A man with glasses holding up a wooden camera.

Reflecting on the decades-long evolution of “AutoMatters & More”

From time to time, people ask me what this column is about. I struggle answering that question because it is about so much. Therefore, this week, I’d like to share with you my thoughts about what this column has become in the more than 20 years since I began to write it.

A man in a mario kart 8 kart.
April 14, 2014: Jan enjoying WonderCon in Anaheim, California
A man standing in front of a building with the eiffel tower in the background.
2016: Jan enjoying Paris, France

At first this column was not called “AutoMatters & More.” It was a very car-centric column and, appropriately, it had a very car-centric name. Soon, however, I changed that name when I learned that someone else was already using it. I renamed it “AutoMatters.”

A group of trucks on a dirt track.
2007: CORR off-road racing at the Chula Vista International Raceway at the Quarry. See: https://automatters.net/championship-off-road-racing-corr-chula-vista-ca-june-2007/
A person doing a flip in a dirt arena.
June 24, 2014: San Diego County Fair — WGAS Tuff Trucks
A car on a track with smoke coming out of the front.
April 12, 2014: Long Beach GP — drifting
A subaru impreza in the air during a race.
November 2014: Red Bull Global Rallycross
A group of rally cars on a dirt track at night.
November 2014: Red Bull Global Rallycross
Two racing cars on a race track.
A brown car driving down the road.
2023: Wavecrest Woodies car show, Encinitas, California
A group of indy cars racing down a track.
Two men are driving a vintage car on a runway.
A group of nascar mechanics working on a car.
Three nascar cars racing on a track.
Mercedes-benz vision van concept at the detroit auto show.
Nascar nascar nascar nascar nascar nascar nascar n.

No doubt as do you, I have a wide variety of interests, so increasingly I began to share with you coverage — in words and mostly my original, professional photography — much more than just car (and truck) stuff. However, there was a problem with that — the name of this column. One of the publications that published “AutoMatters” had begun suggesting additional automotive-related topics for me to cover instead of the other topics. Rather than do that, I proposed to the editor of that publication that I would simply add “& More” to the name. That way, the column could be about pretty much anything while, at the same time, it would still have a very familiar name to what the established audience for “AutoMatters” knew this column by before. It would still contain the automotive content that they had enjoyed, and more.

A woman in a red dress singing into a microphone.
January 9, 2009: Diana Ross at a Monster concert in Las Vegas
A man in yellow and black jumps over a motorcycle.
June 24, 2014: San Diego County Fair — freestyle motocross
Disneyland paris sign with mickey mouse.
A yellow and black bumblebee costume standing in a hallway.
March 30, 2013: Bumblebee Transformer at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA
A tiger laying in the grass.
A colorful fireworks display in the night sky.
Fourth of July, 2014: Fireworks at the San Diego County Fair
A man in a superman costume is holding a car on stage.
April 19, 2014: The Masquerade at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA
A group of people riding motorcycles on a track.
January 11, 2013: Championship Indoor Concrete Short Track motorcycle racing at the South Point hotel in Las Vegas
A red bull jet flying over a body of water.
Red Bull Air Race in San Diego
A man is painting a man's face with blue paint.
July 22, 2014: San Diego Comic-Con
A woman with dreadlocks working on a piece of art.

When asked what it is about, I tend to tell people that “AutoMatters & More” is about almost anything and everything — except the two very polarizing topics of religion and politics, to avoid alienating a large portion of my audience. If I had any doubt about my decision to avoid such controversial topics, my struggle a few years ago to write a politically neutral column about what was presented as a non-partisan political event called Politicon made me realize that it is extremely difficult to provide inoffensive, balanced political coverage — although I do believe that eventually I was successful at doing that, albeit with watered-down text that was unlikely to offend anyone. I never even tried once to cover religion.

A crowd of people at an auto show.
A group of military men in a plane.
2015: Experiencing zero g-force at the top of the initial, steep climb on the Blue Angels’ “Fat Albert,” during a full rehearsal for the NAF El Centro Air Show in California
A blue and yellow airplane.
2015: Jan proudly standing beside Capt. Katie Higgins and the crew of “Fat Albert” after the flight
A man is jumping out of a plane.
Flying along with the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team at 10,000 feet — high above the MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego
A person is flying a parachute.
A fighter jet flying through the air with smoke coming out of it.
A fighter jet flying in the sky.
A large fire exploding in the middle of a field.
Two blue and yellow jets flying in the sky.
U.S. Navy Blue Angels
A pair of fighter jets flying through the air.
USAF Thunderbirds in Las Vegas, Nevada
Three orca whales jumping out of the water.
SeaWorld San Diego
Hogwarts castle at harry potter world.
2016: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood
A man in a space suit standing in front of a red door.
August 17, 2013: Ender’s Game studio activation during San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego
A yellow and black steam engine.
August 17, 2014: Bluegrass Festival at the Antique Steam Engine Museum in Vista, CA
A helicopter sits on top of a building.
2018 Amazon activation: the Jack Ryan Experience during San Diego Comic-Con
A group of jet skis in the water.
Disneyland castle at night with fireworks in the background.
Two sailboats are racing in the ocean.
A blue cookie monster mascot standing in front of a building.
Cookie Monster from Sesame Street at Sesame Place in Chula Vista, California
A group of cowboys riding horses down a city street.
2017: Cattle drive in downtown San Diego in conjunction with the San Diego County Fair
A group of people with colorful wings standing in front of a light.
2023: An interactive exhibit at the Fleet Science Center — Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
A man is preparing a large pot of paella.
December 2023: House of Spain making paella during “December Nights” celebration in Balboa Park, San Diego
Two men with beards playing guitars on stage.
2017: Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top & Jimmie Vaughan performing at the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, Nevada
Nintendo's mario world - nintendo mario world - nintendo mario world.
2023: Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios, Hollywood, California
Pirates of the caribbean at disneyland.
2021: The Water World stunt show at Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA

I’d like to assure you that I have absolutely no intention of moving away from sharing a wide variety of automotive content with you. For example, for many years I’ve been covering NASCAR stock car racing in Southern California. For the past three years, that coverage has included the “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum.”

A view of a race track in a stadium.
2024: NASCAR “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” in Los Angeles, CA

Unfortunately, the recent 2024 event was the last of a three-year contract with the LA Coliseum, and there is a strong likelihood that contract might not be renewed — especially since attendance was so low at the 2024 event, due to the realized prediction of catastrophic flooding in the Los Angeles area that was caused by torrential rainfall in a very short period of time. The dire forecasts for that rain prompted NASCAR to make the unprecedented decision, with only a few hours notice, to upend the schedule of the 2024 event by holding its two feature races (the “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” and the NASCAR Mexico Series race) on Saturday instead of Sunday, in the hope of beating the rain (they did, but barely). The preliminary races that were supposed to run on Saturday and the live musical performances were cancelled.

Nascar nascar nascar nascar nascar nascar nascar n.
2024: NASCAR “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” in Los Angeles, CA

Since this event might not be held there again anytime soon, together with the uncertainty of when — or if — the much talked-about short track replacement for the demolished Auto Club Speedway in Southern California will be built, I decided to share with you 169 of my (individually edited) photos of this NASCAR event. You can see them here, on the “AutoMatters & More” website, in column 826 entitled: “Unprecedented deluge of rain in LA upends NASCAR CLASH”:

Unprecedented deluge of rain in LA upends NASCAR CLASH

A man taking a selfie in front of a large stadium.
2024: Jan preparing to photograph the NASCAR “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” in Los Angeles, CA
Three nascar cars are racing on a track.
2024: NASCAR “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” in Los Angeles, CA
A group of nascar drivers working on their cars.
2024: NASCAR “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” in Los Angeles, CA
A group of nascar cars in a race track.
2024: NASCAR “Busch Light CLASH at The Coliseum” in Los Angeles, CA

I encourage you to visit the “AutoMatters & More” website at https://automatters.net, to explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002. There you will find bonus photos to accompany the text of the columns that you enjoy in the other publications that also bring you “AutoMatters & More.” Sometimes it takes me a while to edit and upload these additional photos, but I do intend to do so. Search by title or topic in the Search Bar in the middle of the Home Page, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes and browse.

San diego skyline at dusk.
December 14, 2014: San Diego, California

Copyright © 2024 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #827

Jan Wagner


  1. David Sperry on February 22, 2024 at 10:25 am

    Jan, loved seeing some of my favorite photos again: the collision with the wall at AutoClubSpeedway, and the WaterWorld Stunt Show. You have witnessed so many different sports…powerboat, hydrofoil, air racing, steam engines, all forms of auto racing, and experienced zero gravity no less!

    Is that Nikon made from wood or gingerbread?


    • Jan Wagner on February 22, 2024 at 10:43 am

      I actually made that ‘Nikon’ out of corrugated, scrap cardboard, with the use of a hot glue gun, in the maker Studio X at San Diego’s Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. I made that a few years ago, while I was still a Nikon shooter. Not too long thereafter, after 50 years of being that, I switched exclusively to mirrorless and transitioned into Canon. I kept that cardboard Nikon though!

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