Nitto's Auto Enthusiast Day takes over the Angel Stadium parking lot

It’s the summer in Orange County, California and that means you can count on a few things being true. The OC Fair opening for it’s final year, for the third year running. People who live in Riverside ruining the US Open (I’m kidding. Everyone deserves the beach). And, finally Auto Enthusiast Day put on by Nitto and Driving Line.
Now unless you know about this event or know Nitto itself, then it doesn’t sound all that fun. A car show in June? In the parking lot of Angel Stadium? I’d rather be inside watching reruns of The Office while putting off-brand Otter Pops down my boxers. Trust me, it’s fun. But I’m not doing that because Nitto puts on a pretty great show. 

Nitto Auto Enthusiast day is worth the heat and long line to get in, and here are several reasons why this is true:

  1. It’s totally free! Who doesn’t like free shit?
  2. Drift Demo’s by Matt Powers, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Alex Heilbrunn, Chelsea Denofa, some dude who told me he was a YouTuber, Casey and Cody Curry, and Mel Wade.
  3. Bill Goldberg was there and he shook my hand. It still hurts.
  4. Every type of car and truck is on display. From RWB Porsches to lifted trucks, lowered trucks to drift cars, a lowered TSX wagon (I NEED IT), Ultra 4 Jeeps doing Ultra 4 things, and track cars of all kinds.
  5. The whole event is narrated by the voice of Formula Drift himself Jarod DeAnda
  6. The food vendors always hooked it up with double scoops. (The real heroes)
  7. The event in also free to vendors which means representatives from you favorite aftermarket parts companies are actually super relaxed and down to chat for however long you’d like.

Getting a ride along with Casey Curry in his Pro 2 short course truck (2WD, LS7, a million feet of suspension travel) made my summer. The whole five minute ordeal surprised me. Casey was extremely at ease and almost nonchalant about the whole thing. “Whatever you do don’t fart in that seat” is the first thing he said to me while climbing in the truck.

I was expecting an abrupt, uncomfortable, and jarring ride. You know, normal race car stuff but I was totally wrong. First off, I actually fit in the truck without bouncing my helmet around on the roll cage. Second, I was borderline soothed by the whole ride. The LS wasn’t bouncing off the rev limiter and it actually revved slower than the engine in any of the drift cars.
The tires were 37” in diameter on 17” wheels. All the extra sidewall was more or less a pillow to ride on. The suspension travel made for slow but predictable transitions with a lot of body roll. I was filming in the car with a handheld camera with a level on the back screen which didn’t know up from down and left from right during the ride. 

At the end of the day if you live even remotely near Anaheim and you aren’t going to Nitto’s AED events you are missing out on a gathering of automotive passion from every side of the tool box. You have awesome demos from fan-favorite drivers and everyone in attendance is there to enjoy all that is cool about cars and trucks.

It’s like SEMA but for not insane people. And thankfully not in Vegas.
[Images Josh Ostrander and/or Nitto’s Instagram]

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