“You’re the editor of a Honda magazine, huh? So what, you sit around and play with little Hondas for a few hours and get paid for it?” He said this with a cheesy grin on his annoying, half-bearded face that was more a by-product of laziness than an ode to the “Miami Vice” look of the ’80s. I took a deep breath, cocked my head to the side a bit and answered back, “Yeah, that’s all there is to it.” My lackadaisical answer ignited his over-the-top courtesy laugh, smiling head nod, and the requisite, “That’s what I’m talking ’bout,” with a fist extended for “dap.” Being questioned on my work ethic by a half-assed real estate agent was the least of my worries, and rather than second-guess his blatant inability to answer some real barn burners like: “Is additional parking along the street allowed?” or “When is this property available?” I instead thanked him for his time and headed out the door. Not only would I waste my time explaining what it takes to keep this little magazine running, I had more important things to tend to—like the editorial nightmare that had taken place over the three-week period prior to the printing of this glorious white cover issue.
Originally, the plan was to have three road race cars on the cover for this month. Talking back and forth with Tage Evanson in Arizona for months, we’d finally worked out the best time for him to bring his track car to the Source Interlink studio. Not able to completely escape work while in SoCal, he’d planned to drop the car off to me in the morning, hit the local Starbucks for a taste of free wireless to get caught up on business, then take his family to Disneyland for the day while I shot his car. It was the perfect plan to include family fun, work, and car stuff all in one fell swoop. But as with many perfect plans, things went awry rather quickly, and Tage never made it to SoCal. Just a few days prior to our shoot appointment, he’d attended a track day not unlike any other. However, by day’s end, the car lay charred and motionless; its driver rushed to the hospital for what would turn out to be an extended stay to treat severe burns from the fiery inferno that was his Civic hatchback. I spoke with Tage shortly after via email, and he was in good spirits and had a huge number of well-wishers offering support. He mentioned to me that this setback wouldn’t keep him off the track, and that he’d already been thinking about how to build a new car—a better car.
With the third car completely out of the picture, I moved forward with Novak’s S2000 and newly completed Civic track car at the studio, and everything was full speed ahead for this issue. Or so it seemed. One after another, feature car stories began falling through, causing even more stress. One owner blew his motor during competition and was planning a complete overhaul. Another beauty had already been shot, but the owner wasn’t able to release the photos due to a major wheel sponsorship that he’d just picked up, requiring a reshoot. Then there was a parts manufacturer car that had been shot a few months prior, but the company couldn’t produce a complete tech sheet with actual specs or vehicle history in time. Filling in the gaps is standard with any magazine, but filling in four or five with a very specific type of vehicle is a complete pain in the ass. Fortunately things came together in the end, and all ulcers aside, I’m very proud of the 2011 Race Issue.
Watch your feet, I’m dropping some names over here. I’ve known Ryan Novak for a few years now, and his short attention span and automotive ADD are just downright fun to watch. His list of cars, both past and present, is impressive to say the least, and his mind is obsessively transfixed on road racing pretty much 24/7. The quality contained by both of his current track Hondas is second to none, and his exhaustive string of blown motors would cause most to throw their hands in the air and go buy a Yaris.
Towering over most with a menacing 8-foot 9-inch frame, Andy Hope came through with photos and a complete breakdown of Jonathan Meris’ Honda Challenge champion car, as well as covering a local track event for us. Hope has been working diligently on his photography skills and promised that he would never accidentally kick my Canon flash across a parking lot and into a puddle of water ever again. Probably.
Tony Palo and Chris Miller are two names that will undoubtedly go down in competitive race history. I’m grateful to these two for letting me pick their brains in regard to their grudge match and their continued efforts to smash records and set the drag world on fire. I also have to give a big thanks to former HT feature car owner Antwaine Hobbs for helping to open the lines of communication for me, and even assisting Henry Z. DeKuyper on the photo shoot. And speaking of photos, Henry was also granted some alone time with Palo’s T1 Race Development Integra, and Reid Lunde’s Kaizenspeed Civic hatchback while in Vegas for the Judgment Day drag event. Not into turbo power? Then check out the Sipes Brothers’ naturally aspirated monster with some amazing photography by Josh Mackey in the northwest. Even if you’re not a fan of drag racing, the fabrication, technical organization, and all-out raw power produced by these cars are absolutely amazing to look at.
So there you have it, an entire issue dedicated to both straight-line and turn-happy competitors because, as I’m sure you already know, speed never goes out of style. Enjoy…