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Oliver Petalver

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http://www.motormavens.com

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GALLERY> Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Nearly two weeks ago, some of you saw a portion of the 1.968-mile temporary street course in Long Beach, CA when Formula DRIFT slid into town. Just this past weekend, fans were treated to the full street course with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. During the three-day event, fans were able to see a variety of races - IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights, American Le Mans Series, Pirelli World Cup, and the infamous Formula DRIFT team competition. Local Long Beach drifter Kyle Mohan and 2011 Rookie of the Year Aurimas "Odi" Bakchis won the team DRIFT competition.   Read more...

PERSPECTIVE> An Outsider’s Look At NASCAR

Most of our readers already know that @MotorMavens Crew doesn't normally do coverage of stock car racing. However, when we got the official invite and media passes to the NASCAR Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway (California Speedway) in Fontana this past weekend, we decided it might be interesting to experience NASCAR through the eyes of an outsider.

I was unsure of what to expect. A lot of people portray the NASCAR crowd to be a certain demographic - yielding confederate flags and trucker caps with flames on the bill, screaming "Yee-haw!" but that stereotype couldn't be more incorrect, at least at the Fontana event.   Read more...

DRIVER SEAT> Nexen/Mazdatrix RX8 & Kyle Mohan

I’m Kyle Mohan, and I drive the Nexen Tires/Mazdatrix RX8 in the Formula Drift Championship. It’s hard to believe that 2011 was already the fifth season for Kyle Mohan Racing (KMR) in Formula Drift. We started with an FC3S RX-7 that I built from the ground up with my dad in his driveway, and now we have our team, a title sponsor, and our first top ten finish in the Formula Drift Championship!

It’s been a very fun year for us! We achieved our best championship result in Formula Drift and won the Team Drift competition at the Long Beach Grand Prix, but we’ve also had a lot of setbacks.   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Rusty 1937 Ford Pilsner Pickup

A while back, I attended the world’s biggest one-day charity car show, Cruisin' For A Cure, in Costa Mesa, CA. It was a great way to get the word out on the prevention of Prostate Cancer. While mandatory digital rectal exams (finger up-the-butt in layman’s terms for those who may have been thinking there was an app for that) were not part of the admission, the chance to view hundreds of classic, customized vehicles were. This was my first time attending this show and I’ve got to say, it was THE largest car show I’ve attended. Many cars caught my attention and, as I was leaving, I spotted this 1937 Ford Truck owned by Tom and Linda Chorbagian. So I hurriedly grabbed my strobes in the trunk and took a few shots during the festivities.

Its rat-rod look reminded me of a Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi (no, not the green stuff complementing your sushi). Essentially, from an artistic point-of-view, wabi-sabi is defined as “flawed beauty.” It refers to beauty as a result of age, wear and tear and any anomalies which add uniqueness. It's a growing trend in rat-rodding and it seeks beauty in the simple and imperfect. Tom's truck is a good example of the embodiment of this principle and has that perfect combination of burned paint, rust, and look acquired from age and weather--it's hardly an eyesore.   Read more...

CENTER STAGE> Formula Drift Rookie of the Year

When I first met Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis, it was at a local grassroots event. From the first time I met him until now, I’d say he’s still one of the most down-to-earth guys you’ll ever meet. However, that’s hardly the description I’d give him when he’s on the track. On the track, I'd say Odi is a menace. With only two years of drifting experience, Odi entered professional competition in 2011 and earned his professional license in 2010 through the Top Drift Pro Am and Vegas Drift Pro Am series.   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> RIP MotoGP Rider Marco Simoncelli

Another tragedy hit the racing world as Italian Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli lost his life in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. Simoncelli, who rode for San Carlo Honda Gresini, was sent to the medical center at the Sepang circuit for treatment, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. (more…)


COVERAGE> Formula Drift: Vegas After Dark!

Round 6 of the Formula DRIFT series was held in the scorching heat of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where locals went to witness Rhys Millen, in the Red Bull/Hankook Tire Hyundai Genesis, take first place in an already competitive season. Prior to Round 6, Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire/Falken Tire Nissan S13 was the leader in the Championship Point Standings with Justin "JTP" Pawlak (in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang) in second. Both failed to make it to the to the Final Four in Vegas, making the points spread even more slim.

In addition, this past event made people do a double take as FD Asia drivers Adwitya "Dio" Amandio & Saranon "Non" Pornpatanarak each made their U.S. debut. There was also a bit of controversy as Justin Pawlak switched seats with Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z while McQuarrie piloted JTP's Falken Tire Nissan S15 instead.

All in all, with a nail biting points race, Rhys Millen back on the podium, new faces, and driver crossovers, you can see how someone might say that Vegas was the place to be this past weekend!   Read more...

OH SNAP> Happy AE86 Day

Took a brief look at my files and thought I'd contribute to 8-6 day! Above is a shot I did for 9K Racing back in February.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Experiencing MotoGP at Laguna Seca

While my colleagues were in the Pacific Northwest shooting Formula D, I decided to take a road trip to Monterey, CA to shoot the world famous MotoGP.

For those unfamiliar with MotoGP, it is the two-wheel equivalent of Formula One. It is an 18-race series visiting 14 countries (with only two stops in the U.S.). Now in its 63rd year, it is the oldest motorsports championship in the world. The world’s best riders pilot machinery that have been crafted with the keenest of cutting-edge technology - technology which has largely benefited from the R&D budgets of four manufacturers: Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, & Suzuki.

For the purposes of competing in MotoGP's premier class, the manufacturers are held within these general parameters: the engines must be 800 cc, four-stroke engines and the motorcycles competing must be prototypes. As you might imagine, first-rate drivers plus high-end, super machines equate to one HELL of a ride!   Read more...


CENTER STAGE> Retrofitted Ranz Motorsports RX4

The term retrofit is defined as the replacing of existing parts, equipment, or systems with updated parts or systems. This 1974 Mazda RX4 is a perfect example of the concept.

My first glimpse of this ride didn't come at a car show, as is usually the case. No, I actually saw a picture of this car on Facebook - a picture that my friend, June Masermsin, took at Wekfest in Long Beach. So, I guess a case could be made that a car show was technically where I saw the car - in a third party, social media-inspired and facilitated manner.

Technicalities aside, I immediately expressed an interest in shooting the ride and, the following week, I received a random text from a buddy of mine (who happens to be a childhood friend of the owner) informing me that the car was available for shooting the same day! How's that for serendipity? And, since I started by defining retrofit, wouldn't it be nice if I kept the trend going by linking you to a definition of serendipity? However, there was one caveat—I had exactly one hour to shoot the car. So, what was an enterprising photographer to do? Take a look!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Falken Tires Sweep Formula D Florida!

For the first time Formula DRIFT history, the war was brought to the battlegrounds in Florida at the Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR). Locals got to witness a "Battle of the Mustangs" as Justin "JTP" Pawlak took another victory this year in his Falken Tires Ford Mustang against last year's champion, Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and his Monster Energy/Falken Tires Ford Mustang. Darren McNamara (who qualified 2nd) and his Falken Tire Saturn Sky ended up in 3rd place after defeating number one qualifier Chris Forsberg and his NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z. Florida was very very good to Falken Tires! In fact, Florida was very good - period.   Read more...

GALLERY> Scenes from the Long Beach Grand Prix

This past weekend, the Toyota Grand Prix took over the streets of Long Beach, CA. This annual three-day festival of speed consisted of the Izod IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Toyota Pro Celebrity Race, SCCA Pro World Challenge Championship, and a team tandem competition from Formula Drift. We don't normally cover open wheel racing on Motor Mavens, but since we were all in Long Beach two weeks ago for Round 1 of the Formula Drift series, we thought it would be pretty interesting to experience the annual Long Beach Grand Prix to show a little bit of contrast on the site. Britain's Mike Conway (above) emerged as the winner of the IZOD IndyCar race. Last year, Conway fractured a vertebrae and broke his leg during the Indianapolis 500. An injury like that would spell the end of a racing career for some people, but Conway was able to overcome that incredible setback and take his first IndyCar win at Long Beach. What a way to make a comeback!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Grassroots Drifting at XDC Irwindale

Round 1 of the 2011 Xtreme Drift Circuit (XDC) season was held at the ever-popular Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, CA aka the "House of Drift." In addition to the drift competition, there was the REMIX Car Show, Cycle Path Bike Show, and the always popular model lounge. Drivers from all over made the journey to duke it out with a number of exciting "One More Time" battles during the last rounds of competition.   Read more...

GALLERY> Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational

Here are some more much overdue photos from Ken Block’s Gymkhana Grid Invitational. At first, “gymkhana” may sound like a martial arts discipline (to those unfamiliar with the automotive version) but it's actually a starting line and a finish line joined together by all sorts of interesting obstacles such as cones, tires, and barrels which, when arranged just so, require a driver to perform all sorts of interesting maneuvers such as reversals, 180 and 360 degree spins, and figure 8s - all while racing against the clock. The reason I stressed that this is the automotive version is because, you may be interested to know, there is an equestrian version as well. As you can imagine, there's a lot less smoke - unless they figured out how to get a horse to do a burnout when I wasn't looking.   Read more...