There is no doubt SCCA® Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack is an exciting, non-competitive way to have a great time at a racing circuit on a weekday. But for one Track Night participant, the program turned out to be a stepping stone to an SCCA Competition License and, last month, two Super Touring® Under class wins during the WeatherTech Chicago Region June Sprints, part of the 2017 Hoosier SCCA Super Tour, held at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Clint Billimack, 18, grew up watching motorsports at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit, Illinois. In 2015, during its inaugural season, Clint realized Track Night in America scheduled a few events at Blackhawk and he recognized a perfect, inexpensive chance to get out on a real racetrack in his own street car.
“I participated in the May, June and July Track Night events at Blackhawk Farms Raceway,” Billimack recalled. “I used my street 1995 BMW 325i for the visits. That car was great to learn how to drive in because the power level isn't insanely high, but it offers a good amount of speed at a racetrack.”
Fast forward to 2016 and Clint had successfully completed a Sports Car Club of America® racing school at Blackhawk Farms where he earned an SCCA Regional Competition License. The young man noted that some of what he learned during his Track Night experiences was certainly applicable when it came to getting that competition license.
“At Track Night, I learned so much. You start with the basics of how to take a turn on a racecourse and what the corner flags mean, but then you can learn so much about a car, such as where the limit is, what it feels like to break it loose, and even what it's like to slide around in the rain,” Billimack said. “So even if you aren't serious about actually going racing at some point, Track Night is good just to learn more about how to handle a car on everyday streets. I felt so much more comfortable with my car when I left Track Night, and that's what makes it fun is that you can leave the track knowing you improved and had a good time.”
Now, just two years after participating in his first Track Night in America, Clint finds himself in the SCCA record books as winning at the June Sprints -- a feat owned by some of the most notable SCCA competitors. The wins also came during a Hoosier Super Tour weekend, the country’s premier amateur road racing series. And to top it off, Clint was awarded his checkered flag and victory plaque at Road America by racing legend Bobby Rahal. That’s not too shabby for two years behind the wheel of a racecar.
So, automotive enthusiasts who are interested in just having fun with a car, or looking to explore motorsports and working toward a competition license, SCCA Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack is the perfect place to play. It’s an entertaining, easy and inexpensive way for nearly anyone who loves cars or racing to get on a racecourse in their own vehicle during weeknights. All that is required is a valid driver’s license and access to a helmet and street car in good working condition. The cost is never greater than $150 per event, and no previous on-track experience or Sports Car Club of America membership is required.
Drivers participate in the Advanced, Intermediate or KONI Novice Experience group so on-track activities remain fun for all. Everyone gets three 20-minute sessions on course, as well as feedback from SCCA driver coaches on site. Admission is free for people who just want to stop by and watch the fun, and leisurely circuit parade laps are provided for all Track Night guests.
Visit www.TrackNightinAmerica.com to learn more, find a circuit near you and schedule your weekday track adventure.
Photo: Clint Billimack on his way to a win at the 2017 June Sprints.
Photo Credit: Mark Weber