Start/Finish: Drive Performance headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- According to mapping services -- 470 miles round trip
- Actual (with side trips) -- 528.7 miles
Major routes to and from SIA:
- Wisconsin, Illinois: Interstates 94, 294
- Indiana: Interstate 65
I anticipate this trip every year, because I enjoy reacquainting myself with the people at SIA. They’ve always made my wife Penny and me feel welcomed. Plus, the participants in the Subaru Challenge are among those owners who are involved with their vehicles and the events that make good use of them. I’m buoyed by their enthusiasm.
For these owners, a car is more than an appliance. It’s part of a lifestyle – in the case of this autocross, most of the owners present tended to have performance-oriented lifestyles.
As a photographer at the event, I was required to have an escort when I went to certain parts of the track. Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) member Chris Carson and I wandered to the far end of the course for a while, and we spent most of the time talking. Carson and I have run into each other before – the first time at Watkins Glen, if I’m accurate. He works with the television crews at select races, and he saw me trudging from the end of the track farthest from the paddock and offered me a ride on his cart. He had seen my Subaru cap and shirt, which inspired our conversation.
Since then, I’ve encountered Carson at least once a year. It was good talking about the drivers on course, automobiles in general, the SCCA, and Subaru. Penny was thankful for Chris Carson and me spending time together, too, because she thought that meant she didn’t have to listen to me talking about those topics all the way home.
I talked about them anyway ...
This was one of the few events that we’ve attended where the Drive Performance WRX (DP WRX) was a star of the event (or at least a focal point). We parked it beside a tent where we handed out magazines and information about the Subaru Badge of Ownership and Subaru Gear. I was surprised by the number of people who needed no explanation about the DP WRX. They have followed all the changes that we’ve made to it in Drive Performance magazine or this companion website. Now they had a chance to hear the Genuine Subaru Accessories 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer in person.
Penny handled most of the owner contact at the tent – something she loves to do. It gives her a chance to see what I do when I’m on the road as well as have first-hand contact with the owners with whom I share so much fun with Subaru vehicles. For us, these events are bonding experiences.
Notes from the Trip
Penny has a high sensitivity to noise, so I was concerned that 500 miles in the DP WRX with its performance exhaust might be too much for her. Before we left home, I glossed over it with a comment like, “You’ll get used to the exhaust sound. The first few miles will seem louder than the trip home.” That had been my experience with the car’s exhaust note, but I didn’t know how my wife would react.
Getting used to the performance rumble worked out for Penny as it had for me. You have to give it time. She also agrees with me about the subwoofer: The longer you listen to the audio system, the better it sounds. After a while, the subwoofer sound becomes a natural part of the music.
See Subaru Challenge class results here.
-- Ric Hawthorne