September 29, 2022

The CAM Journal: BWG – 4 minutes with Ken Block

The year was 2006. I was a fresh faced 20 year old heading to SEMA for the first time, and staying with what would later become some of my best friends for the first time. It was a new, weird, and scary experience that would only get weirder and more surreal as my week went on. Little things like one of my roommates speed reading the Bible to another, then losing said roommate later in the week. It was all really new to me, but I fell into my comfort zone while at the show. All I did was shoot pictures, grab free stuff, and bother pretty women; all things I was quite used to. Another thing I was used to was talking cars with random strangers; however, there was one random stranger I had not counted on running into, let alone actually talking to.

The year 2006 was a simpler time. We weren’t watching a shoe mogul tear ass around on the internet, there were only 3 Fast And Furious movies, and the R35 GT-R was still a pipe dream. See? Simpler. Ken Block and Travis Pastrana were just tearing around the woods in Rally America competition. We were talking about them, seeing their cars in magazines, but we weren’t being bombarded by videos of them on YouTube. And it was at this juncture that my path crossed with that of one Mr. Ken Block.

I was standing around the TEIN booth, staring at coilovers for vehicles I didn’t own when I heard a couple of people talking next to me… RIGHT next to me. I turned to see who was standing a bit too close, and to my surprise it was Ken Block. He was talking to a business partner or handler, or something, about some of the products, and at that moment I decided to jump into the conversation.

I said something about coilovers, he said something, then I thanked him for starting DC and told him I’d like to go ride at the Mountain Lab. He said he wasn’t there too much, then there was a brief silence, and I asked him for an autograph. He obliged, then said he was off to the next hall. I said I was headed that way and asked if he wouldn’t mind if I walked with him. He didn’t oppose so we walked. He was busy talking to the other party, so I just kinda lurked. We got to the next hall, I complimented his gloss black on flat black Mercedes CLS and then went on my way… like a giddy school girl.

-Michael Chandler

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