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Modified Tuner Shootout | FIR Main – 3.16.13

Two weeks ago was a huge weekend for us (i.e. the motor sport world) here in the valley of the sun. Firstly, the Modified magazine Tuner Shootout was running an event with NASA AZ and secondly, our good friend Phil Robles (Woohoo!!!) was making a much anticipated return; which surprised quite a few people, including yours truly – moi.


For those of you who haven’t been following Phil’s build; there have been a few setbacks here and there or he went back to revamp something or the other. The bottom line is – his EG has been motionless for over a year. In the last few weeks, things got moving rather quickly for Phil. Although there were a couple hiccups he pushed through to get his EG back to the track. I spoke to him a few days before the event and he said; “Chief! Are we going to see you out there? Car is ready!” My silent response; What car? The EG? Dayum! Just like that. I honestly didn’t think he was going to get it done for this event but I am glad he did. It was nice to see him out there, smiling like a little kid.


Friday was a long day for Paul and I. We were doing a photo assignment and spent 8+ hours outside roughing it out with these warm temperatures. Somewhere around mid-evening on Friday, our plan of arriving early on Saturday for the event, went downhill. At least we made it, not all there but we made it and that’s what counts.


The campground for the day: Simon’s DC, Phil’s EG, and Jesse’s S13.


We like it when the Modified Tuner Shootout makes it to town because well, a lot of people come from out of town to compete in this event, they bring a variety of exemplary machines to throw it down. There is enough for everybody’s taste.


Some of the FF cars competing in the Modified Tuner Shootout waiting patiently.


Nissan Silvia, Mazda RX-7, Mitsubishi Starion/Conquest, and MazdaSpeed3 ready to battle it out.


I met two brothers who drove all the way from Georgia to drive their 20B (3-Rotor) Mazda RX7. It not only looked amazing but sounded like nothing else that day (and I am sure any other day). While speaking to one of the brothers, he told me that they had broken an input shaft earlier; luckily they had a spare that they could swap (talk about prepared). A local person offered them use of their ‘at-home’ car-lift to make the repair much quicker.


A few hours later they were back with a running car and shaking down the track. Amazing! I am sorry if I don’t recall the names of the parties involved but kudos for their dedication and the local person who helped them out. After the event, one of the brothers said to me, “After this we are driving back. Luckily my brother is driving.”


Meanwhile after a few sessions, Phil told me that the car was handling a little differently and that he had to be very delicate with the throttle. The days of whiskey throttle for Phil are over.

As the day continued, we saw him getting more comfortable but on some occasions the EG would fight, sometimes they ended up in a huge disagreement.


Phil will have to go back and make some final adjustments. Even then, Phil was flying around the track. He didn’t have a transponder so he did not get any timed laps. I remember that on one occasion, he came around turn 12 (tower) and as he got on the throttle, he missed third gear, founded, and went on the straightaway. This provided an opportunity for a turbo car, (won’t say what kind), to creep up and attempt to make a move on Phil. The other car got next to him but to our surprise the EG fought back and just did NOT let that other car pass him. Maybe he did at the end, but logic will tell you otherwise. NoFB Nolan and I were like noooo way! The EG is not a pushover anymore, it is ridiculous fast!


Morph speed!


The big surprise of the day came from none other than our very own Paul Green. (Applause!) Although he was not driving at this event, he was out there taking photos, throughout the entire day! Some say that he took enough photos for the entire year.


While walking around the paddock, I spotted this Celica All-Trac. Car looked mint.


Russell Whelan’s R32.


Tim Schoeppner brought his Evo all the way from Las Cruces, N.M. for the event. Always good to see this car.


Simon and Phil talking it over. Nice shirt Phil!


The Snail boys were out in full force.


Jesse and his wide body S13 Drift Missile.

Heading to Firebird West…

for some slipping and sliding.


Gabe Ortega and his Turbo EG, awaiting the next Modified Tuner Shootout session.


Another clean Madza FD RX-7, this one sitting on Work wheels.


Voltex wing and rear diffuser on this Evo.


CJ checking out this J’s themed turbo Fit. Paul approves of this bright color combination.


Another aggressive Mitsubishi Evo. I dont recall this driving around the track though.


Simon was happy to be running Hoosiers all the way around.


It was a surprise to see Ken Suen in Arizona.


Simon Pavlick was running some fast times and he posted a new track record for TTE. However, this was broken again the following day.


Kent Porter and his Subaru-powered Porsche Boxster


The heat makes you do some odd things. Either that or you realize you have some weird friends.


We didn’t know there was going to be models at the event. We couldn’t expect any less from NoFB Nolan “The Intern”.


And the rest of the photos.



And we will the day with this Subaru BRZ. We will have more photos soon!