A another phase in my life ends, but another one begins and it couldn’t come at a perfect time. However, certain things had to be sacrificed in order to reach certain points and it does have some implications. Notably, one event in August that I won’t miss for the world.
Summertime is here and it’s typically my strongest period of the year. It’s where I strive to get stuff done like I know best – simply owning the competition and doing it with flair.
Reunited with a waitress near Napa Valley a year after having our great encounter. I even explored new things that I wouldn’t have done a few years ago.
Now as a new co-homeowner of a nice townhouse in Everett, a lot of shit has gone down where I’ve had to think about what I really want to accomplish in a short amount of time. With that being said, there are some concerns that could dictate how the next coming months will go.
One subject in particular – driving before August rolls along.
I’ve made a personal bet that I’ll be driving around that time. However, with the entire drama known as securing a home and figure out all of that financial crap, any time of learning how to drive had to be on the backseat.
Normally, I would say ‘I can do it! I can do both at the same time.’ That wasn’t the case because the process of becoming a homeowner is nothing to mess with. It requires serious amount of time and learning before given the keys to the new home. I’ve said that come July, come hell or high water, I will be aiming for that license.
Why August? A special event will take place in August and it’s kind of a big deal. Not for me, but for my best friend to be there.
While I can breathe properly that I no longer live in that hellhole apartment, there was other stuff I enjoyed, even struggled. Such as covering races at Texas Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway.
I’m not going to lie, Texas was my strongest weekend out of the two. Mostly I felt like home and more relaxed instead of feeling a bit intense and internally angry on some subjects.
I’ll be sharing one tale that I won’t forget and defines what kind of worker I am, but what it told me was I may figure out my dominant racing discipline will be come 2020.
With that being said, I’ll give you my rundown of each promises as of June 26, 2019:
Promise No. 1: 500 Miles (Completed)
Back in the ultimate depression year of 2017, before joining Motorsports Tribune a year later, I made a bet to myself that I’ll be in one of those areas.
Throughout the Month of May, I was thinking to myself that I only got one year until my goal of making it to either Indianapolis or Charlotte ends.
This is the main reason why I’ve set my eyes on 2020 to decide what I’ll be focusing on as a career outlet because while I don’t mind doing both NASCAR and the NTT IndyCar Series, I’d like to see where I belong the most.
Right now, odds say one discipline is where I see myself doing more as both writer and photographer, which could lead to amazing long-term things.
Accomplished: Covering the entire Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Promise No. 2: Profiling with the Videoscope (No Progress)
Still nothing has been planned on accomplishing this promise, but hopefully in about a month or two, something can be done.
Video is where I strive to do, but right now it’s just the photography side that’s been my main visual focus in my profession. Sooner than later, I’m going to change that “No Progress” into “Completed.”
For now, here’s a video I’ve recently put together. It’s kind of a blend of old school ESPN intros that discusses the tight NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship between points leader Derek Kraus and Hailie Deegan.
Out of all my K&N West “Hype Videos,” this one was by far the best I’ve created. After what went down at Sonoma, the plot wrote itself and results into a personal masterpiece as we have two passionate drivers eyeing for the same goal and that’s becoming a champion at the end of the season in Phoenix, Arizona.
Promise No. 3: Eastbound and Down (Completed)
I’ve came to accept that being at Daytona was the learning curve that I needed in order to see the highs and lows of being a credentialed media reporter. More so that it’s where everyone that’s everyone in the media world does the same thing I do. I expect the same exact thing when the Roval at Charlotte comes along in late September.
All aboard the Charlotte train because Step No. 1 of heading East once again is set. The next NASCAR race that I intend of covering is the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which means Daytona isn’t the only time I’ll hit the East Coast.
Now I’ll have to sort out if I’ll either head back home after Laguna Seca or just head straight to North Carolina when the time comes as those two races are in consecutive weekends. Only time I’ll attempt it in 2019 because I’ve already made my mind up for the rest of the NASCAR/IndyCar races I plan of traveling.
Either way, hope momentum rises high and have a complete weekend without any drama or frustration like Daytona and Sonoma turned out to be.
If only I got there on time to report about the damn chicane changes, that would’ve been a step in the right direction…
Accomplished: Going to Florida from February 12-18
Promise No. 4: SoCal Vibes (Completed)
Still a sight I look back and think how peaceful it was seeing the cove on a spring evening. Other than the stench of seals of course and clouds kicking in at golden hour, everything was great.
I’ve already discussed how my trip to Southern California went on my last bi-monthly blog. But no doubt in my mind, it’s still one of my favorite highlights of year and if I had the chance to go next year, I’d be down heading down to the area again.
Accomplished: Going to Long Beach and San Diego from April 10-20
Promise No. 5: Autism Awareness (Completed)
Almost three months later, I’m still proud of using random clips from Daytona Beach to make this elusive video made. If this was my only proud non-sports video on my channel, I’d be totally okay as I do intend of scaling back on my YouTube channel that’s been around since June 22, 2008.
If you haven’t seen this video, I’d suggest you do because it’s one of those super passionate projects I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally did this year.
Accomplished: Posting the video before April 2nd and came with rave reviews
Promise No. 6: Last Note of Freedom (One Step Closer)
Kind of feeling like Jagger Jones (6) trying to just get a step closer of feeling free for the first time ever and try to keep the foes behind. Even if my life is battered and bruised, much like Jones is trying to do with Hailie Deegan (19) and Dave Smith (35) during last Saturday’s K&N West race at Sonoma.
Owning a home is no easy task and at 24 years old, a bit later than most these days, I’m just content to finally own something and have some sort of freedom. Ain’t no way I’ll allow myself being denied for something I feel is right long-term.
Now if I can get the driving part down, then this could turn into an almost into a success. July is the last month to really get it done as I’ll explain why in good detail.
Promise No. 7: Driving at Last (No Choice, July or BUST)
Like the daring drivers of the NTT IndyCar Series competing at Texas Motor Speedway, I had to make daring decisions and learning how to drive once again had to be put on hold in order to finally becoming a homeowner.
As John Madden once said during the old Madden NFL games, “I don’t think you have a choice, punt the ball.”
In this case, I don’t have choice, test in July. The reason I had to postpone learning the instruction book, which I’ve nailed down in April, was because the family and I were finding a new home. It took over as the number-one priority and unfortunately, learning how to drive was put on halt.
Consequently, that only gave me time to focus 100% on finally accomplishing a lifelong dream until July. Now I still have all the time of the world this year, but I must get it before the month of August.
It’s really not that damn difficult getting one. I just have to say to myself, ‘Focus on the book and drive. Nothing else, but learn to drive!’
I must get it done without relying on a damn bus or flight ticket, let alone rely on others to get where I need to be. I have no clue who’s going to the August event, nor I really want to know or ask because it’s a bet on myself that I’ll drive my way to the venue. Kind of egotistical on my end, then again when am I not, but I’m just being honest. July is the month to get it done!
Promise No. 8: Bi-Monthly Reports (In Progress)
The Power of Rudy Fugle is definitely not just being fancy, it’s a fact. Greg Biffle, who was making his first Truck Series start since 2004, won in his NASCAR return at Texas Motor Speedway for his first NGOTS win since Phoenix in 2001.
Let’s talk about Texas for a bit as it was a true highlight of the past two months. I had to deal with the hot humidity, torrential rain for five minutes, some Whataburger and of course, going from Point A to Point B at the 1.5-mile circuit.
Greg Biffle won the Truck Series race while Josef Newgarden was victorious in the IndyCar race. Both were a blast to not only write, but take photos which was another daunting challenge as it’s my first-ever oval that I was able to do both properly.
Shooting corners were extremely tough, that I felt that a bigger lens would work best that exceeds 300mm. Otherwise, it was some of my best shots to date. Super proud of my effort that weekend and no doubt I can’t forget this moment:
Head to 9:26 in the video, but I suggest watching the whole video. Anyways, it was chaotic second half of the race. Even myself made it one by going from one place to another in a matter of minutes.
After both Scott Dixon and Colton Herta crashed out in the closing stages, I went straight to the infield care center to get their viewpoints. Once I was able to get Herta, I half sprinted from the care center to get to the media center. Left my phone to record TV quotes for Joey and then went straight to victory lane to get photos of Newgarden’s celebration.
Not even 10 or so minutes later, I went back to the media center and asked Graham Rahal about finally capturing his first podium in over a year. In his eyes, Long Beach this year was his first, not Texas.
From there, I wrote some articles and called it a night on a tremendous weekend in the “Lone Start State.” Guess you can call me a marathon man.
These are the moments I thrive for and I’ll never forget this trip that’s for sure. I must replicate or even exceed that performance. That’s my goal for the rest of the season and hope to tell you about it in the next few blogs.
Promise No. 9: Photography Expansion (Accomplished)
No doubt a pleasure of doing a photoshoot with the amazing Dani May Red earlier this month. Now when I switch providers and get a domain soon, I can start putting my galleries in an organized manner.
This one is different because it says “Accomplished” instead of “Completed.” That’s because I’m far from being done with this promise. I have full intentions of trying to do more shoots that are similar to the one I did with Dani May Red, which I captured lit photos for her modeling and Patreon account.
Totally a different shoot that I haven’t tried before, but wanted to go with the sexy vibe before summer arrived a few days ago. I loved how the photos turned out, which gave me more confidence of doing more throughout the summer.
Hopefully, I can do different types of shoots with different people. That’ll boil down to timing of course.
Again, I’m fully open trying different shoots and see where it goes. I can’t thank Matt enough for helping me out and hope he has a speedy recovery from his current injuries he had over a week ago.
Accomplished: Doing multiple photography shoots throughout the year and not even done quite yet.
Promise No. 10: Belongingness (In Progress)
With photos like this of Josef Newgarden doing donuts at Texas, I better try it on video sooner than later. It’ll get accomplished, just may be awhile to make a long-term statement into reality.
So many things on my plate, so little time. That “Belongingness” video will be worked on before the year ends. Maybe I’ll continue to learn what it means and it’s funny how the changes relate to my profession than what inspired me to have an video idea in the first place.
I’d like to make the video related about Mt. Triumph and how it’s opened me up to understand, even struggle with this particular hierarchy by Maslow. Then again, it also goes beyond camp because it’s an uphill battle of finding pure acceptance anywhere.
A lot can change in the coming months, so what I’m thinking of right now can change when I write my next blog. Fingers cross that a concrete idea is official, so I can finally get this promise done like I did with my autism video in April.
Promise No. 11: Building A Connecting Audience (In Progress)
I don’t know how Noah Gragson can connect with people, but he’s his own. I’m just different from others, but at least on the Twitter side, it’s slowly progressing. Not so much on YouTube and changes will be made sooner than later.
Twitter (@TheLTFiles) is slowly growing, so I’m slowly happy to see that gain some sort of traction. I’ve also tried doing the same thing with Motorsports Tribune’s social media outlets (Twitter: @MotorsportsTrib & Instagram: motorsportstribune).
My main focus is providing weekly photos of both NASCAR and IndyCar races to keep the site active on social media that goes beyond just simply articles. Even at both weekends at Texas and Sonoma, I’ve expanded to Instagram Stories.
While I’m happy of growing the site and my platform as best as possible, I can’t say the same about YouTube at all.
It’s gotten to the point where I may call it a day and stop doing videos after 2019. Outside of doing annual red flag videos, that’s about it. “West Coast Wednesday” may not continue, “Every Red Flag” may just be Cup only, and “NASCAR TV Graphics” will wrap up at the end of the year.
If I plan to retire from YouTube, there’s one video I plan of doing as my farewell. May involve an old video I did a decade ago and hope it’s the best sendoff to a channel I may consider being a 15 minutes of fame but jumped the shark.
I’m just a dinosaur in the NASCAR YouTube community. It fucking sucks (sorry), but I might as well leave with my chin up because my time has past.
Promise No. 12: Pitch Memoir Project (No Progress)
Basically an excuse to show this photo of Alex Bowman’s pit stop at Sonoma. I may include it in my memoir, whenever that’ll come out.
As you can tell, no progress. I’m still writing daily about how the day went and what I hope to get done. Not sure if I want to include 2019 or just 2018. Maybe both to show the transition from depression to finding acceptance.
Once my room is all organized, maybe I’ll start reflecting how life was before 2018. That’s the issue with this project, I’m not sure what kind of direction I’d like to go in order for people see what I’ve been through. Right or wrong, I never hide anything.
Promise No. 13: Securing A Home (Finally!)
Excuse my tired and unappealing face. I had just got back from Texas hours prior of getting my keys.
Let Kimi Raikkonen’s radio after winning in Austin, Texas describe how I felt about owning a home:
His tone was about accurate because of how I tired I was, but “F’N” finally!
So yeah, there’s really not much to say about accomplishing this long awaiting goal. This is the confident I needed and should be motivated of being the creative man I know I can and will be. Prove those who’ve gave up or neglected me back in 2017, that I’m not going anywhere.
It hasn’t hit me yet that I have this place under my name, but sooner than later, I will.
Accomplished: Getting the keys to my new home on June 9th
Promise No. 14: Knowing My Worth (In Progress)
Sky’s the limit as to what life can bring me for the rest of 2019. I know the first half has had its share of ups and downs, but I’m definitely heading in the right track compared to previous years.
Now that I have four race weekends under my belt in the first half of 2019, there’s a lot more action to go. I’ve made my mind up of which races I’ll go and what I may try doing on the photography side of things.
I’ve just done a movie review regarding the safety of Indy car racing and it doesn’t come out until September. I may do another photoshoot with someone this coming month and of course, get that damn license. Just as long nothing interferes with my plans.
I’m slowly figuring out how to live the multimedia lifestyle and something tells me it’ll just keep getting better. That’s all I can ask and quite satisfied with the first half.
Going forward, I cannot slow down because I believe I can almost accomplish all 14 promises with ease. Time will tell, but the action is just getting incredible. Hell, I might even have someone take photos of me because let’s be honest, I need an updated image for my portfolio site.
For now, doubt me if you insist, prove me wrong if I give consent.