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    • UMI's King Of The Mountain 2019

      After over a year of anticipation, UMI's King of the Mountain presented by Visit Clearfield County ran Saturday night under the lights to a capacity crowd at UMI Motorsports Park. Cars started rolling in on Thursday and the atmosphere was a mixture of happy to be there mixed with the seriousness of the groundbreaking competition that was about to happen. After registration, track walk, and Jerry's Chicken on the Curve pit party, half the field descended on Denny's Beer Barrel Pub to celebrate the premier of Team UMI driver Brent Pursifull's appearance on the hit Netflix show, Hyperdrive. Friday was met with great weather and determined drivers giving their all around the 11-turn autocross playground. 75 competitors ran a total of 994 laps and the gauntlet was thrown. After timed runs were over, the competitors took their serious face off and started swapping cars for fun runs and other shenanigans. Event emcee Chad Reynolds from the popular automotive site Bangshift.com even took a ride in the passenger seat complete with wireless microphone, much to the delight of those of us listening. Friday night was an opportunity to enjoy food and bench racing while touring the UMI factory in Philipsburg. Saturday was another day of qualifying and once again the competitors ran nearly 1000 laps to set the 32-car shootout grid. During intermission we opened the pits and local fans got to enjoy seeing some of the fastest and best autocross cars and drivers in the nation. At around 7pm the UMI Camaro pace car led the four wide by eight deep field in parade laps around the oval. This throwback to the glory days of Clearfield Mountain Speedway was a sight to behold and the packed hill as well as the infield really enjoyed it. At nightfall it was time to get serious, with $10k on the line, winner take all. We moved quickly through the first few rounds of the 32-car shootout grid and the tension in the pits grew and grew. The final four was a who's who in the autocross world but with a twist. One of the finalists was in a Tesla! The left side of the finals brackets was set with John Laughlin of Tennessee edging out mentor and friend Sam Strano of Brookville, PA. The right side of the bracket saw Jeremy Swenson of Minnesota nipping Corvette master Danny Popp in a battle of Kumho vs BF Goodrich tires. The final showdown was one for the ages. The Silent Assassin Laughlin guided his Tesla around the course with alarming speed but nicked a cone. Swenson caught wind of the downed cone and knew he had it in the bag. Swenson, however, ran a little too clean and safe making the final margin an astounding 0.008 seconds. In the end, Swenson in the Corvette pulled it out and was crowned the inaugural King of the Mountain at UMI Motorsports Park. After a victory lap with the checkered flag, fireworks and an epic burnout for the ages, UMI President Ryan Kirkwood finished the evening by presenting Jeremy Swenson with a check for $10k.

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