With the tire smoke subsiding and the residual ringing in our ears finally dying down we decided to take a breather and hit the Vendor Village to see what hidden gems around the show we could run into. With the exception of the giddy excitement we got into over shoving three free tires into Max’s Honda Fit, there were plenty of other things scattered over the grounds to keep our fan girl fanaticism going for a solid couple hours.
The original plan was too make our way down to the delicious tri-tip sand which booth, grab a bite, and head back up to watch the start of qualifiers. However, the second we crossed the threshold into the Vendor Showcase to scour for beer our Spidey senses began tingling and it was all a wrap from there. Cameras came out, fan girl spurts ran rampant, and plenty of time was wasted.
I’ve seen this Motegi Wheels sponsored, wide body, AE86 in a few magazines as well as the American Racing Wheels catalog this year. I have to say that paint job really has a way of drawing you into the booth, and that crate motor is pretty impressive in and of itself.
We ran into this… umm… different Honda wagon towards the end of the show grounds. The rusted body panels, and bottle opener equipped rear fenders drew us in, but those mirror finish wheel caps kept us there long enough to have a Beastie Boys inspired photo shoot in the face of the wheel.
I don’t know what it was about the Wilwood Brakes booth that got my creative juices flowing, but there display really drew me in. I must have wasted 30-40 shots at there booth alone. Just dig the way the color and focus plays in the shots, dosen’t hurt that there my favorite aftermarket braking brand either!
Walking by the [HOONIGAN] booth I finally had the pleasure to run into, quite possibly, my favorite car of all time. The Hoonigan RWB Porsche sitting on Fifteen52 Tarmacs. What a sight to see, me literally hopping from one end to the other to grab any and all shots I could. I can say with great honesty I was on this thing like a 12 year old girl on a new Justin Bieber CD.
We were lucky enough to catch our new favorite Danny George in his monstrous LS1 swapped NA Miata leaving the pit to go do battles in qualifiers. Our boy took home the 2012 Spirit of Drift award and may we say it was well deserved. We didn’t see him have a moment of peace the entire day. The guy always had a smile on his face, and truly demonstrates the spirit of the sport. Love was shown to each and every fan, even slowing down for us so we can grab some proper photos. Danny George for the face of Formula D? He has our vote!
We were also lucky enough to stop by Chelsea Denofa’s pit just as he was firing up his 3-rotor swapped Mazda RX8 R3 to do battle on the track. The shots came out overly dramatic, but the dark and mysterious demeanor of the Nitto Tires RX8 seemed to offset the darkened smokey sky really beautifully.
Out in the parking lot we spotted two gorgeous red demons hiding out amongst the tire smoke and mountain scenery. Both complete with bronze Volk TE37′s, I am going to take a safe bet and guess these belong to none other than SoCal locals Ken Gushi and Justin Pawlak themselves.
After a couple hours of wandering around the fair grounds I finally got to eat my tri-tip sandwich, and may I say that it was well worth the wait. I hit up the tri-tip booth at every West Coast based Formula D venue I attend and it’s offically become my new race day obsession. If you haven’t had one of these yet you should swallow the eight dollar price tag and send your tastebuds on the joyride they so rightfully deserve after inhaling and tasting tire smoke all day long.
With the sun begining to decend we made our trek back to the Grand Stands just in time to watch the begining of the qualifying runs, wrapping up our media coverage from Friday’s event. Stay tuned for guest photographer Jimmy Crook and his coverage of all the thrills from Saturday including the Top 32 races, and the famous Slammed Society Showcase. As per our new format make sure to check the gallery below for all the photos that didn’t quite make the write up!
- Story by Alex Royt
- Photos by Alex Royt, Max Montague, & Carlos Rivera
- Edited by Alex Royt