Friday, April 30, 2010

Day One - Tire Rack

Its been a busy morning and early afternoon. After a great breakfast and a run to Walmart for a new folding chair, shop towels, mini-DVD tapes, and a football for exercise, we headed to the local DIY (do it yourself) car wash to clean the old girl up. A quick wash and dry was followed by a fuel top off before making it to the Tire Rack at 9:15. There were a few cars in the lot and registration was officially open.

We unpacked the car for the first time - damn there is a lot of stuff in this car! We then went down to registration and signed our lives away. IN the process they handed us more stickers for the car which we promptly installed in a blistering wind. The weather is quite warm and slightly overcast with a strong breeze - gusting to 20 or 25 MPH is my estimate. There is just enough sun from time to time to require a sunblock lathering.

The sticker application is finished in short order and then I assist Woody apply the stickers to Neil's M-Coupe. The older folks need all the help they can get. While I keep Woody on the straight and narrow Brian works to adjust the harnesses in the car so that they fit both of us. We have installed a four-point roll bar, full race seat, and harnesses in the car for safety this year. Keeping the fat backside planted nicely in a seat also assists greatly in driving the car.

After finishing all this work, we run the car through tech inspection. Do you have all the right stickers? Yes. Do you have a fire extinguisher? Yes. Helmet and fire-proof suit? Yes. Your good to go. They brand the side walls of our Michelin PS2's and we are free to resume our pre-event prep chores.

Just before lunch, Brian and I tackle removing all four wheels and taping over the wheel weights in the event we heat them up enough during track sessions and the weight glue releases. A little added insurance. Lunch is served and it is the usual fair of burgers, hot dogs, pasta, and brownies. Yummy! Neil Simon has arrived (Woody's partner) from his conference in Chicago.

We are now waiting for the drivers meeting to start at 3:00 and then the wet skid pad test at 5:00. From there it will be a quick pack up and hit the road toward Elkhart, WI and tomorrow's event at famed Road America. Brian is driving the wet skid pad and after much debate and conversing with the Tire Rack specialists, we opt for 32 lbs all around and traction control off.

Wish us luck! The next report should be how we did on the wet skid pad and how nasty traffic is getting around Chicago on our trip north.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

South Bend - Usual Suspects

People frequently ask why I do this crazy drive around the country. First and foremost it is to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of getting tested - yearly. Hope that is sinking in gents?

Next, it is about the folks that show up every year and are frankly crazier than I am. Many have been competing in the event for 10 years. This is my fourth event and it is so wonderful to arrive at the arm pit motel of South Bend that is the Quality Inn and see virtually all the smiling faces from the previous years. As I have said many times before there is a great comraderie associated with the Tire Rack One Lap of America. Teams in every shape and form arrive for a week of punishment. Husbands and wives, friends from opposite sides of the country, and Swiss chocolatiers to name just a few. In fact, I truly believe the entire Dubler chocolate factory in Switzerland has been shut down this week as everyone seems to be here. In short it's about seeing friends again.

We arrived in South Bend about 7:15 pm and checked in to the motel. After a pint or two at the Gipper Lounge (no I am not making that up and what else would you expect at a South Bend/Notre Dame dive bar in a nasty motel) we decide to make our way with friends to an Italian restaurant. This will be the last good meal other than breakfast tomorrow morning we will have in 9 days. Steve McGuire from United BMW has the scoop on this place and off we go. It is close to the motel and in short order we are pulling in the parking lot. It becomes immediately apparent this is not what we thought it would be - white table cloths, china plates, metal silverware, and sweet violin music. Instead, it is a pizza and sandwich shop that is closing in 10 minutes. We decide to stay as hunger has taken over and the good folks inside are nice enough to let us order and hang around to finish our meal in peace. Although it was a bit strange to be sitting there and have the doors locked and the overhead lights going out. My meatball sub sandwich was very good and everyone seems to have had a nice meal. The conversation was pretty good too.

Someone mentions a beer to cap the night off and we jump in the cars to head back to the top rate Quality Inn. Arriving back at the Gipper, the karaoke singing is in full rage and many of the usual suspects are there catching up and talking "trash". Some things never change and the older I get the more I like that concept. I have one more pint and then head back to the room to blog. That is where you find me now.

Tomorrow will be a full day with tech, registration, more stickers, wet skid pad, and a drive to Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Weather is looking good for the trip tomorrow and the rest of the week. But for now, good night and peace, love, happiness!


Bags Are Packed - Next Stop South Bend, IN

The Tire Rack One Lap of America departure date has finally arrived. The car is packed and is in good spirits as I see it tapping its toes in the drive. A quick fuel stop and diet coke purchase for the road and then I'll head to Woody Hair's abode to pick up my co-driver, Brian Hair. From there it is a 9 hour caravan ride west to South Bend, IN. Our first night in a crappy hotel...unfortunately the first of many. It appears the weather today will cooperate for our first leg - cool and sunny.

Sorry to make this post so brief, but more later this evening either from the road or from South Bend after a long drive with a cool beverage in hand. Time to finish up a few remaining items and get to Woody's.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Co-Driver Change

Team ZERO is having to unfortunately make a co-driver change. Due to business related conflicts and commitments, Barry Battle has had to withdraw from the 2010 One Lap adventure. I will surely miss his fun loving company and expert driving skills. We make a great team and there is always next year!!!

Brian Hair, a local hot shoe, has joined up and I look forward to the One Lap with him. I have known Brian for quite a few years now and completed the One Lap with his father, Woody Hair, last year. We should make a formidable team in the SSGT1 class. The added fun will be competing against his dad.

Stay tuned as we leave in less than four weeks. The car is going through its final preparations and I will update everyone on that in coming posts.

Cheers and Happy Easter!