Bear with me for a moment as I catch my breath, get some sleep, and sober up a little. I've just finished the 10th anniversary of the goldRush Rally, and I couldn't be more exhausted yet more satisfied with what transpired over 10, well, 12 consecutive days last July. Where do I begin...
I've been lucky enough to participate in many rallies over the years-not talkin' WRC or Rallycross (I can only dream), but road rallies that are more like organized cruises or caravans. There is no prize for the fastest time, no first-place trophy. Simply put, it's a good excuse to get a group of car enthusiasts together and do a road trip from point A to B. In the case of this year's goldRush, it was 10 days across 10 cities consisting of 100 cars ranging from 400 to 1,000 hp. Fuggin' nuts!
Starting from Boston, Mass. and finishing in Las Vegas, Nev., each day consisted of five to nine hours of driving. Speeding isn't condoned or encouraged, but when there's so much horsepower and adrenaline crammed together, it's inevitable. I would say I picked and choose my battles wisely, when the roads were completely empty and the Valentine One couldn't find a peep. If someone on the rally was being an idiot (weaving through traffic, unsafe passing, doing donuts, and such), they did pay the price. Luckily, I escaped unscathed with no tickets or handcuffs.
Perhaps, there was no wilder feeling than flying down a desolate highway in the middle of New Mexico surrounded by a Pagani Huayra, Ford GT, Ferrari 488, Lamborghini Aventador, and Porsche GT2—a surreal moment I can only attribute to goldRush for the opportunity. Also, what was insane about goldRush was the hired police convoys. For example, when we entered Detroit, imagine a 30-mile stretch of highway leading into downtown where hundreds of motorcycle police officers shut down rush-hour traffic to allow the group to roll together. It felt as if I was part of a presidential motorcade!
So, what'd I drive? To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the F Sport brand, Lexus was a title sponsor of goldRush. What that meant was they needed to have the baddest Lexus possible on the journey. As fate would have it, my good friend Gordon Ting of Beyond Marketing had built an '18 LC 500 for SEMA last year that was a perfect fit. The Artisan widebody LC was updated for the rally with 20-inch Volk Racing TE37s, and the previous red wrap was switched out to matte blue, commemorating the F Sport colors. The LC's performance modifications were minor, with updated suspension, brakes, and exhaust, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's a weak-ass ride. Lexus' flagship coupe comes stock with a 5.0L V-8 that makes 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque-enough to keep up with some of the big dogs past triple-digit speeds.
With 9 days of driving, 12 days out of the office, 19 states crossed, and 3,845 miles conquered, it's hard to say if I'd ever do something like this again. There was a time sitting in traffic through Arkansas when I wanted to find the nearest airport and fly home. But that would mean giving up, and surrender was not an option. So, once I took enough deep breaths and realized what I was about to accomplish, I was extremely grateful to be part of such a unique experience. From the warm welcomes we received in every city to the fans I met, plus being able to see parts of America I'd never imagined seeing before, it was all priceless.
I'm king of the world! goldRush shut down the access road between the St. Louis Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River for one epic group photo.
The night before day one, I caught a Red Sox game at Fenway-MLB's oldest ballpark!
Boston's starting grid took place at a freeway underpass. As you can see, our Lexus was the black sheep of the rally, surrounded by European sports cars.
The drive from Boston to New York was one of shortest. I had some extra time so I explored the city (here: parked underneath the Manhattan Bridge).
On the way through Pennsylvania, I paid a visit to Schmuck Built. Jason Schmuck was kind enough to start up his twin-turbo, J-swapped S2000 featured in this year's Honda issue, as well as invite Jesus Lopez to bring down his Mazda RX-7.
60 miles outside of Pittsburgh, the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort made for a pleasant rest stop, as well as unlimited quarter-mile runs on a private airstrip.
This Ford GT was owned and piloted by former NASCAR champ Kurt Busch!
Entering Greektown Detroit like a New Year's parade!
Finding dope art in the outskirts of Detroit
Michigan Central Station is a historic rail depot that was used between 1914 and 1988. It's now owned by the Ford Motor Company, so I had to grab a photo before it's completely renovated.
There were several car meets open to the public throughout the rally. Here's a shot of the group atop the Greektown Casino in Detroit.
I grew up watching the Indy 500, so it was pretty rad to pass through the Brickyard!
At 630 feet tall, the stainless steel Gateway Arch is one of the most epic American landmarks!
Lexus hosted a goldRush welcoming party at nearby American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the Mavericks and Stars.
Nate Martinez of Lexus, me, and Gordon Ting of Beyond Marketing—Gordon was my co-pilot for the entire journey, and let's just say we got to know each other a little too well...
Filing out of Albuquerque next to a Ford Velociraptor 6x6. Whoa!
I ran into several cool rides at each city stop, including this Pearl red LFA at Albuquerque Dragway.
Close to the finish line near the Arizona-New Mexico border on the eighth day of driving. By this time, I was more than 3,400 miles in, and the LC was filthy dirty!