Super Street Network

 |   |   |  Gridlife Midwest 2018 - The Biggest Party of the Year
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Gridlife Midwest 2018 - The Biggest Party of the Year

Gridlife's annual Midwest Festival reasserts itself as king of a good time

Luke Munnell
Jun 25, 2018

We wonder if Gridlife founder Chris Stewart had any idea what his dream would become five years ago when he left his cushy advertising career to go racing.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Fit Photo 2/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Fit

It started off modestly enough, as a few HPDE (high-performance driver education) track days for Chris and a relatively small local northern Midwest group of gearheads. Ask any of the original crew who have kept their heads down, toiling away at it all while it's enjoyed its exponential growth and mass-market appeal, and they might not be able to tell you exactly how it happened either. But we have an idea: Chris combined his love of cars with his skills and connections as an advertising creative, and surrounded himself with the right people focused on bringing contemporary automotive enthusiasts lots of what they want, all in one place.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 WRX Photo 3/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 WRX
Gridlife Midwest 2018 GT4586 Photo 4/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 GT4586

Of course that's really simplifying things, but the winning recipe behind Gridlife is just that: simple. Even if there's an immense amount of work that goes into it all. Want to spend a weekend around some of the world's fastest time-attack and most radical drift machines, drive your own car on track with some professional instruction, experience some of the hottest musical artists in a true festival atmosphere, party with thousands of like-minded friends for three non-stop days, and drive away from it all with apparel and swag that's actually fresh? Done. Come to Gridlife.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 350Z Photo 5/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 350Z
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Subaru WRX Photo 6/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Subaru WRX
Gridlife Midwest 2018 The Cool Kids Photo 7/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 The Cool Kids

Gridlife hosts two Festivals throughout its six-event season, and the Midwest Festival at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, is where it all started. A well-built but modest facility in a sleepy, rural area, Gingerman is great for weekend track days, but perfect for Gridlife. No sprawling grandstands, posh VIP suites, or neighboring tourist destination here (although South Haven proper is very nice). Gingerman gives you a small, tight, fun track with loads of great vantage points in grassy areas all around it, a huge, plot of open land for general-admission tent camping and ensuing debauchery, some surprisingly good track food, pop-up stages and vendor areas, lots of outdoor space to pit your race car, and that's about it—everything you need, none of what you don't.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 WRX Photo 8/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 WRX
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Evo MR Photo 9/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Evo MR
Gridlife Midwest 2018 S15 Photo 10/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 S15

No hours of operation, no tedious shuttles to and fro, no sound ordinances—it's as close to automotive party freedom as you can probably legally get, and at least in our experience this time around, showgoers respected that and responded in kind.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Convertible Photo 11/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Convertible
Gridlife Midwest 2018 panda head Photo 12/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Panda Head

There was of course the occasional unofficial mud-bog challenge (this year's festival was a wet one!) and the more-than-occasional two-step revving, but thankfully nothing got too out of hand.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Mazdaspeed3 Photo 13/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Mazdaspeed3
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Miata Photo 14/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Miata

If showgoers' conduct wasn't already impressive, some of the cars they brought out definitely were.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 2JZ swapped WRX Photo 15/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 2JZ Swapped WRX
Gridlife Midwest 2018 2JZ swap Photo 16/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 2JZ Swap
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Focus RS Photo 17/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Focus RS

This was especially apparent among the registered show contestants, who competed for Gridlife Showcase honors in categories like Slammed, VIP, Japanese, Euro, Domestic, Classic, Race-prepped, and more.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 R32 Photo 18/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 R32
Gridlife Midwest 2018 S2000 Photo 19/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 S2000
Gridlife Midwest 2018 RX 7 Photo 20/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 RX 7
Gridlife Midwest 2018 370Z Photo 21/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 370Z

This being round two of five Gridlife TrackBattle time-attack season competitions, tons of fast, all-out speed machines made the trek to clock the fastest lap in four classes and accumulate those ever-valuable season points.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 DMN Racing Evo Photo 22/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 DMN Racing Evo
Gridlife Midwest 2018 WRX wagon Photo 23/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 WRX Wagon
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Evo X Photo 24/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Evo X

It's safe to say the Canadian invasion into the world of time-attack continues, with Toronto's William Au-Yeung clocking the fastest lap of the weekend and setting yet another track record in his 9th-gen Honda Civic Unlimited FWD contender, with a blisteringly fast 1:23.775 around the Gingerman circuit early on "Day 0" day before we arrived.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 time attack Civic Photo 25/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Time Attack Civic
Gridlife Midwest 2018 time attack Integra Type R Photo 26/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Time Attack Integra Type R

James Houghton—another Toronto resident—and his Unlimited FWD-class DC2 Integra Type R clocked the fastest lap of official competition (a 1:30.680), and in doing so not only locked in the class and overall wins for the round, asserted himself as the one to beat in the season championship points chase for all of TrackBattle competition.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 DC2 Photo 27/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 DC2
Gridlife Midwest 2018 ITR Photo 28/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 ITR

And then there was the drifting. What automotive festival-slash-party isn't complete without some good ol' fashioned drift bashing?

Gridlife Midwest 2018 M45 GT4586 Photo 29/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 M45 GT4586
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Mustangs Photo 30/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Mustangs

Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea Denofa were first to take to the tarmac, followed by Falken Tire aces Dai Yoshihara, Ken Gushi, Justin Pawlak, Odi Bakchis, and Pat Goodin.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Falken Mustang Photo 31/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Falken Mustang
Gridlife Midwest 2018 GReddy 86 Photo 32/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Greddy 86
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Discount Tire S13 Photo 33/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Discount Tire S13

Chris Forsberg and Tanner Foust, both in a pair of four-seaters, joined the fray, as did Ryan Tuerck in his Ferrari-powered Toyota 86 ...

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Passat Photo 34/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Passat
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Tuerck GT4586 Photo 35/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Tuerck GT4586

... Geoff Stoneback, Steve Angerman and Ryan Litteral ...

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Stoneback S14 Photo 36/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Stoneback S14
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Angerman S13 Photo 37/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Angerman S13
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Litteral S14 Photo 38/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Litteral S14

... Corey Hosford, shaking down his new 2ZJ S14 240SX ...

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Hosford S14 Photo 39/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Hosford S14
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Boss Bunny S14 Photo 40/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Boss Bunny S14

... and loads of skilled Formula D Pro 2 and regional pro-am wheelmen, givin' 'er all she's got.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 S14 Photo 41/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 S14
Gridlife Midwest 2018 S13 Civic Photo 42/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 S13 Civic
Gridlife Midwest 2018 E46 Photo 43/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 E46

And if all that wasn't already enough partying, there were the dozen or so musical acts that kept several stages bumpin' throughout the weekend. Chief among them: Waka Flocka Flame and the Cool Kids who closed out the main stage Saturday night (Sunday morning, really).

Gridlife Midwest 2018 Chuck Inglish Sir Michael Rocks Photo 44/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Chuck Inglish Sir Michael Rocks
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Sir Michael Rocks Chuck Inglish Photo 45/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Sir Michael Rocks Chuck Inglish
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Rocks Inglish Photo 46/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Rocks Inglish

So as you can see, if it's a good time with, in, and around cars you're searching for, with a healthy dose of freedom and good music, chill vibes and fresh gear, Gridlife might be your best choice for finding it all in one place. The Gridlife South Festival takes to Road Atlanta in late August, and for the hardcore drivers among us, there are still a total of three competition rounds for TrackBattle time-attack, along with HPDE driving, scattered about the rest of the year.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 spectators Photo 47/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Spectators
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Z33 Photo 48/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Z33

Learn more and get involved via www.grid.life and peep our gallery below for lots more from the Midwest Festival.

Gridlife Midwest 2018 AEM S14 Photo 61/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 AEM S14
Gridlife Midwest 2018 Evo Photo 74/86   |   Gridlife Midwest 2018 Evo
By Luke Munnell
298 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE EVENT COVERAGE

The Euros we couldn't get enough of from SEMA 2018
Bob HernandezNov 15, 2018
The idea of throwing an event dedicated to the wildly popular Rays wheels has popped up more than once around our office. It was only a matter of time before those ideas grew into a full-blown event that took over our office's parking lot
Matt RodriguezNov 14, 2018
We love race cars. Well ... we love all clean cars, but there's a special place in our hearts for race cars.
Luke MunnellNov 12, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP