Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let the Craziness Begin

The day started early with a 5:30 alarm and a 45 minute snooze before my better half nudged me then notified me I was already behind.  The morning pre-departure chores were simple; pack the car, get cleaned up, get 30 minutes of real work done, go through the One Lap must have check list for the hundredth time, gas the car, pick up Woody at 8:30.  Check and check!

Having picked up Woody and his gear we head off the the Star Bucks at Chesterbrook Plaza in McLean, VA to link up with Dick Clark and Tucson Jerry (Dick's brother.....from guess where?).  Neil Simon, Woody's regular One Lap partner sees us off from Woody's house and wishes us luck....thanks Neil!  My wife, Suze, also stops by to see us off and capture a couple photos to memorialize the moment.  It is now 9:15 and we have 600 miles to South Bend, IN.  The caravan is smaller than last year, but fun will be had.

I take the first stint which lands us at Breezewood, PA and the Penn Turnpike.  We top off the fuel tank and start the next run.  Woody is now behind the wheel and as we hit the Ohio state line at 1:45, it is time for another restroom break and lunch.  

As we are in the queue for our first official gourmet meal of the week at Micky D's, Dick and Jerry start discussing their shopping for a ZR-1 Vette.  Woody and I are looking at each other......nice, they'll get home and have a new toy.  But no, Dick is looking to trade up right now....or at least before the One Lap starts on Saturday.  Dick is currently sporting a very nice and very fast Z-06 Vette, but for the past several hours has been on the phone with Chevy dealers from Indianapolis to Chicago looking for a ZR-1.  He has located one in both cities.  If he goes for the Indianapolis car, Woody and I are out on the caravan deal.  If the Chicago car pans out, Dick and Jerry will head to Chi-Town Friday morning.  It's official....Dick is on the fringe of lunacy.  But I also wish him luck as it would be a great story to finish....stay tuned!

After a lovely meal, it's back on the road.  We are down the highway no more than 10 miles and Woody receives a call from his son, Brian AND it starts to rain in earnest with yours truly behind the wheel.  Brian has news on a fellow competitor, Eric Brum,  who's luck has been a little down.  

Eric owns a BMW Z3 M Coupe.  In preparation for the One Lap, Eric decides to stuff a fully prepared turbo race motor in the car along with some light weight carbon fiber body parts.  The car was just finished last Friday and was taken to Summit Point for a shakedown.  During the initial test, the car appears to have suffered a turbo over boost which throws a cooling system hose and eventually leads to Eric having a small spin at turn 10 narrowly missing the inside concrete wall.

The car is brought back to the shop and over the next few days is gone over in detail.  What comes to light is that the car has a blown head gasket and some piston/valve damage.  After milling the warped head and securing the other go fast replacement parts, the re-assembly commences.  Unfortunately, it does not go well and the "project" comes to a close.  It is Wednesday evening...the day before Eric is scheduled to leave for South Bend.

Undaunted, Eric contacts Brock Yates, the One Lap's chief cook and bottle washer.  Brock suggests Eric call TC Kline, a BMW tuner in Columbus, OH.  TC has several cars and may be willing to "rent" a car to Eric allowing him to participate in the One Lap event.  As luck would have it, TC does have a car....none other than his well known (in car circles) bright orange BMW Z3 Carbon Fiber M Coupe.  A deal is struck and Eric lines up a one way rental car to transport him and his c0-driver, Dave Flogus, to Columbus.  Eric will pick up the rental car in the DC metro area and then head to Philly to pick up Dave.  From there it will be an all night drive to Columbus, determine if the One Lap tires he has already purchased and carried with him will fit the M Coupe.  Then on to South Bend.  WOW.....way to stay with it Eric and Dave and we look forward to seeing you in Indiana.

The remainder of the trip is uneventful other than the rain.  We arrive in South Bend at 6:45 and have a quick beer at the motel bar before heading out for dinner.  Getting back to the fine luxury accommodations, we stop in for a night cap.  Dick's deal has not come through so it appears he'll need to wait until next year for the ZR-1.  Life is tough.

It's 11:30 and it has been a long day.  Tomorrow we register and plaster more graphics on the car.  For now....good night!!!

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