Classic Hondas on the Dragon III - No Honda Left Behind

The kindness of those who attend this event was really the highlight this year!

Classic Hondas on the Dragon II

A large group of classic Hondas driving together is truly something special to behold!

2017 Mitty - Day 1: Coker Tire Tour

An incredible drive through southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia, capped off with the best vintage racing out there.

Honda Dreams Do Come True

I bet you didn't realize that your first gen dream car was in Austria all this time!

Letting Go

Even the best laid plans don't promise success. Find out how I learned that the hard way.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2017 Mitty - Day 2: Sensory Overload

Having spent an extremely long but fantastic day on the Coker Tire Tour the day before, I was pretty much spent when I got up the next morning.  Things could not have gone better on the Tour and I was still so shocked at all the attention the CRX had received.  Incredibly, the attention was about to go to the next level.  Just as I was getting ready to leave Road Atlanta the day before, I was approached by two nice gentlemen from Koni.  They were responding personally to an inquiry that I had made on Facebook the night before.  While looking for posts about the Mitty event on Facebook, I came across a post by Koni asking customers who were going to be attending the Mitty to contact them about being featured in front of their booth.  I thought that would be so cool to park in the Koni booth so I messaged them, and sure enough, they responded right away and said they would be happy to have the CRX parked at their booth.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at the track the next day, one of the Koni guys, the one and only Lee Grimes (a self-professed CRX nut), had unfortunate news for me.  Earlier that morning another customer had showed up with his wildly customized Factory Five Racing 818 that was covered in Koni decals, and they chose to have him park in their booth.  He was extremely apologetic but I totally understood why they chose to feature his car over mine.  Even though mine, as they expressed, would've have been a great car to feature, they no longer sell shocks for first generation CRX's.  I assured them that I was not offended by their decision, but they insisted that I come by the van at the end of the day so they could hook me up with some Koni swag.  I readily agreed to their deal.

As our conversation was coming to a close, I noticed a familiar character pull up and park his golf cart nearby.  He hopped off and proceeded to give the CRX a thorough visual inspection.  It was J.G. Pasterjak from Grassroots Motorsports.  I recognized him from their Facebook Live shows that he had recently begun hosting.  I approached him and he immediately started in about the CRX.  His flattery was definitely a surprise, but what he asked me next just about had me on the ground.

"While we're here at the Mitty we are taking the opportunity to film some of the cool spectator cars and I was wondering if you'd be interested in being interviewed?"

It took me a moment to replay what I had just heard a couple times to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.  Realizing that he was serious, I enthusiastically agreed.  He grabbed his schedule and gave it a quick once-over.

"You have time to do it now?"


It was early enough where the parking area that I had parked in was virtually empty so he instructed me to park the car closer to the back of the lot.  After moving the car, I removed all my gear from the car and carried it over to where he had positioned his golf cart to where it would not interfere with filming.  Once he had his camera gear in order and I had piled up my gear next to his cart, we both walked back over to the car. 

"Alright, I need you to stand right here the whole time" he said while he aimed the camera at my face.  "I need you to pick a place to stare at, either me or the camera, and stick to it."  I chose him.  "So all I need you to do is to talk about your car for 7 to 8 minutes.  I'll let you know if your time is almost up." 

Honestly, I was a little shocked by that.  That sounded like a long time.  He sensed my unease from his request and suggested I tell the story about how I got the car.  This was a great suggestion because that particular story was one I've told a number of times, and I knew it would take up a decent chunk of time, so I agreed.  Before I knew it, he was recording and I was talking.  Everything happened so quickly that my brain had no time to process what was going on.  It was a very out-of-body experience.  Turns out that I don't have camera shyness.  I plowed through my story with no problem and answered a couple questions from J.G.  Conveniently my chat wrapped up right around the time he was finished recording.  He gave me the thumbs up and breathed a sigh of relief.  The next ten minutes were spent answering his questions about the car while he walked around filming close-ups of the car.  The whole time I couldn't really believe what was going on.  It was such a neat experience and the next thing I knew we were shaking hands and he was zooming off in his golf cart.  I stood there for a moment a little shell-shocked.  I hadn't been there an hour and the morning was off to a busy start. 

Thankfully though, aside from the occasional passer by, including some of the folks I met on the Coker Tire tour, commenting on the car, the attention started to die down, long enough for me to grab my camera gear, lock up the car and head toward the paddock.  My favorite thing to do at these events is wander through the paddock taking pictures of the cars.  The relaxed atmosphere in the Mitty paddock makes it that much better.  Everyone is really nice and they don't care if you walk right up to their insanely expensive rare race car.  This year was extra special.  The featured mark was Porsche and the number of entrants was huge.  There were so many amazing cars... I was in heaven.

About an hour or two into my paddock tour, I was chatting with a co-worker that I had run into when who zoomed up to us in a golf cart?... J. G. Pasterjak.  Apparently someone at Grassroots wanted to take the CRX love to a whole new level.  It wasn't enough for them to film it for their Facebook live show, because they decided they needed to do a photo shoot of it as well.  My jaw hit the pavement.  He asked me for my cell phone number and said that one of their photographers would be contacting me in the afternoon to arrange the shoot.  As he sped away, I was left slack-jawed and bewildered.  My coworker chimed in as I stood there staring, "Well that was cool."

The day continued with more amazing cars and fantastic racing.  The Porsche only race had over 50 cars in the field!  It was raucous.  After covering both paddocks and grabbing some lunch, it was time to head over to turn 5 to watch the races.  I was able to watch a couple races during the late afternoon of the previous day, but I hadn't had my fill.  Turn 5 has, within the last couple years, become my go-to corner.  The elevated vantage point provides a great view of the cars as they come down through the esses and back up the hill towards turn 6.  Not only that, but there's shade.  Some would argue that the hill facing directly at the esses is the best spot, but there isn't a lick of shade.

It was just before 5pm when I got a text message from the Grassroots Motorsports photographer.  He was finishing up shooting one of the last races and said that he would head toward my car when he was finished.  I agreed to meet him and started walking toward the car.  When I arrived the parking lot had thinned out and there was plenty open space around the car.  Moments later, the photographer and his assistant arrived.  He hadn't been given any details other than his instructions to shoot the car, so we decided to do the interior and engine images where it was in the parking lot and then move to a different location for the exterior shots.  After he finished with the car in the parking lot, we drove over to a paddock parking lot that rarely gets used, above the main paddock area on the south side of the front straight-away.  It worked out really well because as the sun was setting, the soft light covered the parking area and the thick line of trees next to it created a nice, dark backdrop.  I've never done a photo-shoot like this with a professional photographer.  It was a lot of fun.  I have yet to see the photos pop up in the magazine, but I haven't given up hope.

As usual, the Mitty was better than the last, and this year was especially rewarding with all the attention the CRX got.  These cars are future classics and it warms my heart to see others starting to realize this.  I look forward to the day when these cars come up at auctions and sell for good money.  They're worth it. 

Photos by Stephen Dettman