Final Bout 2 2015 Coverage…Part 1 (Vlog/Photos)…

I’m a ghost.

Well, in certain instances I’d like to be anyways… In the last few years, I guess you can say I’ve come to be a recognized figure in the import automotive tuning community. I spent the first few years as a relative unknown and people didn’t bother to know me. It was a great union, haha. In my travels and all the events I go to, I’ve always preferred that my friends and associates be more of the “face” of the site but somewhere along the way, people started to recognize me and as the site has grown, especially now with video, it’s pretty difficult to stay faceless. I always feel that as a journalist or “watcher” per se, it is always better to be on the outside looking in because it helps me to develop a better perspective, or I guess you can say, an “impartial” perspective. The more places I go the more difficult it is to have an independent perspective because I know so many people in the industry. That’s not a bad thing because I enjoy meeting people and being a part of things but it’s always interesting to step into a new world to see something outside of your comfort zone…

When it comes to the motorsport of drifting, I am no one. A ghost. Not a personality. Nothing. And I love that. With the more commercialized, world-recognized Formula D series, I am nothing but an enthusiast partaking in the viewership of drifting. I know people associated with the various teams and personalities in drifting but I am not involved in anyway. 90% of the time I am at a Formula D event, I am not even watching the drifting. I’m just there to hang out and spend time with my friends. Even when you see my Formula D coverage, I don’t ever cover any of the actual drifting because, to be perfectly honest with you, I have very little interest in it. Those of you who have followed this site for a number of years have heard me say it before but I just like being at events to capture the ambiance and feel of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love it that Formula D is successful and I have started paying more attention to it now because I have friends who have a strong interest in it but I just don’t feel connected to the series because I’ve always enjoyed more of the traditional style and presentation of the drifting in Japan. When the D1 Grand Prix Series first came over to the States, I was all about it. I would buy tickets, go to whatever D1 thing was happening at the moment and sit in the stands and have a blast. Japanese tuning is what I love and there could be nothing more “Japanese” at that moment than D1. Everyone who went had a similar interest and the vibe was incredible. I feel different about Formula D. It is very American and has such a heavy corporate influence that it just doesn’t have that vibe that the D1 Grand Prix Series had. As D1 faded and FD grew in popularity, my interest in drifting waned and I was as casual a viewer as you can find. So casual that it didn’t matter if I watched or paid attention…

Enter Final Bout.

I started hearing rumblings of a small event out in the Midwest last year that hosted local car clubs who tandem-drifted on a small go-cart track. It sounded intriguing. Photos started popping up on my social media feeds and the cars just looked really cool. Styling is a huge part of drifting and an incredibly important aspect of automotive modification for me and Final Bout reminded me a lot of what I once enjoyed watching Japanese drifting. Most of these small car clubs had matching liveries and/or colorways and they looked spectacular sliding around together. I went on YouTube and discovered some videos that local guys had made about the event and I loved the overall feel of the event. It had a very grassroots feel to it and looked like it was organized and executed by true automotive enthusiasts. There were no corporate sponsors or automotive manufacturers throwing money at them (yet) so it looked to be a true event owned and operated by car guys. The guys who were in these videos looked to have a genuine appreciation for what they were doing and it didn’t look like you could wipe their smiles away if you tried. They were having fun and there was something so completely honest about what they were doing. It was the type of freedom that you had when you first started building your car and you hadn’t developed any type of prejudice towards the community yet. I love that. I travel the country and the world to try to capture the feel that these guys have. After going through all the photos and videos with my boy Der, I knew we had to go out there to see it for ourselves. 2015 Final Bout was a must-go-to event on my calendar…

The plan was in place to go but I had so many other things going on that the date just seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It was already late August and I hadn’t even began to plan to go to Final Bout. Der decided he wanted to go tour Asia as well during that week so I was left to go by myself. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem but I had never been to Wisconsin before and didn’t really know how to get around. It wasn’t until my other friend Yogi mentioned that he was going when I really decided to make the trip. Yogi is the social media coordinator from Falken Tire and Falken had jumped on as a sponsor. They had taken interest in the event and so they sent Yogi out there to cover it. I don’t know the specifics of what being the new title sponsor meant to Final Bout and I didn’t care. It wasn’t any of my business. I just knew that getting around Wisconsin would be much easier if I had someone else out there to travel with. That Monday on the week in which Final Bout was to take place, I booked my flight…

I had no expectations for Final Bout. I go into most automotive ventures and much of everything else in my life with no expectations because life is just better that way. Without prior expectations, you’re free to take things in as they are. You won’t be jaded if things don’t work out your way and everything that comes will be more enjoyable because it is unexpected. I knew the general course layout but actually being at the USA International Raceway is much different than photos and video. The track is smaller than what I’m used to seeing but it made things a little more interesting because you felt much “closer” to everything that was going on because it is so compact. I was lucky enough to acquire a media pass to roam the entire venue as I pleased and the track is so tight that I was literally right next to the cars as they were sliding around. Being able to see some of these cars up close and personal is great. They are all sort of beat-up in one form or another and the guys just don’t really care about keeping things nice. Style is ever-important but they just go out there and bash on their cars with little worry of repercussions. It’s really cool. In many ways, you develop an appreciation for their craft because you know that they don’t have corporate money backing them if they crash. They have to fix their own cars with their own money on their own time. Understanding that they are willing to destroy their cars in the name of fun and paying for all of it on their own dime after the fact is pretty fucking amazing. What made Final Bout 2 even better was that there were people from all over that had an even bigger appreciation than I and these guys built their cars throughout the year specifically to participate in the event. There were guys from all over the country who had their cars transported to Wisconsin to compete in this event. That meant that on this small race track in the middle of fucking nowhere Wisconsin hosted car builds from California, Indiana, New Jersey, even Canada. This small event captured the enthusiasm of so many others who shared a similar interest so much so that they became inspired and worked towards the day when they could be a part of it. That speaks volumes…

It was everything I expected and probably more. Today, you get to see some of what I saw that weekend at Final Bout 2. It was scorching hot that entire weekend but I was able to squeeze in both video and photos. Don’t mind the photos because they probably aren’t the greatest. As mentioned, I don’t shoot a whole lot of drifting or motorsports in general so it’ll be very evident that I could use some more work in that particular genre. The video blog is captured in a similar fashion as the other videos I have done throughout the year. Those who are new and watching it for the first time will probably not understand it but those who of you who follow my YouTube channel should feel right at home watching it. I tried my best to cover it as I saw it through my own eyes and I hope you are able to get a little bit of the feel of Final Bout 2. Again, I have no association with the event whatsoever and 99% of these guys at Final Bout had no idea who I was. I had to actually call in a favor just to get a Media Pass and I think I almost didn’t even get one because they didn’t know who I was or what I did, haha. That’s fantastic because I love meeting people who have no idea who I am. I’m no more than a fan of this fresh new series who was lucky enough to get an inside look. Much thanks and props go to the people who put this event together and everyone who participated. It was a pleasure to see this come together…

First video, than photos below. I was able to capture a lot of video and photo because that is basically all I did the entire weekend. There isn’t a whole lot to do in Wisconsin so almost all of my time was spent either on the track or in the pits studying these vehicles. Part 2 of the video will follow in the coming days and depending on how many photos there are, it could turn into a two or three part coverage. Enjoy.

Photos below with a ton more to come…

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350Z and RX-7 bearing the same colors as they are both from car club “BREAKING” who made the trip out to Wisconsin from the state of Indiana….

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The BREAKING FD3S had a popular aero kit on from Japanese tuning company “Sexy Style” and also had converted Lambo-style doors….

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RPS13 with Final Konnexion aero from TRACKER….

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Kouki S14 with BN Sports aero owned by Jack Rio from TRACKER….

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Final Bout 2 special guest judge Rob Riter’s recently completed AE86 Trueno coupe on RS Watanabe wheels. Riter has a very rich history in drifting and has competed in both U.S. and Japan so he was a good choice to to be judge for the competition…

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This PS13 from Dark*Squad/Doom*Squad looks straight out of Japan with the 15-inch Wats with over fenders. Like something you’d see in Japan as a street drift car or something sliding around in the mountains…

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Ryan McClure’s BEAMS AE86 from Dark*Squad…

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Ilia Smolov’s Toyota Cressida from PROCEED…

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One of my favorite builds from the Final Bout series has to be Joshua Maghirang’s Toyota-powered RPS13 from PROCEED. I was actually pretty excited to get out to the Offset Kings event in Chicago a couple months ago because I knew I’d get a chance to see some of the PROCEED cars in person…

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Southern California’s Auto Factory REALIZE car club made the trip out to Wisconsin for Final Bout 2. They ran into some car troubles later on but here is a shot earlier in the day when they were picking up the front bumper from the REALIZE IS300….

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Matching brightly together were these guys from “Daring Partners” car club who made the trip from Seattle, WA…

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This S13 wore the rare BN Sports rear hatch which eliminates the large rear glass…

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Not on the track but on display at the Touge Factory booth was the TF-Works S14 time attack build….

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Daniel Barrett waiting his turn to get back on the track as other cars slid by…

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Kam Caldwell and his SR-powered RPS13 from TRACKER…

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Ben Mich’s PS13 on Desmond wheels from TRACKER….

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Jack Rio’s Kouki S14…

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BEAMS 3S-GE-powered Toyota Celica from ShaDynasty aka ShadyNasty…

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Something so cool about seeing classic Toyota sliding around with little care…

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AJ Gillett’s IS300 from Risky Devil…

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Daring Partners S13 Fastbacks…

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Drift Farm trio…

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Jason from ANIMAL STYLE escorting his rear bumper back to the pits…

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Caldwell from TRACKER getting some angle…

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Rio got a little too much angle and went off course….

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Justin Hoitzer from Faction Motorsports nearly kissing the wall as he exits. Random but I haven’t seen a clean set of Desmond Wisesports wheels this clean in quite some time…

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Eventually Rio’s S14 ran into some mechanical issues and had to be pulled off the course…

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Chobs’ GS from PROCEED is another one of my favorites even though every time I’ve seen his car he’s managed to somehow run over his own body kit…

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IS300 from BLACKMOON of Northern California…

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ShaDynasty Celica on RS Watanabes…

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Yogi taking in the view in-between photos….

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A few more of McClure’s AE86 …

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Love how menacing the Doom*Squad PS13 is with the 15-inch Wats and the fat tires…

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Black S15 Silvia Spec-R from car club “Sneak Zero”….

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Some more action from the TRACKER guys…

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Tim Tulov aka T2FILMS’ RPS13 looked nice and clean on day one but was later a little banged up during the free run period on day two…

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Meanwhile, it seemed as if Ilia Smolov was intent on destroying his Cressida and bits and pieces of it were scattered throughout the USA International Raceway course…

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During break time, Rob Riter even took his AE86 out for a spin…

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STREET DANCER S14…

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SNEAK ZERO S15…

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This S14 on Advan Racing Model 5 wheels was so clean you’d never think that it competed at Final Bout 2…

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Dark*Squad 86…

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Leigh Roto’s A70 Supra from PROCEED…

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Scott from Faction Motorsports’ BN Sports S13 on SSR Vienna Kreis….

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Frankie Bovino’s BN Sports 240SX on Blitz Type O3….

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Team ShaDynasty from the Pacific Northwest….

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Mark Panic’s ST215 Caldina 3S-GTE powered Toyota Corona from ShaDynasty…

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Matt Panic’s BEAMS 1st gen. Celica…

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Paul Harrison’s TE27 Corolla with BEAMS 3SGE swap…

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TRACKER RSP13 on Work Wheels…

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Great angle from this Faction Motorsports BN S13….

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Frankie Bovino once again since the Faction cars did so well at Final Bout 2…

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Out in the parking lot, there was a rare Honda sighting. This S2000 with custom front fenders and Spoon Sports (or Spoon-style) rear over fenders looked fantastic. Surprising to see such a well-executed Honda just parked in a random lot in Wisconsin, haha…

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Also hiding in the parking lot was this Lexus LS430 on WED’S Kranze Bazreias. You don’t see very many VIP builds out in the Midwest but this one was a great example and shows that guys are really starting to get a good understanding of VIP styling throughout the country….

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I had a feeling there would be some pretty nice builds in the parking lot since this seemed to be a popular event to attend and sure enough, there was quite a few. This S13 wearing Sexy Style aero looked fantastic on bronze Advan Racing Model 5…

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Parked right next to it was my buddy Damon Young’s Hot Road S13. I actually met Damon in 2009 at Import Alliance and fell in love with his car. It was one of my favorites that year and apparently he was madly in love with it too. He actually sold the car soon after and then just recently bought the car back because he missed it so much. It doesn’t look too different than when I first saw it 6 years ago but I love hearing stories of guys reuniting with their builds after selling them. It’s a like a girlfriend you know you should have never let go and then you see her again later and fall in love all over again. That’s obviously still a better love story than Twilight….

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I thought I had already seen my share of RE Amemiya FC RX-7s but at Final Bout 2, I was once again introduced to yet another full RE FC. This is just beautiful and was one of the heavily talked about cars of Final Bout 2 and it was just parked in the spectator lot…

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An S14 that immediately caught my eye upon walking into the parking lot was Aaron Eschmeyer’s Zenki S14 with full Origin Lab aero. The car looked like it was just freshly painted and the deep wine tone really popped in the bright hot sun….

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Love how the two Faction Motorsports PS13s look nearly identical. The SR20DET motor shot is that of Justin Hoitzer’s 240SX…

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A set-up like this is just so timeless and scream Japanese tuning tradition. Love everything about it…

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Sexy Style RX-7 from BREAKING. The colorway is very reminiscent of Nakkan’s Bad Quality 180SX from Hiroshima, Japan….

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Closing out this content-rich Part 1 with a shot of this Super Made S14 from Breaking. The blue, while similar to the other BREAKING cars, is actually done to look like it has a marble finish. Pretty cool, especially with the Nascar-like livery…

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for much, much, more from Final Bout 2. Thanks for looking!!

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11 thoughts

  1. Pingback: Final Bout 2 2015 Coverage…Part 3… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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