I’ve gotten very bad at time management. I should have had this post up weeks ago, but time kept escaping me. The responsibilities of adulthood have begun to catch up with me and left me in a existential crisis. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if I post my NissanFest 2017 content? There’s already been tons of quality coverage from the event, and the world keeps on spinning without mine. However, I took the time to drive out to Monroe, WA and it would be wasteful to not do anything with my photos.
Last year, I had plenty to say about NissanFest. They started running team tandem competitions and this change gave me something juicy to sink my teeth into. This year, I struggled with an angle aside from basic event coverage. The only major change in the 2017 event calendar was the lack of Autocross. Aside from me not having to pretend like I was going to shoot AutoX, it was pretty much business as usual.
To the credit of the organizers, they run a pretty consistent event every year. So consistent, in fact, that sometimes the only way I can tell the years apart is whether the weather cooperated or not (every other year it rains). The stories from Monroe’s Evergreen Speedway can become a bit cyclical, or old hat. In other words, any actual event coverage would probably read the exact same way. For example: There were a few teams that made the trek from far-off places. Others assembled teams with inappropriate names for the event and Ian Fournier shredded the track. Which NissanFest am I talking about? Well, it could be any of them…
With so much actual adulting going on in my life lately, you may wonder why I even bothered to attend the event. That’s a fair question, and a part of me wondered if I could have gotten away with posting last year’s content again. But there would have been one big giveaway that it wasn’t coverage from this year’s event (aside from the lack of sun).
That one thing was the Good Vibes Street Tribe. If you’ve been following any of the media coverage from NissanFest, you’ve probably seen a few pictures of their cars on track. If you were actually in attendance, you might be wondering why I bothered to mention that team. I’m pretty sure they missed one of their qualifying runs and didn’t fair very well in the actual competition. It probably seems crazy that I was excited to take pictures of the Good Vibes crew – especially with all the seasoned veteran talent on the track.
If you know me, you might be thinking that I only took photos of them because they’re my friends and although they are my friends, that’s hardly the case. For me, the one major thing that happened at NissanFest which differentiated this year from others was having the Good Vibes guys on the track. In the past, these guys have mostly only occupied the car show space at NissanFest. It’s no secret that these guys sometimes frequent the streets for seat time. Other times they visit the island for track XP, but for the first time ever they competed at NissanFest – which is a whole other ball game. First, it’s a new level of exposure and second, it’s a real competition format.
It’s somewhat rare to see a lot of guys flip from the car show scene to the track scene, especially in the same cars they usually use in a car show. I’ll be the first to admit that their initial showing on the track was lacklustre, but I can hardly blame them. It’s a steep learning curve and the weather added to erratic driving conditions. They were quickly eliminated from the competition, but like I happily mentioned above, AutoX was cancelled. That meant when they finished the drift comp early, the teams were allowed back on track. It was over this period of time that the Good Vibes team started to come into their own.
The most memorable moment of the day for me was when Brandon had a minor accident with his S15 Silvia. Not because crashes are exciting, but because the crowd seemed almost devastated when he cracked his front bumper and headlight. It wasn’t the usual reaction you’d expect from a crowd when contact is made. There seemed to be a general sense of “Oh no, not the S15!” in the air. It really drove home the stakes for me of what the Good Vibes guys were risking by tracking their cars –and why I was there.
There’s a certain rush or sense of suspense while watching a nice car drift. It’s the idea that if the driver slips up, they could lose a car. When you risk losing something of value, it makes everything matter more. And it’s nice when drifting matters.
What did you think of this year’s NissanFest?