The conditions couldn't have been any worse; late December, cold and rainy—the complete opposite of what you think about SoCal and car culture. One of the last events of 2013 was Nitto's Auto Enthusiast Day, but for those willing to make the small trek to the Auto Club Speedway, you had better have been prepared for those less than desirable conditions to catch the Liberty Walk clan, drift ride-alongs with Vaughn Gittin Jr. or Matt Powers and a car show. Normally it's the type of local show I venture out to on my own, but for some reason I decided to give my mom a call and see what she was up to. For all my years here at Super Street, I've never really shown my parents exactly what I do and I prayed that the weather would play kind just so I could let Mom see the kind of cool stuff that we're all into. She made no hesitation to say yes. It was a rare opportunity for us to do something like this...
Once we arrived, I took her on my rounds to go check out the cars and introduce her to my car scene friends. Normally, this is the point where I'd start snapping away but instead, I asked Mom to let her tastes guide us, and I'd ask her opinions along the way. She was immediately drawn to Matt Powers' S14 because of its "creative looks and design; it's unexpected and very original—and it's girly" (her words!). She surprised me by saying she had heard of drifting because of Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, made me laugh when she dissed an entire row of S-chassis cars because she didn't understand the styling and made me very happy when she agreed to go on a ride-along with Vaughn.
I don't think she fully realized what she was getting herself into, signing release forms, being strapped into a race bucket and having my friend tell her, "This is my first day drifting professionally." Mom was all smiles though—from the minute the Mustang left the pits, as she was being slid around and after she was brought back in. The way she described being thrown about in the car while Vaughn was drifting told me that while she couldn't explain the experience to me in words that we would normally use, that she definitely understood the concept, and that blew my mind. At the end, this was more than just another car event or "bring your mom to work day." It was a chance for her to experience something unlike anything she'd seen before and enjoy it with one of her kids, who has nothing but all the love for her and the cars that he's dedicated his life to being around. She texted me after I'd dropped her off and said: "Drifting is so cool. I never dreamed about doing something like that. It was like a roller coaster on wheels, except a thousand times more exciting. JR is such a cool guy. It has to be one of the top ten most exciting and fun things I've done in my life, and most definitely the coolest thing I did in 2013!"
I guess now it's time to go and get Dad into the game...
Find me: @jdmwong