Autocross event raises money for Emily Whitehead Foundation

Joe Gregory and Sam Strano each sped through an obstacle course in custom Corvettes Saturday morning, vying for the top time during an autocross event at the Mid-State Regional Airport.

Strano completed the course in 65.1 seconds. Gregory recorded 64.7 seconds but hit a cone, which added two more seconds to his total.

They were among 80 drivers who participated in the inaugural autocross event sponsored by UMI Performance Inc., an auto parts store based in Philipsburg.

UMI design engineer Ramey Womer said the autocross event was held as part of a larger annual cruise and car show the company hosts to benefit the Emily Whitehead Foundation, established in honor of the Philipsburg girl who became the first child to use T-cells to fight cancer. Emily Whitehead has been in remission since the revolutionary treatment in 2012.

“The company is growing, so we wanted to add a couple new things,” Womer said. “This is really a destination event for us that allows a lot of families to attend and people to also come in from everywhere, and the whole thing also gives back to something really close to us.”

Since the event’s inception about six years ago, thousands of dollars have been raised for the foundation that raises awareness and funding for childhood cancer treatments.

Among the participants were drivers from 13 states and two from Canada.

The winner Saturday received a plaque and bragging rights.

“It’s basically all about the camaraderie here,” Womer said.

A car show followed the event, featuring about 300 vehicles at the Philipsburg Super Bowl. The two-day event also included an open house at UMI Performance’s facilities in Philipsburg.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo