2016 has been quite the busy year for both Adam and Austin in both their personal lives and their (not so) professional lives. Lots of things going on and a lot more to come. See what each of us are thankful for in the post below.
What am I thankful for? Besides my Wife/crazy 2 year old daughter, and family (the obvious things I'm thankful for!) I've got a lot to celebrate this Thanksgiving. 2016 has been the busiest year of my life, by far, but also the most memorable, at least as far as the automotive hobby goes is concerned.
-First crash in a race! That wasn't fun, but the car was (barely) repairable, and it is in the garage right now, looking like a car still. I walked away with nothing more than some whiplash (yes, even with a containment seat, and a Hans, and harness, etc). I was rearended hard on the start of a race at Road Atlanta in March, and spent the next few months fixing the car...which leads me to the next thing...
-TOOLS! Having the right tool for any job is vital to accomplishing the task at hand. I'm incredibly thankful for the tools, many passed down by my father and grandfather (thankful for family, again) at my disposal. Welders, grinders, plasma cutter, bending brakes, hammers, etc.....the list is long and I love using them .
-Buddies! Racing wouldn't be much fun without buddies. From the 075 guys to my Ramblers buds to my High school buddies who come out just to help in tech and drink beers, racing and track days are awesome. ......and half of the fun of being a part of the Gridlife series is becoming friends with all the regulars who run with us. Buddies make this hobby happen. Be a buddy. Buddies are Rad.
-Gridlife event series! While it kept me from racing as much as I would have liked this year, the Gridlife series (I'm the Motorsports Director... basically the dude who is over the whole track experience at our Festivals, Trackbattle, and Shakedown events, along with our founding event, West Michigan Honda Meet). I think we hosted 9 events this year (I don't actually want to count them), and our staff and volunteers were awesome. Its hard growing this thing into a "real company" in our spare time, but after every weekend, we are more and more motivated to be the best event series we can be. We are unique, and we are trying to be the most fun group to run with anywhere. I'm incredibly proud of Gridlife.
-The silly SlipAngle podcast! I can't believe how much fun I'm having doing a podcast still. Austin and I have had a busy year, and haven't had as much time to do articles here, and while I love writing, I REALLY like recording and doing shows. from in depth interviews, to random BS shows with the two of us, to party shows where I might be a bit too drunk and spend too much time with the Arnold Sound Effects... I love them all, they are purely fun. I love how people really like the stupid show, and while we appreciate ratings and reviews on Itunes, we REALLY appreciate your feedback. Keeping thousands of people entertained on their commutes and through their workdays is a true honor..... we'll try even harder this year to be professional and fun and informative, all at the same time.
-Safety gear. Good safety gear, properly installed (NO HARNESS BARS. lol) is amazing. ...... Buy it. Use it. Go home after wrecking your car. Safety gear has kept me safe many times now. Build your cars correctly, and over-do it on safety. We're hear for a good time, not a long time......but don't cut your stay on earth short because you didn't know how to set up your car properly. Be safe buddies.
Wow. I don't even know where to begin, but I do know that I'll have to make it short. As most of you know, I can be a little bit long winded on certain things, but today, along with many other days in my life is quite busy. Luckily Adam has said many of the same things that I wanted to, which frees me up to talk about something that I am very thankful for, but that also has me feeling a bit weird about.
2016 has been a huge year so far. From growing our podcast and website, to getting married, to moving to California from Atlanta and starting a new job in the industry, my life is almost unrecognizable from this time last year. My lovely wife Jessica has supported me through all of these changes (yes, even the marriage) and has been by my side through it all. She lets me take off almost once a month during the summer (sometimes even more) to go and help run the Gridlife events that Chris and Adam along with Luke have entrusted myself and Mike Cohn with running the classroom sessions and overseeing the HPDE program. I am so eternally grateful for each and every opportunity that has been presented to me this year.
When we moved to California this summer, I had to get rid of a lot of thing. One thing that I kept however was my Sport Compact Car Magazine collection. Some of you may recognize the name, some of you may not. It is this magazine however that is almost solely responsible for my being where I am today. Once a week, I flip through an old issue and look at the names, people, and cars that were featured. Many are still relevant today. A few weeks ago I found an article about a certain (dance style, vegetable named) turbo from a certain turbo company that I am very grateful for that changed the turbo industry back in 2002/2003. I remember reading this article back in the day at 13 or 14 years old and thinking it was the coolest thing in the world. Dave Coleman said that it gave the best balanced horsepower output for the chassis. This is where I started thinking about balance of a car vs. all out horsepower. Such a game changer for me...oh, and I may or may not work for that turbo company now. If you told me at 13 or 14 that I would be in the position that I am today, I would have called you crazy.
Just this week I was flipping through an article on a how-to article featuring Hasport and guess whose (slightly younger) mug I saw gracing the pages - none other than Mr. Brian Gillespie himself. A magazine issue that I read at 14, half my life ago, with a photo of a podcast guest and constant supporter of what we do here at TrackTuned. It's a little hard to explain, but some of you understand. You spend most of your life wanting to be in an industry and a location that you dream to be in...and then suddenly you're there and it hits you all at once. It's almost like a self fulfilling prophecy. This is what I've been struggling with. Maybe I made the industry out to be something larger than it is. Maybe it's fate. In some ways I don't feel like I deserve it. But I am thankful for it.
I am also thankful for each and every one of our readers, listeners, and contributors that have helped make the podcast and website such a success. I know that sometimes we are slow getting shows up, or don't post much new content on the site at times, but I think you all understand that Adam and I both lead lives outside of our hobbies and have to balance accordingly. I haven't had the opportunity to drive much this year, but I have been focusing on other things in life. Being able to be around the track and all of my track buddies once a month even though I live thousands of miles away is such a unique opportunity that I wouldn't trade for the world.
I've also had the chance to write for a few publications, interview some very important guests, work part time at some cool places, drive some cars that just a few years ago I wouldn't have thought I'd ever have the chance to. Adam and I started doing things for fun, and continue to still do them for fun. Fun can take you places. The more you enjoy something, the better you become at it an the better you become at it, the more you enjoy it. I have so many weird feels right now, but just know that we won't stop. We can't stop. It's too much fun. And for that, I am thankful.
From the beach close to Los Angeles without a racecar - Austin