When my friend messaged me about his passing, I thought it was an error. And then my stomach plummeted.
Ongais was invincible, and such a kind, shy soul. Thanks for all the memories 'Flyin' Hawaiian,' you always went for it, and were an absolute hero.
My cousin, Justin Aten, sent me this awesome shot last night.
Its from Sugar River Raceway in October, 1997. Dad and I setting up my somewhat low-budget transmitting on-board camera for my upcoming 8th grade science fair project at Erin Elementary School.
We used an R&D sewer inspection camera from work (my family has owned UEMSI / HTV since its inception in 1989), coupled together with a battery pack and a transmitter taped over my collarbone. The kit wasn't light.
Out on-track, it transmitted the video back to our van, which had a TV/VCR combo broadcasting live what was occurring on-track, while the VCR recorded it. The feature event was run under the lights that night, and a crowd formed around our van to watch my feature.
Perhaps it had too much family involvement to win the science fair, but it was a rather stellar feat. The camera still sits in my Go Pro box, and the footage is still sitting on a VHS tape.
And for history-sake- I led the feature until the final lap. The carburetor trigger broke, and the engine loaded up. It became a dog off the corners and I was passed by Kyle Porter for the win. The Porter family let us borrow a set of sticky tires that day (SRR ran different rules than what we were used to,) so perhaps it was meant to be!