So on April 20th, 2013 we finally spread Tyler's ashes. I set up a memorial day with the help of his family at the Mineral Wells Airport. The purpose of the afternoon was to remember Tyler and spread his ashes, as well as bring his friends and family together for a small memorial service. Drifting seemed the most appropriate way to do these things, and with the blessing of his family I started the ball rolling. I felt a lot of pressure putting together this event, more than I typically do because I wanted to make it a special day for his family, and I had no idea how to properly make sure his family would be pleased with the results. After all, the Mineral Wells Airport isn't exactly the most prestigious looking environment for a ceremony. It is neither beautiful nor fancy. However it was a place that Tyler decided to come back to over and over again over the months and years. I would guess to say it was the one of his favorite places on earth, even though it isn't particularly special for any great reason. His early days there he was so excited to be there he had trouble sleeping the nights before in our hotel room. The parking lot represented complete freedom to do what we wanted in our cars. No track officials, no police, not much of anything most of the time. I venture to say for most people, there really aren't many places like this anywhere.
Tyler met so many friends out there. Stewart, Russell, myself, and many others. Friends that shared his odd passion for drifting, and let their lives revolve around their passion. Adventure friends, people that share in crazy trips across the country or even the world. People you love and hate by the minute as you blur the lines of what is acceptable at hour 40 of being awake on a road trip.
So the day finally arrived, and the weather was beautiful. I set the event up, fiddled with the course layout so it was fun, gentle on tires, even from left to right on wear. I carefully placed Tyler's 2 remaining drift cars in a small booth, complete with memorabilia from his life such as his helmet and race suit. A fully catered lunch for 200 arrived around noon and was fantastic. Then, at about 1 pm we held the ceremony. A few people talked about his life, a bunch of us cried, me included. I spoke at his funeral at length, and held my composure with a sober smile, but at his function I wasn't able to. I missed him. The memories of good times and bad times, guilt of when we were mad at each other, it was all too much. After a minute I was able to speak for a minute and explain what we were about to do, then I jumped in Tyler's old white S14 and Josh Buckley and Stewart Leask and I did some T Cox smokey burnouts and spread his ashes into the smoke. It was a bit awkward since I have never done anything quite like this, but I am pretty sure it is exactly what Tyler would have wanted. Will Parsons and I are actually planning on spreading a vial of Tyler into Saitos car as well, and I am pretty sure Tyler would have wanted that too.
I should also add that after all my preparations for the event, after just a few laps of playing around the fuel pump in Tyler's white car gave out while at full boost. It took out about 30% compression on cylinder 2 when it happened, and melted the plug. Not wanting to give up on the car for the day though, we stole Josh's fuel pump and with the help of Shaun got everything back together. The car was fantastic for the rest of the day, doing probably 50+ laps with his family and friends riding shot gun. Tyler's dad even took some laps on the skid pad learning to counter steer and clutch kick. I am very sure Tyler would have got a kick out of watching that. I am hoping his dad lets me teach him how to drift! I dropped off the car Monday night to Derrick to pull apart and I am about to order parts to put it back together. It is getting some really awesome parts, including higher comp pistons, an E85 tune, bigger injectors, and a GTX turbo. I REALLY REALLY REALLY like driving the white car, it is a blast.
Here is some video of the spreading of Tyler's ashes. Also, there will be vials of ashes to spread all over the world. Locations are:
Shreeveport drift event
All Star Bash
Lone Star Bash
A vial will be put into his cars, 1 each.
And his friends will be given a vial each and allowed to spread them wherever they think is fit.http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151467642098305&set=vb.505288304&type=2&theater
I am giving rides to Tyler's family in the pic. I am tandeming with Fielding in a borrowed R32 Skyline, with only 3.5 cylinders. I was still much faster : )