Last Six Months


Life got busy after Japan, sorry. Here’s the last 6 months in fewest amount of words:

  • fastest japanese driver last year on the world’s hardest-longest-most dangerous racetrack, the Nürburgring in germany

  • moved to japan to leverage my germany results towards a factory driver seat

  • ‘20 years ago, we’d give you a tryout but today, with people buying less cars and motorsports budgets being slashed, you’d need to be either a former champion or bring sponsors, sorry’ -major auto manufacturers

  • an incredible amount of hustling while i was in Japan, and even made some team owners eyes’ swell up as i recounted my story.
    great relationships made, hilarious stories, and a very memorable time

Photo Credit: all the good photos in this post were shot by my friend, Dante Galan
He is super talented, please check him out below:
instagram: @tru3progression

Began instructing again soon as I got back from Japan
Helped a buddy out with his NASCAR race, and was invited to work all over the country for companies such as Cadillac, Lexus, and the PGA
Then private coaching started picking up. Below is a neat article that Turnology did on me, thank you Tommy Parry/Turnology:

In the last 10 years I’ve lived in Tokyo, Bonn, Oakland, San Francisco, Ontario, Tappita, and LA

Wanting to call somewhere “home,” I decided to drive my ‘97 Volkswagen Gti VR6 with 210,000 miles, cross-country from Oakland CA to the town of Beacon NY

The car made it - huge thanks to Tim & Matt of Tomas Sport Tuning,
and my god, the Pennsylvania portion of hwy 80 was incredible - total supercar roads

Thankfully, I immediately had a couch to crash on
and was able to pick up a position instructing at the Monticello Motor Club -
basically the world’s coolest playground for automotive enthusiasts,
big thanks to my friend Kieran - well as friends Diana, Pedro, Marnie, Cristina, Eli, and the mailman

Life has stabilized somewhat which is good
but I have some unfinished business.

It’s time to get back in a racecar.



Two countries in one year..

This time, JAPAN!

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji

Couchsurf Host

Couchsurf Host

Hosts made me dinner

Hosts made me dinner

different hosts different kind folks

Nissan legends such as Hoshino-san and Hasemi-san

Nissan legends such as Hoshino-san and Hasemi-san

Sunako-san, Nissan and Yamaha racing legend

Sunako-san, Nissan and Yamaha racing legend

sneaking my way into meetings

Fuji Speedway

Fuji Speedway

dads best friend from childhood and his wife. so many good stories about pops

dads best friend from childhood and his wife. so many good stories about pops

whatever it takes

whatever it takes

Akihabara, Tokyo

Akihabara, Tokyo

home of local Yokozuna in Chiba

home of local Yokozuna in Chiba

Shibuya nights

Shibuya nights



Three months since my last post. Terrible at updates

-my last VLN race at the Nurburgring, Nissan brought a star-studded lineup of Formula Nippon and Super GT champions
-was 10 seconds quicker per lap than their fastest driver, in same car and conditions

-sold off everything in Germany, a quick weekend in Berlin (life-changing), said goodbye to friends then moved back to California
-meanwhile been instructing, game-planning, and crashing on friends’ couches

-potentially racing a formula car in India this weekend
-then moving to Japan immediately afterwards to leverage my Germany results

Germany wouldn’t been possible if it weren’t for this guy - host, chef, roommate and friend, Mr. Uwe MN

Germany wouldn’t been possible if it weren’t for this guy - host, chef, roommate and friend, Mr. Uwe MN

Incredible year.
The stories keep accumulating.
As does the list of people that have stepped forward to help with the dream.

Life’s wild. Hard. Enriching and beautiful.
And my friends, both new and old, are the ****ing best.

Also Europe is so dope

In 110% push-mode. Time to do it all over again in Japan for 2019. Love you, and thank you everyone so much 😊✌️


A Flight, Film, & Scotch

As I sit here on a Lufthansa flight back to Germany and minutes after finishing an in-flight movie about Enzo Ferrari's drivers from the 50's (Race to Immortality; highly recommended), I can't help but feel a flooding of emotion towards the profession of the 'Racing Driver.'

Perhaps its the scotch I snuck onboard. Or maybe it's the past couple weeks crashing on best friend's couches searching for sponsorship to keep this dream alive, to get to the next race. 

I'll be the first to say that all work experiences are relative, challenging, and unique in their own right. But having personal experience with over 15 different types of jobs, this racing driver thing has to take the cake. 

Btw all the drivers in that Ferrari movie died. That rarely happens now but when you take a step back, it's a funny thing to be working so hard for. 

Racing's one of the few dangerous sports left and gets away with it because history has embraced it. Hemingway had an awesome quote:

'There are only three sports. Bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering. All the rest are merely games.'

And he's damn right. Motorsports should always be sexy - dangerous - and fun. 

It's been 5 years since throwing myself at this childhood dream. From highlighting racing books to racing a pro series with a top team on the Nurburgring is pretty surreal. And the more I learn about the sport, the more I hear of greats having once called a friend's couch their second home. 

I was pretty hesitant making this post as shit's pretty real now. I am gambling everything on making it. Also because I've been told to attract a sponsor I'd need to act a certain way, to put on an image for the fans. But to be honest, I don't think the public is that stupid, certainly not racing fans. GriffeyDreams was started to document this journey and so that's what I'm going to do. 

what i think about when people ask me what it takes to become a race car driver

what i think about when people ask me what it takes to become a race car driver

The goal is to become the best sportscar driver in the world. To work as hard as I can. To do the best I can. All the while having as much fun as I can. No regrets on the deathbed sort of deal. But holy shit I can feel some pressure, as I'm sure many others do too at their jobs. 

There was a great interview with Jimmie Johnson, a NASCAR great, that I read a few days ago. The piece of advice that he heard most often early in his career was also what he hated hearing the most: "You have to be patient."

At 31, and just at the start of my professional driving career, I can't help but relate to JJ. As the adage goes, making it in racing requires a combination of hard work, a bit of talent, extreme persistence, and luck. I'd also add to the list great mentors and a strong support network. 

The lesson from all this dribble?

Money rules the world but doesn't equate to happiness also getting older sucks but not more so than the societal expectations and norms that have been conditioned into each and everyone of us which may sometimes result in self-doubt and hesitance in doing things that we know deep down to be right. Also being a race car driver is a crazy fucking job and I love it. 

My final thought for the evening before I pop a melatonin and pretend I don't feel the kid behind me kicking my seat: When flying Lufthansa, hide your booze well - while kind, the German flight attendants have eagle eyes and are total sticklers for the rules (and there's a lot of 'em on Lufthansa).

Germany, I cant wait to see you again. Vielen dank und auf wiedersehen, zur zeit!





Back in the end of March, I competed in VLN Race 1
alongside some of the top international pros in the world
on the longest, most difficult, and dangerous race track in the world - 
the Nurburgring-Nordschleife

28954204_1915016805209271_2589711661094956837_o (1) (1).jpg

This was the biggest race of my life as of yet.
The culmination of all the hard work and sacrifice over the last 4 years


Race Results:
-qualified P6, 8th when I hopped in, and brought her home to 7th in class, 67th overall of 160+
-highest finishing American in class
-highest finishing Japanese driver overall, 2nd at P95 - Toyota Gazoo Racing
-finished higher than a 3x Le Mans champion, F1 Junior development driver, Porsche and Lamborghini factory drivers
-total laps completed on the 'Ring prior to first race: 2


After the race, my teammates and mechanics asked me how it went.
I responded as calmly as possible but as soon as I had some privacy,
I ran behind our team's trailers and screamed at the top of my lungs for close to a minute


A mix of emotions from having just completed the race on the world's craziest track
and thoughts about the journey required to get here;
the experience was truly something


Since race 1, after incessant studying,
simulator time, and going over telemetry with my data engineer,
I have now dropped my lap-times considerably
and am now within striking distance to the pace of the leaders


This most recent adventure of being a racing driver in Europe
has offered some incredible highs and incredible lows, 

However, the techniques I have learned and the self-confidence I have gained, 
knowing that yes, I do belong here racing against some of the best in the world
has proved invaluable and that alone, 
has made this trip worthwhile


I have 5 races left.
I am continuing to push like hell with my training
and proving to partners the immense value the medium of Professional Motorsports can provide.

As always, the biggest thank you to all of those
that have lent me their support when I needed it most.

Without all of you, I would be nowhere.
But because of all of you, we are almost there.




It’s with great pleasure to announce that I’ve signed with Team Adrenalin Motorsports, one of Germany’s top BMW teams for tomorrow’s season-opening race at the Nürburgring

Practiced today alongside some of the best professional drivers and teams in the world on the craziest racetrack in the world. So many ‘pinch me’ moments and I learned so much

Was also my first time on the Ring in a racecar. This place is unreal. Last session weather began changing and 7 cars passed me. Of the 7, 3 crashed and were totaled. Talking racecars that are $150-300k+ each, in just one lap

Tomorrow the goal is survival and to keep learning. Team griffeydreams, I cannot thank you guys enough for helping me get to this point. Your support has made the difference. Livestream link for the race below, Car 654 #definitelynotanintegra…/automob…/vln/vlnlivestream.html


Circuito Ascari, Southern Spain

Circuito Ascari, Southern Spain

Recently came back from Spain to test with a potential team

Malaga, Spain

Malaga, Spain

Landed in Malaga and stayed with my buddy Erik at his spot in the beautiful beach-town of Fuengirola

Acari Race Resort

Acari Race Resort

Headed to Ascari on Saturday

For those unfamiliar with Ascari, it's basically a private motorsports facility/club,
nestled in the beautiful Andalusian mountains of Southern Spain, about 150km from Malaga

My team and I chose to test here because most tracks are still covered in snow in Germany,
and because well, Southern Spain is really, really nice

my ride - BMW M235i Racing

my ride - BMW M235i Racing

The car felt solid though the Dunlop slicks felt a little lacking, but I was able to show the team I have pace.
Ascari was also a fun track with 22 corners, various undulations, and mini-representations of famous corners such as Spa's eau rouge

Cadiz, Spain

Cadiz, Spain

After the test at Ascari, and with this being only my second month total in Europe, I went traveling

to the right is where they filmed 'Die Another Day' Cadiz, Spain

to the right is where they filmed 'Die Another Day'
Cadiz, Spain

Headed to the Rock of Gilbraltar where you can see Africa from the other side, then Cadiz
Oh Cadiz..

Cadiz, Spain

Cadiz, Spain

Spain - passionate and extremely outgoing people, the olive oil, jamon iberico, and its breathtaking beauty

Lisboa, Portugal

Lisboa, Portugal

Stopped by Lisbon on the way back

Downtown Lisbon

Downtown Lisbon

Gorgeous, extremely genuine, and fun-loving people in Lisbon
Hopelessly romantic the Portuguese are as well
Can't count the amount of old couples I saw kissing in the streets



Great 'work vacation' and continuing totrain and work hard to make the dream happen
As always, I appreciate all the support

IMG_9537 (2).JPG


First Helmet


My first helmet

It's hard to believe that I was an instructor before ever owning my own lid;
a little embarrassing to be honest

Raced karts in Vans and drove with borrowed gear for most of my life
But like most things, the wait only makes it better

Before flying out to Europe, I asked Brent Curran of @89Design, to paint my Simpson helmet
Talented artist, father, and fellow racer also fighting hard to keep the dream alive

Was asked if I had a design in mind -
told him I’ve had one for 20 years 🙂

He starts at $400 a lid (for now)
which is a screaming deal if you’re in the know, hit him up:

Thanks Brent, you killed it


The Nürburgring


It's been a wild week driving all over Germany in my suit, speaking to teams. 

the sleepy little town of Adenau, Germany next to the Nordschleife

the sleepy little town of Adenau, Germany next to the Nordschleife

One of the teams I visited. A top outfit with a really sweet simulator to boot 👍

Also ate at the Pistenklause Restaurant and Hotel when I visited the Nurburgring for a job interview, 
and even saw Sabine Schmitz in-person.
She looked at me, runny nose and Simpson bag in hand, and walked away unimpressed 😁


Though I didn't get a chance to drive the Ring as it was still closed for winter,
I still got a hell of a vibe from the place

Felt like a little historic ski village with pubs, a castle in the background,
and the most intimidating racetrack surrounding it. 

I've been to many racetracks, but none have given off a vibe like this place.




SCCA, the organization that I've wanted to race with since childhood,
the organization that's produced legendary drivers such as Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, and Mark Donohue
has just published an article about me. Nuts

So many individuals have been a part of this story
From those that offered me a spot on their couch,
to friends that volunteered their time helping with one of my projects,
to my sponsors that so warmly donated what they could to get me to my next race

'I'm humbled' and 'thank you' doesn't do it justice at all.



sunrise from the rhine river bonn, germany 

sunrise from the rhine river
bonn, germany 

It's been 10 days since I sold most of my belongings, packed up my stuff, and moved to Germany.
The plan for 2018 is to race on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife circuit in Germany

best panini in my life in lisbon, portugal

best panini in my life in lisbon, portugal

i'm 30 years old, a college athlete that's kept up the two workouts a day, and in the best racing form of my life.
Every race i'm improving significantly, my track record proves it

portuguese bread, wine, and sardines in the silkiest, stupidest olive oil that an airport merchant gave me for free

portuguese bread, wine, and sardines in the silkiest, stupidest olive oil that an airport merchant gave me for free

I quit everything 4 years ago and have sacrificed all that i could towards this dream.
But now it's time to test myself among the top German and international pros

photo credit:

photo credit:

No better place to do so than on the longest, most difficult, and dangerous race track in the world: the Nurburgring-Nordschleife

-nicknamed, 'The Green Hell' by Sir Jackie Stewart
-170 corners, 12.9 miles (20.8km)
-nestled in the forest of Nurburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
-a track that Formula 1 used to race on until too many people started losing their lives

The idea is that if I can win here, I should be able to win anywhere

the rental for ten days - 2018 ford fiesta 6spd, top-speed 221km (tested w/draft)

the rental for ten days - 2018 ford fiesta 6spd, top-speed 221km (tested w/draft)

10 scheduled races this year, including the crazy 24 Hours of Nurburgring,
one of the largest spectator races in the world where the Germans party in the forest for a week

oh, and it's my first time ever in Europe

Today marks 10 days in Germany. I have, with so much help from my couchsurfing host, Uwe


have found a place to crash anytime i need, 45 minutes from the Nurburgring,
registered as a German resident

acquired a German bank account, phone number,
health/auto insurance, license plates and vehicle registration
oh, and I also bought a freaking BMW!


everybody say hello to Emma.

1996 BMW 320i E36

inline-6, 150hp/140ft/lb, 5spd with only 103k miles
bone stock, previous owner was an 80yr old man
and one of the cleanest interiors i have ever seen.


thanks to this guy, Rosario Guidara,
who took half off the sticker price because he too was down for the dream. Nuts


But now comes the hardest part: knocking on the doors of teams and potential sponsors.
I came with all the money I had. It's still not enough but I can't give up now 👊


Team Appreciation Day


So many special individuals helped me out last year, many my closest friends


then i tried to bounce to Germany without throwing a farewell


got called out for it by the homies of course

they made me go on the roof                       @thetwerkulator

they made me go on the roof                       @thetwerkulator

so we ended up throwing a pretty good one.


Started the day at Simraceway Performance Driving Center in karts

Huge thanks to my guys Greg Evans, Jerott King, Nyck, Jenn, Renee, and Shawn Jackson for making this happen

And to Dan Forer aka therealbabadook, my crew chief last year and also one of my closest friends, for winning the GD Fastest Lap Cup

The guys at Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma came through next. Ate lunch and even invited us up to their special loft. Thanks guys! 👊

Then to Cafe Prague, one of my favorite haunts in a little alleyway in SF

More imbibing on the bus, after parties, etc very quiet night. And yes, that's my crew chief wearing his trophy


thanks guys. next up, Germany


Chumpionship in Vegas


Was recently asked by a team to provide some coaching for their guys, as well as hop in the driver's seat at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
for their end of the year ChumpCar World Series Chumpionship

My buddy Brian was kind enough to let us take his NSX down to Vegas from Auburn


16hr championship race split between two days. 2hrs into day 1, the differential and crankshaft seal went


The guys did an amazing job getting everything replaced and put back together in time for day 2

Unfortunately, soon as I got into the car we lost 3rd gear. I adapted my line and driving style, and even with one gear down we began passing people

2hrs later I handed the car off to another teammate whom retired the car soon after due to some fumes and smoke that had appeared and became intolerable


Regardless of the result, I had a blast down in Vegas with the awesome guys of ZPT Motorsports and want to personally thank them,
as well as the ChumpCar World Series organization for ensuring that grassroots motor sports stays alive in the States and continues to thrive


Laguna Seca


Laguna Seca, the place I used to bus and steal rides down to just to be around a track


As it is with racing, we finished the engine swap and race-prep only hours before we hit the road for Salinas, CA

My first time driving Laguna with my first impressions being the following:

-DAMN what a track
-totally understand now why it's world-famous
-blind corners, camber, exiting the corkscrew is so much fun, the sand is deep
-a track that rewards the (successful) risk-takers and punishes the rest

Friday was qualifying and amazingly, through the heat, we were able to put it on pole!


Saturday's race was hard-fought. 2/3's of the way in, we found ourselves maintaining the top spot while being able to manage our tires and the gap when suddenly...the power cut OFF

Turns out in the rush of getting the car ready for grid and when switching the car on, we didn't notice a loose ignition switch/toggle cover. While going over a rumble strip with about 6 laps to go, under the rattling and vibration the switch switched itself off and just like that we lost the lead and dropped back to 3rd

Team GDR's 'pit' - love Laguna's tribute to N. Hayden

Team GDR's 'pit' - love Laguna's tribute to N. Hayden

After getting the engine restarted, we fought back and were able to finish P2

Not bad but damn, what could've been. Plus, with it being 100+ degrees out during the race and only having one set of tires for the weekend, Saturday's race was probably our best shot to bring home a win


For Sunday's race 2, we were again fortunate enough to place it on pole position and start 1st for our race

Because our tires were shot, we had to pull every trick in the book:

-fuel for only 3 laps (reduce total weight and stress on our fairly worn tires)
-rotate them
-some final tweaks to the balance of the car
-waited till everyone else was out to clean and warm up the track, then went out when there was a good gap and clear traffic
-2 warm up laps and 1 flying lap

On the one flying lap, we clocked a time 1.3 seconds faster than our previous qualifying time. Sweet

For the majority of the race, we led. Then I came across a slower Mustang from a faster car class and he begins blocking real aggressively, forcing me to slow down which allowed 2nd place to catch up

In a pro series, I suspect that the mustang would've gotten bumped after a few corners. (in a Sebastien Vettel voice)..I mean cmon' guys honestly, what are we doing here?! ;)


After a couple frustrating attempts to pass the mustang, an error on my part was made as I mis-judged the apex on Turn 11 sending me off just enough on exit to lose the lead

By Turn 5, I was already back on my competitor's bumper and with my tires already severely dropped off on grip, I made the decision to send it on the inside for a late-braking pass

that pic your parents make you take

that pic your parents make you take

I came out the winner and held the lead till the checkered flag was waved. Two poles, 1st and 2nd place, on my first time racing at Laguna. Dreams are a crazy thing

The biggest thank you to those below for believing in and supporting GriffeyDreams when many did not:

Hana Japan Steak and Seafood (in Dublin, CA and Berkeley Marina, CA)
Marin Acura (Marin, Corte Madera, San Francisco)
Cafe Tapioca (Dublin, CA)
WORKS Motorsports (Sonoma, CA)
Tomas Sport Tuning (Berkeley, CA)
Hoosier Tires
Acura/Honda Performance Development

Brian @
Dan Forer (crew)
Dad (crew)

And of course another big thank you to all the kind souls who individually lent their support - i know who you are, and you know who you are

Race cars kick ass.




Tapioca Canyon Clinics #1

Clif and his Boss Mustang

Clif and his Boss Mustang

We recently held a free Driving Skills Clinic and Canyon Cruise co-hosted by Cafe Tapioca and GriffeyDreams Racing, called 'Tapioca Canyon Clinics'

using squiggly lines to explain things

using squiggly lines to explain things

People actually showed up, were greeted to some delicious drinks and food courtesy of Cafe Tapioca, and then I got to work trying to explaining some car things

Gregory Evans (racer, instructor, coach)

Gregory Evans (racer, instructor, coach)

Though I think my friend, Gregory Evans of Simraceway Performance Driving Center, did a much better job than me

backroad #2 

backroad #2 

After a quick classroom and road brief we were off to some gorgeous, hidden northern california backroads

cool down cruise to lunch

cool down cruise to lunch

Some lunch in Davenport, a couple more roads, and off we went on our separate ways. Beautiful weather, huggy roads, cool cars, happy smiles

Chill day, join us on the next one!

some of the crew

some of the crew

Sonoma Regionals

my awesome pit crew, i mean friends..

my awesome pit crew, i mean friends..

Ohhh Sonoma..

As with all my races this season, funding was secured last minute and off we went to try our luck on my 'home track,'
Sonoma Raceway, formerly known as Infineon Raceway and Sears Point

Alex "hotlap' Herndon

Alex "hotlap' Herndon

Gregory Evans

Gregory Evans

Buddies and fellow racers, Alex and Greg, were kind enough to help out and crew for the weekend 

So here's what the weekend looked like:

Practice and Qualifying:

We top the time sheets in Practice. Then in qualifying the engine starts stumbling pretty badly so I come in and we find a broken positive battery terminal. With my pit neighbor's help, we repair the terminal and I go out for the remainder of the session but we're still plagued with a misfire

After a closer look, it turns out the coil pack for cylinder 2 has snapped in half - something we've never seen before. It's replaced with a new one and we hope for better luck on Saturday


T2 @ Sonoma Raceway PC: Alex Herndon

T2 @ Sonoma Raceway
PC: Alex Herndon

Race 1:

Due to the engine issue I think we qualified something like 31st out of 34 cars but we remained optimistic that with the misfire solved, we could cut through some of the pack and at least have some fun


Soon as the race starts the same issue comes up again and I'm forced to retire early


Qualifying and Race 2:

After Saturday's race we swap out all the coil packs with new ones, install a new battery, new spark plugs, reload the tune onto our ECU, and perform other tests. After a short drive around the paddock the car feels and sounds a lot better

In qualifying, we place the #27 GriffeyDreams Racing/Hana Japan/Cafe Tapioca car on Pole Position with a time of 1:54.540, pretty sure a new unofficial track record, and two seconds clear of P2, good enough for 1st in class and 5th overall out of 39 cars

But with about 8 minutes left in qualifying the engine begins to stumble again...damn!
We perform some more tests and the engine again sounds and feels healthy after a short test drive

Come race time, the green flag drops and I maintain the top spot in my class until halfway through the race the engine starts stumbling again

Down on what feels like 50% of my power and after a yellow flag comes out, the lead that I've created vanishes and I get eaten up on the straights,
I drop back 3 places and finish 4th, still with fastest lap of the race

They certainly weren't the results we were hoping for but that's racing. 

my sponsors and everyone that's helped

my sponsors and everyone that's helped

That said, it was great seeing a bunch of my close friends and supporters make it out and enjoy the races in beautiful Sonoma county.
Again, without the help of so many people none of this would've even been possible. I remain forever indebted

PC: Alex Herndon

PC: Alex Herndon

That said, some exciting new plans are in motion and Team GriffeyDreams Racing
will be back in full force and ready to fight real soon - you can bet on it