The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

There Is No Rival, Because There Is No Equal.

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Georgia is an interesting place. I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s more of a “good” interesting than a “uhh, I’m not sure about this place” type of interesting. I’ve always wanted to go see what Georgia was like because I’ve always felt that the south has some of the nicest people around. I went to Nashville in 2009 for the Import Alliance event and Atlanta was just a 3 hour drive away, it almost seemed like a shame not to go, but I just didn’t have the time. A couple years go by and the only time I had ever touched down in Atlanta was for a short stopover on my flight back home after another event, in another city. Many car events had come and gone in that area and I had just never been, but I’ve always heard great things about that area so I was intrigued…

I met Chris Stewart last year when I was out in Chicago for a Gridlife/Fatlace event during the summer. Ginash had invited me to fly out to do some coverage and that was honestly the first time I had ever heard of the Gridlife series. Chris was a nice dude. We chatted and he told me more about his events and what his mission was. He had a very grassroots-style approach when it came to putting on automotive events and I liked that. I think we try to change things up too often out here in the West Coast because people are always trying to be on the cusp of the “next big thing” that we sometimes forget about what made things good in the first place. Chris wanted to create something new with the Gridlife series but in a much different way. He set out to join multiple styles of events together into one place and transform it into one big festival. I think it is difficult to combine so many different types of events together because there is so much divide out on this side of the country. People are very “clique-y” out here so the guys that stick to time attack hate on car show people, and car show people generally shy away from real road race guys because they don’t want to be shunned or turned away because they don’t have “functional” vehicles. Drifting is popular, but with a very specific crowd. People that like watching drifting but those guys could care less about time attack. It is cool to like what you like but very rarely do you see people blend all those things together. In other parts of the country, this model works. Other regions of the U.S. don’t have nearly as many events as we do out here in the West and having a conglomerate of events makes a lot of sense. You put all these different styles of events together and it gives people an opportunity to experience all of it at the same time. People from other neighboring states will come out for it and it becomes a huge melting pot of both people and car stuff…

Chris and I spoke on and off that day about his event and he invited me out to check out one of the events in 2016. We exchanged contact info but didn’t really communicate too much after that. During SEMA of 2015 some months later, I ran into Chris at an industry party. It was one of those nights when I didn’t really feel like drinking and was just enjoying the ambiance of the night. Chris came up to me and he told me about some big plans that he had for 2016…the biggest one being the Gridlife South event which would be the first time he put together an event at the famed Road Atlanta raceway. I had only seen Road Atlanta in video games and was excited to hear that he wanted to fly me out to experience the biggest Gridlife event to date. I told him that I wanted to try to get Yuta out there with me so he could drive at Road Atlanta and Chris was more than willing to accommodate us. Ultimately, we didn’t have a car completed in time for Gridlife but Yuta still flew out with me and Tiffanie to see what Gridlife was all about…

The weather that weekend was hot…like FUCKING HOT, haha. We knew about it going into the event so we weren’t surprised, but being in hell still feels like hell, you know what I mean? The humidity is no joke out there and good lord, bugs were plenty abundant in Braselton, Georgia. The set-up for the event was like this: Gridlife South is a three-day long event. The Road Atlanta track would be used for both time attack and full-course drifting, which had never been attempted before at Road Atlanta. That meant that guys could start as fast as they wanted to and drift as much of the track as they possibly could. This sounds like a harrowing experience but if you knew how to drive, it’s a whole lot of fucking fun. The areas of that track that weren’t directly driving-related, would be used for a car show, spectator camping, and a series of concerts that would take place in the evenings after the track went cold. It’s crazy for some of us to think that people are willing to camp out at Road Atlanta but there were definitely a ton of people just chillin’ out there all day and night throughout the weekend. As you saw in the Vlogs, we spent most of our time hanging out in the paddock area looking at the drift cars and time attack competitors. For most of the track stuff, I shot mostly only the drifting. The time attack stuff I captured but it was pretty sparse. There were some cool cars in the pits so I did a lot of shooting at some of the more important details of individual builds…

Overall, I had a great time. Sure, the weather was a bit intense but we went into it expecting to sweat our asses off. I like the idea of having a festival-type event where you get a little bit of everything. I don’t think the formula would work out here in the West Coast, but for the Midwest and the right side of the coast, it makes a great deal of sense. You get the most out of what you spend your money on, and making the far trek to experience the event is worth it because of all that you get to see. Chris has a good thing going and I’m happy to have been invited to see it for myself. There’s a huge risk in trying to put something this big together because it could be a disastrous if it isn’t executed correctly. This works andI hope to see its continued evolution in the future…

The first set of photos you’ll see is what I captured on the first two days while we were there. You’ll see some drifting stuff along with some shots of the cars in the paddock area. I was granted VIP access to every area of the event but I found myself driving around in my rental and just getting out of the car to shoot. It just worked out better that way. We captured a lot that weekend so get ready to see some pretty cool stuff. Enjoy…

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I don’t wanna toot my own horn but man, I’m really happy with how these photos came out from this event. It was nice that this meet started so late because I had a chance to get some good photos as the sun set over Corona, CA. I always feel like I never have enough time to get as many photos as I would like but the smaller size of this event worked-out great. There was no rush to try to shoot as much as possible and the ambiance was just perfect. Obviously it helps to have great car builds present but the lighting was just on point that afternoon. Overall, it was a nice, chill, day. The weather was not too shabby and even the traffic heading to the Eibach facility was not as bad as we anticipated. Good times all around.

Below are the rest of the photos that I shot that early evening while we hung out at the 2016 Eibach Summer Meet. Make sure to get a really good detailed look at the cars because a lot of them have some really cool stuff. Enjoy…

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I suppose there was a bit of a feeling of nostalgia walking up towards the Eibach Springs facility. The last few years have felt quite different because I hold my Anniversary event there annually and I’m typically inside watching people come in. To park along the side of the road and then walk up that hill towards the facility felt…odd, I guess you could say. It was an odd but familiar feeling, if that makes sense. For those unaware, the Eibach Springs facility means a lot to me. It was the first real “Honda gathering” that I went to back when I had first finished building my CB Accord back in 2005-06 and it would be a venue that I would regularly visit the following years because of the NWP4Life forums’ summer night gatherings. It is a place that isn’t exactly close to home, but also feels oddly like a home. I remember my first Eibach Honda Meet. I didn’t know anyone at the time and paid for my spot like everyone else. There was a long line to enter and most of the really nice Hondas were placed up front in the main lot and my car definitely was not cool enough so I parked along the side of the build, buried in a sea of more-relevant, better assembled Hondas, that also were quite good enough to make it to the front of the venue. It was okay. I didn’t know anyone, I was new to the Honda community, and I felt like I had to pay my dues. As time went on, I made a lot of friends in the community, a couple of them eventually ended-up being the guys that organized the Eibach Meet. They were the same guys that regularly perused NWP4Life and we all got together to have meets during the hot summers at Eibach. Some were bigger than others, some meets were quieter, smaller, but you went there comfortably knowing that these meets were filled with good people. NWP4Life wasn’t ever “huge” by any measure but it had a good following. Most of the guys that chatted on the forum became friends as well and the Eibach facility was a place where we would all meet to chat about stuff we already chat about online. As social media grew, forums started getting slower and slower so newer things came along and eventually, the Eibach Honda Meet even outgrew the venue and was moved elsewhere. No one was really using the facility anymore except for myself when I would hold my event annually in late October. I wanted to keep that same ‘home-like’ feeling that the NWP summer meets had but I think it became something different altogether. Everyone hung out and the general vibe was chill, but its hard to capture something once its lost, you know? You kinda get bits and pieces of it there but it isn’t ever the same. It is the memories that you created from those earlier events in life that you can only possibly dream of harnessing again. The trouble will trying to chase a memory is that it is in the past, you’re just moving backwards…

This year, Ryan Hoegner and Rodrez decided to start something up again at the Eibach Springs facility. The annual Eibach Honda Meet is doing as great as it ever has but they wanted to get a smaller event going again at the original venue, opening the doors to all makes and models, eliminating the exclusivity that Honda owners are used to with their bigger annual event. This event would be much smaller, with only a few hundred cars during the late summer evening, much like the NWP meets of old. The faces have obviously changed over the years but the idea was to bring that same vibe back but with the current generation of car guys/gals. September is always a little bit of a random time for us California automotive enthusiasts. It is a month that is generally more of a “recoup and recover” type of thing where we all try to get past the huge hangover from the previous summer months that were filled end-to-end with shows and meets. The only thing people expect to happen is the annual Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach. When I heard that they were doing the meet at Eibach again, I was surprised, but more than willing to go out and show my support. When we arrived, it was already an hour or so into the meet so some people had came and gone, but for the most part, the core group of cars were still there. As planned, there were some other makes and models here and there but the event stayed true to its Honda roots. The back row was filled entirely with Integra Type Rs and in-between the scattered makes and models were some really solid Honda builds. I was told that it was hotter during the early part of the day but it had cooled down significantly by the time we arrived. The vibe was great. There’s something about this venue that always helps to produce a similar type of feeling. I think a lot of people grew up around coming to events here so they all remember that feeling as well. When you’re there, you can’t help but appreciate all the great events that have happened there in the past…

It wasn’t “NWP4Life Summer Nights” but…it was pretty close. I’m always happy to see familiar old faces and appreciative in the same way of meeting new enthusiasts who didn’t have the opportunity to experience the older events there. I am happy that I could have been a part of that past and can share my experiences with others. I even went old school and shot the meet as I would have in the past, just now I have a better understanding of how to handle a camera, haha. I didn’t even do video this time around because I wanted to focus on shooting photos some more. As the sun set in Corona, I captured as much as I could before departing home for dinner with friends. Enjoy…

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