I’m beginning to notice a trend. It seems as though during my adventures with Formula Drift there is never any down time, sleep, boring moments, or lack of awesome activities to shoot.
For me, Formula Drift Atlanta this year began with a cross country journey involving three layovers and an entire day of flying. After losing three hours, getting no sleep, and feeling noticeably more sick, I touched down in a little town they call Atlanta, Georgia. Just kidding! That place is huge!
This being my first time visiting Georgia, I was sure to soak it all in. The hot, humid air and enormous, flying insects were easily overshadowed by the incredible scenery, delicious sweet tea, and of course that good ol’ Southern hospitality.
Antonio Alvendia, Joe Ayala, and myself arrived to the track Friday morning after having breakfast at the infamous Cracker Barrel, which was also a first for me. Their menu is insane! I went with the always satisfying eggs and toast with a side of their delicious Hashbrown Casserole. Enough about the food!
We got to track and I became a little kid on his first trip to Disneyland. I explained to Antonio and Joe that I’ve been virtually racing around Road Atlanta since the release of Forza Motorsport back in ’05. It didn’t seem to faze them (maybe because they’ve been there before), but the first time I laid eyes on Road Atlanta, it was like a dream come true. I even called my dad to rub it in. I couldn’t believe how large the track is and the elevation changes are ridiculous! I had a hard time pulling myself away from the beauty of the famous road course, but I knew I had to get to work!
We made our way down to the inside of the first corner in our sporty little Kizashi 6-speed that our friends at Suzuki so graciously loaned to us. We got down to the k-rails and began shooting the ProAm guys. I can’t imagine competing on that track with little to no practice on such a demanding course. As you can imagine, plenty of drivers dove into the kitty litter, battling for that elusive FD license.
While on the track, we bumped into our friends Ross Fairfield and Drew Fishbein of OMGDRIFT, and also John Peterson and David Do of Mayday Garage. I love what all those guys are doing! You should check ’em out!
Next, we set up the Motor Mavens booth across from the enormous Falken rigs. I must say, I was a bit skeptical of the booth until the incredible Lieze Truter arrived. She made that sh!t hot! If you’re ever in need of a visually appealing arrangement of merchandise, Lieze’s your girl. She also happens to be Andy Sapp‘s girlfriend and a very nice person. She made sure to take great care of all the people who stopped by to check out the Motor Mavens booth, where we had Motor Mavens, DSTROYR, and Keep Drifting Fun t-shirts, along with stickers and lanyards.
The rest of the weekend is all a blur. Scorching-hot weather, screaming engines, billowing smoke, and drunken drift fans were all in abundance. I had the opportunity of meeting TONS of drivers, team members, industry dudes, and media peeps. Something I realized out in Atlanta is that EVERYONE IS AWESOME. I didn’t meet a single person who wasn’t super friendly and willing to give all they could to help a friend.
Speaking of awesome people, Robert Chew of Falken Tire gave us probably 50-60 lbs of great barbecue! We were able to invite all the friends, drivers, drift teams, and bloggers we knew to hang out at the MotorMavens booth and share in all the barbecue chicken, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, baked beans, and corn on the cob. It was so cool to be able to do something as simple as hang out at our booth, talk, and eat with all the teams after the podium ceremony. Many of us enjoyed a few drinks, while others engaged in joyriding golf carts for the last time before returning them. It was the perfect conclusion to an invigorating weekend.
Unforunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to attend the event in New Jersey, but I’ll be sure to catch up with everyone up in Seattle. See you all then!
:: Justin Shreeve