Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NHRA Finals, Extreme Autofest, and NHRA Season Finale Banquet

This past weekend, Felix came through yet again, and we rocked a booth spot at the NHRA Season Finale/Extreme Autofest in Pomona. We loaded up all the gear and books into the AE86s, and drove out to Pomona Fairplex.

We set up a little spot with our friends from Belle 1 Race Communications. We had the RSR S15 on display, and my red AE86 as well. Actually, I wasn't planning to show the car, but when we got there, I didn't feel like parking it all far cause I had alot of stuff in the car with me. So we said F it, and we're just gonna park it right here. Here's a photo of the booth.

This is my boy Daryl from Belle 1. He was walking around the event taking pictures with his Mac. With a LAPTOP! Come on bro. Someone buy this man a camera already. Serious! haha

So we were chillin at the booth and this model named Ann comes by. She was checkin out my book, cause she's into literature. But my book is mostly filled with my photography, I dunno if she was expecting that or not.

So I started talking to Ann, asking her what's her name, what she's into, where she's from, etc... She said she's from Camarillo originally, so I thought, what a perfect opportunity to introduce her to my crew! My boys from Belle 1 are from the 805!

So I was like, yo actually my boys right here are originally from the same area (Oxnard) and they represent 805 every chance they get. I introduced her to my boy Fred, and she's like... wait a minute... "FREDDDD!!! OMG! wtf! hi2uLOL!"

She jumped up and hugged Fred, but Fred had this totally "wait... HUH??" look on his face, cause he had no idea who this girl was at first, but being the smart man that he is, he just played it off and took the hug. (That's my BOY right there! Yesss!) I just sat back laughing cause I knew this cat was puzzled, and trying to put the pieces together.

Apparently Ann remembered Fred cause he used to go out with one of her close friends named Diane (Dee). Small world.

What's even crazier, was when Fred was looking though my blog, he was like "YO you know those girls at the house party we didn't go into? Well I saw your pics, and one of the girls was my ex gf Dee! Crazy shit!"

The crazier thing is the girl from the house party, Dee... is the same Dee that Ann here is friends with. Crazy huh. 6 Degrees of separation for sure.

So I took this photo of Fred and Ann next to the cover of my book. Ann's face says "Awwww I'm so happy, I found an old friend!" and Fred's face says "Hey yo bro, at first, I didn't know who the hell this chick was, but I'm gangster like that, so I played it off and I took the hug anyway!" haha

Oh and in case you didn't know, my book attracts some pretty hot girls. I don't know what it is, but it's true.

No, I'm serious. They even pick it up and read it too, they don't just pose with it.

This is my boy Andy Luk, from Formula D Inc. Andy (aka ODP or Old Dirty Panda) is the guy who tells everyone where they can and can't set up their booths, and things dealing with operations. And apparently he has his own little operation going on with his new chick, Kaylah! We all met Kaylah chasing cones at Formula D Seattle, but from what Andy says, she now lives in Southern Cali with my boy right here! NICE! Wow you work fast Andy! Good job!

I'd usually expect that sort of thing from Formula D's Richard Tran, he can always be found spittin game to the ladies... but ODP, you are the man!

We had my boy Arnell aka DJ A1 on the wheels of steel, making sure the crowd always got hype to the freshest beats, when they came close to our booth.

My boy Karlo aka Joe Tokyo took this photo of some of the goods at the booth...

This is Karlo, Stace, and Felix right here, chillin out in the cool shade of the Belle 1 booth, with a cool book in their hands.

My friend Mike Kojima came through to the booth and bought a copy of my book, and asked me to sign it for him. Man Mike Kojima is the FOUNDATION!

Let me break it down real quick for those who don't know... Mike Kojima writes tech articles for several Primedia publications, and used to work at Nismo, and TRD, and stuff like that. Mike is a very skilled road racer, and he was one of (if not the very first) one to build up an AE86 in the USA. He worked at TRD USA in its "Golden Years" (late 80s/early 90s), and he built up his red 1985 AE86 hatchback with TRD suspension, engine mods, and basic stuff like JDM sideskirts, Sprinter taillights, rollbar, stuff like that. Mike says he started building it up the first day he got it.

He also helped build this particular silver 1985 AE86 hatchback, owned by a guy named Paul Goduti. Paul Goduti's silver AE86 was featured in the Toyota Performance Handbook, which is a book from Motorbooks International. Paul and Mike's AE86s were some of the first AE86s ever built up in the USA. The other crazy thing is I now own the silver AE86 which used to belong to Paul Goduti. I bought it several years ago at a premium, and I kept it on the downlow for years... it will come back out soon. Don't even trip.

Karlo shot this pic of Stace in the new 86LIFE zip hoodie for girls. Good job for covering the 86LIFE logo with your hair Stace. haha

This is a photo of some real deal AE86ers right here. (L-R) Felix Tang, Dave DeVera, and Antonio Alvendia. Felix has been helping the CipherGarage mission tirelessly for the past few weeks (since Formula D finals), helping me on the merchandise end.

Dave, here in the middle, has a new website called (you can just click on the photo above, it's easier). He has an 86 hatchback, and he's from the east coast. He also was the winner of this year's Scion Challenge! This guy is a good drag racer! He beat out pro draggers, and he got best ET, top speed of day, and all that... he won like 3 different awards at the Scion banquet, and some fly Scion watches! Good job Dave!

Oh yeah, before the day was over, Ann came by the booth again, and I took a photo of her. I am not hatin on her frame! This girl looks good! But she blinked. Nandayo Ann! haha

End of the day at Extreme Autofest/NHRA Finals. We were loading everything back into our AE86s. Man I should sell my Lexus and buy a van or something. But vans don't look cool. Hmmm. Tough choice.

Lightin em up! I think this pic ain't bad for a POS Casio digicam, but imagine how much cooler it would look with the Canon SLR.

Felix was driving around in the RS*R S15, but ssshhhh don't tell the guys at RS*R. They will never find out, it's not like I posted it on the internet or something. So I took a photo of him. This is a photo taken by Fred David, of me takin a photo of Felix.

Disclaimer: There were a ton of heavy boxes of BOOKS and other supplies in the back of my car, which caused the resulting fender gap. My car is lower in real life!

So here's the photo I shot of Felix, with my Canon digital SLR. He looks pretty happy doesn't he. Dude it also looks like his head is just floating inside the car, because of the light cutoff. haha!

Here's Felix in the S15 again, this time, it looks more natural. He was saying "yo I think I'm feeling this S15 a grip." Well don't get too used to it homeboy because still 86>15. Wordup.

At the end of the night, we were tired as hell. But we decided to roll to the NHRA Banquet and Awards Ceremony with our boys Daryl and Fred from Belle 1. Daryl took this photo.

Although I admittedly am not a huge drag racing buff, I heard some of the stories people were telling about some of the teams and drivers like Ron Bergenholtz, Loan Nguyen (is that her name? it might be a import model's name, I'm not sure. So if it is, my bad I'm sorry), Jeremy Lookofsky, and the SA22C RX7 guy from Puerto Rico... and I gotta say, it was really inspiring.

These guys sweat it out, working hard through thick and thin, with or without sponsors... for instance, Bergenholtz won this season, and this guy didn't even have backing from a major car company! And he still took em out! That's just incredible.

It kinda brought me back and made me think, it's the same type of struggle that drifters are going through right now. But regardless if they are drifters or draggers, or even photographers... the people who succeed are able to overcome their obstacles and rise above the struggle because of their focus, determination and HEART. Their passion for their sport is what drives them. That's deep right there.

So chase your dreams NOW. Do that shit. Seize the moment, seize the day. You can't ever regain lost time. Don't ever waste an opportunity to do something that drives you.



Anonymous JoeTokyo said...

Hey Antonio,
Amazing photos as usual. Thanks for putting up a couple of my shots, im super appreciative.


9:47 AM  

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