This event is something special. I start a lot of blog posts on here talking about how I look forward to an event: I get excited for the drive out, seeing old friends and being in the atmosphere of drifting. If I didn’t get excited for that every time I go to an event I wouldn’t still be doing this years later. But Vibes, it’s something different. A weekend of friends, family, laughter, cool cars and the culmination of months of planning. Now more than ever I look forward to what happens during this 3 day weekend in June, and hold onto the memories I make at this track in hopes they will last forever.

I haven’t written about Vibes on the blog since our 2021 event, the first year where I was brought onboard to be a member of the planning team. Vibes for me before then was just a party down in VA at Shenandoah Speedway, it was a long drive but the atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Drivers from all over the country came together to hone their skills as a team, meet friends from the internet and show off all the hard work they put into their machines. The recipe since 2018 hasn’t changed, and honestly I don’t think it needs to. It’s not a competition, it’s an organized get together of curated cars and drivers from all across the country.

This year we put on what I consider to be the best event yet. From an organizational standpoint it could not have gone smoother. I’m not here to hash out the inner workings of event planning, but as far as I am concerned, everything we set out to do was achieved. Communication was clear, drivers had a blast, media folks stayed safe and the party was just as alive as it has been since the start. One of my contributions for this year was the creation of ID credentials for all drivers, media and staff. Damien cooked up a design for me to work off of and it had the quote “Memories to last a lifetime” on it. I thought about those 5 words all weekend. That’s really what Vibes is all about, it’s the stories that come from the work leading up to, during and after the event that we all come for.

This year was an extra special memory for me, it was the first Vibes where I did more than just capture the event. I got behind the wheel and drove as well. In classic drifting fashion, I spent the week leading up to the event getting my car ready and going through a last minute list of fixes and mods only I would care about. Thursday night covered in grease and exhaustion, I took a shower, got in bed and waited like a kid on Christmas Eve for my alarm to go off Friday morning. I packed the car, took a deep breath and headed 2 hours north to Lake Erie Speedway.

I arrived at Erie with only one track day in the G under my belt. To say I was nervous was an understatement. In my head I would be happy to just drive the 2 sweepers on track all weekend and play it safe grip driving the rest of the course. I got situated, helped the team with some last minute prep around the track and then settled in for the drivers/ media meeting. This was standard fare. After wrapping up in the grandstands, I got an approving nod from the rest of the organizing team and wasted no time getting out on track. The goal all weekend was to fill the dead spots. Grid looking low? Go grab your helmet and turn some laps, learn something and have fun. I would spend the next 3 days building confidence, learning and growing as a driver. Exceeding my own expectations, I ended the weekend consistently linking the course and learning the feel of my car. Plenty more to learn but I gained the confidence that I could put my car where I wanted to without major concern.

Photo of me in action courtesy of Chris Schmall/ CS Photo

This weekend is everything I love about drifting. The first event I ever attended as a spectator was back in 2014, it’s crazy to think that was almost a decade ago at this point. In the past 9 years I have only immersed myself deeper and deeper into the community and have made friends and memories that will always be with me. Vibes, for many, is one of those few times a year when you get to see all your friends from all over the place in one spot. You come together to drive, to tell stories, to share tools and beer and to help each other in any possible way. This event brings out the best in people and it creates an atmosphere that I think is a welcome addition to the action on track. It might be the culmination of everyones hard work leading up to it, it might be that everyone there has a mutual respect for one another. Who knows, maybe it’s even some nervous energy that you are meeting your internet friends for the first time.

There is one thing I can say for certain about this event and about the weekend we had. Nearly everyone that came to Vibes left with a smile on their face, and memories to last a lifetime. Thank you to everyone who came out to drive, all of the staff, spectators and you for taking the time to read about my experiences. I’ll see you at the next one ✌️