So…..you signed up for the Midwest Muscle Car Challenge this year and now that it’s getting closer to the event date you’re starting to freak out a little? Don’t worry, so are we. If you are a first timer this year we are excited to have you, and if you’re a veteran attendee we are glad to have you back! We thought that it might be a good idea to put together a little information on what to prepare for and what to expect when making your plans.
The whole crew here at Bowler Performance Transmissions is responsible for planning and executing this event each year, so we always strive to make it the best event it can be. Even though we are not specially trained event planners, we are passionate about hot rods, racing, and having fun, so we love to put this event together for all of you. So keep that in the front of your mind for this entire event. This is all about having a good time! You will have the opportunity to attend an event that is focused on helping make you a better driver regardless of your experience level.
Do not be intimidated by the fact that you may not have any experience on a road course or autocross. That’s why we include driving instructors in the entry fee. They are there to help you, as well as, many of the more experienced drivers. We are all part of a huge car loving family that wants to share our love for high-speed handling with everyone. If you keep your eyes, ears, and mind open you will learn some valuable lessons on what to do, or better yet, what not to do.
The event itself is very simple in design. Day 1 is on Friday May 19th and is held at the Putnam Park road course. You will be able to bring your car, truck, trailer, RV, or whatever it is that you brought with you into the facility for the day. Gates typically open around 7 a.m. and the action will begin around 8 a.m. with a drivers meeting to give everyone a refresher on how the day’s events will play out.
The event is scheduled around 3 groups of driving classes; novice, intermediate, and advanced. Staging the event this way puts you on the track at the same time as other drivers at your same skill level. Each category will have the opportunity for several driving sessions spread throughout the day to give you time in between sessions for car alterations, classroom instruction, shooting the breeze, and spectating. Lunch that day will be provided for you and we highly recommend attending the cruise that evening over to Raymond’s Performance for dinner.
Saturday morning, May 20th, we will move over to the Terre Haute airport for the autocross portion of the event. The drivers meeting will start at 8 a.m. and we’re usually racing by 9 a.m. You will have plenty of opportunities to run the course and get the best time you can. We will be providing lunch there as well, and the event will wrap up around 3p.m. so we can tally up the scores and hand out the awards. After the awards ceremony everyone is free to go.
Now that you have a grasp of the event itself we should cover some of the basic rules of the event so you can be sure you are prepared when you arrive. We would never want someone to show up and not be able to race because of something that was overlooked or forgotten.
– Number 1 most important: Your vehicle MUST HAVE SEATBELTS or a HARNESS SYSTEM. We cannot stress this one enough because yes, we’ve had to turn people away because they didn’t have any type of driver restraints.
– Number 2, bring a helmet because you will have to wear one on the track, and I’m pretty sure that even your best buddy would rather not lend his to you, much less someone you don’t know. All helmets must be certified in SA2005 or newer.
– Number 3, the driver and any passengers on the tracks must be 18 or older. We welcome all ages for spectating, but per track rules minors are not allowed to ride or drive. It is also important to know that anyone signed up in the novice category will be limited to only a driving instructor as a passenger.
We will add some links at the end of this article for the full set of event and track rules to help clarify many other points, but those are the main 3 that can ruin your weekend if not addressed before race day.
A few other items you may want to consider on your car. A fire extinguisher is always a good idea since you never know when the worst might happen, and yes we’ve seen engines catch fire at this event. Keep in mind that you will be pushing your car much harder than you would under normal street driving conditions. The race track has their own fire suppression equipment on hand, but they won’t be in your car, and those extra seconds can make a huge difference.
This is also a good time to mention that any small oil, coolant, or any other type of fluid leaks can quickly become a huge problem due to the high amounts of heat and stress placed on the engine, drivetrain, and braking systems. Take the time to repair those issues before the event and you will have a much better chance of having a car that finishes the event.
You will also want to do a thorough inspection of the car’s steering linkages, brake system, fuel system, cooling system, engine accessories, exterior lights, and instrument panel gauges. You may also want to consider a spare tire or two as well, since this type of driving will push your tires to their limits and will accelerate the amount of wear you would normally see on the street.
If there is any doubt in your mind if a particular part will hold up, then go ahead and replace it. The key idea here is to have a car that is in top performing condition so you can have the best experience possible. We know that many of you are making a huge commitment to be here, and we want you to get the most out of this event as you possibly can.
When it comes to personal comfort throughout the weekend we recommend packing clothes for a variety of weather conditions. Even though it will be the middle of May, we are in the Midwest, and the weather can go from cold to hot and dry to wet in a matter of hours. We’ve been lucky to have had great weather the last few years, but that is one area we can’t control. It is also important to note that even though we love the comfort and breathability of shorts and flip flops, Putnam Park race track does require drivers to wear long pants and fully enclosed shoes.
The 2 days of intense high-octane action will surely quench your thirst for hardcore racing, but we will also have a cooler with water and sodas available throughout the day to help keep you hydrated. You may want to consider bringing some beverages or snacks of your own just to be sure you have your favorites on hand since there will not be any concession stands. Do keep in mind that per track rules, and for everyone’s safety, no alcohol consumption is allowed until after the racing is over.
We hope that this will help you prepare for a weekend full of thrills, chills, and plenty of good times. We are excited that you will be joining us and want to thank you for your support of the event. Each year we are able to use the proceeds from the Midwest Muscle Car Challenge to help ease the burden for many people suffering from cancer in our area. You get a great weekend full of racing and you’re also helping someone in return which is the best part of all. If you have any further questions about the event please give us a call at 618-943-4856 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.