Atlanta-area Spec Miata prep shop helps serve Southeast racers
Fresh off a successful weekend at the first SCCA U.S. Majors Tour race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, we caught up with OPM Autosports principal, Tom Fowler, just as he pulled into Sebring when MazdaMotorsports.com to get the lowdown on his operation.
â€œSpec Miata is our largest business. We also take care of a couple Mazdas in the STL class and a couple of F Production Miatas. We also take care of a couple of Regional drivers that run ITA and ITS with Mazdas,â€ Fowler explains, noting that the shop takes care of 30 to 35 SMs and 10-15 other cars. â€œThatâ€™s the bulk of our business. We build cars, we rent cars â€“ we have two rental cars here at Sebring, and we have four that we use for rentals.â€
While OPM doesnâ€™t gear its business toward building cars, Fowler says, theyâ€™re happy to do it. But with more than 40 cars to take care of at any given moment, maintenance and trackside service is their big thing. OPM is one of the larger shops in that part of the country, and things seem to be growing. OPM brought more cars to the first two races of the season than last year and the shop has more rentals lined up. Fowler thinks it comes down to the way he and wife Tracy, who takes care of the business side of things along with at-track catering, do business.
â€œOur big thing is customer service,â€ Fowler says. Iâ€™ve been doing this a long time, and just about everybody in the paddock knows me. I race myself, so I feel like I can do a really good job working with the drivers on setup and handling, because Iâ€™ve driven just about every track we go to. If theyâ€™re telling me the car has an issue, I can relate to what theyâ€™re trying to tell me.
â€œWe provide just about everything,â€ he continues. â€œWe do Regionals, we do Majors, we do NASA, we do SCCA, we do vintage racing and we do track days. We help people, we try to diagnose â€¦ we helped two other cars that were competitors. We spent probably an hour with their crew chiefs trying to diagnose their electrical gremlin. Weâ€™d much rather have them on the track racing us than sitting in the paddock.â€
He also notes that other teams are likely to come by his paddock spot during lunchtime, hoping to get some of what Tracy has prepared. If youâ€™re in the Southeast and want to race a Mazda, OPM Autosports is one of the prep shops to look into.