Irwindale is indescribable. That's....really all I can say about it...
Okay but seriously, when I say it's indescribable, I mean that it's kinda a humbling experience to be there. With it being my first time in California as well as my first time at Irwindale, I found myself instantly immersed in the crazy California lifestyle at the same time as feeling completely detached from home (where it's currently well on its way to being Winter season). It was a pretty cool feeling, but at the same time I missed my home that comes with four seasons, and not quite as much smog...or as many earthquakes (not that we experienced any while down there).
Still, once we gotten to Irwindale, I felt the same feeling I had when I had first seen drifting in a parking lot: "This is the shit, and I need to be here." My first impression of the track when we pulled the rig in across the drag strip which overlooks the starting line was that the track looked a lot smaller than it did in videos. However, once I got out of the truck and actually started watching closely, I realized just how huge Irwindale is. The steep banking of the track alone makes it something that we had not yet experienced on any of the Canadian tracks in the past. The immense size of the first bank into which drivers are throwing their cars into is something to behold as well...if you don't see it in person, you just don't realize quite how ridiculous it is. With it being such a smooth and flowy track, the drivers were able to gather some pretty amazing speeds, which in turn would lead to some pretty amazing wrecks.
With all that being said, after the event we were treated to some interesting pieces of Irwindale history by Alex Pfeiffer, who was kind enough to let us occupy his couch for a couple days, including an old Option DVD of D1GP at Irwindale. The first thing that struck me was the difference between drifting now and not so long ago...the skill level has risen exponentially...the second thing that struck me and that really stuck with me was the amount of drifting history that has gone down at that track...legendary drivers...legendary battles...and for a weekend I finally got to have my taste of it, and I loved it. So I guess what I mean when I say that Irwindale is indescribable is that in order to really get the full Irwindale experience, you really have to be there. I always hate reading that sort of statement because I feel like I have a really good imagination, but unless you actually go there, you don't get the full scope of what Irwindale really is.
Annnnnyway, before I get any more whimsical this is the first part in a two part series documenting the Irwindale experience through my camera lens. This first part focuses mainly on the Pro Am Nationals end of the event, which ended up being won by Drift Posse's Pat Cyr in his faithful S2000 powered Toyota Corolla AE86, as well as some clips from the pro drivers in practice! Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment coming out mad soon!
Canon Rebel T2i
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