Final Bout Special Stage West 2021 Coverage… Part 2…

After I finally finished going through all the photos a few days ago and watermarking all of them, I came to the realization that I really didn’t shoot as much as I thought I did that weekend. Sure it had a lot to do with the heat but perhaps this two-part series isn’t the best representation of all that happened at Final Bout Special Stage West this year, lol. I’m not saying the photos are bad, they are far from it, and I’m not just tooting my own horn. What I captured is pretty good, it just doesn’t present the most diversity. The reasoning behind this is because I only went out on the track for one or two sessions and both times it was with run groups that featured the same cars. And when I wasn’t on track a different run group went out and the cars that I shot in the pit area are the same ones that came back from the same group that I was out on the track for. I wasn’t trying to do this but it just worked out that way. Mainly because I didn’t want to die. Carrying a big ass camera with a towel wrapped around my head in 100+ degree temps is no fun, no matter how much I want to be out there shooting. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t as resilient as it once was and I’m just more susceptible to my environment. I still feel like I’m more resilient than most but long gone are the days when I can sleep for four hours and be up for two days straight shooting or traveling from city to city. I’ve learned to pace myself now and understand that my body needs rest for me to truly successful in my craft. Most of you understand that as well and if you don’t quite get it because you’re younger, boy are you in for a rude awakening one day, lol.

Matt Panic from ShaDynasty told me that he even rented out Apple Valley Speedway and drove with friends the following day. That’s crazy. I was worn out just holding a camera and walking around, I can’t even imagine driving all day and then driving out to a completely different part of California and driving AGAIN all day. I will say, however, that I am incredibly pleased with what I did capture at Final Bout SSW. Despite my weathering body and enthusiasm, I am currently in an incredibly creative state of mind where I continue to believe that I am producing my best work yet. I love what I do and my skill as a photographer still very much is on a positive trajectory. There’s still much more to learn and I’m excited to be out and about shooting again. My only regret is that there aren’t two of me so that I could be everywhere shooting everything. In a perfect world this coverage would have more of the cars that drove at Final Bout that day. But I digress, I can’t be upset about it as I’ve come to understand my physical limitations. Now at this stage of my life, I’m all about shooting for quality instead of quantity. I’d take one amazing photo over 300 decent photos of everything at an event. That’s the only way to prolong this adventure that is The Chronicles…

On that note, here is the second-half of photos from Final Bout Special Stage West 2021. Enjoy and thank you to Simba and the guys from Final Bout for providing me with the opportunity to be a media representative for their event series…

309A1759-Edit

Had a chance to meet the owner of this 240SX in the pit area, I believe his name was Bryan?? I just know he doesn’t have an IG account which probably works out the best since he can concentrate on building great cars and I can capture shots like this, haha….

309A1772-Edit

309A1780-Edit

309A1782-Edit

The “Squeeze.86” looking fantastic in action representing ShaDynasty and Factory83. It was cool to see some of the cars come down from the Northwest after I missed the PARC event the week before…

309A1793-Edit

Aaron Leavitt from ANIMAL STYLE shredding on Work VS-KFs…

309A1800-Edit

Ilia from PROCEED and Aaron Parker who’s FD you’ve likely seen on the Netflix series “Hyperdrive”…

309A1806-Edit

This year’s event at Horsethief Mile felt a little different being that there was only one car from PROCEED out here unlike last time around when most of them transported their cars out to California…

309A1818-Edit

309A1818-Edit-2

Christian Santos from BLVCKMOON and his incredibly well-executed IS wearing TRD aero and Chargespeed front fenders. Another car that you would see cruising around on the street on any given day and have no idea it was a drift car…

309A1839-Edit

309A1841-Edit

If you guys know me, you know that I’m all about capturing a moment, or trying to catch the ‘feeling’ when I shoot an event. I’m torn as to whether or not the passenger in these shots ruined the photo or if I did a good job capturing his excitement… I don’t know, I just always feel like it’s a little weird when people focus so much on trying to record something on their phone when they’re just in the middle of something very exciting and in the midst of a moment that might not happen again…

I’ve been guilty of this in the past since I’m always trying to capture everything for the world to see but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just come to realize that it’s more important to just put the phone or camera down to BE in the moment…

309A1844-Edit

309A1849-Edit

Meanwhile here are two photos that appear exactly the same with the exception of just a minor angle change in the front wheel. I couldn’t decide which one was better in this scenario either so here are both…

309A1832-Edit

Really cool to see an E36 sedan putting in some work, especially one sitting on Advan Model 5s…

309A1867-Edit

309A1870-Edit

Jason Kim got a little more comfortable throughout the late afternoon and the APEXi Stage-D RX-7 got more angle as well…

309A1877-Edit

Speaking of getting comfortable, Jaime was driving really well that day at Willow Springs. Nice to see his driving, and his car, making progress over time…

309A1879-Edit

309A1882-Edit

309A1885-Edit

309A1891-Edit

JZXs and other big body Japanese sedans just look so good drifting. I love how much presence they have just hammered down to the ground with big BN aero….

309A1911-Edit

Taguichi’s Tomei Genesis SR22-powered RPS13 180SX sounded absolutely amazing in-person…

309A1929-Edit

I want to say that I win the award for most photos captured of the APEXi RX7 going completely straight that weekend.

That award is brought to you by absolutely no one…

309A1965-Edit

Aviel Hod and his E36 once again…

309A1976-Edit

309A1977-Edit

The famed Team Moccomans represented well in the USA thanks to Kazuya Taguchi who also happens to be doing really well this year in the Formula Drift series in his VQ-powered Toyota 86…

309A2065-Edit

ShaDynasty tandems…

309A2073-Edit

309A2092-Edit

Really tried to thread the needle on the second shot by capturing the Squeeze.86 in focus sandwiched between the other two ShaDynasty Toyotas. Love the taillights and the homage to Back To The Future…

309A2119-Edit

Matt Panic actually hit me up on Instagram last night to inform me that he does indeed have an IG account now…

309A2131-Edit

Nic Michuda and his Elixir IS300 going straight just because it looks good. Reminds me that I should probably go pick up my IS from the body shop so that I can also go straight and look good…

309A2143-Edit

309A2161-Edit

Ignacio Mendoza from Silhouette and his Garrett turbocharged KA24-powered 240SX…

Eventually I reminded myself that I was better at shooting cars that aren’t in motion so I went back to the pit area to get some more photos with the sun setting and casting the perfect amount of light on everything…

309A2168-Edit

Jaime looks way cooler in this photo than when he came to the shop the other day in a red Civic coupe with no A/C and 14-inch chrome wheels wrapped in 165 series tires on it…

309A2176-Edit

May we all pray that this style of traditional Japanese drift car never EVER go out of style…

309A2181-Edit

Much respect to Taguchi for sacrificing wheel gap and driving in-style even if it means a bit of rear fender wear…

309A2185-Edit

Did I mention that he’s also responsible for operating UPGARAGE here in the USA now?…

309A2196-Edit

Chuck from APEXi looking over the FD after Jason Kim got a little too rowdy and went off track…

309A2197-Edit

I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to look under the hood of this RX-7 before.

It looks exactly how I imagined it would…

309A2205-Edit

ShaDynasty line-up at Final Bout SSW ’21…

309A2213-Edit

309A2216-Edit

If I had to choose a top 5 favorite at this year’s Final Bout SSW, Sam’s GP Sports S14 from BLVCKMOON would definitely be on that list. I’d tell you the other four but nobody asked me and it’s pretty obvious because I just shot photos of the same cars over and over throughout the day, lol…

309A2225-Edit

Didn’t get a chance to get too many photos of JR’s FC3S this year but I snapped this one as I walked the pit area…

309A2232-Edit

Though it was over 100-degrees most of the day, around 6PM, the scene at Final Bout was absolutely splendid with the vanilla sky and chill vibes…

309A2239-Edit

RUN UP! cars are definitely my jam because of their understanding of style and execution with quality parts selection…

309A2246-Edit

Another obvious favorite of mine from that afternoon…

309A2248-Edit

Didn’t get photos of any of the AUTO FACTORY REALIZE cars in action this year but I did walk over to their area periodically throughout the day to talk shit…

309A2257-Edit

Jay Kubota’s 240SX getting some angle—jack angle.

309A2270-Edit

I just can’t get enough of this thing…

309A2280-Edit

The best part about this plate is that a couple of the REALIZE guys actually love driving FF Hondas…

309A2282-Edit

Chuck’s Toyota JZ-powered twin-turbo PS13…

309A2287-Edit

Behind-the-scenes of REALIZE TV, next episode premieres in four years I think…

309A2293-Edit

Palmer’s Bomex E36 coupe from ANIMAL STYLE…

309A2301-Edit

In hindsight I should have shot other cars to add some diversity to this coverage… :\

309A2304-Edit

Coolest photo and driver of the day…

309A2320-Edit

At night Ilia yelled at everyone because most of the people who had vests on were pretending to be media for the event even though no one owned an actual camera. I thought there was an important media meeting because they made us climb up this steep hill but then he just yelled at us, lol.

For real though, it was kind of annoying to see people just sneaking onto the track. Kinda fucks it all up for actual media people who work hard to capture content for the world to see and for drivers who have to worry about not running people over because they don’t know where to stand on a live track. Afterwards, it was too dark for me to shoot so I just hung out for a while before driving back into the city.

Overall a great day. It was a hot one but I have come to accept that most Final Bout events are going to be like this after my first trip to Wisconsin a few years back. That event and Gridlife in Atlanta were probably the two hottest places I’ve ever experienced. This one was pretty close, I’m not gonna lie but I was better prepared this time around. Hope you guys enjoyed the content, share and like or whatever you guys do. Thanks for looking!!…

One thought

  1. Always love your coverage of Final Bout. They are so good. Wish you can be able to cover ’em all.

    Unfortunate about the last part with Ilia having to yell at those dummies because everyone works so hard to get this event together especially the drivers who come out to to try enjoy driving with their friends.

    Would really hate for anything to have happened.

    You guys don’t know how much this event means to people! Thank you to everyone!

Leave a Reply