Subaru of America, Inc. marketing interns Kevin Walsh and Jake Picken took part in the 48HRS of Tristate charity drive on the weekend preceding the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. As Editor’s Track Journal guests, they have submitted their observations from the weekend.
Jake Picken (JP): I was excited when I was told I got the chance to participate in the 48HRS drive for charity, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. Today, cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States, so donations from groups such as 48HRS of Tristate are crucial to finding a cure. This year’s group raised more than $35,000 for the society.
New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP)
Kevin Walsh (KW): We met up with the enthusiast group Friday morning at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville. There we had an excellent buffet breakfast provided by Subaru in the Officer’s Clubhouse.
JP: Here, Subaru presented a check for the group to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
After breakfast and the reception, participants walked over to the garages on the NJMP site to view the road-racing car driven by Andrew Aquilante, a driver of Subaru Road Racing Team #35 WRX STI. In the garage, there was also the SPT STI, as well as the Subaru XT Coupe, which has recently been restored and was displayed at last year’s SEMA show. Participants got to see a wide range of Subaru vehicles, which they seemed to appreciate.
KW: The coolest part of the morning was when the group was allowed to take three pace laps on the racetrack. Pictures of the pace lap can be found on our Facebook Page Photo Album.
JP: A parade lap limits drivers to just 50 mph, but just the fact that drivers were on a professional track was exciting enough.
KW: We gained a new appreciation for our Subaru Road Racing Team drivers like Andrew Aquilante, who navigates those tricky turns at top speeds. The pace laps created a lot of buzz with the owners, most of whom hadn’t had the opportunity to be on the NJMP track before. We could hear everyone’s sheer excitement through our CB radio system, the platform which allowed all drivers to communicate with one another throughout the entire drive.
JP: Afterward, the participants were divided into three groups because there were 50+ Subaru vehicles on the drive. Each group had its own radio frequency on the CBs that were used to communicate. Communication was a vital part to the drive, because you never knew when someone needed to fuel up or to make an unplanned pit stop.
KW: As expected, many modified WRX and WRX STI models were represented, but it was refreshing to see a wide variety from the Subaru portfolio. We had Impreza, Legacy, Outback, and Forester models, and even one Baja and one SVX.
On the Road
KW: We drove all day from New Jersey through Delaware and Maryland to our hotel destination in Virginia. The drive itself had a lot of stops and starts at traffic lights through rural Maryland.
Jake drove, and I manned the co-pilot position, ultimately taking pictures and interacting on the CB radio. While listening to the CB, we couldn’t stop laughing. The Subaru owners were definitely colorful characters with one quick joke after another. Our favorite was one enthusiast who did a spot-on Christopher Walken impersonation.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
We actually got the chance to stop midpoint on the bridge, which no one gets the chance to do because of the authorized vehicle access only. The view from this point was beautiful. The strong winds that day created large crashing waves in the bay. It was pretty amazing that the group got this opportunity; it really gave everyone a special feeling – the honor of owning a Subaru. While on the bridge, a photographer was in a plane above catching pictures of the group.
Photos by Robert Plafta:
The Mountains of West Virginia
KW: Saturday was the highlight of the entire drive. The staff of 48HRS mapped an exhilarating route through the mountains of West Virginia. As promised, the hairpin turns on the mountain were exciting. They were the coolest roads I’ve ever experienced.
Ric Hawthorne of Drive Performance magazine noted that Jake might have a future in rally driving. He impressively kept up with the nimble WRX and STI drivers through this challenging route, despite being in a larger Outback.
JP: This was by far the most exciting part of my trip. The winding roads and uphill turns were no issue for our 2012 Outback, which easily maneuvered and had no problem keeping up. The rollercoaster-like roads would give anyone a thrill. We even hit some snow, and what better way to test the handling of the Outback than driving through mountain roads covered with snow? I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun driving in my entire life than I did on this trip.
KW: Saturday night we had a raffle dinner with an opportunity for the group to win a bunch of prizes ranging from parts and accessories to Subaru Gear.
JP: Various tuner and other companies raffled off multiple prizes to participants, including everything from bushing kits to gift certificates to use at local tuner shops. Additional proceeds from the raffle also were donated to the American Cancer Society.
I was glad to have gotten the opportunity to participate in the 48HRS of Tristate drive. I’ve always had an extreme love for driving and this event just made me realize how much fun driving can really be – not to mention driving for a cause such as raising money for the American Cancer Society. I would recommend this charity drive for any Subaru owners; it’s a great way to meet new people who share the same passions and the similar love for driving.
Afterward, Jake and I headed back to Subaru headquarters.
Come Along Next Year!
KW: We both encourage any loyal Subaru owners and fans who might be interested to participate in next year’s trip. You’ll meet a bunch of great people who share the love of Subaru while raising money for a good cause. I’ll definitely consider doing it again in years to come!
-- Jake Picken, Kevin Walsh