2011 Review Dopeness >>> The “Right” Coast. Deal With It.

Now that it’s December, all the OMG staff members are putting together their Year In Review posts. This is a review of not only the drift season and the events we covered, but some of the other important events in our lives that helped create the awesome year that was 2011.

So, where do I start? January. After 6+ months of work at my local Sonic Drive-In, I finally had enough cash to get what I’d been wanting for years…A 240sx.

This was my pride and joy for the next 3 months. Blown Godspeed coilovers, Tein tie rods, ISIS tension rods, welded diff, battery relocated to the trunk, ’95 S14 KA with Megan headers to a 3 inch straight pipe exhaust, short-ram intake with K&N filter, and a JDM S13 gauge cluster. It was a POS, but it was loud, low, and obnoxious; just the way I like it.

I spent every moment I could in this car. Going to school, then to my internship at a local performance shop, and then to my job at Sonic was overwhelming, but driving to and from these places in this thing kept me sane.

Flash forward to April. I decided to get out on the track at the first ClubLoose event and have some fun behind the wheel instead of behind a camera.

The car was not even close to aligned properly, and the tires needed a lot more pressure…But what did I care? I was kicking the crap out of it and having the time of my life.

Getting close to the end of the day, I move up to the front course to do a few runs in front of my friends before we head home. I come through the first corner, transition, dirt drop, and as I get back on the pavement, I catch grip and get flung head-first into the concrete barrier.

(Thanks to Dave NJ for the photo.)

Luckily, the seat belt and the helmet did their jobs and I was fine. The car, however, was a different story. Driving it back to the pits, everyone and I start to assess the damage. Obviously the whole front clip was destroyed, but after a closer look I could see that the frame rail had crumpled a few inches and had detached itself from the firewall. Not easily repairable.

Now what? It’s time for a new shell. I tore the two tone apart, keeping everything I could possibly get off of it, and scrapped the shell. My buddy Robby graciously gave me another coupe shell with some rust/wiring issues, but I can’t say no to free. (Thanks again Robby! <3)

(That dude with the beard is pretty sexy, don’t you think?)

Oh, I forgot, while I was doing this, I graduated from high school. Yay. I was lucky enough to get a Canon 60D, a 50 1.8, and a Sigma 70-200 2.8 from my family as a graduation gift.

How did I break the new gear in?

Hell of a way to learn how to use all-new gear, huh?

I was dropped off at Wall Speedway on Thursday, the practice day, and this was one of the first things I was greeted with. After meeting Linhbergh and Larry Chen from Speedhunters in the first ten minutes of my time at the event, my mind was blown. It couldn’t get any better.

And then Kevin Wells brings the NOS Energy Drink 370z out onto the track for a shoot. After taking tons of photos and carefully watching what Linhbergh was doing, we headed back to the pits and I proceeded to have the best weekend of my life. I met so many people that I have looked up to, and still do, including Larry Chen, Will Roegge ,Justin Shreeve and Joe Ayala from Tandem of Die, Ken Gushi, Matt Field, Matt Powers, and many more.

Say what you want, but I believe that it’s important to have someone that you can look at and say, “I want to be him.”¬†Linhbergh is that person for me.¬†I’m such a Linhbergh fanboy, I actually just did a presentation in my Photo Portfolio class about him and how he’s inspired me to become a photographer.

Linhbergh, if you’re reading this, keep being awesome and I’ll see you next season.

FD Wall was a hell of an experience, and I could write a whole other post about it. I’d just like to thank Dan Jenkins and the whole Waldin family for the rides back and forth from the track, all of the OMG guys for trusting me to be the only photographer for us at the event, and of course all of you readers who are the reason I was there in the first place!

After returning from Wall, I locked myself in my room and edited for 5 days, then headed back out to Englishtown for the biggest drift event in the country…East Coast Bash 2011.

Over 100 drivers were out ripping on the road course over both days. I’ve never seen the paddock so packed, and I’ve never seen so many drifting fans in one spot. (Not even FD.)

This was also the last time I saw my buddy Jon Cummings’ last event in the states for a few months; he was deployed overseas as a member of our Air Force. He’s back and safe now! Thanks for being awesome dude!

The next month was the Hold The Line pro-am event hosted by Tony Angelo, with Tony, Matt Petty and Michael Edwards as judges. My favorite battle of the day had to be between Miro Ovcharik and Tanner Munson.

I also headed out to Night Moves at the end of July, which is a parking lot event across the street from the road course at Englishtown. Gotta start ‘em young, right Hector? Also, BLOODMASTERS!!!

Right around this time, the shop I had been working at was forced to shut down, so I had to move my half-put-together 240 to a new shop. I brought it to a shop in Philadelphia and had them finish it up for me and patch up a lot of the rust on the frame rails and floorboards.

This is how she sits now.

There’s not much else I want to do with it, other than re-wire it, paint it, do the interior, get new coils, and a good set of wheels. Maybe KA-T by the time the season starts. ;)

Then it was time for Freedom Moves. This was honestly the most fun I’ve ever had in a single weekend. This photo was also the first photo I’ve personally been paid to shoot; the driver Bill slipped me a $5 and told me to get the “money shot”.

I couldn’t believe some of the runs the Bloodmasters were throwing down. In case you didn’t know, the Bloodmasters gang consists of Tony Angelo, Ryan Tuerck, Matt Petty, Michael Edwards, Chris Forsberg, Nick D’Alessio, Brian Wilkerson, and some others. They just finished filming some shenanigans with Mark Lenardon, so keep an eye out for a video that will blow your mind.

The last event of the season was Finishing Moves, where Matt Petty finally got to rip in his own car.

That brings us to the present; I’m finishing up my first semester at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. I love being in the city everyday…There’s never a dull moment, especially when there’s a gigantic Shantytown of Occupiers outside of City Hall.

I couldn’t be happier with this year and my life right now. I’ve got a fun job, a great school, a loving family…

…And of course, a beautiful girlfriend by my side.

Big thanks go out to Matt Petty, Tim Johnsrud, Pat, Papa, and everyone else who helps to make ClubLoose the best grassroots drifting organization.

Another big thanks to all the drivers who have become my good friends; Matt Graham, Willie Ortega, Hector, Dave NJ, the Lowbros, Anthony Fallon, Tanner Munson, Matt Predmore, and tons more. You guys are awesome and I can’t wait to see what you collectively pull off next season.

I’d like to personally thank Dan Jenkins, Jonathan Rochin, Linhbergh, and Larry Chen for the wisdom and inspiration to keep shooting cars sideways.

Stay awesome people. <3

-Mike Griffith

ClubLoose.com

FreakyFliks.com

2 comments

  1. Nice post Mike – cool stories and pics

  2. Great Stuff Mike! more to come next year no doubt :)

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