The 2013 Motor State Challenge, held during July 25-27, has developed in to one of the top pro-touring events over the last few years. Celebrating its fifth year, it was the biggest turnout yet. This year, there were 105 participants in attendance and came from all over the country, including Canada. All makes and models are eligible so there was something for everyone. All the hottest homegrown pro-touring cars, along with some of our late-model favorites were throwing down.
Scott Wahlstrom, Marketing Manager for Motorstate Distributing, and his team have always done a great job with this event and this year was no exception. They plan out a great rally through the western Michigan country side with a police escort, and Drive-in movie with barbeque on Thursday through the evening. Of course, the highlight of the event is track time at Gingerman Raceway, . including a fast and technical autocross at the Lake Michigan College. Of course, this all happens during Friday and Saturday with awards to follow.
Thursday, participants rolled in at Lane Automotive/Motor State Distributing in Watervliet, Michigan, where each driver first checks in. From there, participants can take in the show room to find that last minute part they need, take a facility tour or just catch up with old friends. A driver's meeting was held at 4:00pm where each participant was given a rundown of the weekend's events. Then the cars were lined for the cruise. The Berrin County Sheriff Motorcycle Brigade Deputies provided an uninterrupted cruise through the scenic back roads to the 5 Mile Drive-In Theatre for that nights BBQ dinner and a special screening of "American Graffiti."
Gingerman Raceway has become the biggest attraction to this event. The 2.14-mile track is technical but not too intimidating for the novice racer either. It has plenty of run off room in case the drivers confidence level exceeds physical tire grip, which we did see a little of this year. American Street Car Series (ASCS) was represented by Brian Finch and handled the timing for the track event along with competing himself.
Tech Inspection and Registration
Competitors arrived early for their tech inspection and registration for late comers. The South Bend Region SCCA chapter runs the day's activities and starts off with a drivers meeting to lay out the safety rules, which they take very seriously. Passing was allowed in designated sections on the track, by point by only. After a rundown of the warning flags, the first run group was off to grid for the start of the day. Rain and storms were threatening the event throughout the day. The SCCA did a tremendous job of getting everyone as much track time as possible. Luckily, the weather held off until the end of the day.