November 30, 2010

Day 5 - The Shops

I spent most of the day at the new Black Halo Racing shop, as well as their new partner's shop, Arizona Rotary Rockets. Glenn, the owner of Arizona Rotary Rockets, does some amazing porting work on rotary engines, as seen in the pictures below. That gorgeous, 600+RWHP red FD3S RX-7 is his own car that he built himself, and let me just add that the pictures do not do it any justice. I'm a huge fan of the Japanese specification front bumper from the Spirit R model, and the offset on those Volk CE28N wheels made me crave a set just to have and look at when I got bored.Black Halo's new shop features one full suite that has a large garage section to it that will have all their tools, equipment, lifts etc., to work on customer cars. Next to the work area they have an office space that will have a nice customer waiting room with plenty of product to display, Ray's office, and a dedicated engine building room. Then next to that whole suite is a dedicated garage type suite that Black Halo Racing and Arizona Rotary Rockets will be sharing to store customer cars and various shared tools and equipment.While at the shop, I finally got to meet Jeff (MazdaManiac) and see his RX-8. His engine unfortunately blew during a track event over the weekend. Erick (Easy E1) came by as well, and I basically spent the rest of the day talking shop with the crew. I'll be honest, talking with the crew and meeting everyone in person is a lot different than talking with them in the forums; in a positive way though. They're all good people who know their stuff and have a serious passion for this car and finding ways to produce better, reliable parts for the RX-8 (and more platforms soon to come).Ray truly does inspire me to continue forth with my own goals though. Seeing the amount of work he puts in for the company and his customers, matched with the fact that he's having fun the whole way, leaves something for me to really aim for when I open my own shop.

November 29, 2010

Day 4 - Back To Work

After doing some errands around town, we sat down together and did some old fashioned manufacturing of some ignition coils. I got to see first hand what it is like to put these kits together, and it is NO joke. A lot of time and effort is put into the ignition system kits, ensuring the quality and build is above top notch. I've seen some people on the forums selling their own DIY system, but after building these myself, I know exactly why I bought my kit from them; simplicity with the best product backing.
Considering a DIY ignition system upgrade is cumbersome and will essentially cost the same in the end, but the fitment will be terrible probably, I'd rather just pay for the high quality plug and play system. With some Dave Chappelle playing on the TV with stereo sound in the garage, we built a lot of kits throughout the night with some good laughs and tech-head geekiness woven throughout.

November 28, 2010

Day 3 - Relaxing Again

Today was probably the laziest of all days, but I'm in no way complaining, as my last vacation was almost two years ago. I did get to meet Todd ("Flashwing" on the RX8Club website) from the Black Halo team however, as he stopped by for dinner and to catch some of the Hot Version movies I subjected Ray to. Nothing like some good Japanese racing movies and a warm dinner.

November 27, 2010

Day 2 - Fuel Pump Install

Most of the morning was spent lounging around the house, nothing too fancy there. I think I hit vacation mode pretty hard given how calm and collected Ray always is. Come that afternoon, Ray, his girlfriend Jennifer, and I headed on down Tucson, which was about a 2-hour drive. We were heading there to install a fuel pump on a customer's RX-8 at that customer's house (talk about service!). It was fun to wrench on a customer car and help Ray out with the install, as it gave me a nice view into what it would be like if I were in his shoes. Even though I don't work for BHR, I still made sure I behaved as professional as possible (not uptight though!)
Once we were done, we headed back home the long way to enjoy some nice scenery of the city from the mountain side. It was rather breathtaking to see the city lights in Tucson from high above the city while also looking up and seeing the brilliance of the stars at the same time. Something pictures would never capture.

November 26, 2010

Day 1 - Touch Down

I arrived in Arizona at 12pm, getting picked up by Ray himself and brought over to his place. I spent most of the day relaxing, unpacking, and just enjoying some peace and quiet with Ray and his girlfriend. I have to say that when I saw him, I was already anxious to get right down to business and start talking. Almost like having a movie star at your disposal, ya know? He ensured me that there would be plenty of time during my stay to go over everything I needed to though and, for now, to enjoy my stay and the vacation aspect of this trip. I wasn't going to say "no" to that!

November 2, 2010

2010 SCCA National Solo Video

Just wanted to share with my viewers this awesome YouTube video I came across. It's a video montage put together by Speedway Motors and covers the 2010 SCCA Nationals event. I really enjoyed the shots they put in, good music, and the overall quality is excellent. Check it out and put the volume up, definitely gets you in the mood to pick up the helmet and go race!