Rural America Spans Coast to Coast

Rural America spans coast to coast. Not New York City, not Los Angeles- rural America.

Therefore, it’s on the backroads, not the highways where America’s roots lay. Arguably, it is where things are done right, and the people are still authentic. Life is simple and so are the rights and wrongs.

That explains why a guy from Bakersfield, California can appreciate a town like Alton, Virginia. At a glance, there wouldn’t seem to be much in common between Bakersfield and Alton besides that both places represent rural America on its respective coastline. But these two cities are bonded by something thicker than blood- motor oil.

Bakersfield is best known for its contribution to the motorsport industry with greats like Kevin Harvick, the Mears family and Bruce Sarver all calling it home. Alton has VIRginia International Raceway respectively noted on the town’s list of attractions. But there is one special thing neither town has listed as a, “must see.”

Alton and Bakersfield are home to miles of smooth paved roads that often go unused from the late night to early morning hours. Miles of smooth, straight paved roads. The most exciting thing for any amateur racer or adrenaline junkie to come across.

Driver of the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, Patrick Lindsey got his start on the still roads of Bakersfield, California. When he comes to Alton for the IMSA Michelin GT Challenge, he’ll find himself driving down similar roads again, and a sense of nostalgia will overcome him.

Lindsey has loved cars since childhood thanks to a father with a healthy appreciation for American ingenuity. As soon as Lindsey turned 16, he was behind the wheel of his dad’s Chevy pickup driving everywhere he could. But Bakersfield didn’t offer many places to drive for the teenage crowd. So, he and his friends found a different way to fulfill their need for speed.

With a 454-big block, a homegrown nitrous kit and the exhaust cut-outs open, Lindsey lined up his Chevy pickup next to any and all takers. Sometimes for money, sometimes for glory but always for fun. Lindsey had a great advantage in his Chevy; competitors were unassuming of a pickup truck and a 16-year-old boy’s ability.

By this time, Lindsey had completed a Skip Barber Racing School segment. His parents enrolled him to give Lindsey more background in driving, hoping to make him a safer driver. Eventually, it did. But in 1998 it only gave him the confidence to begin his street racing career.

Lindsey graduated from his supped-up Chevy truck to a Camaro Z28 in 2001. The Camaro was the first car Lindsey ever took to a track event, a track day at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Track days are noncompetition events that allow car lovers and amateur racers to hone their driving skills. For Lindsey, it was at the track where he began to gain interest in auto racing’s German roots. The Camaro was quickly traded for a 2001 Audi S4 Avant.

Lindsey would take the Audi from the back roads of Bakersfield and Buttonwillow to the streets of Los Angeles, California. It was his tried and true weapon of battle, and he took every opportunity to open the throttle and let it run. Every open road was a track to Lindsey. In 2003, his love for racing the vehicle freely would turn nearly fatal.

While driving his brother from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara, California, on Highway 33, a mountainous backroad, Lindsey got the itch to show off his car’s performance. As they took one of the many winding turns, the car understeered. The Audi and the brothers slid off the road and turbulently rolled down the mountain 150 feet before landing at the base. Lindsey and his brother crawled out of the back hatch.

Uninjured, the brothers climbed back to safety. Once back on the road Lindsey realized they had no cell service and were unable to call for help. He and his brother would walk 10-miles until they found a signal and were able to call a friend to pick them up. Lindsey’s friend rescued the brothers and took them on to Santa Barbara, leaving the totaled car behind.

After his accident, Lindsey kept his high-speed adventures to the track; his backcountry roads were no longer safe for his hobby. He purchased a new Audi S4 and made it his first road race car. He began competing in NASA club racing events and in 2006 he won his first championship. Lindsey started turning his hobby into a career.

Lindsey was an easy front runner in club racing and nearly outstayed his welcome. In his last years of club racing he withstood accusations of cheating and calls to have his equipment put through tech in duplicates before he took the next step up the racing ladder. Finally, in 2007, he was ready to take on a professional series. Lindsey joined Horton Autosport with a Mazda 6 Touring Car and began racing in Pirelli World Challenge series.

From 2007 to 2009 Lindsey built up his racecraft with Horton Autosport in the Mazda. He also helped build a relationship. In 2008, Lindsey’s sister Kielle Lindsey came to his race at VIRginia International Raceway. Over the weekend, his sister was introduced to John Horton, Lindsey’s engineer and team owner. Horton and Kielle Lindsey would marry one year later. Racing morphed from a career to a family business.

In 2010, Lindsey joined another racing family, Porsche Motorsport North America. This was Lindsey’s first year in a Porsche 911 GT3. He continued to reach for the top ranks of racing. In 2011, he would try his hand at the next level, GrandAm Rolex Sports Car series. The next year he was committed to growing in racing. Horton Autosport entered in GrandAm for a full season with Porsche.

In 2013, the full transformation would take place. Lindsey and Horton began a sponsorship with Park Place Porsche of Dallas and created Park Place Motorsports. With support from Park Place Porsche Lindsey also began receiving support from Porsche Motorsport North America. Lindsey was paired with top sports car drivers and Porsche Factory Drivers to help build his team and his racecraft. Porsche Factory Drivers he’s been privileged to learn from include Patrick Long, Kevin Estre and current co-driver Jörg Bergmeister.

Today, Park Place Motorsports, still headed by Lindsey and Horton, head to VIRginia International Raceway for yet another battle. The team sits sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona points. It took home its third win in the IMSA series this year with a race win at Lime Rock Park. The team’s two previous wins came in 2015 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Virginia provides the next opportunity for Lindsey to let loose and speed down a smooth, paved road. Lindsey’s adrenaline will rush as he puts his helmet on, surrounded by professional drivers and a team of engineers in his ear. He will drive around the 3.27-mile track in the small town of Alton, and he will feel nostalgic.