There are people who come into our lives that naturally find a place and make it better. You meet them and find some piece of common ground where a friendship can flourish. This is a story about a friend, I’ll call him Joe here, whose presence led to one of the best days ever.
It was one of the best days because it was unusual. You usually don’t get to drive your car as though you were trying to make the rubber peel from the rim. There are few places where road laws will allow you to behave like this. One of them is in Grantsville Utah. Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) was originally built as Miller Motorsports Park. The Miller family has long been the wealthiest family in Utah thanks to their large chain of car dealerships and their ownership of the Utah Jazz, an NBA basketball team. They built the motorsports campus as a passion project. When it was built, it was the biggest track in its class in the U.S. The Millers managed it for years, even after the family patriarch, Larry, passed away. Eventually, management of the park was passed on and UMC was born.
The track is home to many professional events including super-bike grand prix, auto cross, and even the Nitro Circus world games. Despite it being a large complex and the amount of noise coming from it, they have a fairly low profile. It’s strange that some locals don’t know it exists or what that noisy buzzing noise every Saturday morning is. To those who do know, however, it is a place of community. Like minded people, we’ll call them gear-heads, gather to spectate and, on Wednesday nights, participate.
The complex has a myriad of events that are accessible to the community. Certainly, anyone can come to watch a race whenever they’re available. The track also makes accommodations so that amateur drivers and enthusiasts can take some time on the track themselves. The complex dedicates time and staff to allow gear-heads to push their cars beyond the legal limit. They get as close as their cars can to their mechanical limits. They call the festivities “wide-open-wednesdays”.
This is where a friend like Joe comes into play. Joe is a gear-head. That’s him in the first picture next to his wife’s Camarro, which appears a few more times in this article. Joe is the type of guy who will find your interest in cars and will connect with you on that topic. He’s the kind of guy who will be the tipping weight that finally convinces you to try wide-open-Wednesday in your “family car” BMW 328i.
Despite being in your own cars, you will feel Joe’s energy radiate through his rear window and your windshield. You’ve never experienced anything like this. You have a wide open track to accelerate as quickly as you can, you feel gravity tug your face side to side as you listen to the protests of your tires. You’ll finish a lap and swap stories, expressing your excitement. Joe will tell you about how he nearly pushed his car too far and worried he had peeled the rubber from his rims. Then, as the sun sets, he’s more than happy to let you take photos to remember the evening by.
Wide-open-Wednesday was an absolute treat. Joe is a fantastic person for exposing the experience. If a “family car” BMW can make it around the track for a fantastic experience, then there’s not many vehicles that shouldn’t be out there. Utah Motorsports Campus has excellent facilities and personnel. The track is very safe and maintained very well. They have options where you can bring an instructor in the car with you. There’s no reason to need a Joe to get out there, try something new, and create a memory that will last a lifetime.