I was properly stressed out. Moving into the new shop… trying to get settled in a maybe think about making a few dollars…. I hadn’t stopped for a minute since blasting back from Speed Week. A break was called for and when Wendell Burns called and asked what my plans were for World Finals my response was “Smoking cigars with you and taking pictures, sir.” I was so excited to go I tried to leave a week early…
What happens when 2020 comes around and shuts all the local shows down? You drive 1689 miles across the country to spend the day someplace new….
I spent 2 days behind the wheel to spend a day partying down Iowa style with the guys from Torque Fest and The Rod Tossers CC. I won’t lie, this ‘coverage’ is lacking in the ‘coverage’ department and is more of a showcase of the action going on and around the dirt track at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds. And there is plenty of action… from the minute I pulled up to the back gate, until I had to split on Sunday, there was somebody, running something around the track; dirt bikes, mini-bikes, vintage dirt track bikes and hot rods. There were a few sessions of ‘run what you brung’ style grudge racing and the Summit Dirt Drags on the front stretch. The ‘main-event’ went down on Saturday night. Chain racing was new to me but an absolute hoot, two cars are chained together, front car has an engine and no brakes, rear car has no engine and may or may not have brakes. It’s a shit show like none other and we will be back to participate. Bet.
Earlier last week, management at the Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix announced their decision to pull the plug and shutter the nearly vacant shopping center. What came next was a flood of nostalgia and reminiscing from disappointed locals, many of whom spent countless evenings circling the property in their youth, a time long before pop up meets and two way communication apps for your phone, you just went and cruised Metro. A simple idea, “let’s go cruise the mall one last time” exploded into an unbelievable send off that nobody expected, turning out to be what will be remembered as one of the largest cruise nights in Arizona history….
As happy as I am to have something to point cameras at, you could feel the excitement as these drivers were finally able to make some road course laps on the west track at Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park. Congratulations to Bobby Tanner making the show in his first road racing event, you can check out Bobby’s #198 Miata mixed in with the rest of the group in the gallery below. Don’t see your car? Shoot us a message, I shot a few thousand pics and just didn’t have room to post them all here.
It was one of those weird Arizona days where it’s about a hundred and ten degrees out, yet a ‘cool’ northbound breeze threaten to drag in a sky high wall of dust followed by flash flood warnings and gully washers. It was actually two days like that. Luckily the wind merely threatened, leaving behind two pleasant evenings to kick off the West Coast Hot Rod Association’s 2020 season.
As the sun crept below the horizon we were treated to some phenomenal sunsets setting the scene for some great racing action on the Tucson Dragway. We’ll get the official results posted once Danny and crew have a chance to get those over to us but for now enjoy some shots from the event.
Disclaimer; I crashed this party and didn’t really stick around for much of it… definitely not our best event coverage… I was feeling the need for speed so I treated it a bit like a chase, got some live video on the Facebook page, hauled ass ahead, got a few shots, hauled ass ahead again, got some shots on the mountain and then spent the rest of the day driving aimlessly around the backroads of Yavapai county.
“Dude…. I got to talk to Don Prudome!” Jessie was on another planet…. I mean, he kinda always is, but this time the galaxy he was orbiting around was the Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park dragstrip and he had an all access press credential hanging around his neck. “Should’a asked him for an interview bud,” I suggested, giving his media bling a tug, “It’s your fault we’re even here!” And it really was his fault… or… idea to come here. About then, a pair of top fuel cars pull up about nine feet from us as they roll out of their burnout, Jessie, suddenly transported to planet focus and intensity aiming that two hundred millimeter glass towards the track, “I wanna see the whites in their eyes….”
It’s mind bending. I swear you go blind for a split second as the cars go by… eyeballs overcome by the pressure of twenty thousand horsepower exploding, visible shockwaves punching their way through you, leaving behind a nitromethane and tire smoke cocktail for the sinuses. Eyes burn… noses run… mind how you and when you breathe. Be ready in case one of these suckers makes a break for the wall….
Ground zero for incredible speed, the fuel fed blower cars are celebrities of the day, and fans follow them around the track from pit to staging lane, some spending big money on seats in stands that they never see, choosing instead to stand along the fence truly getting the maximum possible bang for their buck.
After hours at the track is where the similarities to celebrity athletes ends however as many of the drivers and crews can be found interacting with fans and sharing the cars, answering questions and occasionally offering up some 330mph souvenirs.
*insert text message notifications noise*… it’s from Kevin and it’s just a link to the re-opened Adobe Mountain Speedway which says racing is over in 90 minutes. What the hell… I jump in the car and head north making it in time for the final rounds of racing and talked my way into the infield.
There was a quite a bit more than the advertised 90 minutes worth of racing left, I was able to settle in, find a few good angles, catch a few cool shots until racing was done and I was sufficiently dust and racing fuel scented. It wasn’t even 9:30 yet which meant my favorite taco cart wouldn’t be serving up that delicious barbacoa so I split down to the weekly Grand Avenue cruise downtown…
You cannot and will not be able to see everything…
Everyone was one hundred percent correct too… We ‘snuck in’ a the day before the show and ran around the Fairplex for two and a half solid days trying to prove them wrong. We didn’t stand a chance. Not even close….
After having taken a Saturday afternoon siesta. we noticed a bunch of folks headed out of the show and the sunset to our backs had us pulled over to the side of the road like paparazzi for some random rollers. Goodtimes….
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Four thirty in the morning… I am wide awake and wired like a jackrabbit. So I hopped in the opulente ente…. Hot coffee and a full tank of the ‘hoods finest later, I hit the highway headed towards the farmland and McMansions in the suburbs to see what could be seen.
Still dark and my arrival premature, having beaten the drivetime estimation by a considerable factor… I hunkered down in a end spot, cranked the heat up and started in on the coffee. It wasn’t long until I was flanked by a jet boat and another form of yacht in a Hellcat Charger… they started rolling in and soon enough we had a car show on our hands. And so began our day at Chandler Cars and Coffee…
“I can still see my breath…”
By Arizona standards it was a bit chilly out. I offered the jet boat fellow a towel to wipe off the red gel coat but it wasn’t morning dew… it was last nights frost. Stuffing my hands deeper into my pockets as the sun crept over the horizon offering much less warmth than us thin blooded desert dwellers had been craving the parking lot was starting to fill up with an interesting assortment of machinery. I grabbed the camera and a few shots before splitting to the next spot…
I jammed out from Chandler and hit the highway again… bound for east Mesa and another Cars and Coffee event taking place at Power and McDowell, a 20 mile cruise across town. With what could be considered “no” traffic, the Duck of Opulence made short work of the trip and in a few short minutes we were arriving at meet number two…
The Mesa meet was a little more low key… more of a small town feel, no crazy wide body kits or wrapped cars, more hot rods and street rods even a deuce and a half military truck. It seemed like we missed out for making this stop number two as it seemed many participants had already broken camp.
And as it goes, that was pretty much that… I got a few shots in and people started clearing out. I’ll make this the first stop next time and see how that works out but I imagine it will be another relaxing morning filled with great cars to see and a nice drive to go see them.
Welcome to Gila Bend…. or…. well, their airport anyhow. We spent the morning track side with Omega Motorsports and can’t wait to get our junk back on the road, ripping some half mile passes. The laid back format makes for an enjoyable day of pushing your machine to the limits without the pressure or structure of a ‘race’. Ready to make a pass? Simply pull onto the taxiway and wait for clearance… No Fly Zone is not merely a speed trial but a diverse display of machinery being put to the test, from BMW’s and Mustang’s, to Lamborghini’s and Hayabusa’s, Viper’s, Porsche’s, GTR’s…. and they’re all here to put the hammer down. While the paddock and spectator parking is full of rare, exotic and modified cars, the real show is out on the tarmac….
My favorite day of the year. And not because I like turkey or sweet potato’s but because we gather up a bunch of cars and friends and make some noise. This run is a yearly tradition going back over 20 years and with it’s close proximity to the city, this 20-ish mile run is a nice way to kill a few hours on the road instead of riding the couch watching that same old boring parade while you wait to stuff your gut.
I’d been hearing rumors that the lowriders have been showing up in full force. I now consider myself a bit more well informed about what somebody means when they say “them dudes are showing up FULL FORCE!”. This isn’t an advertised deal with shirt vendors and kettle korn… this is cruising, with the occasional hopper standing up on the rear bumper in the middle of the street. Goodtimes.
Time is money they say, and nowhere will you be reminded about that more often than in a machine shop. Turning handles for a living isn’t what most people expect, as a fair portion of your time is planning, setting-up, double checking your plan and set up, eventually firing up the machine to make some chips. And then there’s times when you just need to haul ass to rough in a part to help get the job moving along. This is one of those times… most everyone had gone home for the night so we had some fun making some big noise with a monster of an old Axleson lathe.