Apr 22 2009

SCC Takes 2 Trophies at 2nd Annual B&M/Hurst Show!

Chatsworth- Sweltering heat didn’t stop hundreds of car enthusiasts from showing up in Chatsworth for the 2nd annual B&M/Hurst Car Show. It certainly didn’t stop SCC either. The group made a definite impression by showing up with fourteen cars between members and guests. SoCal Challengers came away with two awards at the event. Richard and his “ChallengeHer” dragster won the ”Best seen on the Strip” Trophy and SoCal Challengers as a group won the “Best Club Participation” Trophy.

It was a morning of meeting places - there were three before arriving at the show. It was fun watching the line of cars from place to place get bigger and bigger. By the time we made it to the last meeting place, we had fourteen cars to arrive at the show with. That was pretty damn impressive. Thank you for everyone’s help in getting from place to place and finally to the show itself. Once in the show, we had to jockey our cars around quite a bit to park. The Hurst volunteers did an excellent job getting us lined up. We looked sharp once all of our cars were shined up and our banners were in place. We were here! Thank you to Dan and James for the banners, easy-up, and chairs. I think we would have had a collective melting or a mass spontaneous combustion without the shade. It also gave us a central meeting place to hang out and be together.

There were a wide variety of cars to see from older original classics, to full-on hot rods, to complete custom street and race cars. The Hurst Challengers were the centerpiece of the show and were absolutely stunning. There were two original Challengers there; a beautiful Hemi-Orange 1971 that a gentleman had brought and a yellow 1970 that was at the Hotchkis booth. Jay Leno stopped by the show and brought his “Tank” as he called it. He came by our group and took a few pics with us. He also let Chuck’s son Charlie sit in his “Tank” and be photographed and gave his own raffle tickets to Chris’s kids. Jay is a super nice and down to earth guy with a true love for cars. We’ll get him in our group sooner or later, it’s just a matter of time. Hear that Jay?

There were two highlights of the day for me. First was when I was sitting under the easy-up during the show as a gentleman walked by and said to me, ”Nobody can say you guys didn’t come out in force!” That was great to hear that we had made that kind of impression on the folks at the show. Second, was when we were announced as the winners of the “Best Club Participation” Trophy. To me it was a representation of all the work so many of the members had done to this point. It was fitting that we received a group trophy. Dave, my fellow Co-President, was a class act as he went around and congratulated all the members that were there. It was their award. We all took individual pictures with the trophy and our car. Thank you all for participating. Chris drove all the way out from San Jacinto. Chuck came up from San Diego. That’s participation. I’d also like to thank our guests, Dean and Lindsay, Art, and Mike and Kristin. It’s a rule of Dave and I that if you’re one of our members or our guest you will be taken care of. Hopefully we took appropriate care of you and you’ll join us again. And finally, thank you to B&M/ Hurst for inviting us and putting on a first-class event

Apr 6 2009

SCC Leads Challengers in at SF4!

think anyone having a car event should invite SCC. Of course I’m biased, but look what you get when you invite us: Stunning Challengers lined up row after row, an outstanding group of enthusiasts with superb attitudes and great weather. How can you beat that? Well, I can’t control the weather, but we’ve nailed that so far.

Dave and I had the challenge of coordinating the Challengers at SF4. It was an unveiling for us of sorts. We were going to have our uniforms for the first time. It was the same scenario with our banners. Our members Dan and Jon kicked some major butt and got these two things done in time for the show. Dan got the shirts done in time for the show and built the banner boxes himself. Jon re-configured the banner file so it could be done on a banner. They worked together extremely well. Co-President Dave also rushed and got our business cards done for SF4. Dodge execs were going to be there. It was important to Dave and I that we looked sharp. A lot of people in our group really stepped up for this event and got things done. People that get things done have my utmost respect. Thanks to all of you who did what you did to make us look absolutely competent at SF4.

We had two meeting places setup for the show; One for people from the north of the show’s location and one for the out-of-towners and people who were coming from south of the show. It was a trick to reach the out-of-towners and tell them of our plans. They were on forums other than Challengertalk in a lot of cases and they certainly didn’t know who we were…YET. Dave had talked to the organizer of the show and arranged preferential parking for us. We got in early and got to park in the first two rows. It ended up all going pretty much like clockwork. I had the group from the north’s meeting place. It was great to see six Challengers besides mine. Gene and Maria came all the way from Bermuda Dunes to ride in with my group. It was great having an SE in the mix. We haven’t seen too many of those as of yet. At 8:30 am, we rolled to meet at the Chrysler building where the other group was waiting for us. After a little pow wow with SCC and the out-of-towners, we lined up to go into the Festival. After stopping my car and getting out I got to see how long that line of cars was behind me. It was a great sight to see. I never did a final count, but I think total we had between thirty and forty Challengers in that line. That, gentlemen, is how you bring it. It was an honor to lead that line into the Festival, an absolute honor. In Dave’s car behind me we had member BJ and his dad William as passengers. BJ was having engine work done to his car by Stack Performance and his car wasn’t available for the show. There was no way we were letting him miss the ride in. I posted to him on Challengertalk to get himself and his dad to the Chrysler building so he wouldn’t miss riding in with us. It was great to meet his dad William and have him with us.

When I pulled in the entrance, I was greeted with, ”We’ve been waiting for you guys” in an impatient tone. I looked at the clock. It was 9:02a.m., two minutes after we were supposed to be there. I said,”Well sir, WE ARE HERE”. “Where do you want us?” After we were parked it was time to shine and show and enjoy the Festival.

Stack Performance had a booth right next to us. It was fitting because Stack has been such a huge supporter of SCC. It was cool to see that several members had their cars at various booths around the show as well. Dan’s SRT-8 was at the Corsa exhaust booth. He was sporting his new wheels which looked stunning. Jon had his Challenger at the Dodge exhibit. James was filmed by the T.V. show “Whipnotic”. We’ll be looking for you on the tube James. I was envious, but I guess having a license plate that phonetically spells the word “Heinous” on your car doesn’t make one attractive to the television folk. Seriously, James and his car have a great story. It’s one all of you should take the time to know. The ChallengeHer dragster was there too, along with its pilot. I saw picture after picture being taken of that dragster. It was definitely a hit. New cars were unveiled at this event. Dodge unveiled the Rally SE model. It seemed to garner quite a bit of interest. Hurst also unveiled a new Challenger that looked absolutely evil. Sam Hubinette was there with the Challenger drift car, too. There were so many great things to see.

At the end of the show, Dave and I got to meet Eric Munk, who is Dodge’s Marketing Manager for the West Business Center. It was great meeting him and better yet that he was meeting us. He told us he had seen our website already and liked it. Loved hearing that. We also met Ron from Hurst. We can’t wait to be at the Hurst show in just a few short weeks. I started to realize about then that my SPF 45 sunscreen had failed several hours before and lobster-man had begun to set in. It was time to go home.

Thank you to everyone who participated and made this such an exciting event for all of us. We will be even bigger next year. You were here at the beginning, always remember that. You were here.

Mar 25 2009

SCC Hits the Track in Nevada!

I admit I had waited anxiously for this weekend for a quite a while. Back a few years ago I had taken my M3 BMW through Driving Concept’s High Performance Driving School which was performed back then at Buttonwillow Raceway near Bakersfield. It was an incredible experience. I had remembered as I drove home from that weekend a quote from Socrates; “All I know, is that I know nothing”. What I thought I was capable of, and what I thought my car was capable of, was turned upside down in one single 110-degree day on a race track near Bakersfield. I was excited, and exhausted. Every time I had tried to describe what happened that day to others I wasn’t able to convey the experience I had gone through. It was because unless you’ve done it yourself, you have no frame of reference from which to appreciate it.

Fast forward to February 20th 2009. I’m the proud owner of a new Dodge Challenger. I left my house a little before noon to meet up with Dan in Orange. It was a great day to drive to Pahrump, sunny and 70 degrees. After meeting Dan we both headed up to San Dimas to meet Dave at his friend’s home. We chatted for a few and then got in our cars to make the 250-mile trek to Pahrump, Nevada. We received our usual Challenger treatment on the way there. We were waved at, photographed, and given multiple thumbs up’s. A silver Challenger SE caught up with us and waved at each one of us before speeding off towards Vegas. After a gas/munchie/restroom stop in Baker we headed out on the 127 Highway for an 80-mile drive through fantastic and desolate scenery. I had never been on that two lane highway. It was spectacular. Upon arriving in Pahrump we found our way to our hotel, the Pahrump Nugget.

After unpacking I arranged a dinner with some of the instructors that were going to be teaching us how to drive the right way. It was interesting to watch Dan and Dave go through what I did those couple of years ago. The questions you want answers to. The feeling of not knowing what tomorrow was going to bring. I remembered it well. I didn’t ask Dan or Dave how they felt after that dinner, I just remembered Buttonwillow and how my stomach was in knots the night before.

Saturday morning we had to be at the track at 7:30 am. After breakfast, we went out to our cars and found something very unusual on them, ice. It had gotten below freezing at some point during the night and the condensation on the cars had frozen. Being California guys, it was something we didn’t expect to see. We arrived at the track and met up with Bryan, a Challenger owner from Vegas, and Eddie, our SoCal Challenger brother who offered to take photos and videotape of us while we were out on the track. We taped up our cars and headed inside. The facility was incredible. Newly built, it had state-of-the-art lockers, showers, wi-fi, and even an on-facility massage therapist. Members had their own garages on-site. Definitely first class. We had our introduction meeting where we introduced ourselves and then were introduced to our instructors. Included were past and present champion racers. It was an impressive panel of talent that we had access to. Tony Adamowicz was on the panel. He was referred to as “God” by the other instructors. I knew Tony’s background and had been around him before. We were in for a special weekend.

After you get put into your groups, either A or B, you get assigned an instructor for the day. I had “Middle finger” Bill Noonan. What happens first is that the instructor drives the first three or four laps in your car. You get to see the track from the passenger seat where you can concentrate on learning every curve and dip. You also get to see what lines your instructor takes around those curves and dips. Then comes the first ego deflator. You get to drive the course. You then realize you can’t do what the instructor did so easily with your car just moments before. You’re all over the place, your lines are crap, and you’re going at grandma speed or Parnelli speed when you shouldn’t be. It’s usually about then that your instructor tells you that he was only going at four or five tenths of what he could have done with your car when he was driving it. Ouch. You realize you have a lot to learn. It almost seems like you’ll never get it because you’re so far away from what they can do at four or five tenths effort. Something happens to you though over the course of the day. You listen to your instructor, you keep going out there, and you get better every time. By the end of that first day, you are measurably better at everything. I could see the guys improvement. It was great to see. I was proud of them and got to see the smiles on their faces. That made my day. Saturday night we all had dinner together with the instructors and had a great time picking their brains, listening to stories, and looking forward to seeing how much we would improve tomorrow.

Sunday was more of the same: repetition, repetition, repetition. I remember watching Dan go down the front straight while I stood there talking with one of the instructors in the afternoon. He was smoking down that straight away. He wasn’t doing that just one day earlier. Again, I was really proud of how much everyone improved. We left a little early to get back and beat the traffic. I knew from doing the class some years ago that the lives of Dan, Dave, and Bryan would be different. It’s that heavy of an experience. If it’s not that for you, you have no pulse. Take up knitting.

I’d like to thank Driving Concepts for imparting their knowledge to us. It is invaluable. We can’t thank you enough. Thank you to Eddie for sitting on his butt all day in a three-story observation tower all the while documenting our experience for us to enjoy forever. We can’t wait to do the same for you when you get your butt out on the track. And finally thanks to Bryan and my fellow SoCal Challenger members Dan and Dave, for sharing an incredible experience with me that we can talk about forever.

Mar 8 2009

Dyno Day at Stack Performance!

I was looking at our new SCC webpage and was reading the story of our Track day event in Pahrump, Nevada. It made me smile as I recalled the overwhelming fun that we had on that weekend. I only wish that more of you guys had been able to join us.

It caused me to start thinking about our last meet and greet. The day was Sunday the 8th and it was a tricky morning. Father-time played the annual, “spring forward” time change. I was a victim of this and was a full hour late. I received a call from Jeff Lowe, “Hey, are you gonna make it”.

Miss Dyno day at Stack Performance, “No Way”. I was running an hour late, so when I turned the corner I nailed it hard. I needed to make my dyno day presence known. It was great to pull up and be welcomed by all the on-timers. Challeys were parked all about. It was in the 70’s with cotton ball clouds scattered about. Ryan sure knows how to do a car throw down. Tent, BBQ, dyno, Vipers, Chargers, Darts, 300’s, it was very Hemi place.

For those that were on site for the first visit to Stack Performance, it must have been like heaven. Very clean and modern with a vision that is very clear. We do things right here!
The entry door to the office area looks like most, but the big “SP” logo over the door hints and asks you to be ready. Marble tiled floors, Brembo, Corsa, Hotchkis displays. Stack, exclusive parts to look at, leather sit downs, big screen TV. You then realize, I’m in the right place with all the right people. I hope all of you made it inside to check it out.

I say that knowing how much cool factor was outside. Challengers parked around the drive way lead you into the garage area. From the street to the garages you could see powerful rides everywhere. Why have a dyno if you’re not going to use it. Since I was an hour late I missed a few earlier runs on the dyno. It was not long after that when Ryan’s guys rolled out a few more Challengers. Once on the dyno, they torqued all of the rear lugs and started them up. Each car, whether R/T or SRT had their own unique sound. I had never stood so close to a car doing over 100 MPH. Everyone would have to agree that it is a special treat to hear your car under a heavy foot and being able to stand right there and listen to the power. Several decisions were made that day after being able to listen and compare the intake and exhaust combination from each car on the dyno. Very high on the kewl factor!!

After a few more Hemi’s were allowed to rip and roar we all lined up for some SP dogs and burgers. The gear heads know how to flip burgers too. The lunch was perfect and I bet all would agree that we were treated very well. The chatter was everywhere and we were all having a good day. After several more cars were run on the dyno, we gathered around for the tent for the awards. As a ploy to get me to do this write up I was temporarily awarded first place. That honor has been transferred to the proper Silver SRT8 winner, Chuck R. Please share with Chuck a pat on the back for being the true high pull of the day.

Second place went to Juan Carlos in his Hemi Orange RT. It was a real treat for everyone to listen and compare the intake and exhaust combination from each car on the dyno. A third place trophy was given for the furthest traveler, which went to Chris(SparkChicken). After the awards were handed out, we had our first official group meeting. Everyone agreed that this day was very big success for our 4th SCC meet.

The day was not finished until we had all 19 Challengers lined up in front of Stack Performance for a new record photo shoot. On behalf of all the SCC members, I would like to offer a great big thank you to Ryan and all the guys and gals of Stack Performance that made this such a successful event!

Jan 21 2009

6th Annual CARE Car Show!

SoCal Challengers is proud to participate in the 6th Annual Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) Car show in San Juan Capistrano. The show is open to muscl cars, custom, antique, and personalised hot rods, trucks, and classics. All proceeds from the event go towards the animal rescue effort to pay for much needed medication, microchips, spay/neutering, and emergency surgeries.

With a great turnout of 15 cars So Cal Challengers dominated the scene at this years CARE car show in San Juan Capistrano. According to the event organizer SCC had the biggest showing of any group there. The event featured about 400 cars from oldschool Roadsters to brand new Corvettes and everything in between.