I attended my first autocross on Saturday – the SCCA Speedway/Wilwood CAM Challenge in Crows Landing. Although this event was not as big as others, it was perfect for a first-timer. I had many questions and there was always someone there to provide an answer. For example, who would have thought that you need to keep tires at a perfect temperature so they are warm enough to grip the road but not so hot that you’re slipping and sliding around the track? Spraying them with water between runs apparently keeps them happy. There’s something about the energy of the drivers, the smell of the track, the vibration of the engines – everyone should experience this. I was lucky enough to be there with the Mike Maier Inc. crew and see them all in action.
Let’s go back a few years… I’ve known Mike and Brianne Maier since 2010 when our sons started Cub Scouts together. I heard about the work Mike did, and being a lover of classic Mustangs for as long as I can remember, I was enthralled. Naturally, when he and Brianne came to me four years later to see if I’d help run the office of their new company, I didn’t hesitate. Being an attorney by trade, I didn’t know a panhard rod from a sway bar, an x-brace from a shock tower brace. And I certainly didn’t know why you’d put them on a car. But I knew working there wouldn’t feel like work at all.
The first weeks of the business were full of uncertainty – would we be open in a month? Six months? A year? Would we be ready for shows and have product for fliers and catalogs? Then the calls and emails started, customers stopped by at random, and we were constantly asked when products would be available for purchase. Even knowing parts were in the design stage and wouldn’t be available for weeks, possibly months, we couldn’t keep people from placing orders. We couldn’t keep suspension products on the shelves. As soon as the boys finished a run of subframe connectors, we sold out of x-braces. And despite the inevitable delays, people waited. They understood what they were waiting for.
I didn’t completely appreciate that until this weekend, seeing Ol’ Blue in action. Seeing the way Mike and Brianne pushed the car to the absolute limit because they know Mike’s designs work. Seeing everyone pull together to change the master cylinder and brake pads in between races. Watching Mike crawl under the car to change the sway bar for a smaller one while Brianne climbed in for her next run (and having Vince explain to me why the change was important). Seeing the smile that never left my husband’s face after Mike took him for a quick ride in Ol’ Blue. And knowing that even though Mike was in fifth place after two runs, he would pull off the win. Which he did. By the end of the first day, Mike Maier Inc. drivers finished 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th.
The past six months have been a whirlwind for Mike Maier Inc. Our Facebook and Instagram pages have exploded. Readership on the new website has surpassed our wildest expectations. Our product line is growing. And the orders keep rolling in. I no longer question whether we’ll be in business in six months – I wonder how we’ll ever keep up. But, if you know Mike, you know it will happen.