As soon as we got into Las Vegas we checked-in at our hotels and then headed straight for the SEMA show. We got there just in time to pick up our media badges and stop by the Scion booth before the end of the show.
We were able to see these builds at the Scion SEMA media preview party, but finally seeing them on display meant that we were very close to hearing the winner of this whole thing.
Here’s a quick reminder of the three contestants:
Walter Franco’s L-DZ Concept from Seattle, Washington. L-DZ stands for “ladiez” because he build it “for the ladies.” (@namsayin)
Josh Croll’s WSD tC from Mertztown, Pennsylvania. WSD stands for “Wrong Side Drive” because of the RHD conversion they executed. (@crollscustoms)
Young Tea’s Simpli-tC from Los Angeles, California. Who wanted to go back to the basics with a garage-build car that is both show worth and daily driver ready. (@simpli_tc)
The day has finally come, less than 10 minutes before the announcement and the crowds are forming. Followers of this challenge were gathered around and with the Scion booth being so close to the Central Hall entrance, I could tell other spectators were stopping to see what was going on as well.
Jarod DeAnda introduced each builder to give the crowd a little info about what they and their build was about.
Just like a tandem drift battle, it was if the ceremony was moving in slow motion and very quickly at the same time. SuperStreet (@superstreet) representatives, Jonathan Wong (@jdmwong) and Sam Du (@duspeed), were introduced to award one of these builders with the first ever Fan Favorite Award.
Walter Franco and his VIP’d 2014 tC won the fan favorite award, which included $2,000 and a feature in SuperStreet magazine.
And just like that, it was time. We were all about to find out where each tC placed in this challenge.
In 3rd Place: Josh Croll
And then there were two. Jarod DeAnda, kept the suspense going for as long as he could since it was clear that once he read the name for second place, we would all know who the winner of the 2013 Scion SEMA Tuner Challenge.
In 2nd place: Walter Franco
And just like that, Danny Nguyen (@jdmzipties) who happened to be standing next to me erupted into the ultimate fan boy, cheering on for his good friend Young Tea (@young_tea)! Its great that in the picture above, as Walter was posing for a photo-op, you can clearly see Young trying to be as humble as possible and hold back a smile.
Well, you don’t have to keep it in anymore man! Let it out! You did it and you made us all proud! Seeing Young the days before the awards ceremony, I could tell he was stressing. It wasn’t about the money or the trophy or even the bragging rights, to him it was about not letting all of his friends and supporters down. Everyone told him that we were all proud of him no matter what, but knowing him, I know he really wanted to give all of us and the West Coast the recognition deserved from all the hard work put into Simpli-tC. I am extremely happy that that stress has finally been lifted from his shoulders and he can get back to being the relax guy I know he is.
Again, here are the three builds of this year’s Tuner Challenge in order of where they placed (3rd, 2nd, 1st).
Croll might have the 1st RHD tC, Franco might be the fan favorite, but I can’t think of anything better than seeing Simpli-tC having 1st place resting on its sunroof.
And with that smile, you know Young is thinking the same thing too.
With how hard Young motivated himself to finish this build for the sponsors and supporters, it would be wrong of me to go through this whole article without at least giving a shout to all of those who helped make this all possible.
This “JustIn” (@justdayuum)