s14 staging at apple valley speedway

I’m sure some of you are aware of Grange’s.. err.. I mean “Apple Valley Speedway’s” new membership deal. Basically, it’s something like $300 for a year’s worth of open practice days or 200 visits, whichever comes first. So, the plan is to practice once a month, which makes the math go something like this: (each visit = $25). I can get with that.

always bring some beverages in a cooler when racing

So anyways… today’s adventure began… yesterday. Took a picture of this sad cooler with some random drinks in it. It’s August, and last time I went to AVS (we gon’ shorten “Apple Valley Speedway” to “AVS” from now on) it basically got too hot to enjoy being a dori dori dude, and I thought I was gonna turn into a corpse in that desert wasteland. Bringing adequate drinks is super important since it’s Summer.

Pro trick. I think I mentioned it before. But, one bag of regular ice and one bag of dry ice keeps things nice and cold for longer than 24 hours. This is important because I decided to drive out to Apple Valley the night before and do some hotel, motel, holiday inn action. Nobody wants to have to drive an hour plus to the track, drive at the track, then drive home. I mean, sometimes you don’t have a choice, but I’m not a brokeboy anymore 😉

s14 this is the fender that was recently repaired

One of the big things I wanted to test out this time at the track was this fender. This fender here was recently repaired, and I wanted to see if I would rub and burst the filler out and bring this shit back to the stone ages. (note: it survived)

so many signs

After finishing some minor chores (loading up the car, checking lug nuts, eating), I decided to head over to the local gas station with it’s over-the-top amount of promotional signs next to the air machine. It’s like dude, I get it, you sell gas, chill.

not creepy motel

I eventually ended up over here. Hill Top something-something in Victorville (just a couple miles from the track). On one hand, it looks kinda creepy. But… on the other hand, I kind of liked that at the time.

It’s fine. At some point in life, you realize that more people are probably scared or creeped-out by you than you are by them. That probably applies more to guys than it does girls. But ya that’s life, son. If you’re a girl that creeps dudes out more than they creep you out, you’ve got the benefit of late-night safety and the ability to go out by yourself without anything real bad happening. It’s a trade-off. Enjoy it.

whoretel 6

By the way, I usually stay over at this place. BUT for some reason, I decided to check the reviews, and people recently mentioned roaches. Nah thanks. Fix that first, then I’ll be back. Motel 6’s buildings are newer and prettier, but shit dude…

welcome to your whoretel

I just realized… the dude gave me room 204. Wonder if that was like… coincidence or if he did that on purpose (because 240 / 204 / play on numbers).

getting ready for racing

So luxurious. I dunno man. As long as the room is clean and there aren’t any bugs, that’s all that matters. Oh, and as long as the car doesn’t get jacked. LoL that would suck.

s14 staging at apple valley speedway

… which brings us to the very next morning, and this pic of the S14 of Doom by its lonesome self. Nobody showed up, so I had the whole track to myself again. And this time around, the clouds were out cockblocking the sun from penetrating my skin and eyes. Thank you clouds.

Finally figured out that B.S. at turn number 1. With the way my car is right now, it’s 3rd gear on the straight, down-shift to 2nd and brake drift to initiate. Then, it’s downshift to 1st gear mid-corner and try to aim it right to flick out of that corner and connect to the next one. Last is a quick up-shift to 2nd mid-drift to carry things out to the corner after the short straight.

It’s kind of a pain in the ass, and down-shifting to 1st is probably not worth the strain on the car… but… the method is figured out now at least.

avs apple valley speedway podium

I made a how-to video, which I’ll upload soon. Check that out if you want to hear me ramble on about some drifting things in regard to that challenging corner #1. And check out this new sign here. (new to me at least)

Maybe I’ll get my ass up here one of these days… if I feel like it.


After going thru some diagnostic chores, it was finally time to take the 14 back to Koji for some tuning. Hopefully, with the new cat and cleaned injectors, we could do a full boost tune without knocking.

Previously, we were only able to tune for 13-14 psi before it would start knocking.


Luckily, it was fixed, and Koji was able to tune to about 314hp at 17.5 psi of boost. So, with these Tomei 258 cams, there was an improvement of about 33hp. Sweet…


Eric's Best Expression
ok then test

Here’s the face Eric makes when it’s time to work on his car. Although gruesome, we must agree that this is how we all feel on the inside when it’s time to play the “mechanic game.” “What’s the ‘mechanic game,’ you say?” Well, it’s basically the game where we pretend we know everything about cars and end up braking more stuff than we repair or we repair the cars slower than ever anticipated.

Eric Getting Tired

Two days later, one of the rear wheels was finally removed. 🙂

Eric's S14 Devouring his Head and Arms

Shortly after, the S14 had almost fully devoured Eric’s upper body, “winner-takes-all” style. It is the sacrifice we must make when changing parts on the car. But it is always worth it… That is how we feel about a week or 2 after the ordeal, for our minds have tossed away memories of the pain.

Strong Ability to See Brake Fluid Level

During the brake-bleeding process of the night (and self-bleeding process), we had to keep the master cylinder topped-off with brake fluid. However, how does one see the mysterious “max-level” line… when it is covered with more aluminum foil than Iron Man??? :[

The Guillotine

By this time, Eric’s S14 had enough of our antics, touching it all over its insides. It was preparing the final strike, the guillotine attack. In one swift slipping of the jack stands, the job was finished. Forever. 🙂

Join us next time on another episode of Cooking with Crooks.

VW Bus with brand new paint job

So, today I had to take the S14 over to the body shop because the rattling windows were finally starting to really get on my nerves. I guess… that’s what happens when you start doing things like… plugging water leaks in the trunk and fixing the air conditioning. You start to get a little bit more picky about things, like when the doors sound like rattling bird cages whenever you run over a bump in the road. Go figure…

Welcome to A&B Autobody

And so, I went over to this place located in Rosemead called A&B Auto Body Shop. The owner / operator has a ton of experience with restoring old VWs like Vans, Beetles, and others from the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the same place that fixed my car after I hit that stupid trash can on the freeway many moons ago. If you’ve got some work that needs to be done, I can vouch for A&B in Rosemead. They’ve got some decent reviews on Yelp too, if only a few. But, I’ll tell you now, this place is great. It’s fast work, good work, and really good prices. THERE, I’ve fakked myself, because now there may be potentially longer lines here now. Whatever… I do this for you… Internet strangers…

Malik's I30 of Doom

On the way out, I saw Malik’s I30 here. Looks fine in the pic… because you can’t see the front end :/

My S14 of Destruction

Time to say peace-out to my car for the next couple of hours.

Begin the hobo'ing

And so, it was time to begin bumming around Rosemead like a hobo while I wait for A&B to finish inspecting my doors for worn out rails or snapped metal or whatever. LoL. My car’s been though so much, I wouldn’t even be surprised if everything on the inside needed to be replaced. There’s been times where I’ve had to re-glue plastic wheels into place and… and… yeah I don’t even remember, but let’s just say that the insides of my doors are more beat up than the inside of your average college sorority member. butthole on the day following taco Tuesday at a Mexican food truck.

Strong name for a dealership

As I’m walking down Garvey Ave., I spot this place. “CARS.” I swear, they couldn’t think of a more creative name for a dealership. This is the same mentality that leads to people naming their kids “Boy.” (Trust me, ask your Filipino friend about this.)

Mazz... I remember this place

And then I saw this place! MAZZ used to be in San Gabriel, and I remember them shutting down years ago. Interesting story that may or may not be related to MAZZ… I was seriously a kid when this all happened, so the dots I’m trying to connect and things may or may not be 100% true but here goes…

A long time ago, there was a tuner / rim shop in San Gabriel called DAZZ. Some pro NBA player named Latrell Sprewell bought the shop and changed the name to Sprewell Racing. Not too long after, the shop either closed or moved, and then this shop popped up called MAZZ. Not sure if they were trying to carry on the “AZZ” naming theme and change the “D” to an “M” but that’s the story. It didn’t seem to survive too long in San Gabriel, and now I see it here in Rosemead. As far as I can tell, the only shop to stick around for many many years that I can remember has been Pit Crew on San Gabriel blvd. Originally a Honda-boy shop, I’m not sure what they do now, but they’re still there.

This Thai place is good

After a good amount of wandering, I eventually found myself at this Thai restaurant for lunch. Tantawan…. is a really good place. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area. Not going to post any pics of the food I ordered… 1. because I ate it and forgot to… and 2. because you all know what chicken pad thai and a sprite look like…

Empty'ish lunch time

And yeah, I was here by myself just chillen and eating lunch and trollin around on facebook.

Shot of the bicycle path I go on

Did some more walking, and I see the bike path that I usually take when I ride to work (when I don’t drive). By now, it was fakking hot outside.

No....something-something... allowed

Apparently, you’re not allowed to do something here. Probably something stupid… like… no walking on the sidewalk, even though there’s clearly a sidewalk on the other side of this rail. Or it says “no crossing the street here” and there’s obviously a gang-load of traffic anyways LoL… damn signs trolling me this afternoon…

Boba Bear

Here’s the last thing before I end this post. Found this place, called Boba Bear. It’s a hookah lounge + boba tea shop. So you can smoke some things while you drink some things. And they’re open super late… until 1am from Sunday-Thursday and until 4am on Friday and Saturday. Location is kind of tucked away into an area between Rosemead Blvd. and the 10 Freeway.

Cool cup... decent drink

The drink was pretty decent. I got a boba milk tea. The cup was pretty cool though. If I didn’t have to carry this like 1.5 miles with me back to the shop, I would have probably kept it and used it as a container for brake bleeding. It’s a real glass jar with a metal lid with a hole in it to fit thick boba straws (or rubber tubes) into. Legit.

There aren’t any pics of my walk back to A&B. This is the end of this post. Y’all go home now. We’re closed. See you next time!

welcome to the jex garage of peace

What’s it been, like… 1 or 2 years since the last update? LoL! I guess having broken cars and stuff has kept us out of the “game” for a little while, but we’re back to report on a project that’s been growing for some time now. We give you… Jex’s Ultra Alignment Shop of Norwalk. Ok, actually, I don’t know the official name, but this will do. Watch it sticks stronger than the official one ha ha ha 😀

jex up in them fender guts

So anyways, on the way to the Evasive Garage Sale, I decided to make a quick stop at Jex’s to watch him do his alignment magic on a customer’s FR-S. Feels good for a change to watch other people work on cars hahah for-real. I showed up shortly after he made some height adjustments. Real nice, took this car from stock rally height to stock rally height. LOL jk jk, it’s lower for sure, I’m just used to seeing slammed 240s most of the time.

fortune 500 coilovers

I knew this would be an all-day affair, as I’ve done this to my own car in the past (faaaaak that, yo.). Today was no exception, but bless his heart for taking the time to do this excellent and tedious job on this car. I took a pic of the coilovers because I like green, unfortunately my eyes revealed (to my brain) the sight of Lucky Fortune 500 Coilovers. LOL just playing, I heard these coilovers are pretty decent and a good bang for the buck. Now time for some rear camber arms to keep this ride from going back-to-the-future and some wheels, and that will be magnifique!

team topak rsx race car in the lot

There were a couple of other cars at Jex’s place at the moment, like this team toe pack RSX race car.

the dreamer soul leprocy miata

Also, the dreamer soul white leper of anguish.

oh geez nice sticker good representation

Fakkin’ Jex, nice sticker job, mate. This is the camouflage version of our team sticker. The question is, is the sticker on top of the primer, or is there merely a hole in the primer revealing the “eam” letters underneath? You be the judge.

i skipped the evasive garage sale for this lol

Not more than mere moments later, I said fakk this and left to get some dim sum express. Would totally pitch a sponsorship from them. Although, the publicity might make the lines longer. SHIT!

Ferrari F40 of Peace

It’s not too often that I get a chance to surround myself with exotic cars. To be honest, I practically have an ill disinterest in them. A guy like me enjoys cars that are more relatable, and for someone of my meek social status, one could say that these million-dollar symbols of wealth have little for me to identify with. Ok, there was a 240sx and an RX-7. Sort of. They were basically tube frame cars with bodies resembling a 240 and an rx7 draped on top of them.

They’re like Super Man. The best of the best… so good, so iconic, they they sometimes cross over into cliche’d boringness. But, while I’d rather hang out with more human-like automobiles with all their imperfections, spending some time with Super Man every now and then can be quite entertaining.

Ride in Style, Porsche Style

I guess you could say this was the “proper” way to travel when visiting a gathering of super cars. Jumped into Eric’s Porsche Haerse, aka “Panamera,” and took off to the bay while listening to house music and smashing the boost. Starting to feel entitled already. Mmm… feels good man. I feel my wages sky-rocketing towards max level at this point.

Who the hells

The first stop was at Denny’s, somewhere north of the Grape Vine. Breakfast of champions. Champions… and constipation victims. “It’s ok, it’s ok… ” I told my bowels, for it would be better to hold it in than to have to make an emergency pit stop in the middle of nowhere.

Welcome to Monterey

Somewhere down the line, I must have fallen asleep. My butt hurt when I woke up. I must have farted a lot as I was passed out. But my eyes were pleased to see this sign as we pulled off from the freeway.

Exotics on Canary Row

The first stop was an event on the main boulevard called Exotics on Cannery Row. Such a sight to behold with all these cool cars. It was as if all the rich people of Arcadia, Rowland Heights, and San Marino (and you know… Malibu… etc) decided to have a get-together to flaunt their nice cars while the normal peasants stared at the grandeur.

Shanty Town Camping

By the time we finished browsing Cannery Row, it was time to set up the tent over at Laguna Seca. I had never camped at an actual race track before. This was really cool!

Formula Cars vroom vroom

The next day was the beginning of the main racing event at Laguna Seca. The pits looked awesome with all sorts of cars. There were these old Formula cars and a bunch of other types of race cars.

Action Shots from Far Away

I like how my camera automatically makes these photos look “vintage” due to its quality and distance from the action haha. There were a few good spots to watch the racing. This was one of them, at the braking zone to one of the hairpin corners before the corkscrew.

Check the gallery below for the rest of the pictures. I’m thankful for being able to see this spectacle. Would I go again? Maybe! I’m more of a grass roots, down-to-earth car type of person though. I get bored of seeing the best of the best, weirdly enough. But the trip was fun. And if you’ve never seen this show before, try checking it out at least once in your life.

Jex's miata

A lot of fun stuff… and not so fun stuff… happened today. It was a good chance for me to capture some more cool in-car footage from my GoPro, and also I finally tested the new engine build on the S14 at the track. With the previous stock build, I was able to get a 1:30 on 595 RSR tires. With this build, I got a 1:31 with drift tires hahaha, so not too bad. Jex and Luis were also here to try their luck at this round of Roadster Cup.

And that’s where things went downhill.

Luis and his Miata

Here’s Luis and his Miata at the start of the day…

Poor miata

Here’s Luis and his Miata at the end of the day…

What a day to blow a motor — It wasn’t even hot outside. On the bright side, everyone made it home safely, and now Luis has a good excuse for a fancy upgrade, whatever that may be 😉

View the rest of the pics from today below —

Technically, I should have been driving a Miata on this day. But unfortunately, it wasn’t ready for tracking. So, I ended up taking my S14 instead, which also was not prepared for a grip event (it had drift tires on it) but was at least mechanically okay. Here are 4 video, I hope you enjoy them. Don’t forget to watch the video on Youtube to take advantage of the shortcut links to events within each video. 🙂

The thing with going to the Balcony… is that it’s just the Balcony. You get a handful of turns to practice car control, and when you have it all figured out, you’re mentally done for the day. And this can happen as soon as… Ohh… lunch time, if you’re good enough. But the GREAT thing about going to the Balcony is that there are so few turns that it’s easy to practice there. You’ve got turn 1, 2, and 3 (just as an example). And because you’ve only got those turns, it’s easy to revisit them again and again while burning the corners and different techniques into your short-term memory.

But once you’ve done that and you’re content with your abilities, you quickly want something more — like tandems with friends or giving passengers ride-alongs. The BAD news is that Willow Springs doesn’t allow either during open testing days. You’ll get a lot of time to yourself — a whole lot. That’s about it. The GOOD news is that you can join a 3rd party event organizer’s Balcony day, and you might get lucky. People like Extreme Speed allow tandems, and Just Drift allows both tandems AND ride-alongs. And even though you’ll be sharing the Balcony with many more people, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll still get lots of time, and now you’ll have more people to share epic moments (and crashes >_>) with.

Regardless of all that, Li and I had a pretty fun time at this open testing session. Much drifting was had, some friends were made, and chuckles were had at some self-proclaimed masters of the road. Would I go back again? Maybe… but definitely not for any price higher than $80 (Willow Springs open track testing cost [$100 for the day + $50 yearly membership]).

Too Much Boost!

A few things happened… First, I kept on bursting these intercooler hoses. I guess rubber really doesn’t cut it anymore at 17psi.

Li's Mustang

Thankfully, Li let me borrow his Mustang to go into town several times to get replacement hoses. They kept on exploding though. I think I went through about 3 of them until I decided to call it quits and use the last in-stock hose to drive home. (11/17/2015: I’m upgraded to reinforced silicon hoses now, and there are no more issues.)

But some real drifting fun at Willow Springs, it’s all about Horse Thief Mile… just sayin’.

Ball-Holding Gnomes

After a long lull from doing any spirited driving, we FINALLY did another team cruise. I know we’ve been to Newcomb’s Ranch before, but this visit was an opportunity for the people who couldn’t come last time. Sure, it was my millionth time coming here, but whatever — the sandwiches are good, man :p

Creeper Shot #1

This was also a chance for me to practice my creeper shots, like this one I took of Blue. Don’t worry about him, he’s just praying to the turd gods that the coming meal will not alert the machine gun poop.

Spontaneous Car Meet

One thing that was kinda neat: we originally came up ACH with just 4 cars — Me, Naki, Blue, and Bench. But when we finished eating, we came outside to see a bunch more cars parked around ours. LoL spontaneous car meet unlocked! hahah