Friday, May 20, 2016

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE, THERE'S FIRE


It's getting harder and harder to keep track of these GoFast Drift and Drag events, but at least they keep coming and you still see people making it out to them which is way cool.  I'm used to seeing tons of folks come out to the first event of the season, and then slowly throughout the season, drivers will dwindle-off as their cars start to break or money starts to grow slim from spending it on tires and parts.  While there seemed to be fewer drivers at this past weekend's event than normal, I could only imagine we'll blame that on the increasing daytime temperatures.


It would be super nice though to be able to put a 'number' on each event they host.  If I had to guess, this would probably be Drift and Drag #5 of 2016.  And it's always an awesome feeling to see the repeat drivers come back to each event and looking better and better.


You would never tell that Andrew's V8 hatch was in an incident just a couple months ago, and turned back-out within just a couple weeks so he could keep hitting events all season.


DJ's car is always looking cool with the new-ish 'Great Wave' livery, and of course I have a soft spot for those Emotion CR-Kai he runs in the rear.


Noticed a couple unfamiliar (to me) cars and drivers out at this event which threw some fun into the mix.  This guy seemed to have some kinks he was working out, but was looking nice by later in the evening.


And then there was this super cool old skool Celica that was doing a great job out there!


I spy Griffin doing some ride-along here.  Driver of this car is actually a female (Bri), and mad props to her for keeping some nice style in her car.  Happened to overhear that she picked up one of the 350mm Vertex deep steering wheels while we were all at FD Long Beach.


And she's a really impressive driver to boot!


This car looks familiar - didn't I just see this last weeke. . . oh wait, yes I did see this last weekend at Musselman Honda Circuit down in Tuscon!  Super smooth driver, but his seating position has me slightly sketched out!  Occasionally I see the tip of his helmet (that's what she said?) pop up through the roof of his car.


Austin was making loads of chem-trails at this event.


I got the chance to do two ride-alongs with him and chat a bit about his car.  Apparently he was playing with suspension settings at this event to try and make improvements for his endeavor in the Southwest Drift Series.  Car was looking and sounding amazing, and pumping out tons of tire smoke that night.


Here's another one I don't recall seeing before, but this car was pretty clean and appeared nice and simple!  I'm digging the Advan wheels and low-mount wing.


I see this Z33 at almost every event I go to in the area, and he is always laying down tons of angle in his lines (like, looks like he's on the brink of spinning, kind-of-angle) thanks to that Wisefab kit he runs.  The car sounds crazy loud and always leaves a nice trail of smoke behind.


Super cool and clean E30!  It's funny how some cars are so much easier to capture than others.  I have several super crisp motion shots of this one, but struggle with some of the others.


Got a chance to talk to one of the only other media guys I happened to see at the event.  From what I gathered, this was only his 2nd grassroots drifting event he was documenting.


Next up, was the beginner class.  Most guys were actually looking pretty clean, and this Zenki was no exception.



There was the occasional wrong-move resulting in under-steer, which is to be expected.  No worries - it's all open spaces at Wild Horse!  Just don't run into the tire wall, and take me out, please!


Clutch-kick it through the next turn and get back in the groove, right?


Been seeing more and more FC's pop up and that's pretty cool!  Especially when they're still rotary-powered!


This guy looks like he belongs with the Bloodmasters at Englishtown!


Another clean pass in the Zenki.


I remember when I had a Miata in high school and everyone made fun of me for it.  I don't regret it at all - it was an amazing first car and taught me so much about driving.  It's just so funny now to see young guys using them for drift and stance.


I was watching this guy for several of his runs, and got the vibe that he was working on his E-Brake drag for transitioning.  Each pass, he seemed to get closer and closer to pulling it off smoothly. 


There it is - Looking good man!


A familiar car - This FB RX-7 always seems to run in the beginner group, but he's a really smooth driver!


It looked like he was working on some new driving techniques that night also.


Back to Intermediate/Advanced group, and here comes Yazmeen in the Death Bunny!


Another RX-7 that I recall seeing down in Tuscon a week prior.


I like where Sean's head is at.
E-brake - Chuck it into the turn. . .


Back onto the throttle. . .


Keep powering through. . .


And ride off West, into the sunset.


And then Ruckus teammate, Dustyn!  Where was the wheel well underglow for this event dude?!?


As the sun started to go down, I began struggling with exposure.  But feel like it still pumped out some pretty intense and dramatic shots.  Andrew and Chris from Elite are crazy fun to watch tandem together.


Itasha (痛車, literally "painful car") is a Japanese term for fashion of individuals decorating the bodies of their cars with fictional characters of anime, manga, or video games (especially bishōjo game or eroge).  These characters are predominantly "cute" females.


DAMN that thing is W-I-D-E!


Super clean, smooth, consistent runs with high speed.  This guy was exciting to watch.


Have always dug the paint on Austin's S14.  Maybe it's cuz I have a thing for white.


Watching his tandem runs was quite fun, and during my second ride-along in his car, we ended up being car #2 in a 5 car train.  That was pretty wild and fun as hell!



While underexposed overall, I still feel like the sunset was making for some pretty vivid shots from some angles.


Manuel's damn Brickyard Red Z is so hard to get photos of unless it's in the middle of the day and there's tons of light haha


I had to laugh a little when I saw this hatch swinging through the course with his rear deck opening and closing.  It totally reminded me of something you'd see on Minami - South Course.


I'm not sure what I'd do with all that angle in the Z.  This thing almost looks like it's ice-skating sometimes.



A couple of the other Ruckus dudes, out for a tandem run.  They got me a little scared at a couple points, but sure looked like fun!


I took a look behind me and saw this awesome view.  With my time capturing anything decent being limited, I figured I'd just go ahead and walk back over to the paddock, pick up a quesadilla and a Corona from the taco stand, then join the rest of the crew to watch for the rest of the evening from the other side.  As usual, this event was pretty relaxed and fun!  I'm really getting excited and looking forward to getting to drive an event here with all my new friends that I've met.

I have a ton of other decent photos from this event that I didn't bother to edit/post because I don't want to overload you guys with repetitive content.  So if any of you drivers are interested in the raw shots, feel free to shoot me a message and I can send them your way!  Til next time. . .
武士道 - B U S H I D O!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Last Minute Tuscon Adventures


Since attending the Wild Horse Pass events, I've heard and seen all about the track down at Musselman Honda Circuit (previously P1 Kart Circuit), which is just East of Tuscon and just under a two hour drive from the Phoenix area.  How do I know?  Two weekends ago, I couldn't make up my mind whether to drive down there alone, and spend the entire afternoon and evening there by myself essentially, or to wait for my girlfriend to get off work so we could travel down together.  5PM arrives, and I'm still in Tempe so decided to wait it out and have some company for the adventure down to Tuscon.  I'm for sure glad I went, and glad I waited for Gayle too because this was an awesome first visit to the track I've been meaning to get to for quite some time.


Knowing that it would be dark by the time we got down there, I knew I wouldn't be able to get any photos that were too great.  But surprising enough, being out in the middle of nowhere, this track is actually better lit and much easier to see at night than Wild Horse.  I loved the setup of Musselman; the actual course seems extremely nice and the asphalt looks so smooth and tempting.  The pit areas don't look like garbage, and I even happened to witness the owner of the track yelling at someone too lazy to walk around the fence to the gate, trying to hop over it.  It's nice to see people actually care about their property.  


Given that we DID arrive later in the day, it appeared that there really weren't too many drivers on the track which was pretty nice.  There weren't any long waiting lines, it was easy to track down the better or more experienced drivers, and from what I could tell there didn't appear to be run groups.


About the only hold-up was if someone went off-track into the dirt, which I overheard that some rules on reentering the course had changed recently.  Previously, I remember reading on the event page that drivers were told to slowly reenter the track if they found themselves off-course, as to minimize the amount of dirt pulled onto the asphalt.  But while walking through the pit, I had heard someone mentioning that if cars went off-track, then track staff had told the drivers to wait to come be pulled out by one of their ATV's. . .


It was nothing really to complain about though, as it kept the track nice and perfect for smooth times.  Seeing some familiar drivers and faces was definitely nice, and I could see why folks that were hitting this track more than others were trying to explain how much better it is.  If it was me, I might keep the secret of this little gem to myself. . .


A couple of the Ruckus dudes (Sean and Dustyn) were out there, and looking way good.  Musselman is primarily a Karting track, so the layout is fairly tight and technical.  But I feel like that makes the course for some good 2nd gear fun!


Both their cars were looking and sounding great.  Dustyn took under-glow to a whole new level, and shoved some LED strobes up in the wheel wells!  Shit looked crazy haha


Aside from this R32 (which I LOVE that we're starting to see these things sliding around tracks in the states now), there was a C33 Laurel with SSR SP1's and some flame vinyl floating around at this event too.  That dude definitely gets the cool points in my book for the evening.


Although I did have some trouble shooting, and my photos didn't come out great (in my opinion), I'm still super glad we took the time to drive down to Musselman for this event and it was totally worth it to at least go check it out.  I'll probably make it a point to try and hit more events here now after having been to one finally.  I know for sure that once I get the Z33 out here to Arizona (which SHOULD be within the next month or so!), that I will plan to make the drive down to this track for sure!  It seems well worth the drive for some quality track and seat time.  Til next time. . .
武士道 - B U S H I D O!

P.S.  Here is the C33 I was able to snap a pic of, but formatted my memory card before remembering to actually edit this photo. . .  SMH