Exclusive Content: Unpublished Photos Of ATS*Kranky From The 2014 Super Street Honda Issue….

It’s really crazy to think back now on how this entire feature came together and just how close it came to NEVER happening. So much has happened in the tuner magazine industry since this issue dropped and boy, talk about the stars aligning and everything falling into place. I’ll try to keep it brief, but allow me to enlighten you on the situation and how the magazine industry works. Well, at least how it worked during the two-week period in which this came together….

Originally, the 2014 Super Street Honda Issue was not supposed to have the ATS Garage Integra, aka “ATS*Kranky” on the cover. In fact, this Integra was never planned to be shot for Super Street magazine. Since the 2013 Wekfest San Jose event, the spoken agreement between the owner, Ferd Natividad (of ATS Garage) and Rodrez (then head editor of Honda Tuning) was for this car to appear on the cover of HT. There were “dibs” called if you want to think of it that way. That doesn’t mean that Ferd couldn’t have decided otherwise, but in this community, it is generally a no-no to just “jump ship” and agree to appear in another magazine after you’ve already agreed to one. It’s just tacky. I mean, I guess it really depends on who you speak to but any time this does happen (more often than you think) it usually leaves a bad taste in our mouths and we don’t look at the owners of the cars the same. Anyways, the Integra was slated for a future issue of Honda Tuning at the time and I had already set my sights on another Integra build, one that I had long had my eye on since the year prior. That car was nearing completion and everything looked to be going smoothly. I was honored enough with the opportunity to pretty much do the entire Honda Issue this year as a “guest editor” so there was plenty to do while I waited for the owner of the Integra to wrap up his build. I waited, and waited, and well, waited some more. One week before I needed to shoot the car and wrap the feature up for print, the owner fell through. He was missing some parts and what not and the car just wouldn’t be finished in time. I was in a panic. I had most of the issue done but it was nothing without a cover car. We could have possibly plugged in one of the other cars that I had shot already for the cover but I just didn’t feel like it was going to make the impact that the original car would have made. I needed something that really popped, that wasn’t just a white or black car, and it had to be good. I was told at that time that this issue was supposed to be a big seller so it HAD to be one of the best issues of the calender year. Shit, it’s not everyday that a freelance guy gets to do an entire issue so I wasn’t about to let anyone down…

Super Street was going through a rough transitional period during that time because Jonathan Wong had just stepped down from his position as Head Editor. Sam Du was taking over and he had faith that I would get the job done. While I was away in Washington shooting another car, I contacted him to let him know that we were in trouble; I didn’t get the car I wanted and the cover of the magazine was in jeopardy. Without a cover car and story, the issue could not be completed so I began searching for cars any and everywhere in North America. My alternate was a car that was actually in the middle of nowhere, Iowa to be exact, but the owner wasn’t confident enough with his car because he had planned to redo it one more time. Those of you who are “connected” in the Honda community will know what car I am talking about but I wasn’t going to pressure the guy into shooting his car if he didn’t want to. Being featured in a magazine is an incredibly important thing to us car enthusiasts and so there’s no point in being featured if you’re not happy with the car. If you’re going to be immortalized in print, you better make sure that the car is exactly how you envisioned it to be because chances are, it is a one-time thing and the opportunity may not come around again…

I flew back home defeated and was desperately looking for a replacement cover car. The fact that I even say the words “replacement” in front of “cover car” was deeply troubling to me. How awful of a job was I really doing to have to plug in a second choice into this issue that was supposed to be one of the best ever. I want to say that I lost sleep over it but in the week leading up to it, I wasn’t getting any sleep anyways since I was so overloaded with work. So I looked to my close friend and confidant Rodrez of Honda Tuning magazine for some advice and he went and turned this whole thing upside down. As I said earlier, Ferd’s ATS*Kranky build was scheduled to be in Honda Tuning. Knowing this, I didn’t go near the car or even attempted to ask Rodrez to relinquish it to me, even though I had long known that Super Street magazine wanted it. How did I know, you ask? Well, Jonathan told me from the moment he saw the car that he wanted it, and then when Sam took over, he too wanted the car but I told both of them that this car was spoken for already. I wouldn’t do Rodrez dirty like that because I know that it was a car that he had worked hard to get and I was also doing work for Honda Tuning. How terrible would it look for me to take a car from someone I was also working for? So I was talking to Rodrez and he asked me why I didn’t consider the ATS Integra. I told him I knew he wanted it so it was off limits to me and he told me his conundrum; there were so many good Integra builds that it just wouldn’t make sense to run an Integra on the cover of every issue in 2014, so he asked me if I wanted to try to convince Ferd to go to Super Street. Ferd wanted and deserved a cover of his own so it just wouldn’t make sense to have him share a cover with another Integra, so it was offered to me….

This, changed EVERYTHING…

Not only did I know that Ferd was more than willing to be on the cover of Super Street’s annual Honda Issue, it was basically handed to me with no reservations. On top of that, this was the car that Super Street had wanted all along and it was actually going to happen! I contacted Ferd about the opportunity and he initially said no because he was waiting on a hood to come in. I was like “A hood? You don’t need a fucking hood!”. Everyone was going to see the engine bay in all its glory anyways so the hood was an after thought. He agreed and things just fell into place after that. I scheduled the shoot right away, since we were already behind schedule, and I drove up to Northern California immediately to get this shoot done…

I don’t know how many of you magazine readers out there understand how much time it takes to put a feature together, but it isn’t as easy as it looks. There are a lot of factors to consider and it actually requires quite a bit of time. I’ve always been known as the guy who can knock stuff out in a matter of 24-48 hours and that is exactly what happened with this feature; I shot, wrote, edited the photos, laid out the cover, and it was sent off to print in a matter of one single weekend. I think I died a little bit that week but boy was I relieved to finally get it finished. The 2014 Super Street Honda Issue was complete and I think it was pretty amazing. Hopefully you all agree. I’ll show you guys the unpublished photos of the other features in the week’s to come, but today, it is a special day for ATS*Kranky. We get to see this car in all its glory all over again, with some extra shots that never made it to print….

If you happened to have missed the 2014 Super Street Honda Issue, first of all, shame on you, but below is an attached link to the digital version of the story. You can read about the build there along with the full specification list for the car….

Ferd Natividad’s Integra from ATS Garage, as featured digitally on the Super Street magazine website….

What you’re going to see here are how the original shots were sent out to Super Street before the color profile was changed for print. Along with that, as mentioned, you’ll see some more photos of the car that never made it into the feature. I love this build so much that I got a ton of shots of the car, way more than an average feature car shoot from me since there are so many great details that just have to be captured. If you’re going to repost them, please do not alter them in any way. I worked very hard on these photos and I hope that you will be an honorable enough of a person to not alter my work…

Okay, so while shooting the car, I had already had a couple of ideas of how I wanted to cover to be laid-out. Ultimately, it would be up to Sam Du and the art director from SS to decide how it looks but they would be using my shots, which meant that I could be an integral part in laying it out for them. They didn’t really give me any sort of requirements on how they wanted the cover to look so I just did whatever I wanted essentially. The centerpieces of this build are obviously the engine bay and custom body color, so I wanted those two factors to be showcased on the cover image. I ended-up with these shots…

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I made sure to leave plenty of space for the header text as well as for the text that would go “around” the car, if that makes sense…

This is what I imagined it would look like….

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Obviously there would be more text once the artwork was laid down, but you get the jist of it….

This was another version…

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I was really happy with how this shot came out but the cover that I did for the 2013 Honda Issue was very similar. That and the issue prior to the Honda Issue was laid out in a very similar fashion so we didn’t want it to look too much alike…

This is what that would have looked like had it ended up being the cover…

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I liked it but it is a very typical shot and layout so we wanted to do something different…

The next cover image that I put together was the cover of the Super Street Honda Issue had the ATS Garage Integra not been on the cover and in another universe where I was forced to come up with something to replace the other car that fell through originally….

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Yes, it was an amazing idea, but one that would have probably lead to me not working in the magazine industry anymore… Real life Hello Kitty was also not in Super Street’s budget so this was nothing more than a pipe dream. The Meow-berty Walk widebody cat would have to wait until next year….

Haha, all joking aside though, this was an incredible labor of love for me. This is one of my favorite Integra builds of all-time so it was honestly a pleasure to shoot and put together the feature for it. Everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t change a thing had I the opportunity to. Okay, maybe I would have done the Cat Issue but still, you know what I mean. There was a lot of stress when it came to putting this issue together but it was a good type of stress. It’s the type of stress that reminds you that you’re doing something important that people care about. I think I slept for 2 straight days after this issue wrapped-up and my goodness, it was the best sleep ever. Below are the digital versions of the photos that you saw in Super Street, along with some good shots that I hoped would have made it into the feature but didn’t. Luckily, you all get to enjoy them today with me… When necessary, I’ve commented on the photos to try to illustrate to you all why it was an important shot. Thanks for looking and thank you for your support. Print is not what it was a decade ago and we have to continue to support it even with all the new technology that is made available to us in 2014. Magazines and print in general can never truly be replaced. Sure, you’ll get the content faster digitally, but as an automotive enthusiast, nothing will ever replace that feeling of going into a store and seeing your car in print, and being able to hold it in your hands. Those who have been featured before understand, and sadly, those of you who haven’t might not ever get that opportunity with the way things are going. SUPPORT PRINT and guys like me who work tirelessly to give you good shit to look at.

Enjoy the photos and don’t be a fucktard and alter my photos so you can get imaginary respect from people who don’t give a shit about you in real life. Thanks.

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Sadly, I can’t even give you guys links to larger, higher resolution, versions like I used to because there are people out there who have gone and ruined it for everyone else….

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What you don’t see in the photos is just how low the front lip and splitter are, even though the car itself isn’t “slammed” by internet standards. While we were driving around looking for locations to shoot at, this splitter was hitting everything in sight and there was a good chance that it was going to get ripped off at some point….

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Loved this duct and how it was integrated into the front JDM ITR bumper….

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Another angle…

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I wonder how many people ever noticed the custom molded gurney flap on the ITR spoiler….

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I opened up a manhole in the ground to get this shot….

What I just said was not true at all….

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An alternate angle of a possible cover shot…

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It probably wasn’t obvious but I actually forgot to tell Ferd to roll up his windows for these shots. One of the big no-nos in shooting cars is to have the windows down….

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There was an alternate shot of the image above that I captured where the strobes didn’t fire and it ended up being a cool pic…

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I think so anyway….

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So good that the image of the custom splatter-painted valve cover was shot minus strobe-fire…

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Awesome touch of detail with this rarely-seen/rarely-utilized APEX’i resevoir….

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Rywire engine harness that was created specifically for Ferd’s build….

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Not gonna lie, I really loved this wheel shot and was bummed when the reflection was cropped…haha…

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I felt that the abandoned “West Coast Rebar” locale was actually a perfect spot for this shoot since the build itself is very much a “West Coast” styled Honda build….

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Behind-the-scenes during a quick coffee break…

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I should also mention that while we were shooting, the new owner of this location stopped by but didn’t have a problem with us shooting on his newly-acquired property…

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ATS*Kranky would never have come together without the help of many who were a part of the ATS Garage family, and I wanted to emphasize that in both imagery and words, so I made sure to capture a group photo of all the ATS guys who were there to help, as well as show support that morning. I had no idea it would end up being the opening image for the story but I’m happy that it did….

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Here is an alternate group shot…

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The interior is often over-looked at events, but is an important part of this Integra as well….

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I wanted to make sure to get a shot of the custom Rywire chassis harness that was also specifically tailored for this build. Chassis harnesses are incredibly time-consuming and more often than not, Ryan won’t even do them because they just take up so much time that it isn’t even worth the money because of the man-hours involved. Being as Ferd was a good friend, Ryan dedicated quite a bit of time to creating this for his car…

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Any of every part of the build oozed that custom ATS Garage “touch”….

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Horrible rolling shot that I hoped they wouldn’t use but they did, haha…

Below is some shots that I just kinda did for fun after I finished the shoot already. Just thought it’d be cool to have some extra photos of the car. It never hurts to have extras…

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One of my favorites even though I didn’t intend for it to be published…

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I even jumped in for a group shot so that I could use it for my guest editorial, and sure enough, it was included when it went to print….

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Well, sorry for the long-winded story but I hope you read through it because it gives you guys a rare glimpse of just what goes on month-to-month in my adventures in freelance automotive journalism. Thanks to Sam Du and Super Street mag for allowing me the outlet to show what I can do if I were given the power to put an issue of SS together. Yes, I mean the cat issue, haha. Thanks for looking….

BLOX Evolution 2014 Coverage…Part 3 of 3…

Happy Monday all. Today, I got some more BLOX Evolution coverage for you to stare at while you’re not doing anything at work. There aren’t a ton of photos left, but the builds you’ll see in this post are some more of better Honda builds that were parked in the outside section of the show. There were a lot of good cars that day and I’m pretty happy that I decided to make the one-day trip up to check it out. I’m not gonna lie, I woke up that morning and there was maybe a couple seconds in-between my fumbling around to turn my alarm off and opening my eyes where I kinda wanted to just stay in bed, haha. Good thing my boy Keith decided to go with me, otherwise I think I might have just laid there and slept a couple more hours…

I met up with him that morning all confident that he had gotten more sleep than I did and I thought I could trick him into driving the entire time, haha, but he actually got about as much sleep as I did and neither of us were in any condition to make the drive to San Francisco….The solution? We ate Breakfast McMuffins from McDonald’s so that the urge to want to poop from eating greasy sausage would keep us awake for the drive. It was pretty fucking brutal…. Actually, the drive up to Norcal seemed like a breeze compared to the drive home. I thought the morning drive would be tough but, damn, the drive home was terrible. We were both so beat up and tired from being at the show all day, as well as making the drive earlier that morning, that we both were fighting auto-pilot in the car on the way back. I think we stopped like 4-5 times just to switch back and forth so we could each muster at least some sort of energy to keep us awake. I don’t recommend the drive from Socal to Norcal, back to Socal, all in one day. It’s rough man, especially on less than three hours sleep. Just imagine the drive one-way is already six hours, and then you spend six hours at the show, and another six driving back. Fuck, now that I’m typing it all out it seems WAY worse. I can’t believe I made the trip before by myself and even shot a car after the BLOX meet in 2012. What the fuck was I thinking. Next year I will probably end up doing the same thing. Maybe I’ll try to sleep the night before though and not eat McDonald’s for breakfast. Well, maybe McDonald’s. McMuffins are the only thing that keeps me going back to McDonald’s. Everything else scares me there….

But I digress….

Here are the links to the previous two posts if you happened to have missed them…

BLOX Evolution 2014 Coverage…Part 1…

BLOX Evolution 2014 Coverage…Part 2…

Below is the conclusion of the Blox Evolution 2014 coverage. Enjoy…

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Jorge Sandoval’s K-swapped Civic that was featured in Import Tuner magazine a couple years ago. He actually tracked his car this year and also managed to destroy his kevlar First Molding lip. Looks like he went and got himself another one already and you’d never suspect anything happened to the car…

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Ivan Rodriguez’s EJ1 Civic coupe with J’s Racing front lip, front fenders, Top One rear spoiler, and carbon front splitter….

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Dustin McQueary’s Honda Tuning magazine-featured DA Integra on Work CR-01 wheels is probably one of the best, well-rounded DA builds out in 2014. The build itself is very “current” but you can also tell that Dustin has drawn a lot of inspiration from the better West Coast Honda builds of yesteryear….

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Nicely done right-hand drive Civic coupe from CITYSTARS of Central Cali…..

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This red hatchback, also from CITYSTARS, had a really nicely-executed engine bay with a single cam motor attached. Love the custom brake line work and the modified shock towers. Also a nice touch with the tucked radiator. You don’t even really notice it until you really look for the radiator. Overall, nice work, but I do have to admit that removing the air intake and just rocking a raw throttle body is sort of “cheating” when you want to show off a clean bay….

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This DA Integra looked like it was straight out of the mid-90s with the old school Gales wheels and front OEM bra….

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Clean white EK on Rays Gram Lights wheels. Thanks for the support and rocking Stickydiljoe on your windshield….

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Awesome to see a Civic rocking a set of rarely-seen 16-inch Advan Kreuzer Series XII-i wheels. These were made specifically in 4×100 bolt pattern for the compact car market and just never really caught steam here in the U.S….

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Pretty crazy to see some of my old CB Accord parts still floating around after all these years. I sold the car back in 2007 and even at shows today I still see my old parts from my car. The owner of this CB actually approached me at the BLOX event just to show me what he had done to my old Autopower roll bar which is now in his car. He had the whole thing re-coated in a Cusco blue tone along with the valve cover to match the Cusco strut bar, which is also off my old CB. I recognized it right away because 1. There aren’t too many CB guys who are willing to go and order a Cusco strut bar, so they still remain pretty rare, and 2. One of the mounting brackets is shaved down slightly because I had to clear my ABS unit back in the day and it wouldn’t fit otherwise. I wonder if those Samco Sport hoses are mine too, hmm… Haha, in any case, this Accord is pretty rad. Even has an RL big brake kit which is something we never really considered doing back then. It also has an ARC Induction Box which I had always wanted in the past, but couldn’t find the right one to fit my car since I wanted the top of the filter to be exposed like on the B-series ARC boxes….

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CD Accord coupe that you’ve seen a couple times before with a J32 V6 engine swap and 17-inch Dunlop Formula Hart wheels…

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Civic hatchback with a Chargespeed (or Chargespeed-style) front lip and VIP Modular wheels. Not sure how the whole car was painted but they managed to ignore the tab under the front fender where the mudflap attaches. Seems like something really simple that shouldn’t be overlooked. Otherwise it’s a good look…

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Jackson Racing supercharged Civic on 949Racing 6UL wheels and rocking a color-matched BackYard Special front lip…

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Flared Subaru WRX STI on Work Meister S1. Looks like the car has been repainted in the popular Laguna Seca Blue tone….

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Airrex bagged R35 GTR on display…

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JDM EF9 Civic SiR on SSR EX-C Mesh wheels. Always loved the red pinstriping on these EFs….

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Integra Type R with JDM ITR front end, Mugen front bumper, and a set of Mugen wheels that you don’t see very often; MF10 Mirror Faces….

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Civic sitting pretty aggressively on custom-built Sprint Hart CP-R wheels from MemoryFab….

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The bright sun brought out all the metal flake in this Integra’s paint. Really cool paint job, not sure why the hood is purple though….

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Another rare sighting at the BLOX event was this JDM Honda Civic Shuttle Beagle 4WD…

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Sitting on period-correct Volk Racing Artisan Fins with the original aero discs and all….

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Towards the end of the day, I had already stopped shooting and had put my camera away. I was just walking around seeing what else the show had that I might have missed and I suddenly stumbled upon the Beagle above and this really cool turbocharged Civic Shuttle. You rarely see these things put together this well and boosted. The engine bay was pretty well-executed and the original Shuttle front end was swapped over for a JDM EF9 SiR front end. Pretty awesome. I should also mention that it was on 16-inch Regamaster EVOs and Yokohama Advan A048, which are not cheap tires by any measure…

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Next to the Shuttles was this FC3S RX-7, in all its period-correct glory, seated on black Advan Racing Sienna SR-01 wheels….

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Sitting on top of the RX-7’s speaker box was this awesome clock which is an actual section of a Rotary engine….

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Lightspeed Racing’s Civic drag car with a turbine so massive that the front core support had to be cut for clearance…

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Wrapping things up with a shot of the Darkside Racing (DSR) GM LSx-swapped, turbocharged, Ford Mustang. You didn’t hear it from me, but I think if you google “DSR Mustang” on YouTube, you can see some videos of it doing some “spirited driving” on the street…haha…

Anyways, thanks for looking everyone. Hope you enjoyed the coverage. I look forward to next year’s BLOX Evolution event….