Sunday, March 30, 2008

Karting Anyone?

This past weekend, I got a chance to drive in the Jim Hall Karting School. If you don't know, Jim Hall Karting School was founded by Jim Hall Jr. who is a 2 time World Karting Champion. He is also the son of Jim Hall. I took the 1/2 day beginner course, since they don't know how reckless I drive, this is where all new students start off.
As luck would have it, I arrived filipino time, but didn't miss too much. The classroom instruction briefly went through some the basic flags and safety. Next thing was to familirize everyone with the karts brakes and gas pedal. Then it's off to the track. What I found strange is that we didn't have a track walk or even a parade lap to familiarize ourself with the track, they just let us loose. It was after our runs were complete the class walked the track with live demos at specific corners by experience instructors on how to correctly drive the line, which was really cool. Then it was back into the karts for specific drills on turn in, apex, and turn out. The last part of the class was driving the course for time. I able to squeeze out a 38.07, the instructors will turn out 35.xx so I still have much to work on.
Overall, it was a really good class for anyone who wants to get into karting and also just to gain more knowledge in driving. They had 2 other advanced classes which focused on critiquing driving and a couple of drills for braking and wheel to wheel karting, most excellent. I may try these other classes once I get more money.

I shot a couple pics of the other classes that were in session.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Madness

Easter a holiday that has been commercialized with a rainbow colored eggs and a bunny rabbit. For the some christian religion, it’s the celebrated day that Jesus rose again from the dead. But for us car guys, it’s an excuse to hit the track. Hours after I arrived from Arizona, for Nopi qualifier, I loaded up my gear and headed out to Horsethief Mile for some open track fun. I actually thought I wouldn't make it there I so tired. Eventually I made it safely, second only to the Megan team which also traveled to Horsethief after Arizona. What the hell is wrong with us.

Met alot of old faces I rarely see at the track anymore. So it was like a reunion. Lots changed since then.

Taka and Yoshie were rocking their competition cars, getting some practice time before the upcoming season, which is about to start April 12th @ Long Beach. Hiro was sporting his JZX 90 Chaser, which used to be really cool when he first got it, but now looks like crap. It was so ugly I couldn't post it up pics I was afraid the computer may crash.

Alex P. traitor traded his AE86 for a real 180SX. Matt with the white coupe in the background, which was formerly owned by Hiro with the ugly Chaser.

Andy Y. brought #2 the sparkling poop colored coupe for a romp around with us. Amazingly enough it was his first time there, but he drove like a pro.

Geoff drove Naoki’s old kouki coupe, which still retains the original paint. Still looks shiny after 20 years. Did I mention it has the original red paint?

Then there’s the newer peeps I’ve been going to the track with lately.

Steve in his silly green hatchback. He got frustrated with the RA-1’s and decided to man up and get some Hankook racing slicks for the next event. Damn that means I need to get some.

Mark and Noemi with the nawwzz fed corolla and the lemons mr2, yes it does stretch it's legs every now and then. And me parked right beside them. Were like neighbors and it sucks.

The Drift Association crew parking it like they were at a car show.

Random Volkswagen, I think one of the Drift Association staff. Sorry don't know who you are.

I didn't take many pictures due to fatigue so I missed some people like Charlie (just drift) and Naoki (drift association) and 3rd place Nopi Qualifer and license holder Cyrus M.
It was a really laid back event, wish there was more like these, and I enjoyed myself even though I was really tired.

Monday, March 24, 2008

2008 Nopi Qualifier Competition

2008 Nopi Qualifier Arizona

This past weekend I hitched a ride with Team Megan Racing for a hop over to Tucson, Arizona for the 2008 Nopi Qualifier. Even though the closest west coast event the Nopi will throw is going to be in Utah. It makes me wonder why bother licensing if Nopi isn’t willing to even have events this side of the Mississippi River. If you're serious about picking up sponsors and just to show off to your friends. Any type license is a step up to getting any type of recognition to your driving abilities.

On our way, we found Mr.T at a truck stop clearance bin. Unfortunately Mr. T had an encounter with the other Mr.T Taka Aono @ HTM. RIP Mr. T

6 tired souls arrived in Phoenix at 3a.m. stopping by to get waffles at the Waffle House. They were delicious, I recommend them to anyone. Thanks to Aubree (sp?) for helping us out the first day with a place to rest.

Half the group split up to test the Megan car at Firebird Raceway and prepare for the up coming season. While the other half sat around smoking and enjoying the view of some cactus. I was at the latter.

Next day, we stayed at the Best Western. It was nice cause it was walking distance to nearby restaurants.

They also served waffles in the morning, they were delicious.

Also saw a couple of cool cars at the Best Western, an Audi S5 and a Bentley Continental GTC. They’re probably magazine editors doing some test drives. Maybe one day, I’ll have a chance to test cars like that.

The event itself was at a go-kart track out side of Tucson. It's supposed to a replica to the Suzuka west track. It's a very technical track which should bring out the better drivers and leave the rest in the dirt. Cars with power will be able to complete the track, so low powered Corollas may struggle. The venue has never been used before so this will be something new for all the drivers who are competing.

Yes I like Rotella T, so does Cyrus. I feel he's going to have a good advantage over the rest of the field.

There was a total of 37 drivers vying for their chance to get their Nopi license. 2 drivers will be competing in our camp. Cyrus and Jack.

I also met a fellow Corolla owner, i'll call him D.J. Rob. he drives the red coupe. It was one of 2 Corollas competing that saturday. Why do I call him D.J. Rob? Check out his belt buckle.

I was surprised that there were a few people from Southern California.

Me and Naoki seeing another side of Jack we’ve never seen before. I hope it’s just his way of relaxing before a competition.

The competition wasn't spectacular, it was either you were good or you sucked. All I saw was the latter. Though there was some interesting moments, like this 240 SX taking flight. Cars with lots of power were just eating alot of dust. Very few drivers were able to link the course. Near the end many high powered cars just began slowing down before the first turn.

Austin Robison of Megan Racing really laid down some rubber and showed everyone how it's done.

Congratulations to the winners: 1st Jeff Jones, 2nd Arizona local, sorry don't know your name, 3rd Cyrus Martinez. Told you the Rotella T produces winners, at least 3rd place. 2 other drivers were also awarded with Nopi license.

Special award to Colin Frost, Best Drifter Ever.

It was a fun but very exhausting weekend, since we left right after the event. No after party for the hardcore. The following Sunday was an open track session at Horse Thief Mile, which some of us including myself will be participating.

For the rest of the pics click here

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lemons: The Beginning

I wasn't planning to put up pics of the team's first Lemons adventure, which occured July7,2007. But might as well share. From the first day our MR2 was acquired and the actual race weekend. Not much in between. A group of eager drivers not knowing what lies ahead of them. Only reading about the hooliganism that is the 24Hours of Lemons. So let's begin shall we.

Vehicle as delivered blown engine and all:
All body panels straight, doesn't look too bad.
The only really noticeable damage.

The engine was didn't crank, but the previous owner wasn't sure what's wrong with it besides seeing parts of the engine on the road once it croaked. Later examination of the engine revealed the engine had a rod punching a hole out the block. Yes the can of soda was included with the sale of the car.

Interior ain't too bad, but it's being gutted anyways so it didn't matter much.

Aftermarket glass sunroof, missing but not missed.

Don't have any pics of the build itself, or anything else until race weekend. The pictures are not in any particular order. In other words, I don't remember which day I took them.

Arrival in Northern California, we didn't have time to apply the decals until we took the car to the track. The car looks so clean from this photo, it will be the last time.

Car being prepped and decals applied.

Our team working like a well oiled machine.
Well sort of....

The breakfast of champions.

Team leader giving pep talk and discussing strategy.

Wesley at the helm in the morning, but he's not drifting. This was a pre race test where drivers must navigate through a slalom course in reverse and avoid hitting a cut out of Jar Jar Binks. Wesley brought home the gold with a first place time with seconds to spare. We were awarded 10 laps even before the start of the race.

Here's some of the damage that occurred over the course of the weekend. Every side of the car had damage. Rubbing is racing.

The people's curse receiving it's punishment by way of bobcat and sledgehammer.

A few of the cars at the 24 of Lemons:

Cadillac speedster FTW

Motoring J Style represent with an MR2

Representing the country Japan, 1st geneneration RX7

Team Holy Rollers

Random pics:

The Wheel of Destiny don't be an ass or you'll be sorry.

Cute camera girl.
Can't break the tire bead? Borrow a Super Duty.

Yes, it was hot that day.

Only the French

That was one hot and awesome weekend. One of the most fun/ ridiculous things i've done in a long time. I've got a bunch more pics on my Flickr site click here for more.