With all the running around and traveling I’ve done for the busy holiday I almost forgot I had a couple more shots from the final round of VTEC Club to post up. After chatting around the paddock area, and bouncing from the beginning of the straight to the end, Duane approached me and asked if I wanted to head over to Cotton Corners. I gladly accepted because I don’t get to go to the infield at these events too often. It’s nice to get a different perspective when photographing track events. As a result though, most of the on-track shots in this post will be from there and may be a little repetitive.
It never ceases to amaze me; the successes of hard working people. The last VTEC Club USA event took place last week, and it’s given me a chance to reflect on the entire season, and everyone that’s been involved in the project all the way from the conception phase. The individuals who saw the need to fill a missing niche in our world of motor sport, and took the steps to achieve just that. Even those who had the foresight to see what type of community could be created from a series like this are probably surprised at the outcome. Starting a new series from the ground up, albeit hosted by a well-known name (Extreme Speed), takes a lot of work and to have it explode in popularity overnight is a testament to how well it’s been organized. Duane Bada, ‘Tom Attack’, Kristian Wong, Matt Rojana, Yuta, Amir, the sponsors, the media partners, and everyone else that has been involved in making the series what it is deserve a huge thank you from anyone who has participated this season. I’m definitely looking forward to next year, but first, for the last event of this year, we head over to Buttonwillow Raceway Park one last time for Round 5 of Season 2.
A week or two ago, my friend Jay and I had been playing with the idea of attending the event at Auto Club Speedway, but my tentative schedule had me slated to be out of town that weekend. I knew there was a VTEC Club event being held on the same day, and was a little disappointed as my work schedule has been keeping me from most of the second season. Well, as luck would have it, my schedule opened up and a day or two before the event I messaged Duane to see if there were any openings. Upon hearing the news, Jay was on board to drive as well, so early Saturday morning we left the shop bound for Fontana.
With the year’s new Summer taking no time to bare it’s teeth, 107 degree temperatures plagued the desert at Round 5 of the 2015 VTEC Club series. Willow Springs International Raceway played host to the season’s final round, where competitors gathered to claim the last points available in each run group. While the heat may have hindered some, there were a few drivers that were able to grab personal bests despite the weather, and lap times that secured victories for each class.
As I sit here writing this on my way to Kansas City, 39,000 feet in the above ground in a tube made of various metals and composites, traveling a good 550mph, I struggle past my exhaustion in an attempt to coherently transcribe my thoughts from this past weekend. It’s interesting how my perspective on our local track events has changed over the past couple of years. Perhaps it’s because I’ve become a little more open minded (perhaps even a collective change in outlook amongst my peers), or have had the good fortune of befriending many of those involved, but I no longer view them the way I did (unnecessarily arrogant so to speak).
On the Sunday of February 22nd, VTEC Club held the second event of their 5 round season at Big Willow at Willow Springs International Raceway. The excitement and success of the first round no doubt carried through to the club’s follow up event with, once again, over 50 entrants participating. To say the day was perfect though, would be a stretch. The week leading up to the event, the temps in Southern California had steadily been dropping, and rain was on the forecast for race weekend. Ryan was once again on hand to grab some shots of the event.
“If you build it, they will come.”
While I wouldn’t necessarily call Streets of Willow a “Field of Dreams”, I will admit that Kevin Costner’s iconic line applies well in this situation. The organizers of VTEC Club, a Honda specific spin off of Extreme Speed events, have successfully created not just a niche event, but are well on their way to (possibly accidentally) creating an entirely new community of race fans.