Patrick Utt at Home at Road America in Pro/Am
July 17, 2023
As a native of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, Patrick Utt’s self-proclaimed first love is Road America in Elkhart Lake. At age 10, he attended his first race there when his older brother, Brian, was just getting his SCCA racing license. His second love would become the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, as he travelled the United States and Canada as part of the crew when Brian was pursuing his racing career in the 70’s and 80’s.
Last weekend, at the age of 59, Utt got to combine his two loves by racing in the Trans Am Series at Road America. Utt participates in the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series in his 2023 No. 49 RaceQuip/Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet Camaro and made his fifth start in the series in the July 9 event.
“I chose the TA2 class because it offers relative affordability, great class parity, and some of the best professional drivers in all of motorsports,” says Utt.
In fact, many in the know have opined that The Trans Am TA2 class is among the best road racing competition in America. That’s not lost on the NASCAR community, who are fielding teams and drivers that cover as much as 30-percent of the field. TA2 has become a place for up-and-coming drivers to hone their road racing skills in a chassis much like their stock car cousins.
Utt chooses to enter the races as a Pro/Am driver so that he can compete with the other non-pro drivers for a separate trophy. Pro/Am drivers pay a reduced entry fee but do not collect series points or prize money.
Utt proclaims, “The talent is so deep in TA2 that you instantly know where you stand as a driver – it’s a privilege to compete with these world class racers,”
Dropping into a professional racing series as an amateur sounds a bit daunting, but Utt says that even as a part-time Pro/Am competitor, he finds the series officials and the other teams very welcoming. “They make me feel like I belong and that they are happy to have me in the series.”
So how did the race go for Utt? Well, that depends how you look at it.
“I did not do my job well in qualifying, so I started at the back of the pack,” said Utt. “Once the green flag flew, I stayed out of trouble and steadily moved through the field.”
Utt moved up from the 33rd starting position to finish in 19th place. While 19th doesn’t seem like anything to brag about, Utt considered the weekend a success. “I stayed out of trouble, didn’t break the car, and finished the race.”
Moving up 14 spots also earned him the Bassett Wheels Hard Charger Award.