I “grew up” car wise, in a time where blogging was the norm. People documented damn near everything car related on their blogspots. And being in Chicago, I got to see first hand, a lot of what I saw on the internet from teams like Risky Devil, and Crazu Knights. They were such big inspirations to me. Back then the more prominent profile based social media platforms were myspace and forums, and thats how everything in the scene was organized, and thats how I got to meet a lot of these mysterious people from the internet, and later become friends with them.
Without these relationships, I’m 100% certain my life would be much different. Hell, I might not even still be interested in cars the way I am without the guidance I was lucky enough to be given.
This past weekend, a very important car to me was permanently put out of comission due to a suspension failure essentially destroying the chassis. This car was probably the most important car to me since I started this whole mess of a hobby. It’s the first car Ive ever taken notice to that was crazy low, tucking tire and was crazy loud without sounding broken. The first car I ever realized could be made to be so ridiculous. This is Josh’s 180SX
This picture is from 2007 or 2008. Pretty soon after I got the Civic. Thats’s me on the left with the red shirt, being flabbergasted that this car even existed.
Over the course of the years since then, Josh, and the friends Ive met through him have become great teachers to me. Teaching me about style, driving, and aura. Showed me what is really good. Ive learned a lot from them and I feel good whenever I feel like I can pass that kind of knowledge on to younger car folk who actually have open ears.
But after seeing what happened to Josh’s car, it’s really starting to hit me that damn near all of the people I looked up to while coming up in the car scene no longer have the same cars that they did when I first met them. There have been pictures circulating of old civics, integras, 240’s, and other cars formerly owned by friends that have drastically changed since then, or just no longer exist. It’s weird that so much of my personal history kind of just doesn’t exist anymore.
I guess this is the first time in my adult life that something like this is dawning on me. And im sure Im going to over analyze other parts of my life after posting this, but these friends and these cars were such a big part of my life for such a long time. I guess Im rambling at this point. But I guess for old times sake, here’s a picture of what to me is the beginning of where I really got my eyes opened to what car shit should be. The night I met EVERYONE.
I had a bit of a rough off while driving Time Attack at GRIDLIFE a couple weeks ago. Left my bumper looking rough, but the car is mechanically sound, and I’m gonna get have to check my alignment settings. BUT I finally had the opportunity to buy something I’ve been wanting for the car for a long time. I got a pair of old Ganadors, thanks to my friend Cody out in California.
Early this year, I found out Gridlife was having a full time attack series. Along with the announcement of the TRACK BATTLE was a secondary announcement of a team battle within the series. (Thus was born RAMBLERS RACING TEAM in it’s entirety.) I was really excited about it because I’ve really been wanting to do something competitively for a long time. But after much consideration, I along with my team mates decided not to compete this year.
Even without competing, I had a very full season of driving this year. It may not have concluded the way I would have liked it, but I really feel like I’ve progressed exponentially as a driver. I’ve learned so much this season, It really got me thinking lately.
At Gridlife Rd 3 this past weekend, I was given the chance to instruct at Gingerman. This was a great opportunity for me because I got to pass on the knowledge that I learned from my good friend John when he instructed me. And it ended up really well for Mike (my student that weekend) he got pretty damn quick on Gingerman. But besides that, Mike gave me quite the eye opener about my driving. He let me drive his car, and he just happened to have an aim solo in his car. His car is a very mildly set up LS Integra with just stock ITR suspension, Carbotech XP8’s all around, and a set of 215 Kumho XS . A great setup to learn in, very easy to drive, and very forgiving, but after I took it out for a few laps, we found out that I could run a 2.03 in it, driving very conservatively, while letting traffic by.
After seeing the times I can put down in Mike’s car, I feel pretty confident that I can put consistent times under 2 minutes. Not to say my car is any better, but I definitely know that I can drive it faster. This paired with the modifications I have planned for the off season, as well as seeing the times posted from the standings online make me believe I could be competitive if I choose to partake in next year’s track battle.
But until I actually finish the car, these are all just thoughts.
About three years ago, an unknown photographer took a picture of my car at a car meet. I really liked the picture so I made it my profile picture on facebook. It turned out that he went to the school I was attending at the time, one thing led to another and we are now lovers. Not actually, but he definitely is someone I now consider a very close friend. That year he asked to shoot my car, and has done so every summer since then, and it is very apparent that his skills as a photographer have improved exponentially since that semester. Every year, he has a new trick up his sleeve, always improving himself and his craft. Needless to say, Darian shooting my car is something I look forward to every summer since meeting [SQUARED]photo.
This last shoot made for a great night, and a great experience. This being the first year we didn’t stay in the suburbs, we got to explore the city a little bit, and find great new spots that we’ve never been to before. We ran into our friend Dan who clued us in on a few spots, and we got to eat sausages together at Jim’s.
I brought my camera that night too, but made the mistake of only bringing my old Minolta Macro lens in an effort to take some behind the scenes shots of Darian working, but really only ended up of a few blurry pictures of Darian bending over.
We started the night in Wicker Park near the former RGB Lounge (The very first place I ever made a full run of stickers for the blog long long ago). It was weird because this was the very first time I’ve ever driven my car near there, and seeing the area from a car instead of walking down the side walk. We spent a few hours here shooting and looking around the immediate area for locations, and we decided this spot would work well, because this was pretty much the only place we could get to without needing 2×4’s or plywood, both of which were pretty scarce at the time.
This last shot has a pretty funny story behind it, Darian had pretty much finished getting all the shots he needed when a cop showed up asking what we were doing. I let him know what’s up, and he asked if I race the car. I said yeah, but only on the track, and he asked me what size the engine was. I replied it was a 1.6, he laughed and asked me if it went from 0-60 in 2 minutes. I told him 22 haha.
After Wicker Park, we were hard pressed to find another spot, I asked Darian if he’d be willing to take me to a place he had previously used when shooting a friend’s car. On the way there, he spotted our friend Dan’s car parked in the street, and we contacted him while he was about to get drunk with what I’m hoping were pretty girls. We hung out with Dan for about a half hour, and he told us of a few places we should check out, both relatively close. The first place had a cool view of the highway.
And the last spot was probably the riskiest spot of our three spots, with multiple signs stating that the property was under surveillance. But it was definitely my favorite one with the best view, and also happened to yield my favorite photos from this set.
It was quite the adventure. It pushed some boundaries my sheltered suburban ass had about being in places you’re not supposed to be haha. It always a good time with Darian. He’s one of a few young bloods I’ve met in the car scene that are actually open to take guidance from the older generations, instead of being a fuckboy and building a car with no purpose, and do nothing but try to get famous on the internet.
But, it was a great night followed by disaster. That weekend, I decided to attend and show at a car show in Wisconsin. All was well, it was my first time this season I was excited for an event that didn’t include driving. It was a fun drive up with my friends, and even though the event itself was pretty disappointing, it was good to spend time with friends that don’t drive with me. But after getting off the highway in Wisoconsin, my check engine light started blinking telling me I had a misfire in cylinder 3. I cleared the code assuming it was just a fouled plug, and it would be something I could fix when I got home. But it got worse, and the misfire got more noticeable. I babied it home for about 100 miles, and a few days later, I found out I had no compression in Cylinder 3. I took it to a shop for a leak down test and I found that my Civic’s head is having valving issues, so I’m going to be calling my season over, and doing a mild build on my head over the winter. This might put a damper on other plans, like new wheels and exhaust, but to me it’s worth it because it puts me a lot closer to a more reliable 200 once I decide (or need) to tear into the block a little bit.
I picked up an 04 Accord EX Coupe for a daily driver, it’s my first financed piece of property. I’m very happy with it, it’s a lot nicer than anything I was planning on getting in the desperation that this situation left me in. I’ll have pictures of it soon, but for now, I’m going to let Darian’s pictures be the star of this post.
This was my last session from Tuesday, it’s the only full session video that was even slightly interesting to watch the whole way through. My Harry’s Lap Timer didnt record this session, not sure why, but Im not mad about it, my goal was to be in the mid 1.30’s and my fastest lap of the day was 1.33.26. Blackhawk is a blast, really hope to come back here soon.
Today, I drove probably the most convenient track day I’ve ever driven. This year, the SCCA started an event called Track Night in America, an affordable series of HPDE’s that take place on weeknights around the country. Today, there was event at Blackhawk Farms Raceway, the very first track I’ve ever driven, I haven’t been back there since 2013, and this experience was worlds away from my last one. I’m definitely a different driver than I was two years ago, and the skills I’ve developed made this event a blast!
This was the very first time I’ve ever driven an event with no one I knew was attending. I made new friends, but it was kind of refreshing, it’s like when I used to go to car meets alone so meeting new people was easy.
The event started with the gates opening at 3pm, this was nice because I got to spend the first part of my day getting the car packed, and spending time with my family. Once the event started, it went so smooth, and everything was so fast pace. Other than a couple black flags that put us only a few minutes behind schedule, the day was great. I got there, I signed in, self teched, did a super quick driver’s meeting, and we were on our merry way!
For it pretty much being organized by two representatives of the SCCA, I was really impressed by this event. Tracknight was definitely worth it, for it being on a weeknight, the run groups were relatively small because not a ton of people could really make it. 125 to get some driving in, on a random weeknight, small crowds, AND they give you dinner? I love it!
I got some cool footage, I’ll be sure to get it posted some time soon. Check the instagram @geekylurv and the youtube channel for updates on that!
I went shooting again. This time at one of my favorite local forest preserves. Didn’t go far off the trail this time around, I usually do when I go here. I was getting eaten alive so I decided to get back on the trail away from some of the standing water that was around. Same lens as last time, got to use more of it this time around.
I’ve decided that I should take more photos in order to fix the lack of creativity I addressed in my previous post. I visited my best friend today at his new apartment, and took some photos while he gave me a tour of his apartment complex. It was a cool day.
All pics show with my T2i and a 30ish year old Minolta Macro lens