by Zach Maskell
The computer “floppy disk” was first introduced in 1970. The same year, MotorWeek’s home road course waved the green flag for the very first time. The way we store data is still shrinking… while one of our favorite venues keeps growing. So, buckle up as Zach Maskell goes over the edge for a 45th birthday celebration at Summit Point!
ZACH MASKELL: Take me home… country roads… to a place called Summit Point Motorsports Park. Nestled in the hills of West Virginia, this is my kind of theme park.
“Get ready for an overload of fun…”
… As we do just about everything I could’ve asked for in one day.
MARTY KOOSE: “You know the variety adds to their learning, that’s what we’re here for.”
ZACH MASKELL: We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the complex… than to check out the three separate road courses and everything else they’ve got on tap.
Our first stop: laps around Summit Point Main with Chris White.
CHRIS WHITE: “It started out as just a small little racetrack, designed for European style road racing.”
ZACH MASKELL: One decade later, an SCCA club racer and 1970 Formula V world champion bought the complex. Bill Scott left Yale with a PhD… but decided to race cars, instead of messing around with geo-physics.
BARBARA SCOTT: “He did have a terrible accident at the Nurburgring. But he still wanted to stay in racing so he bought Summit Point Raceway and continued to develop it until the very day.”
ZACH MASKELL: A racer’s career is short lived. But Bill Scott couldn’t just throw in the towel; he focused on training thousands of drivers from all over the world.
Summit’s footprint went from 360 acres… to a massive 800. The MotorWeek crew has been testing here since the 80’s, and we’re nothing but thrilled.
Operating within the complex is BSR Inc. They train private security and government agencies. The CIA and U.S Air Force are among the long list to use the tracks in addition to the bomb and seven gun ranges.
LARRY CONNOLLY: “We do combine vehicle work with shooting here on the range. What I mean by that is we’ll put them in a situation where maybe they were in an attack, their vehicle goes down and now they have to bail out of the vehicle…”
ZACH MASKELL: Since I often find myself in those situations, the guys gave me some tips… then I moved on to a less stressful, but serious training.
JENS SCOTT: “This isn’t scaled up amusement park go-karts. This is scaled down Formula 1 cars.”
ZACH MASKELL: Bill’s son, Jens, started Summit Point Kart in 2009. He now helps 20-thousand people a year develop their track skills. This is the real deal… as evident by their 24 hour endurance races… with teams coming from all over the U.S.
JENS SCOTT: “If you beat somebody out here, that’s because you’re a better driver.”
ZACH MASKELL: 13 horsepower karts… 20 turns… and 13-hundred total feet of track… will have you grinning bigger than the Grinch. I was trying to get the tail-end to kick out… but instead headed to Jefferson for some real sideways action.
Home of “Drift Nirvana,” Summit has welcomed the drifters of the East Coast. 2014’s Formula Drift Pro 2 champ Dan “Rapper” Savage is always grabbing some seat time.
DAN “RAPPER” SAVAGE: “Drift Nirvana events pull people from all over. So we’ve had South Carolina, From Rhode Island, we’ve got a person from Philly here today. So, I mean from 40 miles to down the street, to 1,000 miles away. It’s pretty cool what kind of crowd we bring.”
ZACH MASKELL: Rapper’s supercharged V8 swapped RX8 was still en route from California, but we still had a blast in his practice car that has an 8th of the horsepower.
Just past the tree lines… The rally and off-roading guys were slinging some dirt around.
This is a place where Tom Cruise and Paul Newman practiced for “Days of Thunder.” A place that has a replica of the Nurburgring’s famous carousel turn. Even though he’s passed away… one racer’s dream continues to live on.
ROGER LYLE: “The man was a great gentlemen and a great racer and I’m so thankful for Bill Scott.”
ZACH MASKELL: Here’s to the man who made it all happen, and those who continue to build on his legacy.