn’t know. I did see red lights flashing from the track lights, telling us that something was wrong on the track. I ignored them because I could a see the car in front of me and he was fine, and we were the only two on the circuit. So my thing was, Maybe they accidentally pressed the button. Then we get to the finish line, and there’s a lot of commotion going on, waving at us and everything. And where I stopped, I could actually see my pit crew off to my right, and they looked concerned, and I looked up, and I screamed out to the boys. ‘What’s going on?’ And they’re like, ‘YOU’RE ON FIRE!’ And I’m like, ‘Should I get out?’ And they’re like, ‘YEAH!’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ Quickly got out of the car, and luckily, okay.”

He’s 40 now. Why continue with this dangerous sport? “I get to travel to all these cool places, and when you’re doing it, the feeling, when you get in the car, there’s nothing else. You know, the whole world disappears, and it’s just you and the car, not only competing, but having fun at the same time. It’s all the exciting parts of motorsports in one. The sideways, the smoke, the sparks, the crashes, the fire — things are constantly happening.”

My other question is, if drifting is so famous, why haven’t I ever heard of it? “You just haven’t been watching TV at the right time of day!” Luke says. “It’s on in a lot of countries, and internet-wise, it’s absolutely everywhere. I had a video the other day on Instagram, going to 5 million views.”

There’s a price, of course: a home life. “Here I am in LAX, finally heading back to Australia. I haven’t been home for more than one night in the past two months. So it’ll be very nice to have more than a couple of nights in my own bed. And have fun with my family.”

He says I can see him on YouTube (Fink and Co) and Instagram (Luke Fink).

Any advice to kids dreaming of doing this professionally?

“Get a really good job, and then, start drifting yourself.”

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