Motor Press Guild – Reasons to Join

MPG press pass TGPLB 2018Why I Joined MPG

The Motor Press Guild has afforded me great motorsport opportunities along with meeting some really great people. Those are the two main reasons for me to officially join the auto journalists group at the first of this year. I encourage anyone that writes about cars to learn more about and join the Guild.

My start with the Motor Press Guild (MPG) began with one of my first Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race month after moving to SoCal. I had the pleasure of running into Ed Jenks at a press event held by DHL for the first ever Formula E race in Long Beach. (Me and Formula E really hit it off well… read about my FE SuperFan experience) Ed welcomed me with open arms into the world of motorsports journalism. That warm welcome kept MPG on my mind.

Ran into Ed again the next few years and also met Tom Stahler. Tom is an outspoken character that is very passionate about all racing that requires gas. I was determined to join MPG after spending a few outings with the two of them. After expressing my desire to join MPG both of them offered to be my “sponsor”. The MPG application requires 2 active MPG members to vouch for you and also requires at least 3 published automotive writing examples. Yes, joining the Guild is a little more than paying money and saying you want in.

MPG Member Perks

Along with special outings at automotive events, MPG has monthly lunch-n-learns. These events are fantastic for meeting other like-minded car people. And, the topic choices are very relevant to anyone in the automotive journalistic world. March 2018 MPG luncheon topic was freelancing in the automotive journalist’s world. The panel consisted of both freelancer journalists and the editors that hire them. April 2018 is going to be based on the “Infotainment” options that are ruling the dashboards of new cars. Both topics are on point for what I want to know about in the car world.

Many more learning, driving, and networking activities are planned for the rest of the year. I look forward to using my MPG membership to broaden my professional automotive writing exposure and meet more great car people. Joining the Motor Press Guild is certainly a worthwhile investment and something I really wish I had done earlier. Don’t hesitate and join the Guild if you have even a small interest in the automotive journalism profession.

Motorsports Addiction Leads to Printful Solution

As you are probably well aware… I have a huge affinity for motorsports and the cool stuff that surrounds it. And, as you may also be aware, I am a tech guy that makes a living helping others find solutions to digital needs. So, I have been thinking of ways to blend both worlds and came up with a solution. Use Printful and WooCommerce to make an online store.

A little background – for whatever reason, I have always felt that a passive income stream selling swag via the Internet would be a great path to venture down. Well, I’ve meandered down that moss covered path. I pulled together a WordPress website, acquired a domain name, and set up an e-commerce solution to sell t-shirts. Yes, it is in place and working now. (Look at the bottom of the post for deets)

Here is a step-by-step overview of the process with links so you can put together a solution similar to this if desired. Full disclosure, the links are affiliate links but they benefit you as much as me. For example, some of the links will get a free month of service for both you and me. If that doesn’t float your boat, then just head to the resource by typing in the main part of the link address and hitting “go”.

Steps to Get Started with WooCommerce and Printful

  1. Register a domain name. Go to someplace like Hover, or GoDaddy, or your usual domain registrar. Get a name that describes what you want to sell but doesn’t make it too keyword stuffed.
  2. Get some web hosting space so the new e-commerce website has a home. I use InMotionHosting because they have excellent support and provide fantastic up-times.
  3. Download and install WordPress.
  4. Install WooCommerce.
  5. Register at and configure an account to connect to the WooCommerce platform.
  6. Create some products via Printful and push them to WooCommerce on the WordPress website.
  7. Promote the store via some online ads on Facebook or Google.
  8. Manage the website sales.
  9. Enjoy the added income.

This is the video I watched that got me the biggest push for setting things up. Chris Lema is a guru in the digital world and a guy that knows his stuff. Besides, he likes smoking cigars.

My Store with WooCommerce
Addicted to Motorsports Printful t-shirt mockup

Here is the store I started to sell motorsports related t-shirts to racing fans. It is called Cool Race Swag and I strongly encourage anyone that likes cars and racing to pay it a visit. You won’t be disappointed.

I highly encourage you to go down this same path if you want to do something like setting up a Printful account and creating an e-commerce store. Feel free to contact me if you start down the digital road and have questions. I’m happy to help!

BMWCCA National Board Meeting in Los Angeles

The BMWCCA National Board met in Los Angeles recently. I am not on the National Board (personal club aspirations possibly?), but an open invite went out to all members of the BMWCCA. Being a long-term member with a great BMW story, I jumped at the chance to meet everyone. Also, I am the webmaster for the LA Chapter’s website and I want to be more involved with the Club.

Getting Involved with the BMWCCA

A large portion of the new involvement will involve a full revamp of the LA Chapter website. Soon it will have the look and feel of the National BMWCCA website. This will add more continuity to the Club digital properties. In addition, it will make the regular updating and maintenance of the website much easier. All good things for my chapter of the BMWCCA.

A smaller portion of my involvement is attending more events that are not necessarily driving events. Don’t get me wrong however, I want to attend more of those also. Events where Board members and leaders in the Chapters are events that I’m looking to attend. I feel confident that there will be lots of overlap and I’ll be able to meet-n-greet the movers-n-shakers of the Club.

BMWCCA National Board Meeting dinner

My first opportunity to meet and mingle with decision makers within the BMWCCA came shortly into the new year. The Club’s National Board met in Los Angeles and all Club members were invited to a meet-n-greet dinner after the day’s meetings. It was a delightful time where I got to see and speak with LA Chapter President Kurt Helm and also see “Always Active Member” Delight Lucas.

Stephen Harvey with BMWCCA Board membersThe Board had a moment of recognition and I snapped a quick pic…

BMWCCA National board 2018A definite highlight for me was meeting a person that I hold in very high regard in the BMW world. He has entertained and wowed with his magnificent work as Editor-in-chief of Roundel magazine. I was honored to get the autograph of Satch Carlson on a piece of cool BMW swag. You can see from my extreme grin that I am elated!

Stephen Harvey with Satch Carlson

So, this year is going to be active for me and the BMWCCA. The LA Chapter website is getting a facelift under my care. Also looking forward to attending many more BMW events, like O’fest and Thermal club outings. If you are a part of the BMWCCA I’d love to meet ya and have a chat about BMdubyahs.

I highly encourage anyone that has the Bimmer bug to go by and look at the BMWCCA website. Learn more about what we do, why we are so passionate, and then join up!



BMWCCA Foundation is Always Amazeballs!

Living on the West coast of the US makes visiting the BMW Car Club of America’s Foundation museum a bit more of a trek. I used to live just a short drive from the front doors of the always amazeballs place, but now the drive is a bit further. This is why visiting the magnificence of the BMWCCA Foundation Museum is that much more awesome for me!

Home for the Holidays!

This year I made it home for the holidays. The first place I visited was not family, much to their chagrin. The place I drove straight to was the BMWCCA Foundation museum building where Michael, the longtime curator and driving innovator at the museum, was waiting to let me in. He and I have known each other for many years now and it is always a pleasure catching up with him. Michael is a wealth of BMW knowledge and has deep ties with the BMWCCA. Getting “the tour” of the museum facilities from him is a privilege and time I highly value.

I highly encourage any BMW fan to research and then make an appointment to go by and experience the BMWCCA Foundation for yourself. The building is located adjacent to the BMW Performance Center near Spartanburg, SC and just on the outskirts of North American BMW mecca. Like any Bimmer aficionado needs an excuse to take a drive around the birthplace of many a BMW.

Extensive Collection at the BMWCCA Foundation Museum

The extensive collection of cars at the Foundation museum over the holidays was in preparation for the “Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport” exhibit. Featured were many past BMW cars from varied racing genre ranging from IMSA to Formula series. I took lots of pictures and share two of the prime ones below.

Here’s the full photo album on Facebook: BMWCCA Foundation 2017

This is a great shot of the front end of an E46… (one of my personal fav Bimmer liveries!)

Connect with me on Instagram (havarino) for all my latest car pics. I focus mainly on BMW (of course) but I don’t discriminate against automotive awesomeness. So… there might be some other car manufacturers shown, but they will be great eye candy.

I am a motorsport enthusiast through and through. My passions include seeing the latest automobile tech going fast. My background is in Internet technology. Admiring cars, along with following motorsports, drives my desire to experience more car greatness.

United States Grand Prix YEAR 6 Fan Recap

Fans at COTA USGP 2017Fan Recap with Race Results

Race action highlights included Lewis Hamilton winning the race with Sebastian Vettel in a close second. Some great on-track action was given to fans with the Mercedes and the Ferrari battling it out at the start and then later during pit stop rotations. During the closing few corners of the grand prix, Max Verstappen was able to maneuver past Kimi Raikkonen to take third place. However, Verstappen exceeded track limits and was immediately given a 5 second time penalty that relegated him to 4th. Overall an exciting race to watch and not the sometimes snoozefest of other F1 races.

Ferrari at COTA USGP 2017

The United States Grand Prix brings excitement to fans, both on track and after the racing is done for the day. Several support races in 2017 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on the F1 weekend. There was FIA Formula 4, a feeder series for open wheel racing, and the Masters Historic Racing, which is comprised of classic Formula 1 race cars from the years of 1966 to 1985. Two wonderful open-wheel series that provide huge levels of car eye candy and racing action. But, the fun and entertainment were not just on the track!

Double Header Fan Entertainment

The USGP race weekend had big entertainment names on the roster. First, Justin Timberlake performed Saturday night after the F1 qualifying session. The concert was relatively brief, but JT didn’t underwhelm. Then on Sunday night following the GP, Stevie Wonder performed and entertained as he always does so well. As an added bonus at the track COTA erected a Fan Zone with a Ferris wheel and activities for the whole family. But, what appealed to me as a huge fan was the easy access to food and beverages along with little wait times for the bathroom. COTA does a good job of making sure the race fan has a good experience. Not everything is always smooth like butter, but I sincerely feel this track listens to fans and makes changes quickly to improve the fan experience.

COTA tower at night

I realized the true willingness to improve the fan experience by Circuit of the Americas when traveling to other Formula 1 races and other racing events in general. One big aspect that stood out to me at COTA is the ability to circumvent the entire track. As a fan, one can walk around the entire perimeter of the track with little areas off limits. This was quite the contrast to the F1 race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. I attended last year and was limited to a small area of the track inside the baseball complex. The food and beverage options were extremely limited and the entertainment off-track was nill. The two track experiences were night and day contrast. This is why I will recommend a COTA visit over another track.

No Downtown Austin Fan Zone

One thing that was missing for me was the absence of the downtown Austin Fan Zone Experience. It seemed like there was an attempt to be replicated on site at COTA with the Fan Zone and the two big name concerts, but it fell short in my opinion. Having F1 and all the circus and circumstance around it in the heart of Austin made me feel welcome as a race fan. To me having the downtown entertainment brought the entire race weekend from the track into the heart of the city. This only improved the experience for me as a fan. My hopes are that the City of Austin, Circuit of the Americas, and Liberty Media can come to a huge compromise and throw the ultimate Formula weekend party that encompasses COTA and downtown Austin.

This weekend in Austin saw Mercedes take the 2017 Manufacturers Championship, but left the Drivers Championship still alive. It will be difficult for Ferrari’s Vettel to make up the points deficit to beat Hamilton, but that’s why we are race fans and watch the events. COTA’s Fan Experience was fantastic and I hope that downtown Austin can be more assimilated into the F1 weekend festivities in the future. Having Austin in the middle of the F1 mix made it a “bigger” event to me. However, all-in-all, the USGP weekend did not disappoint in the least.