Going through life, you’ll meet all different kinds of people. Some of those people will inspire, challenge or make you feel unproductive because they are maximizing every single minute of their day - Odi Bakchis is one of those people. In just a few short years, Odi has managed to become a pro drifter, 2011 Formula Drift Rookie of the year, graduate from college, run a business and become a father all at the same time.
Before I met up with Odi, he wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss breakfast - which for me meant waking up at the crack of dawn to get to Odi's home in the ski resort town of Wrightwood about an hour and a half east of Los Angeles. Every day before he heads off to his shop, he and his wife Amy get up early to make breakfast and spend time together as a family. During these early moments in the day, Odi plays family man; the cars are in the garage and he is not on his phone checking emails. He shuts out the rest of his world for a few peaceful moments with his family.
In fact, he and his family spend as much time together as they can. Odi and his wife, Amy, met when they were teenagers. Their home is filled with pictures from various trips they've taken and even their high school prom picture. Surprisingly, I did not find a single picture of Odi's drift car in their home.
Earlier this year, Amy gave birth to their 1st child, Audrina. Barely even 6 months old, Audrina has already traveled across the country on road trips to each Formula Drift event. Becoming a father is just one of the many accomplishments Odi has achieved this year, along with joining the Nitto Racing team and earning his first FD podium finish during Round 4 at Wall Speedway in New Jersey.
After spending the morning with his family, Odi is off to spend the rest of his morning sitting in his car on the highway. For most people this is their least favorite part of the day, but for Odi, this is time for some fun. To get onto the main road leading to the highway, Odi has to drive through a twisty canyon road. As I try to keep up with Odi in his 400+ horsepower Cadillac CTS-V, I get an ear-to-ear grin as I realize why he bought a house out here. About 15 minutes later we exit the twisty canyon road and join the rest of the commuters in bumper to bumper traffic.
After surviving almost an hour of California traffic, we pull up to a building that says Feal Suspension outside. Feal is a suspension company that Odi started when he was 17 years old. Odi and his brothers raced motocross throughout their childhood while their father ran Zeal Racing, a shop specializing in building race motors for dirt bikes.
Feal Suspension got started after Odi began rebuilding motocross shocks then evolved as he got involved in different types of racing. In 2009, Odi was competing in Rally America and NASA Rally events in the Western region and began re-servicing suspension for rally cars that he was racing. In his final season, NASA was willing pay travel costs for the fastest competitors in the region to go to the National Championships in NY. His ride was secured as long as he completed the last regional round. Unfortunately Odi crashed during the last round of the series and decided to call it quits for rally racing.
Although quitting rally, Odi still had the itch to drive. A friend and Pro 2 driver Ryan Litteral brought Odi to Adam’s Go Kart Track for their Thursday Night Drift events. He says he had never seen anything like it and was so intrigued by what he saw and what drivers were doing that he spent nights searching craigslist for a 240sx (who hasn’t?). He eventually found one and started building it up slowly, taking it to Adam’s almost every Thursday for six months straight.
Odi eventually moved on to competing in Pro-am events such as Just Drift’s Top Drift Championship and Vegas Drift where he earned his Formula D Pro license. In 2011, Odi was awarded Rookie of the Year and currently sits 6th in the 2014 championship standing.
Through the day the crew, consisting of John, Odi and his brother Adas, take apart motocross shocks. Odi rarely leaves the shop, not even for lunch. He is busy responding to emails, customer calls, building shocks and when he has the time, he picks up parts for his drift car.
Business at Feal Suspension closes at 5pm, but Odi is far from finished. Today, he and his team stay late to get his car ready for Nitto’s Auto Enthusiast Day. Today’s task is to put a Wisefab angle kit from a S14 240SX onto his S13 demo car. It takes a lot of cutting, welding and measuring to achieve the extreme angle that the kit provides.
The drilling, welding and test fitting run into the night before Odi and John get the kit dialed in for the event. It’s been a long day but Odi looks forward to the twisty canyon road home and seeing his family before getting some rest and starting another day - maximizing every minute he’s given.
Now that you’ve read about a typical day with Odi, check out what his weekends are like as he tries to make another podium appearance at Formula Drift Round 6 and watch the video interview to hear more about how he got into drifting and his outlook.
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