This week we catch up with Cody Grim, one of the many Ohio drivers who has competed in our series over the years. A regular sight during the 2011-2012 seasons, he’s been largely absent ever since, save for an appearance or two here and there. We caught up with him to find out how he got involved, why he’s not actively competing any more, and what he’s been up to in the time since.

MDU:  How did you get involved with MDU?

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Grim: I had just finished putting a car together when I had my S13 hatch with a basic SR swap. I remember going to Street Life Tour to spectate and thought that would be awesome to go do. I made the shitty mistake of entering into my first competition, crashed my first car and it’s been bad decisions ever since. I think that was 2008 or 2009. That’s where I met Edgar and a lot of the guys from Drift Indy, and I got pulled in with those guys. Then they brought MDU around, and I kind of jumped in after that.

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MDU: What was your last event with MDU?

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Grim: Street Life Tour 2015. I was there in 2013, and in 2014 I really started cutting back because I had a lot of other stuff going on. I saw drifting taking a different turn, and not the way I wanted it to go. It was fun because you could still drive with the drivers who made the sport fun. You had Kyle Krebs, Bill Cook, Brian Waggoner and Cody Tobe –  the guys who were worth driving with.

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MDU: What factors contributed to your departure from the series?

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Grim: It was a mix of things. You couldn’t compete with just a basic car anymore. You really had to have close to 500HP just to compete at the pro-am level, and it makes it hard for people. At that point, it seemed like all the fun was leaving competition driving. I think that’s where I kind of started dying off from it. You lose the roots as soon as you start getting into competition driving. The competition is so elevated. Even at a pro-am level, you have to spend major money to get into it and stay in it. It drains your funds really quick. Throughout that, I’ve had some falling out with some people and that adds to it. At the beginning of this season I wanted to get back into it and drive a little bit. I went out to one of the Back to Basics events at Kil-Kare and my motor locked up. I’ve had so many life changes here recently I just haven’t had the drive or chance to even get my car torn apart and put back together. I think the way drifting is going is in a different route than what a lot of the old timers got into it for. They got in for the shitty missile cars, the banging against doors, having fun aspect without spending a lot of money. It’s not going that route anymore. Everyone has to have the best and look the best. To me, it takes away. It’s not having fun anymore, it’s who can spend the most money. Back in 2007 or 2008 before I competed in Street Life, I think it was every week I’d spend $150 on tires and every Tuesday or every other Tuesday was Two Wheel Tuesdays at Kil-Kare where you’d get a chance to just go burn rubber and have fun with everyone. You’d fill the tank full of gas, burn all the tires you had and hopefully drive it home. That was like $20. Now you’ve got to spend at least $150 or $200 on entry alone just to get practice time in. There’s a lot of aspects people don’t realize until you’re in too deep and you just don’t know what to do any more.

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MDU: Do you have a favorite memory of your time with MDU?

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Grim: I’ve had a blast every time I drove MDU. I remember Tyson Schmidt had a really clean two-tone S13. I always loved that car. It looked good and sounded good. That was the same year I got my 2J in my 240. I ended up going to Gateway and they had a driving night the night before and we got to drive for a couple hours to learn the track. Later that night they had Midnight Madness and somebody told me they wanted me and Tyson to go drag race down the strip. We were both just chilling and we realized both of us had bald tires. We knew it would be shitty but it would be funny the entire time. We lined up and went down the drag strip on bald tires. You could see us both spinning gears the whole way down the track. I’ve never known Tyson on a personal level, but being able to do that with a car that you’ve admired and hadn’t really had the courage to go up and talk to him about it, and share that same kind of feeling right next to each other on the track. There’s so many people out there you look up to and never get to drive with, and then you get that shot. I think that was my highlight.

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MDU: What exactly led to your nickname, “Tater?”

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Grim: I really couldn’t tell you. That name has stuck to me since freshman year of high school and after I graduated I thought it was gone because I started hanging out with a totally different group of guys. Somehow, one of my old buddies ran into me and started screaming “Tater” and it kept going. It just never stops.

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MDU: Since you’re not drifting much any more, what have you been up to?

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Grim: I got married in 2014. I slowed down a little bit then, but nothing like in 2015. We wanted to take time to relax. The whole time we drifted, it was like, every weekend. So to take some time off to spend with my wife was really nice. We had some changes at our company. It’s a family owned business between me, my brother and my dad. We’ve had some internal changes where people left the company, so me and my brother had to step up. With two companies there, he’s taking care of one and I’m trying to jump in and take care of the other. One is a structural steel business. We do structural steel for buildings like Target and Kroger – just big buildings. Then we do stairs and hand rails, ornamental stuff. I was with that company originally when I started building cages and stuff. My brother is now running American Steel and I’m running NU Risers which is the stair division. That’s pretty much our whole life. One of our main guys left and put us in a really bad financial spot and we’re back on track to where we need to be, working long nights and long hours and doing everything we can to make it better.