He drove 26,000 miles to get here!

He Drove 26,000 Miles to get here...

One TCAmerica drivers long road home.

When you’re a young and upcoming race driver the road can be a tough one, maybe not 26,000 mile long road tough but tough.  In racing, the winding road of promises of help, sponsorship’s and relationships stutter, sputter and suffer which is exactly how I would describe Joey Jordan’s journey from TC America Winner to #vanlife traveler and his 26,000 mile drive from San Diego to Mt Fitz Roy in Argentina….  This is written from his father’s perspective, as 26 years ago my second born was brought into this world!   I will do my best to describe how he has gotten to this point.

I’d describe Joey as a very competitive, very direct, very opinionated young man who believes he was born too late, as these days in racing it’s difficult for a racer from modest means to navigate the tough road of racing.  He envisions himself as one
of his heroes Dan Gurney and with some scent of Ken Miles.  For those who have driven with him in endurance racing are all amazed at his speed and how he can will himself to the front and an underfunded under prepared car. 

He takes a middle linebacker mentality to the race track.  His playing middle Linebacker in a weird way got him into racing… He got injured in his Junior year of highschool and it really changed his trajectory as he fought pain and struggle of disappointment as his back failed to heal and he sat on the sidelines couldn’t play any of the sports he loved.  After 12 months it was decided at 17 years old to have a Lumbar disectomy, which is no joke of a  surgery.  A kid whose life revolved
around being active in sports, surfing, snowboarding and anything in between
was told he would never be able to play sports again….   Days after the surgery the pain was so great, in his frustration he told me with hatred in his eyes that he wished he never had the surgery, but slowly very slowly the fun loving, but serious kid started
to come back to us.   He started to gain more mobility and started chasing more dreams, one dream was to get back in a race vehicle.  The Doctor told him he
could sit for 35 minutes at a time and I’ll never forget leaving the doctor’s
office with him and he said “Dad,those spec miata sprint races are 30 minutes
long right!”

So off he went learning his craft in racing, he raced quarter midgets as an 11 year old with some success and we started to autocross when he turned 16, we built a lemons racer for him and his sister that I told them if they didn’t wreck it we could turn it into a spec miata.  The back injury interrupted that, but now I had a way to get my sons spark back so we slaved away together with his sister and Mom and his Uncle Jim to make it into a competitive spec miata.  It took years but we had a great training ground in the Teen Mazda Challenge and his Uncle and I had some experience with racing miata’s more than 10 years previously.  We had some struggles, but we also fought hard and got better every weekend and then we were able to win the SCCA Western Major s Championship in that lemons car and built a new car where he won the teen Mazda Challenge in the West and was invited to the Mazda shootout where he unfortunately didn’t win.  It was a bitter pill as we were out of money and risked it all to get him to this point, he had a hell of a run won close to 20 spec miata races, Finished in the lead pack at his first runoffs won championships but we were at the end of the line.  You can check out one of his magic laps in a spec miata here… https://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/videos/a31969/watch-this-spec-miata-driver-go-from-last-to-first-on-the-first-lap/ This helped him take the lead in the teen challenge he never relinquished. About half way through the crazy lap you can here his emotion as he exits turn 6 at Thunderhill!

Luckily an old friend offered to lend us his Bspec car and we decided to run the last 2 weekends of the TC America Series to show his potential to anyone we could.  He finished the season winning 4 of the last 5 races, the only races he entered and the one he didn’t win he started from pit lane and finished 3rd.  He felt he did everything he could and beat some future Touring Car champions but was again at a crossroads.  He was almost done with College at UC Santa Barbara and he had a one off ride in a TC MX5 at COTA, but that was it.  He raced in some Westcoast Endurance Races and the 25hour, but had to come to the realization that this path maybe wasn’t his path and that’s ok.   Here is a link to one of the TCB races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKB5cSbQiwk

He graduated college got a job as a driving coach at PECLA and began building the vehicle of his dreams.  Unfortunately he is a bit like his pops (he’s cheap!) and he was not going to spend huge money on a Westphalia but he had another idea.  He bought a van from Japan that was a Toyota HIAce diesel 4×4 that he converted into a little camper van and he set out to do what he day dreamed about in class when his back was killing him in Highschool.  (Their was a video he saw in class  that depicted Mt Fitz Roy so he set out to drive from San Diego to Argentina.)

He had to sacrifice to do this, no apartment and working in LA he urban camped in his van and would work at PECLA all week then come home to San Diego and build his van.  It was quite the dichotomy, teaching the affluent how to drive awesome vehicles the right way as he lived in his van!  So in February of 2018 He departed from our house on his Journey.  (You can follow it on you tube until he runs into trouble!)  @gashalffull was his moniker and he was hoping to learn about cultures and race his way through central and South America. You can search on youtube or check out his website at www.gashalffull.com to see his travels and travails.      He wrote his last episode on his website on round 1 of this journey.  I’ll stop this blog here and pick it up when you have a chance to watch or read about his journey.  I’ll follow up with Part 2 in a couple of daze….v

This is some of the 26,000 miles in the Jungle between Belize and Guatemala

Joey Jordan
(Mr Tajin)

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