Last weekend Barber Motorsports Park hosted the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) races, held a classic car show and a Lotus owners’ gathering. The weekend included several classes of races and an endurance race on Saturday. The events featured Do-It-Yourself auto enthusiasts that truly embody the spirit of racing, even if some haven’t reached the level of racing that includes big name endorsements. But the big names are there at events like the NASA races. Companies often give out prizes, such as free tires, to winners. One racer that won a new set of slicks was R.L. Mitchell, a Pell City resident who has been racing for nearly 10 years. Mitchell took his 1989 Porsche 944 S2 to Barber and won two races over the weekend and said that he was glad to be able to take part in a race close to home. “I had a few trials and tribulations. But I managed to win both my races and I won about $1,000 worth of tires, so that was a plus,” Mitchell said. Like so many other non-professional racers, Mitchell travels across the country to take part in events and show his love for the sport. Prior to taking part in “door-to-door” racing, Mitchell competed in autocross events. In autocross, clubs set up obstacle courses at airports or large parking lots and time racers in individual heats. His wife, Polly, who sometimes races door-to-door, won the Ladies’ Autocross National Championship in 1998. Mitchell talked about his experiences at Barber and on tracks across the Southeast. “Barber is close to home, so that certainly helps,” he explained. “Most of the tracks that we run, you have to travel. Road Atlanta is the next closest course. Unlike the local dirt track racers, who run the same track every Saturday night, we have to travel to run these road courses. So, when there’s an event at Barber, I always try to make it there.” He continued, “It’s nice to have Barber that close. It’s a beautiful facility and it has some unique features compared to other courses. The course is unique and that’s the thing with road courses; though they’re all different. But the care for the grounds and the decorations Barber has and having 32 cameras on course that they can monitor everything there from race control is a bit unique. Other tracks may have cameras that they’ll set up, but having cameras already set up is unique.” Mitchell, who runs about one race a month, will be traveling to Road Atlanta in two weeks. The weekend also played host to the Lotus Owners' Gathering "Log 29." Log 29 2009 is the national gathering for Lotus owners and it took place at the home of one of the largest collection of Lotus sports cars in the world, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. The weekend of Lotus-based activities will included scenic drives, driver's education and accident avoidance clinics as well as tech sessions. The next scheduled public event at the park will be the Porsche 250 Grand-Am Road Racing Series presented by Legacy Credit Union that will be held July 17-19.

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