My inability to fall asleep wasn't the annoying 4am wake-up reminder waiting to blast from my over-taxed phone, nor was it the 16-hour day on the horizon, along with a reported 80-plus degree blanket of sun that was sure to sting a little after a few weeks of mild temps and cool breezes. The truth is, even after 14 years of traffic control, car corralling, and endless fires to put out, running one-half of the SoCal leg of the Eibach Meet tour is still nerve-wracking and year after year, the night before the event is always sleepless.
Having jumped on board as a co-organizer with my partner, Eibach's Ryan Hoegner, after I attended the first event 15 year ago, it's always been a grind in the weeks leading up to the big day. What was once a few hundred cars and a handful of vendors, now checks in at around 1,000 pre-registered cars and over 50 vendors. Add to that thousands of spectators, a handful of food trucks, and more, and you can see how the stress levels increase the week of the event. In the end, however, Ryan and I always end the day with a quick overview of what went well and what didn't, usually burnt, hoarse, and in dire need of a decent meal, and we realize that it was all worth it ... and happy that there's a 9-month gap before the process starts all over again.
For the 15th year in a row, the one-day event brought out every conceivable Honda model in various states of modification to celebrate the brand and, more importantly, the enthusiasts. With around 1,000 cars in attendance for the meet and almost 100 vendor display vehicles, there was plenty to see. Those vendors, many of which have been attending the event for over a decade, brought out their latest parts, offered special discounts, and interacted with show goers throughout the day, most donating high-ticket items to the event's raffle program.
The backdrop for the event is Fontana's dragway, which for the day at least was dedicated to Honda-only racers. Street and full-race vehicles made their way down the track, and unlike most events that take place at the venue, the grandstands were packed with fans taking in the action—something track officials noted was a welcome change, and they were happy to see the interest from fans.
By noon the vendor section was completely packed with fans as the spectators continued to pour in throughout the day. A source of congestion last year, the spectator parking roll-in was pushed back to 10:30am to give the car meet roll-in cadence more time to clear and proved to be far more efficient, many times requiring no more than a 15-minute wait to get through the gates.
After all these years you'd think that in 2020, when we throw the 16th annual event, I'll be laid back and prepared for anything, but that's just not the case. The night before the event I'll be checking and double-checking everything, stressed and certainly not sleeping, and though I won't admit it before the event, afterward I know it'll all be worth it.
Many a Honda nerd, myself included, were excited to see @Greddyperformance Product's president, Kenji Sumino's personal Civic ED build in the Greddy booth. Kenji's spent countless hours restoring and building his hatch with a period correct feel on the outside and some modern technology mixed into the built B18C swap. The black box you see emulates the look of a factory intake but is actually a water-to-air intercooler that @chapman_concepts applied their Cerakote touch to. Kenji thrashed on the car to have it ready for Eibach Meet and though it's not fully complete just yet, it fired up and is almost ready to hit the dyno.
The display cars brought in the foot traffic but vendors relied on unique product layouts to entice potential customers and field questions about their products and services, as shown by @eibach_world, @downstar and @titan7wheels. The laid-back nature of the Eibach Meet has always been conducive to friendly, real world interaction between vendor and show goer.
For the first time ever, the all-Honda affair opened its doors to non-Honda vehicles on the single condition that they were indeed Honda-powered, like this F20 swapped Corolla.
Ryan Novak is the owner of both of these incredible track builds that were next to the Rywire booth. The EH chassis features a Rocket Bunny kit and Toda ITB-equipped K-swap
While Novak's EJ hatchback is fitted with M&M Honda's Hyper widebody kit and also K-powered, but sees boost via Kraftwerks' supercharger kit.
After driving their Civic Type R all the way to SoCal from Louisiana, the @hybridracing crew set up shop at the Eibach Meet and showed off their long list of high-quality K-swap goods.
They also brought along their brand-new adjustable B-series short shifter that's been making waves since it was first released.
Along with their FK8 on display with the booth was this EJ hatchback track project, also wrapped in their signature livery. It's a project that began last year when Hybrid Racing joined forces with @battlecraftparts to piece together a capable track car armed with a full array of Hybrid parts.
The drag strip remained hot from the early morning until a hard cutoff of 5pm. Some hard-fought battles took place in front of a packed grandstand.
Fat Kid of @thinkfatracing always puts on a show. At the end of the day he and his crew earned top honors, taking the win in Eibach's Pro FWD and All Motor classes.
The Civic and Integra crowd is always heavy but the rise of the modified S2000 segment over the last decade is only gaining momentum as the Honda icon becomes more affordable and the aftermarket support continues to increase, even 20 years after its inception.
@eatsleeprace is looking out for the upcoming generations by offering their race-inspired lifestyle apparel to the little ones. Their @fast.kids.club line features infant and toddler specific clothing as well as an ABC book based solely on automotive parts.
Drag Race results
Pro FWD 64
Pro FWD 72