Utilizing a family's shared interest in custom cars spearheaded by their father's expertise, three members of the Lozano family have garnered Show N' Shine awards during the 2008 Friday Night Drags season, including two top prizes. While Mike Lozano enjoys the recognition, he takes greater pleasure working with his family and enjoying the Friday Night Drags atmosphere.
"We just try to go out, have fun and be proud of our work," said Mike, who owns and operates Lozano Customz & Motorsports in Jonesboro. "We don't go out just to win, but to present our work. Winning a trophy is just extra cream on top."
Growing up in California in the heyday of West Coast dune buggies, low riders and classic cars, Mike developed a life-long passion for custom vehicles. His father further fueled his son's auto interest when they would visit the Los Angeles showroom of famed customizer George Barris, who designed the original Batmobile and The Munster Koach from the television show The Munsters.
As he continued to work on cars throughout his life, his practice moved from his Jonesboro driveway into a custom garage and, now, Mike is preparing to move his business into a personalized shop. While he worked on custom rides, his children gained an appreciation for dad's passion. Soon, like his father helped foster his interest, Mike led the Lozano family to each have a hand in the garage.
"As the kids grew up, they saw me customize everything from cars to my lawnmower. When they got older, first the boys wanted a car like daddy. Then, even my two daughters got involved," said Lozano. "I've got four children and they all wanted to get into it. Sometimes we go out cruising together or just attend car shows as a family."
And while dad was the head of the shop, the Lozano brothers also played a role in getting the sisters involved.
"I always liked cars, but when my brothers got into it, I started to get interested because I looked up to my brother," said Kim Lozano, who is the youngest Lozano sibling at 17 and appears with her father at many Friday Night Drags events. "With the influence from my family, it became more of a passion than a hobby."
Mike's oldest son, Tommy, was the first to join dad under the hood and he preferred the sports compact car scene. Next, son AJ would share his father's interest in classic Chevrolets and the father-and-son duo began building AJ's 1963 Impala. When daughters Megan and Kim each acquired American compact cars - a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SS and a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire GT - it highlighted the focus of Lozano Customz & Motorsports, showcasing American compact sports cars as a family.
"I have nothing against imports, but I took a different approach," explains Mike. "I grew up a Chevy man and when the sports compact scene took off, we wanted to take a different approach by using American cars. I have almost one tuner car from each American manufacturer because we wanted to see what we could do with American cars in a market flooded by imports. We just steered a different way."
And with their fleet of American customs, the Lozanos can usually be found at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Friday Night Drags Show N' Shine garage, having never missed an event in the series' three-year history. And in 2008, the Lozano's can be seen recurrently winning in the Show N' Shine garage, having claimed a top prize honor for Megan's Cobalt SS and Mike's 1995 Impala SS. In addition, the Lozanos also received runner-up recognition for a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier SS.
Mike insists is not all about winning, but he doesn't mind either.
"Growing up I wanted to be a designer and then as a teen I wanted to go fast, but now at 40 I want it all - speed, beauty and a stereo," said Mike. "You have to do everything to wow somebody and win a trophy. You have to go all out to really impress and that's what we love doing. It validates our work.
"But like I said, you just want to present your best work, be proud and have fun. This is a nice family event and scene. I just like showing off the car, talking to the people and having a good time."
The Lozano's custom cars can be seen in the Show N' Shine competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Friday Night Drags presented by ACDelco this Friday, July 11 and every Friday night through August 22. More information can be obtained by calling 770-946-4211 or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com
EDITOR'S NOTE: Four high-resolution images of Lozano Customz vehicles at Atlanta Motor Speedway to accompany this release, can be downloaded from:
Photos courtesy of Atlanta Motor Speedway