12th Sep2014

Paint, Vinyl, and Hardware: D-Spare Preps for Formula D Texas

by Michael Chandler

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 9)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Brandon Wicknick drives in the Formula D Professional Drifting Championship.  He’s also a buddy of mine.  While we were in Idaho he invited me to come by his shop and snap some photos of the preparations that were going to be going on before he loaded up and went off to Texas.  It was nothing too crazy: just repainting the car, applying new graphics and sponsor decals, hanging some new body panels, rebuilding the motor. Some rather basic stuff that everyone competing on a professional level (privateer or factory backed driver) does.

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 9)

Brandon and Jose handled the nuts and bolts stuff.  Literally.  Brandon was putting the motor back together, while Jose was working on a differential for Brandon’s S13 and also doing some work on Juha Rintanen’s widebody S14.  For the uninitiated: Juha is a Finnish Formula D rookie, but he’s no stranger to competition.  He’s won a national championship in Finland, and was the 2013 Drift All Starts European champion.  He’s currently 61st in the Championship.  ANYWAY…

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 9)

While Jose and Brandon put things mechanical in nature together, Danny and MsRae Rossi of Stick-It Vinyl Graphics were busy applying vinyl to the car.  They’re the ones for the original wild color stripe scheme, and they were back at it.  Since this was just a refresh nothing was going to change livery wise, but a few sponsor decals were moved around a bit to make them easier to see.

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 9) D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 9) D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 9)

Speaking of his sponsors, whom you should support only because they support this mad man in his endeavors, are:

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 9) D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 9)

At the time of writing, Brandon qualified 10th in Pro2, which has him paired with…  Wait for it… Juha Rintanen.  Yup, garage mate vs. garage mate.  S13 vs. S14.  2JZ vs. … another 2JZ.  Whatever, We’re pulling for Brandon to be on top of the podium, he and the rest of the D-Spare crew have been working too hard not to get a win in Texas.

UPDATE: He won!

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Aug2014

The Canandaigua Incident

by Michael Chandler

By now we’ve all seen the video, seen the knee jerk reactions online, and seen various talking heads on TV attempt to assign blame to either Tony Stewart or Kevin Ward Jr.  And while we want this to be a completely black and white, cut and dry instance, it isn’t.  This was as series of poor decisions that lead to the worst possible result.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about: Last night in a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York, Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. were involved in a racing incident in turn one.  Stewart slid into Ward, causing Ward to spin and lose his right rear tire.  The caution flag is thrown, and Ward gets out of his car and begins walking down the track (towards the infield) looking for and pointing at Stewart’s car.  Stewart comes close to Ward, hits the accelerator causing the back end to step out.  Ward was hit by, and dragged under Stewart’s right rear tire some thirty feet before being thrown from the car.  Ward was motionless when medical personnel got to him.  He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was twenty years old.

Stewart, after hitting Ward, came to a stop on the back straight of the track.  Racing was suspended at the track, and police are investigating the incident.  Stewart returned to Watkins Glen, where he initially announced he would be racing in today’s Sprint Cup race.  Earlier today it was announced that Reagan Smith would be taking his place in the #14 car for today’s race.

This incident, this tragedy, isn’t even a day old yet everyone is wanting to assign blame to someone.  It’s not as simple as that.  A series of events brought us to where we are right now, and if different decisions had been made at any point I doubt we would be talking about the death of a race car driver.

Everyone knows that Tony Stewart is a hot head, and this has lead to some heated interviews and outright fights.  He gets caught up in the heat of the moment, and calms down after a few days.  He is a competitive man, which is why he was racing in a sprint car race less than a day before he was racing in a Sprint Cup race.  He collided with a twenty year old kid, who then got out of his car and was pointing and walking towards his car.  Maybe he didn’t see him, maybe he was trying to scare him a little bit.  Either way, he ended up colliding with Ward and eventually killing him.

Kevin Ward was competitive too.  He began racing karts at age four, and by thirteen won multiple Micro Sprint championships.  After that he went into the 360 Sprint Car division, where he won rookie of the year honors in 2012.  At the time of the incident he was in a bit of a slump, due to mechanical issues, but was optimistic the bad luck would pass.  In turn one Stewart slid into him, causing Ward to spin out and cut down a tire.  He got out of the car, and began looking for Stewart.  He made his way down the track, began pointing at Stewart as he approached, and was then struck by the rear of Stewart’s car.  He was dragged and thrown over thirty feet.  He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Ward should have never gotten out of the car, and he should have never walked down the track with traffic still moving.  That was a bad decision.  If he had waited to catch Stewart in the paddock, then this would be an entirely different story, but he didn’t.  Stewart, assuming he saw him (which I think he did see him), should have been lower on the track.  He should have put as much space between himself and Ward as possible.  He shouldn’t have tried to scare him, if that was indeed what he was trying to do.  Stewart has won multiple Sprint Cup championships, and an IRL title, so he clearly knows better.  But he made the bad decision to buzz the kid.

A series of poor choices by two men lead to the untimely death of one, and the unknown weight of taking a person’s life for another.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ward family, and I sincerely hope that this was a tragic accident and was not done with malicious intent by Tony Stewart.

Words by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
07th Aug2014

Hope. Change. 15 Year Import Law

by Michael Chandler

SEMA 2013 day 2 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-44

We all know about America’s draconian twenty-five year import law, but the brave hoonists at Petrolicious are trying to legislate change to bring our import law more in line with the fine folks who live in America’s hat.  And they’re not just getting up and saying “We want change because this isn’t fair!” They’re backing up their argument with these pesky things called facts that are so often hard to find on the internet.  Facts like:

German TUV approvals are tougher than our own, and include rear collision and rollover standards we don’t perform.

Both Europe and Japan also have special allowances for low volume imports.

That’s two sentences, and they provide a lot more weight than the “Canada has a fifteen year law” statement which is thrown out as the corner stone of forum arguments.  They also bring up another point, which is brilliant:

Many people may never personally import a car, but at least they would have the ability to do it.

You can have a lot of powerful firearms, in two states you can legally buy marijuana without a doctor’s note, and nobody is stopping you from hopping in your car right now and driving it across the country.  Why can’t we have the freedom to do it in a Toyota MkII or an Audi RS2?

Sign the petition not just for hooning, but for freedom!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
19th Mar2014

Bad Decisions: Jordan’s 1UZ S13

by Michael Chandler

Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (7 of 33)

If you know someone who is passionate about anything, then you know what they go through to prepare for an event or show or whatever it may be. You see what it looks like when they have all the time in the world to prepare; however, you also see what happens when things don’t go according to plan and the window for preparation is quickly closing. Jordan Collier, the owner and driver of a 1UZ swapped 240SX, was facing the latter. He invited me over to watch/document/occasionally lend a hand while he and his room-mate Trent Dortzbach tried to sort out the idle of the little V8. What happened after that is the stuff of Facebook legend…

 Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (5 of 33)

When I arrived the guys were figuring out the idle. It was either high, or bounced around. I, for one, was a fan of the bouncing idle, but I was overruled. Eventually the idle was set at “high”, and Trent fired up the car so I could grab some shots of the car shooting fire out of its open headers. Then he stepped on the clutch…

 Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (8 of 33)

Let me back up. First, you’ve seen this car in this garage before. AND it ran! It was using a broken in clutch disc, until some other things broke and Jordan had to shelve his season. This year he has new things, including a new clutch disc which was VASTLY thicker than his old one. This led to the problem we found.

 Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (9 of 33)

“It’s not disengaging” Jordan uttered. Trent was on the clutch, the car was in first, and the wheels were not turning freely. Not enough throw with the new disc? That’s the idea we all settled on. This problem led to a series of decisions that became sketchier and sketchier as the night progressed.

 Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (4 of 33)

DECISION THE FIRST! Does Jordan let the car be, with the new clutch disc in, and hope it gets better with use? Nope, old one has to go in.

DECISION THE SECOND! Do we pull the engine AND transmission, requiring us to drain the gallon of stuff from the 350Z transmission and unhook all the electrics OR do we pull the driveshaft, unbolt the trans from the motor, and just go at it that way? If you know us, then you already know where this goes. With option B selected we went to YouTube to get some direction. And then we faced another decision…

Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (16 of 33)

“Change a U Joint with a Hammer” Clarkson would be proud

DECISION THE THIRD! How do we get the car high enough to do all the crap we just said that we were gonna do? We can’t use the engine hoist, because we need that to swing the engine out of the way. The jack stands aren’t high enough. Jordan and Trent drift, so there’s an abundance of mounted tires…

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DECISION THE FOURTH! How are we going to explain this to family members, paramedics and the police? Mercifully it didn’t come to that, but Christ almighty was this a sketchy set up. The front of the car was up on three wheels (a stack of three under each front wheel of the car) and the rear was up on one wheel. Both Jordan and Trent were under the car trying to free that driveshaft, then the transmission.

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A few times Jordan got out from under that car, took a walk to the back of it and muttered “We should’ve just pulled the motor.” In hindsight, we probably should have. But if we did then there wouldn’t have been much of a story.

After fighting with snap rings, pulling the steering column, pulling the engine forward AND tilting it up, and somehow pulling the passenger side header off (which normally requires the engine to come out) the trans was ready to come off.

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At this point we had been working on it for three hours. We had crossed the point of no return, which led to some self doubt from Jordan. “We should’ve just taken the whole engine out” he muttered. “I have a sneaking suspicion that the trans will come off and never go back on.” With that enthusiastic quote we reached what would be the final decision of the night.

 Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (28 of 33)

DECISION THE FIFTH! How exactly are we going to support the transmission? The 4×4 and 2×4 blocks are a bit short and narrow, jack doesn’t really reach that high and there wasn’t a transmission jack available. What we did have was Jordan’s manly strength! Soon enough he was cradling the transmission and carefully getting it out from under the car.

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With that finally done it was time to switch clutch discs and revel in all the room for activities there was under the car! And then we called it a night. The transmission did go back on (eventually), and Jordan took the car for some testing… and sprung an oil leak. At least the transmission was fine.

Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (32 of 33) Bad Decisions S13 CAMautoMag (33 of 33)

Come see Jordan, and maybe his car, this Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park for the first Salt City Drift event.  $6 to get in, $5 for a single ride along in one of the cars OR $20 for an all day ride along pass.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
07th Feb2014

Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour: How to Spend Your Saturday

by Michael Chandler

CAM goes to COTA 5 19 13 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-19


Guys, gals, pets, I’ve found how you will be spending your Saturday afternoon.  You, like me, will be watching the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour race.  Why?  Because where, outside of Forza or Gran Turismo, will you see Fiat 500 Abarths pairing off against SLS AMG GT3s?  Focus Global Touring Cars (tube chassis, V8 powered, lots of awesome) hunting down a Ginetta G50?  Exactly.

There are six classes:

Class A is comprised of current GT3 spec cars.  AF Corse (essentially Ferrari’s sports car team) will be challenging last year’s winner Erebus Motorsports and their pair of SLS AMG GT3s for the class win.

Class B is ten 911 GT3 Cup cars ganging up on two R8s and two Lamborghini Gallardos.  This class has the best team name running in it: Racing Incident, which is running a Gallardo LP520.

Class C is three GT4 class cars: a Ginetta G50, a Lotus Exige Cup R and an Exige S.  Tiny?  Yes.  Awesome?  The Ginetta handles that, and then some.

Class D is 3001cc engines and up, and resembles something you’d see at a track day… in Europe: two SEAT Leon Supercopas, an E46 M3 GTR, an E92 M3, a Daytona Sportscar Coupe (an Australian Shelby Daytona Coupe), and a WRX STi thrown in for good measure.  This will be a fun one to watch.

Class E is full of Fiat 500 Abarth’s run by the same team.  Three adorable little Fiats will try to avoid being killed by everything else on track.  This will be the most adorable class to watch.

Class I is the afore mentioned Global Touring Car spec Focuses… Foci…  Focus?  Whatever.  It’s a lot like Class E, except more fearsome than adorable.

The Race starts in a little less than twenty-four hours from now (at the time this was being written) and you can/will watch the live stream on the race’s website, which features commentary from Radio Le Mans.

UPDATE 1:51PM MST: HQ Holdens race happening for the next hour http://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/live/ Old Holdens!

Words and photo by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
05th Feb2014

Someone Stole Guy Fieri’s Lamborghini 3 Years Ago

by Michael Chandler

And he did it like a bad ass.  Then things went south for Max Wade in a big way, but that’s not what this is about.  It’s about this:

At sixteen Max repelled into British Sports Cars, picked the lock, hot wired the thing, jammed up the Lojack and drove away in it.  He also accidentally turned on the windshield wipers, but nobody’s perfect… As Max proved when he shot at a girl he “desired” and her boyfriend FROM A MOTORCYCLE.  (The boyfriend and girlfriend were only slightly injured by flying glass thankfully).  This was after he began his career making fake IDs.

The story gets better: he was arrested at the storage unit he was renting.  The unit contained fake IDs, burglary equipment AND THE LAMBORGHINI HE STOLE A YEAR EARLIER.  He’s now facing a life sentence, which is probably for the best because super-villainy was a major possibility for this kid’s future.

Words by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
04th Oct2013

ERRMAHGERD! Facebook Photo Dump

by Michael Chandler

derp miata PHOTO DUMP


Three new Facebook albums with some stuff you haven’t seen!

NASA Nationals where we found our cross-eyed friend here.

Drift Utah Round 6  No barrier was safe

JDM Legends First Thursday Meet  Everything old is cool again

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.


08th May2013

iDrift 2013 Schedule

by Michael Chandler

iDrift Michael Chandler-18


We’ve got a schedule for the rest of the iDrift at Miller Motorsports Park events this year!

May 25 – West Paddock

June 22 – Midway

July 27  – West Paddock

August 24 – West Paddock

September 21 – Midway

October 19 – Midway

  • The West Paddock is where the March 16 iDrift event took place.  It is behind the grandstands placed on the front straightaway on the West track
  • The Midway is where the April 27 iDrift event took place.  It is in between the Rally-cross area and the East track

These events keep getting bigger and better.  Check the Drift Utah group on FaceBook for registration details, and bring $20 so you can take a ride with some of the guys

20th Feb2013

Thank you Larry

by Michael Chandler

MMP Flags

Four years ago today Utah lost a man who did quite a bit for this little state of ours.  He brought the NBA to town, built movie theaters, owned restaurants and a chain of dealerships.  But if you’re reading this then Larry H. Miller’s biggest contribution was giving us a world class racing facility.  Without him Utah’s automotive enthusiasts wouldn’t have a track of their own.  He gave us Miller Motorsports Park because he, just like us, wanted a place close to home where he could race and enjoy his cars.

So on behalf of the staff here at CAM, and everyone who has a chance to enjoy the facility, we say thank you Larry.


Words and photos by Michael Chandler.

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com
31st Jan2013

Will It Fit? Lexus V8 Into a S13!

by Michael Chandler

1UZ test fit in S13 Michael Chandler-1 cover

Last night I went over to Jordan Collier’s frigid garage and watched him put together an engine hoist and then test fit his shiny new 1UZ V8.  Did it actually go in?

1UZ test fit in S13 Michael Chandler-2

Jordan decided to bolt up a few things before dropping it into the bay.  First was this spacer.  Gotta have it so the whole transmission and shifting thing work.  Looks odd, but it works.

1UZ test fit in S13 Michael Chandler-3


Then this beefy QuarterMaster clutch went on.  They use it in NASCAR, and that’s good enough for Jordan!

1UZ test fit in S13 Michael Chandler-4


With the clutch set up on, and the exhaust manifolds bolted up she began her journey down…

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Well whataya know?!?  She fits!!!  Not without a few minor issues, but nothing a cutting torch and a welder can’t fix.  Next time you see this thing out in the wild you’re gonna be seeing these under the hood:

1UZ test fit in S13 Michael Chandler-6


Words and photos by Michael Chandler.



*Article, photos and video are copyright of CAMautoMag.com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.com