It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Orange County, and after a successful, yet completely exhausting Eibach event the previous weekend, I'm relishing in the fact that I have a day off, all to myself. Taking a full day to do absolutely nothing is everything I dreamed it would be, and more. Unshaven, sporting comfortable basketball shorts and an old t-shirt, I can actually feel my internal batteries recharging as I set up my BBQ grill for the perfect bison burger lunch feast. The television is on in the background as I'm walking through the living room and I hear a guy describing a car show competition that takes place in Las Vegas. The serious, yet somewhat dull narrator continually uses the term "bling" over, and over, and over again. I believe one of his statements, in the ultra-serious voice went something like, "nobody blings it harder than the blingtastic bling lovers of the Las Vegas strip." Essentially stopped in my tracks, it took my whole body to hate this man. You see, once a term is used by your parents, and their parents, it's time to move on. Hearing him use this worn out term was almost as painful as watching the local 11:00 news, where every night the awkward weatherman attempts to dance in, what he feels, is a Hip Hop fashion. Unfortunately he convulses for a few minutes, and always ends up raising the roof. Yeah, about ten years late on that one my friend. Terms and catchphrases come and go almost as quickly as kid's trendy dances. But there are those few that describe something so well they rightfully stick around for years.
The term "grassroots" is one that is age-defying, and lately, has been thrown around quite a bit. Interpreted in many different ways, by many different people, it's a staple in an industry that's constantly searching for something new to motivate and stimulate that constant progression. From what I've read, the term was originally coined by Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, an Indiana Senator, way back in the early 1900s. His bold statement, "this party has come from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of people's hard necessities," certainly reflects the attitude and efforts of the Honda community. Homegrown builds and clever work-arounds have always assisted Honda owners in overcoming the impossible, and we've done so on our own. As track events and even car shows have became somewhat saturated over the past 10 to 15 years, the village has become restless, and the infusion of grassroots uprisings have never been more necessary.
Honda's drag racing roots in the U.S. and the unfortunate collapse of what could only be described as an industry juggernaut carries with it an infinite number of theories as to its fall from grace. Obviously drag racing never left-it's still alive and kicking, especially on the East Coast. However, there's no denying that the influx of big corporate involvement took a toll on not only the competitors, but the fan base as well. Ironic really, when you think back to the golden age of import drag racing, and how competitors pleaded for support from major companies like Honda. But oftentimes the things we wish for so adamantly can come back to haunt us. The good in all of this is that fire-starters like Chad Barber of CTRparts.com have taken it upon themselves to step up and create something that truly caters to the grassroots (there's that word again) enthusiast. He's put together a drag event that's sure to catch on, and with any luck, push others to follow suit. Chad explains, "we're taking this sport back, and into our own hands. Corporate big wigs and the powers that be have essentially wasted ten or so great years in our sport. The time has come; we're reclaiming it and taking it to the next level. Enthusiasts need to help bring our sport back to where it was, by creating our own events that reflect our beliefs in the rules and the way the events are supposed to be run! We need a regional series that can shorten the distance of travel for people to come out and compete, and then have a few key national events." So you see, Chad is taking it back to bare-bones basics-for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts. The beauty of simplicity is apparent, and this may be the beginning of something revolutionary.
Along with drag racing looking to muscle its way back into the limelight, car shows aren't nearly the powerhouses that they once were. Massive events that once brought out every walk of life are often reeling from the lack of foot traffic that once stomped through these red-carpet mammoths. However, if you take a look at the well organized meets that take place around the country, you'll notice a recent explosion in attendance. Import Alliance on the East coast, Wek'fest in Nor Cal, and Eibach in SoCal are just a few that appear to be busting at the seams, as enthusiasts and track regulars make their way to these laid back get togethers. The atmosphere is filled with competitive energy, yet it's refreshingly stress-free. Again, these types of events are created by people who are constantly wrapped up in all things car related, so they have a good idea about what will work and how to go about making a successful event. That may not be the case for an outsider putting their dollars into the mix in an attempt to take more dollars out.
So what about you? If you're reading this and saying to yourself, "I can do that, and probably a lot better than those guys," then maybe it's time for you to get something going, and put your own spin on it. After all, this is your passion; don't let someone else tell you how to enjoy it.