Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day Seven - Autobahn Country Club

Sorry this is coming in as late news, but here we go!

We arrived in Joliet, IL at 1:30 am CST after a 590 mile drive from Birmingham, AL.  It was a rather uneventful drive and we were very happy this drive did not follow the day directly after the haul from Florida to Louisiana.  When we put our heads on the pillow, we were out.

The alarm went off at 7:00 am and we were in the car by 7:30 headed to the Autobahn Country Club (ACC).  The ACC is a very nice facility and track.  It has a north and south course that could be combined for one larger track.  In the past, the One Lap has used only the south course for the time trials.  This year, the event organizers have secured running the north course which is the shorter of the two configurations in the morning and the longer south course in the afternoon.  Woody will take on the north course and I will drive the south course.

Woody sets off for the grid and is soon taking his hot laps.  He looks good for the small area of track we can actually see and due to the length of the track, his session is over quickly.  It's now a waiting game to see where he has finished.  We are in 29th overall, but we have a team or two at 30th and 31st that are definitely within striking distance.  Our goal is to hold on to our top 30th spot as we have fought hard for it.

Just before lunch, the results are in and Woody has posted a 34th fastest time.  It is good enough to keep us in 29th, but the 30th place team has now pulled within 10 points in the overall.  With a bobble in the afternoon, I could relinquish our 29th position which would be tough to re-take on the dry skid pad on Saturday at the Tire Rack.

Although I have driven the south course three times previously (15 total laps), I opt for a track walk as a refresher and to walk off lunch.  It is a healthy stroll of just over two miles in 30 minutes.

After suiting up for what will be the last time this week, I head to the grid.  I am in the 4th run group and looking forward to the session.  Just before reaching the grid, the 30th place team driver, David Teal, comes over to put the pressure on me.  David let's me know that I am clearly in his sights and that he is gunning for us as he wants out of the 30th spot.  We laugh and promise I have my A game on for this afternoon.  The session ends quickly and as I approach our paddock space, Woody gives me the thumbs up.  No official time, but by Woody's time piece, I had a three lap elapsed time of 5:11 +/-.  Apparently this is a good time - no pun intended, but time will tell.

We pack up in about 20 minutes and are in route back to South Bend in the hopes of avoiding Chicago rush hour traffic.  We also have a date with a beer or two once back at the city where we started a week ago.  WOW...a week has flown by, although on Monday night as we were staring at a pool of oil under the front of the car, it seemed like we had weeks to go and not days.  We're very happy to have survived and finished.

Trudging east bound across northern Illinois and Indiana on I-80/90 toward South Bend, Woody's cell phone rings.  It is Neil Simon and he relays us the afternoon results from Autobahn.  I placed 18th overall with a 5:11.20.  The 30th place car was 30th which put another 60 points between us.  Our point lead after the day at 70 with the dry skid pad on Saturday.  David is driving an all wheel drive Audi, so he is praying for rain in the morning.  Obviously, we are not.

We are back in South Bend by 5:30 EST with a brew in hand.  Other One Lappers are arriving every few minutes and before you can blink, it's a party!  Everyone is in good spirits and congratulating each other on completing another One Lap.  While we still have one event left, it is a great relief to be near the end as we are tired.

Next report, the dry skid pad!!!!

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