The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of awesome. Here is a brief run-down of the action. This is going to be a long post… so buckle up!
Things started off with Lieze\’s graduation from SCAD Atlanta. She has been working her tail off for the past 4 years. While I have my own personal reservations with her school for buying my alma mater, I will say that their curriculum is pretty intense. They know how to put you to work, which I think is good. One thing I noticed when I graduated was that working a real job felt like \’finals week\’ all the time. I think SCAD might better prepare their students for this… because her first week of class always started out like finals week. Either way… I\’m super-proud of her for sticking with it and graduating. Her ideas about art are constantly evolving and growing, which is exciting to see!
We literally left her graduation and hit the road to head north. It was a super-last-minute decision to make the trip… but a pilgrimage to Englishtown had to be made for East Coast Bash. The last time I was there was 4 years ago to shoot Slide America, and I didn\’t have time to pull my car off the trailer to drive. With Will and Josh in attendance to shoot for Keep Drifting Fun… it seemed all-the-more fitting to get back there for some driving. I\’ve been telling Petty I was coming back for 4 years… so it was time to make due on that.
We showed up around noon on Sunday. This track is so amazingly awesome that I was instantly bummed I wasn\’t able to get there on Saturday. So many configurations… none-of-which are bad. I instantly felt at home on this track. The more I drove it, the better things felt. I had such a blast… and cannot thank Petty enough for having us up! Towards the end of the day I felt a weird vibration in the car, and decided to call it a day before I blew something up.
The next day we took the car to Roots Factory in Coatesville, PA to give it a once-over. I didn\’t feel like cracking open the diff-carrier… but it seemed like something wasn\’t quite working with the diff. It had more play than usual, and you could turn the wheels against themselves if you pulled hard enough. Byron noted that my car looked right at home at this shop.
My buddy Brad Hettinger had already basically stripped his down to a shell in less than a day\’s time. We decided to take a funny picture for his build-thread.
The next day we saddled up, and drove about an hour and a half from Hater Dan\’s house in Pennsylvania to a top-secret locale for an OG underground hoodrat sesh. What went down inside this warehouse was UN. REAL. Rob Fleming met us, as well as a few local rippers, for a crazy closed-door session that lasted several hours. UN. REAL. Will and Josh piloted the KDF van to the location to document things. They wound up with some of the craziest shots I have ever seen in drifting. MASSIVE thanks to Dan for hooking this insanity up. Keep an eye out for the Keep Drifting Fun DVD to peep what went down!
After that madness settled down, we headed back to Pennsylvania, only to re-pack and head back to Jersey for Gardella Racing\’s \’Throttle Thursday\’… which brought out a bunch of FD pro-drivers… many of which (including myself for a li\’l while) kicked around skateboards and braved the park on BMX bikes. This was my first time inside a skatepark since 1998… and I was REALLY scared! (more on that in a minute…) We all had a good time, including our jump-session in the foam pit (01:35 in).
The advent of the foam pit was definitely after \’my time\’ in skating. I had never been in one, so I didn\’t really know what to expect. I will say this much – they aren\’t exactly as soft as you think. Whatever you do… DO NOT open your mouth, or else you get tiny bits of gross sweaty foam in it. UGH. Once I got up on that railing to jump… it was a good bit higher than I originally thought. Either way, I had to get in on a front-flip to complete the night.
Next up was Formula Drift New Jersey. The folks at NOS Energy were awesome enough to let us spring an impromptu booth-space in front of their bunker so we could help sell Will and Josh\’s tees. Josh looks asleep in this picture.
Alex caught me red-handed in this photo. After my shattered collar-bone in September of 2007… I swore I would never step foot on a skateboard ever again. I was actually banned by friends and family. After nearly three years, I finally caved. I totally understand how people who try to quit smoking feel. For three years I\’ve been getting the \’urge\’ to skate like a smoker\’s spiral into a nicotine-fit. I have to say… it feels good to ride again – even if I am riding like an old man scared for his life.
A couple funny jump-shots that my buddy Larry Chen snapped while I was wearing Lihnberg\’s wig. If you haven\’t been to Larry\’s site, DriftFotos – CHECK. IT. OUT. Dude is a madman behind the lens – an amazing photographer for SURE. Plus he likes jump shots, which is totally RAD.
After FD, we headed south to Baltimore to meet up with the Drift Alliance crew to go see Hall and Oates in concert.
I never thought I would go see Hall and Oates… but we had a blast. It\’s so smooth! SO SMOOTH.
After Baltimore, we made a quick stop in Philadelphia to get some proper cheesesteaks & pretzels with Will, Josh, and Andy Laputka. On the way back to Atlanta we made a minor detour to Manhattan so I could take Lieze to the MoMa. It was my graduation present to her… and let me tell you – it was a GOOD one. We saw so many amazing works.
After an all-night drive back down the East Coast, we made it back home. What an astounding trip, and an incredible few weeks up North. SUPER HUGE THANKS to my buddy Dan Bailey for letting us crash at his place for so long, and for the amazing hospitality.
The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos and awesome. Round 2 of Formula Drift has come and gone… and with it came some SERIOUS life memories. At one point I think we had 13 people staying at my house. Every night it seemed like someone new. While I am glad things have returned to normal… I can honestly say it has left me slightly depressed! So many good times, I don\’t even know where to begin.
Race week started a bit early… when my good friends Will Roegge and Joshua Herron made an S.O.S. call to me. Their 1974 Volkswagen van had broken down a few hours south of Atlanta in LaGrange. The \’Westy\’ is their home-on-the-road during primary photography for their cross-country documentary, \”KEEP DRIFTING FUN\”. After procuring Tyler\’s trailer at midnight, Wes and Lieze and I rocketed southbound for a rescue mission. Halfway there we got a call that the van started… so we met up with them on the highway just to be safe.
The Westy wasn\’t running well at all… so with cue from Eugene, we took it to Barry Palmer Auto for a diagnostic eval from an air-cooled guru. The van\’s motor had no compression, and was in need of a transplant.
I picked up a new roof spoiler from paint at Jeff\’s Auto Restoration to replace the one that flew off in-tow last year.
My tow-hooks came back from KILLIN\’ EM. Fresh hit of satin black to hide the ol\’ red. Thanks Scott!!!
Picked up a few miscellaneous parts for the car. Water temp sensor adapter from TRM and a new cabin AC filter. I also snagged a new OE radiator, spark plugs, and wiper blades (not pictured).
I re-worked the wiring for the back of my gauges… including some quick-disconnects for easier maintenance.
I got frisky with The Destroyer™ and pulled the front end apart…
So I could bake the lower light housings and hit the reflectors yellow. While the grill was off, I had Jeff hit the chrome bits with paint to match the body color… and I re-wrapped the Chevy emblem with black vinyl. I also installed a 3000K HID kit from DDM Tuning.
We adopted an awesome (outside) cat. Her name is Mow Mow.
I had Pho for the first time.
Then the new 2.0L motor for the Westy arrived via frieght.
We took the van back to Palmer Auto where Barry and Mikey took the reigns from there to get the van back running in tip-top shape. The larger motor with mechanical lifters will make the rest of Will and Josh\’s voyage on the high-seas of FUN much better.
Slowly… all my house guests began departing to their corners of the globe… leaving behind some amazing memories and awesome times. Will and Josh were the last to return to the road in the Westy… headed north to Jersey by way of Charlotte, Richmond, Baltimore and Philly. With everyone gone, and my house back it\’s quiet state, I\’m left to reflect on how lucky I am. Not only has this crazy motorsport taken me places I never thought possible… it has also introduced me to some of the most creative, talented, and overall BADASS MOTHERFUCKERS on the planet. And for that… I am truly honored and extremely grateful.