We can still remember the first Nitto Tire Auto Enthusiast Day (AED) back in 2013 like it was yesterday, an event commemorating the tire maker's five million Facebook followers. The place was different, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. instead its current SoCal home in the parking lot of Angel Stadium in Anaheim; the time of year was different, late fall (effectively winter) versus summer, as it has been since '14; and the weather was very different — that inaugural was drenched in rain until it was nearly over, while the AEDs in Cali since have been in sweltering conditions.
Five years later, AED's formula hasn't changed much — car show, hooning demos, vendor area, and giveaways — and the crowds keep coming out in force. And who wouldn't? The event is free, so long as you have enough to cover parking (which this time was 10 bucks).
The industry was out to support as well; we noted many brands representing at this year's AED, including Turn 14, Mackin, Greddy, Cusco, and several others. A few notables from the drifting community were on hand, too, Nitto shredders like Formula DRIFT pros Vaughn Gittin, Jr., in his demo Mustang and F-150 and Alex Heilbrunn in his backup supercharged V8 E46, and ex-pros like Matt Powers in his S14 and Sam Hubinette, who ostensibly did meaty burnouts and drifts in the same Lambo Huracan used in the now-infamous video of him and his wife doing the same. FD VP and cofounder Ryan Sage was spotted, as was former team manager Ron Bergenholtz and the Maximum Drift Cast triumvirate, Corey Hosford, Sam Nalven, and Paco Ibarra.
Auto Enthusiast Day 2017 was a hoot, even if it was hot as hell. To see what the event looked like, dig into the photo gallery and allow the pixels to assail your eyes.