Dino Yancey is pretty much family. He came to my wedding in Phoenix. I went to his in Houston (and almost got Tazed by Houston PD, by the way). He runs 2GNT.com, where we originally met. Over the years, he’s been a mentor, leader, brother. Recently, when I was freaking out the morning our first baby was born, Dino was my wingman, keeping me stable in those intense hours just before the operation.
On top of all that, Dino was among the first of the hundreds of gearheads we’ve interviewed here over the years. He helped me build my Talon. He helped me start this magazine. So, now that I’m going back and following up with people we’ve spoken with in the past, he was among the first to get an invite back. In this installment, we talk about how projects grow, time shrinks, and we figure out how to make the most of it all.
It’s been three years since we last interviewed you, how much progress have you made (or not made) going back through ‘Big E’ in the new garage?
On that subject, there is painfully little to tell. The car is a stalled project, but the eventual plan for it has not changed. I haven’t actively worked on the black car at all in 2012, unfortunately. Other things keep taking priority, but in the near future that will change, i’m tired of seeing it sit. All it needs to become an active project again is for me to go out to the garage, grab some tools, and start working on it again.
What’s made the biggest impact on the above answer?
Many things. 2012 has been a very busy year for me, both personally and professionally. Most importantly was the birth of my daughter (and second child) in April. Having one child (now a toddler) will keep you busy, but having two under two years old will run you ragged. Previously, I was able to get my son bathed and put to bed and the spend the rest of the evening in the garage, but with two children and both myself and my wife working full time, there are many nights where I just want to shut my brain down and vegetate on the couch instead of designing front suspension and figuring out Ackerman angles, or hefting a transaxle back into an engine bay.
I’ve also become part of a team that races a Jeep Cherokee in the 24 Hours of LeMons. On the nights when I am both motivated and able to get out of the house, I have been spending time at the shop working with the rest of the team prepping the car for out next race (currently MSR Houston, Sept. 29-20, followed by ECR Dallas, Dec 29th & 30th). My projects have suffered accordingly, as I tend to keep myself overcommited in project work so that I am able to pick and choose my diversion to fit my mood, and I’m really poor in the time management department.
What else is new, “automotively” speaking?
About 18 months ago, my good friend and (now former) fellow 2GNT’er Thura dropped off his car at my place. He knew I was looking for a cheap chassis to build a stock-ish 2GNT daily driver from, thus I was instructed to part out and sell all of the go-fast goodies from his dyno-proven 400wHP turbo 2gnt. Once everything was sold, I would end up with the chassis in exchange for the labor and a token amount in cash. It took me quite a long time to put it all back together after the part-out for a lot of the reasons detailed above, but several weeks ago the car legally passed a State of Texas emissions inspection and I’ve been daily driving it for about a month now (albeit without a working speedometer for most of that time, and the check engine light came on again this morning, grrr). It’s been refreshing to daily a 2GNT again after so many years, they are a pleasure to drive and offer a no-frills personality I haven’t found matched in any newer cars I’ve driven.
Where do you see yourself headed in the future? How do you think your multiple project angle will hold up?
Eventually, everything I want to do will get done, or it won’t. I still have ideas kicking around in my head from projects I started years and years ago that may yet see the light of day. Realistically, I’m still (relatively) young and in (reasonably) good condition, so I have all the time in the world to continue to live and learn to be a good father, husband, community leader, race car driver, fabricator and engineer. All it takes is time and a deep rooted need to tinker, think, and get my hands dirty… and the help of good friends and beer :)
What have the last three years – cars, kids, career – taught you about yourself?
This is a much harder question than it appears at first glance. While I may be pretty introverted, I am not typically very introspective. Looking back over the last few years, the only thing that really comes to mind is the 1939 British propaganda slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Life has a way of throwing you curves and things have changed to a huge degree over the last three years, but as long as you don’t let the weight of the responsibility or the drudgery of the day-to-day spin you out of control, you can keep on keepin’ on and accomplish some really awesome things. All it takes is time.
Only thing left to really ask is what you’re going to be focusing on next and when you expect to be done with it? Reason I ask is, I’ll be setting up a reminder on my editorial calendar to follow up with you about it at that time. We’ll do a simple check-in. It’s about showing everyone how we all run into bullshit now and then – greatness comes from pressing on regardless and getting shit done.
Well… That’s hard to say. I tend to be really ADD about what I’m working on; I could be ripping apart power window regulators one day and tiling a window sill the next. I keep a running task list in my Google calendar of anything and everything I’d like to see “done” both on my cars and around the house. I try to pick one task an evening to take care of and check off the list. Things currently on that list run the gamut from “Polyurethane on the kitchen window frame” to “Install the HRC FMIC on the Solstice” and “Install power door locks in the 2G”.
My next major project is going to be getting the 4-link permanently combined with my black 2G and get some wheels under the rear of it. There isn’t a whole lot preventing me from doing it other than everything else I need to get done on everything else I work on :) Hopefully I’ll have that done and then some before summer of 2012 when it gets too hot to regularly work in the garage. It’s just now cooling off enough to be pleasant in there most afternoons, so it’s time to get to welding…
ISN’T THAT THE TRUTH?
The best idea, left un-attempted, is squandered. Confucius once said that “it doesn’t matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop.” We all tend to get jammed up from time to time, but it is those who make a point of pursuing incremental progress wherever possible who eventually achieve their prizes. I consider Dino a brother, but as much as we’ve spoken on and off in the past three years – even hung out in person – this was a good conversation to have.
How about you? How do you press on regardless in the face of mounting responsibilities?