When faced with an obstacle, you can give up – or you can think outside the (Chicago) box. The latter is precisely what St. Louis Region and member Travis McMillian did this spring when the “normal” site that the Region used for RallyCross was unavailable. The intended event site is owned by the city of Madison, IL, and became a parking lot for the Gateway NASCAR race, preempting their RallyCross event. So what to do? Shut down?
Not under McMillian’s watch. In this case, he volunteered his land and the event continued. But that’s just part of the story.
McMillian started autocrossing in late 1996 with a Dodge Neon and began tuning and modifying the Neon with products he engineered and manufactured. Remember, this was in the days before Street Touring™ existed, so the Neon ran in D Modified. And with those parts, the hobby-turned-business of Deyeme Racing (pronounced “Dee-Emm” – see what happened there?) began.
“I wanted as little limitation as possible on what we could do to make the car more fun and fast without class-hopping or cheating,” McMillian said. “It wasn't long before I couldn't help but to turn a small profit, so I applied for a business license, and Deyeme Racing became a business. In the years since, we've kept a low profile, running the business parttime while my wife and I were both raising children and had full-time jobs.”
That is, until 2017. After a break, McMillian returned to autocrossing and soon recognized that site selection was getting harder and harder for St. Louis Region.
“St. Louis Region was now down to just Gateway and Family Arena's aging lot,” he said. “In addition, as my children have grown, I've seen school districts cut and eventually eliminate Driver's Education classes. These and other factors prompted my wife and I to have a discussion about the future of our home business and what we could do for the car clubs, school districts, and others that would need access to a large area built for driving.”
Enter the potential expansion of Deyeme Racing. Working with his adult son, Isaiah, McMillan sold his home on 10 acres of land, and Isaiah sold his, so that the family could work together on the dream – a large piece of land that includes their homes, but also the business, gathering area, and a dedicated piece of asphalt for driving activities. This is where 50 acres just south of Troy, MO, comes into the picture – land they now own.
While the business plan is still under development, the current plan is for both to build their new homes in a corner of the property, leaving the remaining space for Deyeme Racing to develop.
“Our still in-process business plan includes a venue building for hosting classes, meetings, weddings, and other events,” McMillian said. “Also in the plan is a storage locker area with enclosed and covered storage for race cars, supplies trailers, and more. On the west field, we plan to construct a 15-acre performance driving facility with asphalt skid pad in the center and leave the other half for things like RallyCross. Lastly, we intend to create a complete walking path and greenspace perimeter around the entire property.”
In short – an SCCA member’s paradise.
Right now, the land is just a few farm fields divided by trees and bramble. Deyeme Racing, which can be found at deyemeracing.com, continues to carry products through their agreement with Turn 14. But their signature continues to be their custom items, such as the dual-durometer polyurethane-filled engine mounts for a variety of small cars, especially the Dodge Dart and the current ND-generation Mazda MX-5. They also do one-offs for numerous models, making their potential inventory essentially unlimited.
Mostly, however, they want to help. The grand plan may take some time, but St. Louis Region has found a new home in Troy at the future home of Deyeme Racing – located on, no joke, Auto Crossing (the advantage of a new property? You get to name the road).
“Our business budget is limited, so we're not sure how fast this dream will become reality,” McMillian admitted. “But when we heard that the RallyCross program lost their site in Madison, we jumped on the opportunity to help the club where we could.”
Come for #FunWithCars but, as always, stay for the people.
Photos courtesy Deyeme Racing