The end of my time as the Motorsports Director at Summit Point is just a few short weeks away on November 15. As I look back on my time here at Summit Point, I can’t believe I got to where I am now, and that it’s all coming to an end. At least this chapter anyway.
I came through the gates for the first time in April 1998 for an SCCA MARRS race. My bother-in-law and I had come to see the track before our first Friday at the Track in May. Back then there were so many racers signed up that you needed a pass to drive into the paddock. A little old man would stand at the bridge and turn you away if you didn’t have the pass on your windshield. “Sorry buddy, you can’t drive into the paddock” he would tell you. You guessed it, that was Donny Owens.
The next month, we took part in that FATT and I had a blast! At the time I was driving a 1998 Mustang GT. In typical Mustang fashion, I struggled with the brakes overheating all day. I did well in my first FATT. I came back at least once a year for the next two years. I eventually bought a Miata and started doing more track days at Summit Point and even went to VIR with the Mazda club. Eventually I became a volunteer for FATT in late 2004. I had taken the next step on my progress and thought it couldn’t get any better. Free track time? Heck yeah. I soon learned there was no such thing as free track time. The more time I spent at the track, the more I spent on the car!
The next step happened in 2008 when I became a part-time instructor for BSR. Now we were talking. I could now earn a little cash to offset that “free” track time. I soon discovered that I was liking instructing more than the driving. And by 2010, I was instructing more and more for BSR on various programs. I was doing it enough that I was able to leave my regular boring job and only work here at Summit Point. Surely it wasn’t going to get any better than this! I knew immediately that I would never be able to do anything as boring as a “normal” job.
In mid-2013, I was promoted yet again to Motorsports Director. I spent that first season getting to know everyone and the groups. I listened to them all and tried to pick and prioritize the projects I knew had to be done. I poured through old Summit Point Raceway magazines and read every article Bill Scott had written in each one. I called other tracks, visited several of them, and started making changes.
By 2017, I had run out of excuses to not dip into actual racing and got my SCCA license. I surprised myself with how well I did in a very tough and competitive SSM class. Over the next few seasons I would try ITA, SRF3, and finally SM. I even bought a motorcycle in 2015 and began riding on track, albeit not very much, but I wanted to see the track from the eyes of a rider.
All of our weekend staff have improved over the years and I am very proud of each of them. Drew, Bill, and Jim have stepped up and done us proud with their hard work and efforts. Jim retired last weekend after many years with us and will be missed. The gate staff are cheerful and helpful, welcoming our guests with a smile. And yes, Donny is still there. He will probably be the one I miss the most. He has been a constant in the 21 years. Always cheerful and always smiling.
My last event here at Summit Point will be a FATT. It’s only fitting that it ends where it began. I don’t expect though that I won’t be back, I do have a competition license, so I’ll be back to compete from time to time. When I do I know I’ll be greeted by a little old man at the gate.