Track Maintance


A good rule of thumb, at least with me, is to do oil changes every 4 track days or every 3k miles, whichever comes in first. Another good thing to do that is often overlooked, is to do brake flushes once a year. I visited my buddy Fernando that owns Backyard Auto for my oil change and brake flush.


Brake fluid is corrosive. Eventhough the brake lines are a closed system, they do get dirty and can significantly impair brake performance. If you don’t track your car its still a good idea to do yearly brake flushes. Its maintenance that will keep your car running forever and avoid serious complications later.


I use Motul dot 5.1 brake fluid for my M3. Motul dot 5.1 does the job for the track abuse and normal city driving. My experience from the track, is the Motul performs exceptionally well and never had them boil. The brake pedal feels consistently firm and great bite. I can modulate the brake pedal nicely to adjust my braking distance. Only at COTA is when I had brake fade issues but I think that track exceeded the stock brake system. If I had race brake pads and fluids then it wouldn’t be an issue. Motul dot 5.1 is little more expensive than normal dot fluid but its way cheaper then higher temp brake fluids. For me its the perfect match for track abuse and city driving.  The M3 only required one bottle for the stock brake system.


While I was doing waiting, I notice within one week I managed to crack my lip. Comes with the territory when tracking. Unfortunately during TX86 Day, there was a cone in the middle of course and I was unable to avoid it. The lip is still intact but you can see the crack is visible. Battle scars.

Texas 86 Day

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Soon after coming off from a 12hr shift I headed straight to HPD training academy for TX86 day. I was pretty tired but my tiredness soon went away when I arrived.

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TX86 day was a event hosted by the people from NST on August 6, hence 86 day. That day celebrates the Toyota AE86 and the newer Scion FRS, and Subaru BRZ. TX86 didn’t allow non 86 owners to participate, but they did offer a pre screening for some slots. Luckily I was one of the few that was allowed to drive at the track.

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When I arrived there where already a lot of 86 owners that was getting ready for the driving event or the car show. I was contemplating if I should grip or drift, but after seeing the famous Taka Aono do a drift session I made up my mind to go drifting. I brought my spare wheels with brand new Nexin N9000 rubber and slapped them on the rear.

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It was super hot and humid that only got worse in the afternoon. Regardless, people stayed for the show and grip/drift event. From past experiences at that track, its always a good idea to bring drinks for hydration.

86 DAY-03 This Lexus IS300 fitment was spot on. One of the few non 86s that was allowed to drive at the track. 86 DAY-04

It even has an old school Nardi wheel and roll cage for tandem drifts. They didn’t allow tandem drifts at this event and kinda glad becuase Im not at that level.

86 DAY-05 This yellow FRS is rocking Volk TE37RTs with Advan Neovas, and dressed in TRD accessories. Most the cars drifted the course but this car looked well planted focusing on grip. Seems like with this chassis you can tune it for grip or drift, it does both pretty well. 86 DAY-06

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A right hand drive AE86 that was in the show section. Sporting some very deep dish Work wheels and sticky Nitto NT01s.

86 DAY-11 Looked like a work in progress but headed in the right direction. 86 DAY-12

86 DAY-13 A FRS/BRZ rocking the Varis body kit in the show section. The aero looks soo aggressive that it could do a time attack.

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The Volk and Brembro combo looking nice.

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Slammed BRZ in the show section. I remember when I was about that life.

86 DAY-29 Simon Chan’s TSX. 86 DAY-31

86 DAY-32 Neon interior light for JDM. 86 DAY-16

Simon setting up the drift course for the RC cars.

86 DAY-30 RC drift action. 86 DAY-34

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86 DAY-20 The NST booth that hosted the event. The black AE86 with the NST logo is actually Taka Aono old drift car in the OG days. 86 DAY-21

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The AE86 with the red wheel is Taka Aono current drift car that competes in the Formula Drift series. It produces 700hp!

86 DAY-23 The 700hp beating heart. 86 DAY-24

86 DAY-25 Taka Aono and Yoshie Shuyama offer drift school in California. I feel pretty thankful that they came from California to Houston to celebrate 86 day. The VIP drivers got an opportunity to get lessons, which I felt like I missed out on. I didn’t get a chance talk to them personally but I could tell they made their passion into a career and thats something I want to work towards too. I like nursing but my passion has been racing. Untitled

Simon Chan was able to get a dope picture of me sliding and kicking dirt up.

Untitled Another shot by Simon Chan. Untitled

After 24hrs of no sleep, a day of just drifting and catching up with friends the tiredness caught to me again. Next thing I knew, it was 4pm and was hotter than an oven.I had a great time but I was feeling the heat. So I switch to my Volks, packed my gear, and headed home. Till next year, I hope I can join TX86 day again!

Simplicity is the key to perfection #m3 #bmw #te37rt #modecarbon #v8 #e92 #trackrat #abrhouston #natsukashigarage

A dope shot of Thaisons black edition AE86 by Simon Chan

I think its only appropriate to end this coverage with my homie Thaison and his newly acquired AE86 Black Edition. Thaison just slapped on Work Equips and really gives that Hawaiian/Cali look to it. Dope photo taken by the famous Simon Chan.

SCCA Track night: MSR Cresson

Another fun day at the track. This was my first time racing at this track and was pretty far drive from Houston (4hrs). I racked up about 800 miles part of which was because I stayed overnight in Austin. Even though I track once a month I joined the novice class becuase it is my first time here. I was thinking the track would be pretty empty since its was 102 degrees outside. Surprisingly I counted 11 cars in the novice class, and was actually less drivers in the intermediate and expert class.

MSR cresson-02 When I got there, the covered garage was filled! Grudgingly I unloaded all my tools and tires in the Texas sun. I did leave my tires and tools in the shade, at least there was room for that. Untitled The silver Lexus IS300 is actually pretty fast in the straights, I later found out it was LS swapped! The track day included 3 sessions, each being around 20 mins. On the first session, I was behind the IS300 when it started smoking bad with the smell of burning metal. Soon afterwards it smoked very badly and pulled over to the side of the track. Then session was black flagged and required everyone enter the pits. We waited roughly 10 mins for the track workers to clean up the spill and I found out the IS300 blew a power steering hose. Thankfully we were able to get back on the track to complete our first session. MSR cresson-03

This Jaguar was just cruising on the track top down. Not that Im saying its slow at all but you could tell the guy was just out there to have a good time. Its about the experience.

MSR cresson-04 Mini Cooper on Bridgestone RE-71R. I’ve seen a lot of people run RE71Rs on the track and autocross. They say its better then the RS3. I need to try those out. MSR cresson-13

The 2nd session went through without problems and I got in a friendly competition with the Mustang Shelby GT350R. These days you always see jokes and memes how bad mustangs handle. Even on YouTube, just a simple search and you can find videos of drift and burnout fails of mustangs. I got to hand it to Ford making a track oriented car. The GT350R could never pull away from me but I couldn’t pass it either. We were evenly matched and pushing each other to the limit. This was the hardest I pushed myself and the M3. The last couple laps my tires got too hot and grip fell off. I had to back off and let my tires cool but thankfully the checkered flag was waving. After the session we shook hands on a great race. Unfortunately, which seems to happen often, my memory card was full by my 2nd session and the epic battle wasn’t recorded.

MSR cresson-20 This was the GT350R I had a friendly battle with. Definitely sounds like a roaring V8, and the owner recently bought it! Still has the paper plates! For those of you that don’t know the Mustang 350R here is a little info:

After such an adrenaline filled session, on my last and 3rd session I just played it chill and didn’t go to hard on the M3. I was shifting early and using 3rd gear on 2nd gear corners. That session went on without incident and was great. The 350R did catch up to me but I let him pass, I know he probably wanted another duel but sometimes if you go over the limit that when bad things happen. After the 3rd session, the sun was setting and was just that perfect lighting to take a picture.Happiness eludes those who seek it. True happiness is the by product of the journey. #abrhouston #bmw #m3 #hankooktires #te37rt #tracknight #scca #natsukashigarage MSR cresson-12

Lady driven Porsche boxer was in our run group.

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Lots of V8 today.

MSR cresson-08 Mustang Cobra is supercharged with pullies and tune. The car is mainly used for drag racing but the owner still had a good time at the track. MSR cresson-07

This truck was a complete custom build, tube chassis, modified frame and with a supercharged V8. Unfortunately it only did one session becuase trucks are not allowed on the circuit. Look good though, like the rat rod look.

MSR cresson-06 You get a good mix of cars in the run groups which makes things more interesting. MSR cresson-09

Four bangers were also out too.

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I thought this S2000 was on Hankook TD but its was rolling on Ferderal tires… I wonder how they feel at the track.

MSR cresson-16 Big Wang. MSR cresson-17

Harrys Lap timer was working seemlessly and I managed to clock 01:31.53 seconds, which I have no idea if thats fast or not. But it felt good just being out there.

MSR cresson-19 Heat cycled Hankooks did a really great job. They only over heated once because I pushed too hard on my 2nd session and grip fell off. It handled the abuse in the 102 degree heat.


MSR Cresson consists of high speed long sweepers, late apexes with a few tight twisties (aka the rattle snake). The track isn’t terribly fast, but I managed to hit 100mph on the straights. With shorter straights and longer sweepers, the track isn’t harsh on the brakes compared to COTA or Harris Hill. You can with the amount of brake dust after my last sesson. What I really did like was how smooth the track was. The track is well kept and very close to gas stations, some even offering racing fuel. I’ll be back again. MSR cresson-23

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StanceNation Dallas

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Been a while since I last posted here but busy with life and priorities. Fortunately I had time off and was lucky enough to be accepted at Stancenation. My roll in time was actually a day before the actual event, which meant I had to leave my car overnight. I didn’t really understand why, but my guess is it wont be soo chaotic if all the cars rolled in at once on the big day. 

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I worked the night before and was hoping to leave work early but day shift came 30 minutes late and I still had to get clothes for the extra day staying in Dallas. I had no time to eat or wash my car. I just went to my crib, grabbed some clothes, and my camera. 




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The meeting place was at Greenspoint Mall (AKA GUNSpoint mall) in northeast side of Houston. I rolled out with my buddy Donnie and Mayday Garage was having a Stancenation rollout to Dallas. By the time I got to the meeting point there was about 15 cars and everyone was getting ready leave. Just barely in the nick of time. I love to drive in packs, because it makes the drive less boring and makes long drives feel short. Mind you, I had zero sleep from night shift, and eating my Dunken Donut sandwich combo in the car. 

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I was glad I got my GTI back from the shop because I was sure enjoying the cool blast of AC. If this was the Miata, I would be miserable because the forecast called for high temps and humidity with a chance of rain. Sucked for Donnie because his CRX has no ac.

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At the very last stretch in Dallas it was like all the cars kinda went their separate ways and it seemed like I was leading, for a brief moment. But honestly I had no idea where the meeting point was at for lunch or knew where I was going. I just kept on the highway hoping to find another car to follow. Fortunately I did find a car from Houston and just followed them. Turned out, the meeting point was In and Out Burgers but Donnie and I ended up eating at Pluckers with some people from Southernfresh. I didn’t mind, since it had been a long timeI had pluckers and I was hungry and tired being a awake for 24hrs. 

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After eating and getting my Pluckers fix, Donnie and I went to our hotel to check in. We got a great deal on our hotel but it was 20 minutes away from the venue. LOL. Thanks to Donnie’s girlfriend, she drove after work from Houston and headed to the venue so she can pick us up. 

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I didn’t really had time to enjoy the hotel or sleep even because our roll in time was coming up and we didn’t want to be late, thinking we might get a crappy spot. Donnie is a member from team Squirrel Squad, and I ended up rollin with them too. Squirrel Squad is a team mainly based in San Antonio but Donnie was repping the Houston side. 

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Upon checking in, everybody got free Meguiars quick wax spray and air fresheners. I do love free goodies. At this point I was delirious and just plain tired. The things I do for car shows seems impractical. Dedication. 

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My car was very dirty, and I haven’t washed my car in over 2 weeks from the Houston rain. Luckily I did remember to bring towels and some quick detail spray, but I was hoping I could have gone to car wash and give my GTI a quick spray at least. Donnie came prepared and had his car detailed the day before the roll in. Fortunately Donnie brought this Meguiars car wash spray, which is actually called Meguiars ultimate wash and wax spray. This was my first time hearing about this product but its literally a life saver, especially at car shows. Basically if you don’t have time to wash your car, then you can use this spray with a clean rag to clean your car. No mess and no fuss. Made my dirty car looked like it came off of the paint shop just dripping wet. My car honestly got more bad looks then good ones, because I’m guessing I was too hella poke in the rears especially. Oh wells. 

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After cleaning my car, I went around to take some shots of cars. Plus we were waiting on Donnie’s girlfriend to pick up. One of the best things about showing in a show is that you actually can take pics without people in the way and just take your time. You don’t have to stand in line for the doors to open or battle the crowds to wait for that one shot. Just the perks of being in a show. 

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Cars were starting to roll in and people detailing their cars for big event tomorrow. Mayday Garage RX7s are definitely a show stopper. This is David’s RX7 with the Car Shop Glow LED taillights and I must say it really looks great in person. Just ridding next to this car while heading to Dallas felt like seeing something beautiful for the first time in your life. If there are any RX7 owners, these are a must have, and worth the price. Japanese built and Japanese quality. 

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All lined up

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Now this is Tom’s S2000 and always killing the S2000 game at every show. I remember seeing this car at the Wekfest Austin roll in back in 2012 with Work Misters, shaved and wired tucked engine bay, and unboosted. This time it boosted with super rare Mugen MF10 wheels and more details. Tom took the s2000 to Wekfest LA just to show the Texas scene. This s2000 is wearing the first Car Shop Glow S2000 LED tail lights even before being released to the market at the time of Stancenation. 

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For those of you wondering what the LED look like in action. 


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This car has gone a long way since Wekfest Austin 2012, which did win best S2000. Just to give you some perspective. 

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One the things that is becoming popular is bags and air ride suspension. Air suspension have really gone a long way now in the car scene market. They are more reliable and the support is readily available on most cars. You have the convenience to be slammed, hard parked, raise it up for driving, and then go 4×4 when you go over bumps with a push of a button. I will eventually go bags but I still like riding static and slammed just because set it and quit it.

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Mazda 3 on rebarreled Work Emitz with overfenders. Wish I didn’t sell my Emitz and just rebuilt them. Maybe that was the Emitz I had…. or maybe this one……

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Oooohh kill em with the copper bronze, deep dish

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This Lexus has the AIMGAIN widebody body kit is one the VIP heavy hitters in Texas. I don’t think there was one part on the car that wasn’t touched with some type of VIP accents. 

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On point fitment.

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VIP everything. 

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The Euro scene was also strong at Stancenation. I like the how VW can play the OEM plus style very well. I remember when I used to rock the Mercedes Alphards  on the GTI but then I went for more stance and poke. Sigh.

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Leo’s creamy clean MK4 GTI. This guy also drives a 135i convertible with TE37s or BBS E50. Showing the euro scene from Houston. 

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I heard this VW was static. The one thing about VWs, is either you are bagged and laid out, or static and laid out. Or on the other side of the spectrum, raised 4×4 status. 

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S line. 


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This Mercedes is owned by the guy the that drove a green custom bagged MK1 Rabbit at Wekfest Houston last year. That rabbit used a beer keg as a gas tank and I thought it was the air tank. Soo much custom work and attention to detail on that rabbit. The owner did all the custom work too all the way from Kansas. This year he sold that car for this Merc and Im sure next time I see this car it will probably be on bags, shaven doors, and more euro goodies


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This M3 was sporting the Euro JDM look rocking the Work Equips.


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The Miata gang. NA, NB, and NC. 


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2JZ no shit. This will decimate all.

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This was a clean and simple Lexus. Just wheels and a drop will completely change the look of a car. 

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Much fitment on this TL with upsized BBS RS wheels. 

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The TL, by the way, is a boosted V6… vtec


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Team 16niss always having some the best cars out there. 

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Team BRG also with killing it the crazy fitments.

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Rat rod is always cool. Style and looks comes first and safety is the last priority.

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A Takata tow strap for a touch of JDM


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This Honda wagon from team status was clean and simple with a shaven and wire tucked engine bay. 

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This wagon has extended top hats with wheel arches raised so the upper control arm wont smash into the body. Something you don’t notice unless you know something about honda suspension when slamming it. The reason why most people wont notice, is because this was done cleanly and not hacked at, just flows with the car. Its all in the details.

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Seen this car at many shows, and has a LED stars in the engine bay. VIP.

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Wrapped cars seem to be big this year too. Still want to keep your paint? Wrapping is another alternative. 

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The new 86 rocking the louvers.

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Pop that trunk with custom air setup and hardwood floors.

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Emmanuel’s murdered out TL type S. Daily static too.

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Mervyn’s recently bagged Genesis from team Prospekts. I think every single car in that team is bagged. 

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Manny’s dope TSX, from team Apokalypse on aggressive Work LXZ, and a new updated Mugen front bumper. This car also has gone a long way since Wekfest Austin 2012. 

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This is the first Stancenation show in Texas and I was glad show in it. I wish my camber arms came in time for the show, but getting in is an accomplishment considering how many cars applied to be in the show. A lot of quality builds and I hope they will have one next year, but this time in Houston or Austin. The 4.5 hr drive plus no rest was very tiring. As soon as I got to my hotel that night, I just passed out. 





Late Night Photoshoot

Last night some of the Natsukashi Garage boys decided to get together to showcase some new additions to our rides, or at least modifications. For Thaison, Cody, and I it was all about slamming our cars. For Arick, we were just celebrating the fact that his car still worked…. for now…. because we all know that won’t last long.

The rest of the night was fun, and involved things such as Charlie getting pulled over in my car (which has expired registration) and us spotting a fire from the top floor of a parking garage. Also, no night is ever complete these days without Thaison getting mistaken as a girl (apparently “she” was driving around with a suspicious car). Luckily for him, the Pho game is kickin and the police knew him from the Pho shop.

In the end, it was to get these shots. Here are a few from the night that I personally really liked


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renegade x sarupbuhay

You do not want to miss this event, this will be the largest meet in the Austin area this summer. pass the word along and make sure to save the date.

Renegade X Sarupbuhay summer meet
— Saturday June 8th 2013
— 8:45pm – 11:15pm
— at Pho Thasion
9500 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Austin, TX 78748

— Loyal KNG
— Lead Industries
— Natsukashi Garage
— Squirrel Squad
— Grip Royal

DJ MIK ONE out of Houston will be playing music for your ear holes.

King Ptolemy of Austin will be debuting his second album demo

Kawaii Lani will also be making an appearance

A Brief Yet Triumphant Intermission

As most of you know I acquired a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata a little less than a month ago. Getting this car was one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me. I live to drive, it’s what makes me happy and keeps me sane… literally, there was a point when I didn’t run a single road for 3 weeks and I was the most irritable person ever. So as you most of you can imagine getting a car with as much potential and heritage as a Miata (not to mention the fastest one produced) was a huge moment for me. The day I met with Dillon to make the trade, I was both nervous and excited. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to get rid of such an amazing machine; it took a total of five minutes before we both agreed to the trade and I was on the road. I was so excited that I had blasted through down town and weaved my way through SXSW traffic and was already on the highway when Dillon called me to mention that I had left him with all of my keys. As I drove back towards down town to pick up my keys, I couldn’t help but smile. The smooth exhaust note and slight ‘pshhhhhh’ from the blow off valve was more intoxicating than anything I had ever experienced.

Being that I have always wanted and planned on owning a Miata, I knew right away what sort of mods i would be making. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to cars and I love to dream; since I was 16 I’ve had this notebook filled with cars, parts and my would be builds if I owned one of them. One of my many dreams had become a reality and it was time to get to work. I spent the next three days scouring the web for parts and info that would help me build my perfect car.

Then… it happened. I woke up for work three days ago, got in the car and started making my way to the office. That’s when I heard it, that’s when I heard the sound that literally broke my heart… it was rod knock. Not too loud and not bad by any means, but I knew what it was and what it meant. That sound meant my dream was on the verge of death, so I did what anyone would do in my situation… I lied to my boss and told him that my “girlfriend” had been in a car accident and I needed to pick her up. I got in the car and drove straight to the dealership to have my car guru (Cody) take a look. Turns out that the fellow I had gotten the car from hadn’t changed the oil before letting it go. I had been running dry for god knows how long. We topped it off with some oil just to hold me over until I could do a full oil/filter change and I headed back to work. This was by far the worst and most unproductive day of work I have ever had. Instead of searching for parts and ways to make the car faster, I spent the entire work day reading thread after thread of people with my same symptoms. Over the next two days, I went back and forth trying to argue that it wasn’t rod knock. it’s got to be the lifters, it must be a bad water pump, maybe it’s a bad exhaust leak… as much as I tried to lie to myself, I knew what it was.

Being that this is my only car, I found myself in a bit of a shit sandwich. I had to drive it to get to work; but I didn’t want to in fear that I would further damage the motor or be left stranded on the side of the road with a ventilated block. As much as it killed me, I did the only thing I could think to do. I posted the car on craigslist. Within a four hour period, I had received four cash offers and three offers to trade (one of which was for a drag racing boat… how sweet would that be?). Seeing how desirable the car was and how much people were willing to offer for it made me realize how much I didn’t want to let it go. I was in love, it’s been a short relationship but I have fallen head over heels in love with my car.  After sitting in my back yard starring at nothing for an hour I got an idea, “Why should I get rid of it? I always get rid of things when they break. I’ve never tried to fix anything. This is it, big things 2013! You are going to rebuild it!” i did my research and contacted an old friend who happens to rebuild motors and transmissions for a living. Fred assured me that he could get it done in a timely fashion and would be giving me that “friends and family discount” that we all know and love.

So here I am, currently stuck with a car that may blow up at any given moment while driving, stuck with a list of wishes and wants, and stuck with the responsibility to rebuild it and to do it properly. So unfortunately, you all won’t be seeing anything about my Miata for a while. First I need to save up for a beater car to get me around from “A” to “B”. Then the fun begins, then I get to start saving up for what will be the most expensive and extensive project of my life. The question is… will I rebuild it to factory specifications? Or will I splurge on forged internals and build it to be more than it already is?

Natsukashi Profile: Arick Casas

I just wanted to take some time to introduce one of our boys, Arick Casas. Hands down I think all of us can agree that he’s one of the craziest guys in our group. I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing him for such a shorter time than Branden or Cody have. I always knew him as the guy with the slammed xB back in the day…


I think when it came down to things — it all started with his Honda Fit. After owning the car for less than a week, he had already started stripping it for touge runs.
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