The 7th Annual UMI Performance Autocross and Cruise in commenced this past weekend. The event was held at the newly acquired, Pro-Touring.com sponsored UMI Motorsports Park. This facility is a ⅝-mile paved oval, but was redone into an autocross facility. While the oval is still intact and used, the new goal with this complex is autocross. And did they autocross!
Activities started Thursday night with an open track walk. This allowed spectators and racers to come in, walk around and explore the facility. They could also see the track layout from Bill Howell and Autocross Guys, so they could start plotting their lap the next day. After a great night of food and friends, everybody headed back to the hotel in anticipation of the next morning.
Bright and early Friday morning the racing finally went underway. The track layout was amazing with the UMI facility and Autocross Guys. Racers all lined up on pit row, backwards. From here they started racing on the infield towards turn two. That stretch had small turns then turned around the Finch named “Corndog Corner.” At the end of that jaunt was a blind turn that caught more than a few racers off. You not only turned left, but you dropped in elevation a bit popping out at the end of turn two.
On the backstretch there were a few cones and then you turned back into the infield for some tight and technical turns. At this point a second car would start it run, meaning every car made a ton of runs all weekend. After these technical turns, you popped out at the beginning of turn three. Racers would put the pedal to the metal and fly around turns three and four and finally crossing the straight/finish line.
Between the straights, turns and big oval, this course was a autocross roval. Super fun to drive and great fun to watch as well. After the racing concluded on Friday, everybody headed over to the UMI Performance facility for an open house and BBQ. This allowed people to see inside their 35,000 sq. ft. plant where they make all of their suspension and accessories.
Saturday morning the racing started back up again. With everybody learning the course from Friday, the laps times clicked away and people put in lap after lap. At 2PM the autocross finished up and awards were given out. In the Vintage Class (1977 and Older) First went to Justin Nall following by John Lyons and Ken Edwards. In the Mid-Muscle Class (1978-1992) First went to Chuck Trimble followed by Jeremy McCauley and Mike Goodman. In the Later Model Class (1993 and Up) First place went to Brad Smith followed by Mike Stewart and Steve Erit. Lastly in the Two-Seater Sports Car Class, First Place went to Joe Gregory followed by Marshall Reinert and Bob Bertelson. Three of the four 1st place winners were UMI equipped cars too, a proud accomplishment for them and the drivers.
By 3PM the show cars started to show up. One cool thing about having a cruise-in as well, it gives the racers a chance to show off their cars - something they probably don’t normally do. On top of that, it exposes the show car people to our sport and hopefully gets them involved. The best part was the food, drinks, live music and people hanging out enjoying themselves.