Friday practice begins and I immediately head up to the roof of the grandstands. The roof is my favorite place to be since you can see EVERYTHING and on clear breezy nights, you can see downtown LA glowing beautifully in the distance with the symphony of V8s, 2JZ’s, rotaries playing in sync with the signature FD fragrance of burning rubber. Heading to the track through the back of the grid you can see crews and drivers hustling to get the cars prepared to shake down during practice and then qualify later that afternoon.
I had to run and get my face filter and monopod from my car but came back to discover someone had flipped their car! After practice wrapped up we walked around the vendor village to mingle with friends and I wanted to camp out somewhat early for the autograph session since each year it seems as if the line grows by 50 fans and it stretched for probably an hour’s wait. The boys get their hero cards ready, umbrella girls flash their famous smiles, and so the magic of meeting your favorite face to face begins.
After practice ended I headed back to Pomona to talk my cousins’ ears off with the adventures and excitement of the day and plan for the next day. My cousins’ husband was surprised to see the lenses and camera I use during these weekends and even more enchanted with the raw files I had from my camera; just made few more drift fans that evening.
Saturday afternoon finally rolls around and the line was probably twice as long as last year and wrapped around the gates from two different directions and even more fans were being shuttled in from a different location. Fans show their support by making signs, shirts, and even little presents for their favorite drivers; my good buddy Dave Briggs got a “turbo charged” lamp to bring home, what a “bright” idea! Soon it was time to be on track and I was lucky enough to be driven by the one and only Victor from Emergency Hookers out to the main photo island to shoot with my designated photo buddy of the weekend. The photo island closest to the VIP grandstands is always a blast to shoot from as we are only 30 feet away from all the insane action.