Friday, November 11, 2016


This past weekend we had the nice idea of heading out to Vegas to catch the tail end of SEMA happenings, check out a VegasDrift event, and then spend some time wandering around the strip.  Friday night consisted of packing some bags, getting my camera gear ready to go and making sure we had everything for a quick 2-day getaway.  Then it was time for some adult beverages and relaxing a bit before having to drag our butts outta bed nice and early the next morning.  4:30AM rolled around pretty quickly, and it was tough to scrape ourselves off of the comfy bed sheets.  Not too much later, we were fueled-up, had some snacks & coffee, and were well on our way to the Silver State.

It didn't take long into our trip before we ran into some nice views on the highway.  At first we were passing what was a train of older trucks and hot rods being trailered to what seemed like probably a car show.  Several cars later, we hit this nicely-done Infiniti M35 (Fuga).  I quickly changed lanes and paced these guys for a few minutes which churned out a few decent sunrise rolling shots on the I-10.  Throughout the duration of the following 4ish hours, we saw plenty of vehicles and trailers that were clearly on their way out of Vegas, heading home from the SEMA show.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is one massive facility, about 15 minutes north of the infamous 'strip.'  Driving down the main entrance, you can easily get lost in the separate areas of the property, as there was a Nascar track in front of us, drag racing going on to our left, storage facilities and a track-side cafe to the right, and even more empty lots and streets to be explored beyond that.  Once we finally found our way to the lot and gate where we needed to be, we were pretty quickly greeted by Uncle Scoot.  He just really knows how to pose for the camera.  Glamour shots by Deb.

Scott's been around the Arizona and Vegas drift scene for awhile, and turns out he's pretty close with Forrest.  It was clear that folks were gravitating towards their set-up and cars, so once we parked and settled-in at the track, naturally we went to go check out the Get Nuts cars on display too.

Forrest was switching back and forth between his recent FD S15 chassis, and the older S14 vehicle that was previously used in Formula Drift by both himself and other drivers.  Out of all the competition cars in FD, I've always felt that Wang has had the best styling and taste but we hope that gone are not the days of an arsenal of VS-KF.

Speaking of style, the newest car to smolder out of the Laboratory is Jeff's incredible S15.  Seeing the pictures of this car on the internet before seeing it in person did not do it justice.  Just to be standing in the presence of this vehicle gives off an amazing vibe of detail, precision and 'ethereality.'  Just like the tent that the other envious, jade S-Chassis were parked under, this Silvia had a pull to it that had crowds gathering around all throughout the day.

Zestino crew was in full effect, out to catch a VegasDrift event as well, and see the black beauty under the desert sunlight.

Move in a bit closer, and you'll start to notice more details.  And then the smell of Air Spencer or Treefrog JDM squash scent will lure you around the corners of the car to its interior.

The interior of Jeff's car is much more tame than the outside, but that's not to say it still doesn't have some glorious JDM curio.  Seeing that Vertex wheel really makes me miss the emotion felt when gliding my hands across the nice leather of my KEY!S wheel, and knowing that feeling of present nostalgia while sitting in a Bride bucket.

It sure seemed like the #ZestinoFamily were enamored with their newly sponsored car, and taking a bit of interest in the other crowd-pleasers.  Maybe some foreshadowing for 2017 partnerships. . .?

As we started to walk around the pit a bit more, there was the typical drift event residents that you'd expect to see.  A rather simple black Zenki on some battles.

Then there was this, still rather simple, but a bit more sophisticated S14 Kouki front-ended coupe.

And with a hop, skip and jump over to the tech line at the opposite side of the pit, I saw some not so usual suspects.  I was surprised to see this 2+2 280ZX awaiting tech inspection, sitting closely behind a Mad Max-esque roadster of some sort.  I took a quick peek at the motor and a closer look at the body lines, then confirmed with the owner of the car that it was a NA Miata.  Different for sure, and I think it looked super awesome.  Couldn't wait to see him on track and what the little monster could do.

Pretty sure this kid was just scratching his nose as he walked by me, but. . .


It didn't take much more poking around the lot before getting beamed in my retinas with this lovely yellow FD3S.  It has its rough spots, but it just gives it that much more character - and if you look closely it's RHD.

Some matte bronze WORK Emotion D9R sit nicely underneath the RX-7's fenders.  This shot also gives you an idea of how much open space there still was in the lot behind the cars parked in the pit.

I was a bit excited to see this hatch with 326Power style wing and Type-X tails.  It felt like home for a quick second.

This cool old skool, 80's Maxima rolled up as we were finally starting to head towards the track.

And I couldn't walk right past this Z without getting at least a few snaps.  This style is so unusual for me to see, but so awesome!  I know it exists in the U.S., but it's so seldom seen.

Through hearing rumblings around the pit, it sounded like one unlucky soul for the day had sent his Miata into a K-Rail, pushing it into some sort of power box that the wall was supposed to be protecting.  Definitely not a fun way to start your day and have to get sent home early, but in the end it could have been much worse and it's so much better that people are actually getting onto a track to pursue this hobby.

As we wait around for the track to go hot again, I see yet another white hatch - this time on R33's.

Finally!  Drivers were allowed to get back in line for their turn to run the course.  I was really digging the layout that VegasDrift was using - it's one giant asphalt lot with no obstacles, and they had it set-up with a sweet, fast entry sweeper into an S-turn that you could choose to run a carousel on, or continue onto another S-turn and exit the course.

This fella in the black Kouki seemed to be just as lost as we were when looking for the proper lot and gate where the drift event was being held.  We followed him around the Speedway property for awhile, playing a bit of cat-n-mouse game until we finally found the place we came for.  His license plate read '600SX.' - There was no denying that rumble exuding from the underside of his car.

One excited passenger preparing to head out for what sure seemed like a thrilling ride-along with Forrest.

Kenji wasn't too sure what to think of the event yet.  Although this wasn't his first drifting encounter, the loud, rev-limiting pops bleeding from this one poor AE86 that was on the skidpad had us all a bit shook-up.  Turns out that several events ago, there was some sort of mishap with a dog being in the pit, and well. . . now dogs are no longer welcome at the events, which really sucks.  I guess it's my own fault for not looking at the event page in depth, but it was for sure a bit frustrating after just having driven 4 and a half hours from a different state.  We packed things up into the roller-skate and simply moved ourselves to the fence running parallel to the lot, which ended up giving me a much better vantage for photos anyways.  I sat on the roof of the iQ and was able to see clear over the fence and snap some decent shots.

At this point in the day, it was about 3:00PM and the sun was moving past us to the West.  I love these shots where there's just enough smoke behind the car for the sun to cast a nice shadow off the rear down to the pavement.

This dude was sure fun to watch, especially when he laid into the throttle and filled up the cabin with loads of smoke.

White hatch #3 of the day, and this one even has a black roof. . .

SC300's have seemed to be a bit more popular on the West coast compared to what I've seen back in the DMV.


These FC's are also starting to pop up a lot more, which is pretty tight.  It's a little crazy to stop and think actually that there's plenty of aftermarket companies out there still developing and marketing new parts for chassis that are now pushing or beyond 25 years old

Do you even squat?

I can only imagine where some of these drivers will be next year or the year after.  There were plenty of Pro-Am drivers at this event, either to just have fun and finish off the season or maybe testing for 2017 set-ups.  It's interesting to see the difference between those who have rather high driving levels and how their cars are set-up, versus those who're still in the learning process and how they show up in their cars, or maybe put more emphasis on low-style.

Buh-bye, cone!

The amount of angle that some of these cars can get now is really insane.  There were several times that Forrest and some of the other drivers came around this carousel and their cars literally looked like they were sliding 90 degrees from the direction they were moving.

And the trumpeting discharges coming from this car's exhaust were just unreal.

Here's the little Miata monster out on the course!  I am scared for this dude's fingers.

I bet this thing is an absolute blast to drive.  It's so strange but cool looking, and it was actually really exciting to see the suspension components articulating on track in real-time.

A quick break from the on-track action to take a Snapchat with Gayle!  My new Guatemalan Palm Leaf hat did an amazing job of keeping the sun off my head and maintaining my sanity - I love that thing.

Spotted this drone out over the cars driving - I tried waving to it so we'll see if that pops up in any video haha But it'll be cool to see the video shots that this dude got.

Another little NA Miata, with body panels in tact.

Not sure if this happens to anyone else or not, but whenever I go somewhere new - for example my move out to Arizona, and now working with a totally different staff than I was previously - I can relate almost every new person I meet or encounter with someone I already previously knew.  It's almost like an evil twin thing.  When I saw this hatch, it immediately reminded me a bit of Adam's hatch from back in Maryland.

I remember spotting this guy down at Musselman in Tucson.  Didn't really get the whole scoop, but sounded like he was faced with some transmission issues for the day.  He didn't seem to be too far off his game though, even with the gremlins.

Here's yet another driver I recall from the Southwest Drift event that was held down at Musselman Honda Circuit.  It appeared that a team member was in attendance with him this time, as there was another almost identical blue hatch that was out n about.  This car could really waft out the rubber clouds when he wanted to.

So happy to see this Z actually out driving the course.

This was our view to the Southwest.  Plenty of passersby stopped along the gravel shoulder to observe what all the tire smoke and loud noises was about.  It seemed like several groups of folks had been camped out for quite awhile actually, so it was kinda like a mini-party on the sidelines.

Yup - there she is.  Also, Nellis AFB is directly between the track and downtown so we got to see plenty of fighter jets taking off and circling the area throughout the day.  That was like a 2-for-1 special, and I enjoyed watching them flyby each time.

Towards the end of the day, it was nice to see some tandem runs going on.  Not realizing it at the time, there were some team tandem competitions going down and I really like that grassroots events seem to be overcome with a driver desire to promote more unity and a bond atmosphere.  Despite the critter confusion, I really enjoyed my first VegasDrift event and will plan to hit up more in the future - I'll bring pants next time too so I can actually get out on track!

As things wrapped up for the day, we headed into town and got checked into our hotel room for the night.  We did the typical touristy things on the strip, and hit up Wahlburgers for some delicious patties, fries and frosty beer.  The next day consisted of some additional exploration, Hoover Dam and making our way back home.  All-in-all, definitely a successful out of state trip and I look forward to heading out to Nevada a bit more.  Maybe folks can expect to see the Wolfpack out there at some point???  I have so many more photos to share still, so I'll probably have to make an album on the Facebook page for folks to flip through!
武士道 - B U S H I D O!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review! Love the pictures as well!
    Jr Faber