Monday, May 14, 2012

High Plains Raceway

The last hot lap of three at High Plains Raceway in Byers, CO.  Great track!!!!  First time at this track and can't wait to go back.  Like Road America, left a few things in the corners and braking zones, but overall pleased with the effort.

High Plains Raceway

Brainerd International Raceway Bumper Cam

Hot lap at Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, MN.  The full course shares the main straight with the drag strip.  The main straight including the drag strip safety run off is a mile long.  At the end of the straight is a right hand sweeper with a 10% +/- banking.  This was my second lap in three and the first time at this track - YEHAW!!!!!

Brainerd International Raceway

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thanks Rafael!!!

What else can I say to my co-driver, but huge THANKS!!!!  Rafael had no idea what he was getting in to I am certain.  Spend 24 hours a day for a week, with little sleep, in close quarters with a person I hardly know.  I can see anyone else saying - Am I nuts to do this?  Well, yes would be the answer, but what the hell.  You only go around once.

Rafael is a great driver and was wonderful company.  I must admit that when I get tired I am a bear to be around.  So thanks for putting up with me Rafael.  Thanks for all the laughs and for introducing me to your family too.  It was great to see them and receive their support at Autobahn and Road America.

Again....thanks!!!  Cheers.....

Congrats Neil & Woody

Here's a quick shout out to Neil and Woody.....thanks gents for another great One Lap.  Could not do it without you.  To think that six years ago we met at a local Arlington bar and you gave me the download on the event, what to expect, what to bring and not bring, and how much fun I would have.

Congrats on your first in class win this year.  Well earned and deserved.  It was fun to watch you battle it out with the Miata.  Good luck next year.

Neil & Woody with their crowns for a class win

Cheers my friends!!!!

OLOA 2012 Wrap Up

A day has passed without an update and it is now Sunday, May 13th.  Happy mother's day mom!!!!  After a nice lunch at the Tire Rack, we drove the last 609 miles to home arriving in Arlington at 11:30 pm.

The last remaining event for the 2012 Tire Rack One Lap of America was the dry skid pad.  I was driving this event.  Last year, we had finished 14th in this event and had pulled over 1g.  This year turned out a little different and unfortunately not as well.  It was cooler than last year and the track surface was cool as there was significant cloud cover.

The order of running the dry skid pad and final event is from the back of the pack to the front runners.  That means we would be on the skid pad with only 17 cars left after our run.  Time passed quickly enough and before you can say BOOOO, I was running in circles - purposely.  The results posted soon enough and were disappointing with a 29th place (.961g's) - a three way tie to be exact with a Porsche and another BMW.  The effort did keep us in 18th place overall and 15th of 25 in class.

The M3 on the Dry Skid Pad

All in all, we were extremely happy with the entire week!!!  We set out with a few simple goals - one to have fun, bring the car home in one piece, finish in the top 20 overall, and beat Neil and Woody in the overall (we are not in their class).  We can check the box on all four categories.

The car ran perfectly and was very comfortable on the transits.  The weather was absolutely beautiful all week - low to mid 70's with bright sunny skies.  We ran in to rain on only one transit.  We also did not collect any critters in the grill as we did last year with the armadillo in Georgia.  That doesn't mean we did not see any critters - raccoon and deer to name a few - but I'll chalk up their hesitancy to jump in front of the car to those voices in their pea sized brains, saying "having my head shoved through my backside by a 3,500 pound vehicle doing 80 MPH must really hurt".

On a down note, I did receive a $167 speeding ticket in Kansas.  While the officer was writing my ticket I kept thinking a little wooden house would suddenly and mysteriously fall from the sky and crush his car.  I suppose that only happens in the movies or when those flying monkey's fly out of my derriere.

I can't wait until next year.  Brock has promised us some great tracks as it will be the 30th anniversary of the event.  As for this event, this is the wrap up.  It is great to be home, resting, and most of all being with my wife, Suze.  Thanks again Suze for putting up with this crazy urge in me to run off around the country for a week.  It is all for a great cause and I know Tom Holcomb would be proud.  Wish you were here Tom!!!

Until next year....cheers!!!!!

Road America Bumper Cam

This is a video of my first hot lap ever at Road America in a 2011 BMW M3.  Each session starts with a standing start and is then three laps long.  I have included only the first lap starting from the green flag.  I wish I had more time or experience on the track as I certainly left some speed in the corners and braking zones.  There is a premium placed on horse power (long straights) and brakes - after just three laps, I was seeing some brake fade and sponginess in the pedal on the last lap which provided a moment of pause.  This was literally the last event of the 2012 One Lap of America with the exception of the dry skid pad, so bringing the car back in one piece was paramount.

 Road America - 4.1 Miles with chicane

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day Seven Wrap Up

Road America is long behind us.  We are approximately 54 miles from South Bend and moving along at a healthy pace.  The taste of an ice cold beer is sounding quite good.

Results for the afternoon session at Road America were not what I had hoped for finishing 26th fastest.  It was the first time ever driving the course and there had been an incident or two in the morning that gave one pause.  Not using an excuse, but with one event left, this is no time to ball up or hurt the car.  The M3 has performed perfectly and represented the badge well.  She deserves to be taken care of in fine fashion.

My performance dropped us one spot in the overall to 18th.  We have a good lead in that category and can hold on or better yet even possibly move up as only 40 points separate us from 15th place!!  One never knows what can happen.  Case in point......

David Chow of FourSevens and his co-driver Nathan Sumner did not add fuel this morning to their super-charged BMW E90 M3.  In the morning session, Nathan ran out of fuel on the last lap a mile from the finish and took a DNF.  Team FourSevens was holding on to 9th overall and first in class in Luxury Sedan.  The DNF took them out of the top ten and tied for the class lead.  It would come down to the afternoon session to see which team, Chow/Sumner versus Dan & Ben Schaut, would come out on top.   As a side note, the Schaut's are also competing in a BMW E90 super-charged M3. Unfortunately, the lack of fuel may have caused greater problems than originally considered.  It may have leaned out the motor due to fuel starvation.  In any case the car did not sound or run well in the afternoon.  The win went easily to Ben and Dan giving them a 15 point lead in class over FourSevens and moved them to the top 10 overall.  Well done boys from the dairy capital of the USA.

We are only 13 miles from South Bend, so for now good night.  More tomorrow on our final event, the dry skid pad, which I will be driving.


Day Seven - Road America Update Numero Uno

Welcome to Road America in lovely Elkhart Wisconsin.  Road America is one of America's premier road course tracks and is famous the world over.  It is very long at 4.1 miles and extremely fast.  There is a huge advantage to those cars with horse power.  Brakes are also a good thing to have!

We arrived this morning at 1:00 am.  Opting out of the track walk, we slept in until 6:30.  Deciding not to do the track walk was lucky as the facility owners would not let anyone on the circuit.  It meant an extra hour of sleep....thank you, thank you very much.  Rafael has family visiting today (brothers, daughter) from the Milwaukee area so he will drive first.  He should do well as he has driven this track before where I have not.

After lunch the results are in.  Rafael has done very well and took the 21st fastest time for the morning.  It is good enough to move us up to 17th overall.  Way to go Rafael!!!!!!  I only hope I can do as well this afternoon.

Update on other teams.  Neil and Woody have been clawing their way up the overall leader board and now sit in 23rd.  They are also maintaining their lead in the SSGT Small Bore class by 30 points with two events left.  Way to go old farts!

The Mitsubishi Evo that was close behind us yesterday blew its motor this morning and is done.  Rather unfortunate to have that type of a failure this close to the end.

Catesby Jones Nissan GTR that was running second overall as of yesterday is now falling quickly with DNF's due to transmission failure.

That's it for now until we post results from this afternoon.


Day Six Update

Dear Readers-

Sorry for the delay in getting this post out.  We had connectivity issues most of the day yesterday and last night I gave up after it took single clicks 5 minutes to page up.

We arrived in Brainerd, MN at 2:00 am and were up by 6:00 to make it to the track for a walk.  At 3.1 miles, Brainerd International Raceway is one hell of a track.  The main circuit has a rich history of racing and many famous drivers over the years have shown their skills and "manhood" in great fashion.  The main circuit shares the NHRA drag strip straight, including the drag cool down/safety extension.  With the drag strip plus the cool down the main road course straight is a mile long that leads on to a long right hand sweeper with a 10% +/- banking.  If you can go down the main straight and not lift going in to the right hander you have shown your manhood.  Coming on to the main straight from turn 10, one enters the start of the drag strip. the exit of the road course turn 10 is the starting tower for the drag strip.  Nothing like pushing the peddle down and coming straight toward a building with a few tires in front of it.  Track notes might read something like this......pedal to the floor then light a cigarette, brush your teeth, comb your hair, smile for the camera, and then turn right.

I drove the morning session which included the full circuit.  Rafael drove the afternoon session which was shorter and did not include the main straight.  Our results were very good, considering we have never driven the track before.  I posted 18th overall fastest (just could not help but touch the brakes to know I had them going in to turn one - but then I was doing 150+ MPH entering).  In the afternoon, Rafael posted 23rd fastest.

After the road course sessions, it was time to put the Brainerd drag strip to use.  The first pass was our ET (elapsed time).  I was driving the drag strip session.  My ET was a weak 13.619.  It was good enough for 34th, but not what we needed.

After the ET comes the bracket drag racing.  I was up against a BMW X5 M.  The "christmas tree" goes through its sequential paces and lights up GO!!!  I launch and immediately get tire hop.  I need to let out of the throttle just a touch and just like that it is over.  I could have taken a leisurely drive for 1/4 mile, but I went back to work only to be disappointed in seeing the X5's brake lights come on before the finish line.  Why did he brake?  Because he did not want to breakout of his selected ET.  Nothing like someone slowing down so you can catch up.

So where did this leave us after the day at Brainerd International?  We dropped from 17th overall to 19th.  We are still squarely in the top 20 and Road America looms.  Another high horse-powered track and very fast.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NEWS FLASH - Autocross Results

Autocross results are in.  Rafael did better than very good.  He kicked some ass.  He finished 6th overall for the event.  With the demise of the number six Mitty (see previous post) and Rafael's awesome autocross skills, we have jumped to 17th from 20th overall.  Not sure where we are in class, but we were 15th last evening in a field of 25 cars.  Not bad for a car with no GT, R, or Z in its badge.

Neil and Woody are still in a fight for their class, but currently lead by 15 points over the super-charged Miata.  They have also moved up to 25th overall.

GO CAPS!!!!!!!

Woody's Study Habits

Woody was scheduled to drive the autocross this afternoon.

Obviously studying the more intricate curves of the course!

Day Five - Hastings Nebraska

Okay...will make this quick.  Rafael drove this morning and kicked butt taking 21st overall in the session with a 5:09.  Good enough to keep us squarely in 20th overall.  Way to go Rafael!

I drove the afternoon and while I was slower than Rafael by one second with a 5:10 total elapsed time for three laps, I finished 19th overall for the session.  It maintains our position.  Most teams times were slower as the track surface had heated up.

We are still awaiting the autocross results from Rafael's runs, but from what little bit we saw his times were very good.  It could help us in the overall as we are only 5 points (one session "place") out of 19th.

We are currently headed for Brainerd Minnesota.  A leg of 606 miles.  We pulled out of the paddock at will be a late one tonight.  We have good weather ahead though and the Caps game to listen to.

Tales of Attrition:

There was a freak accident in the autocross.  Appears a Mustang had power oversteer and the car could not be collected in time.  The car hit a partial guard rail assembly very hard on the driver's side.  Thankfully the driver is fine, but the car is done.

The Mustang - with door still latched

The number 6 Mitsubitshi blew a motor and is finished.

The factory supported Honda Oddesey is slowly unraveling.  The exhaust system went this morning, but they may be able to repair it.  Yesterday they lost 4th gear and today they appear to have lost 3rd.

All for now!!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Autobahn Qualifying Video

In car qualifying from Autobahn

Day Four Wrap Up

It has been an easy drive from Byer Colorado to Hastings Nebraska - a short jaunt of 375 miles.  Along the way we were able to have a full sit down dinner of pizza and a beer at the Thunderhead Brew Pub in Kearney Nebraska.  If you are ever in Kearney, stop in as the pizza was very good.

I wanted to finish with a wrap up of our day.  I drove the morning session and there is a correction to be made.  Due to a scoring error, I actually placed 21st and not 22nd.  The adjusted result had no impact on our overall position and we remained in 20th.

On track at High Plains

After lunch, it was Rafael's turn for a spin around the track.  He looked good from my vantage point and in roughly six and a half minutes his three hot laps were over.  Rafael also had a grin on his face after extracting himself from the car.  And well he should as when the results were posted he too had finished 21st fastest for the afternoon session.  Rafael's total elapsed time was 6:34.8 versus mine from the morning at 6:33.2.  Just a hair over a second for three laps and six plus minutes of run time.  That's close!

Rafael on grid

Woody picked up his game significantly in the afternoon after what was, by his account, an admittedly slow performance in the morning.  His morning session elapsed time was a 6:43 as compared to the afternoon at 6:35 (just a second behind Rafael).  Where did that place Woody in the session - 25th.  Incredible that 4 positions are separated by one second over a six and a half minute total time.

Woody in action

Rafael's effort keeps us in 20th overall and 11 places in front of Neil and Woody.  The two old geezers are still in a tight battle for their class, which they currently lead.  We're pulling for them, but the close competition is fun to watch.

Tomorrow we are at Hastings Motorsports Park.  From a quick review of the track map, it could be another fun day.  Our understanding is the track is as flat as a pool table.  That will be quite the difference as compared to High Plains.  There are two sessions again tomorrow which we will split, but there is also an autocross which Rafael will tackle.  He is an excellent autocross wheel man, so hopefully we can pick up a spot in the overall.

For now from Hastings Nebraska - good night!!!!

High Plains Raceway - Byers, CO

After a 600 + mile transit from Hallet, a disappointing Capitals loss, and a little bit of rain, we arrived in Byers Colorado at 11:15 pm local time.  Our motel (The Longhorn) was not as bad as we had been led to believe.  It was far from the Ritz, but it served us well.  Lights out were at midnight with a 6 am wake up call.  Six hours of glorious sleep.

High Plains Raceway is appropriately named.  The track is approximately 40 miles due east of Denver.  It sits in the middle of the great plains at the elevation above sea level of essentially Denver - 5,000 + feet.  Nothing but wheat fields, cattle, and the occasional grazing bison in view.  The track is new and has only been in existence for 3 or 4 years.  The land was purchased and the track constructed with private money.  And what a track!  15 turns and 70 feet of greatest elevation change - total elevation change in a lap is 250 feet.  Several blind turns, fast sweepers, and a long straight.  Yehaw.......

We arrived at the track as planned, unpacked the car, and started our track walk.  As neither of us had driven here, it helps to walk the track and get a lay of the land.  Videos and track maps don't quite cut it.  As we started our walk my good friend and former One Lap partner Dick Radawicz from the Denver area arrived.  Dick is a track junkie and has spent some time on High Plains.  It was good having him along for the input and just to see him.  After finishing our walk, we had the pleasure of having more input from another One Lapper - Mike Pederson.  I met Mike in the 2007 One Lap that Dick and I did together.  Between Dick and Mike we received great information and some local knowledge of the track.  Thanks gents - it definitely helped!

I gridded up and was on track by 10:00 am.  Did I say what a track?  It was so fun.  I am still smiling from ear to ear.  Anyway, the results were posted and I was 22nd fastest.  I was a little disappointed as I thought I may have been better, but no.  Oh well.  It was good enough to maintain our overall position of 20th.  We are still in the lead overall against Woody and Neil.

After my run, it was fun to sit in the stands and watch a number of the teams miss a turn and drive off in to the dust field (no harm!!).

Rafael drove this afternoon, but those results have yet to be posted.  We are currently in route to Hastings Nebraska - a short 375 mile leg.  GPS arrival time is 8:40, but we'll lose an hour moving in to central time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day Three - Results

Hallet has been left in our review mirror.  Our current position is somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma headed north on I-35 toward Wichita Kansas.  (old news......I dread entering Kansas again after last evening.  Both Neil and I were behind the wheel in our respective cars and were cited for speeding.  I was clocked at 14 MPH over and Neil 21 MPH over.  Our Kansas State Trooper was extremely pleasant and efficient.  End of story.)  The final resting place for the evening will be Byers Colorado - approximately 60 miles east of Denver.  Total miles today is a tick over 600.  Arrival time on the GPS indicates 12:27 am.  We'll be later than that time with gas, personal breaks, and food stops.  Not sure, but we may actually pick up an hour due to moving in to the Mountain Time zone?!  Tomorrow's track adventure is High Plains.  A new venue for both Rafael and me.

The results for the afternoon session are in.  Rafael placed 38th.  We moved down a few spots to 20th overall.  We have known for a few days this drop in overall places would occur as two teams with hot shoes had mistakes in the first day that put them way behind.  It was only a matter of time.  We are quite pleased with our effort and position.   The track is very technical and I had a huge advantage on Rafael as this was my 3rd time at the Hallet Motor Racing Circuit with the One Lap of America.

That said, we continue to stay ahead of Neil and Woody who are 33rd overall.  Team M Dorphn is now first in class though as their main competition had mechanical issues in transit last night and took a DNF (did not finish) for the morning session.  Those big fat zero's are never good on a points score card.

One very small gloat though (sorry Neil) - while Neil stepped up his game this afternoon after driving this morning, he still did not best my session time.  Close, but no cigar.  I was a little giddy at this as I have never had a faster time than Neil in previous One Laps.

I am going to sign off for the evening.  We'll get some more videos posted.  We have a great evening of entertainment planned as Sirius XM Radio will be carrying the Caps/Rangers game from The Garden.

C-A-P-S.....CAPS, CAPS, CAPS!!!!!!

The M3 at Turn 9

The 1M at Turn 9

Pics from Hallet

Gridding up.

Our paddock space (Neil's BMW 1M to the right)

Brock telling me how bad our accommodations will be tonight!

Day Three - Interim

Welcome to Hallet, OK and Hallet Motor Racing Circuit.  The morning session is complete and I posted the 20th fastest time.  Good enough to maintain 17th overall.  Rafael drives this afternoon.

Video from the bumper of the M3 at Hallet this morning.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day Two Results

Mid-America Motorplex (MAM).  This is a sweet little 2.0 mile track in Pacific Junction, IA.  I don't know much about the history of the track, but it was only built in 2002 so there are not many skeletons in its closet.

The town the track is located in is aptly named though.  For you history buffs (I certainly don't claim to be one) the area was the jump off point for the transcontinental rail line headed west.  Back in mid 1800's the powers that be decided it might be a good idea to link the east and west coasts of our young nation.  The question was which route to choose?  North or South?  Up until this time all rail traffic stopped at a north south line that was essentially the western Iowa state line.  After that west bound travel was by stagecoach or wagon trains.

Any way, the northern route was eventual chosen and the original departure point to the west would be Council Bluffs, IA.  The rail line would run along the Platte River, etc., etc.  Today, there are several rail lines that run through the area with Pacific Junction being one of them.  My estimate for today was a freight train every 30 minutes or so.  Commerce in action (had to get that line in for my wife).

Enough of that bull crap!!!!  The track was constructed on a piece of land that I am convinced a farmer gave away for free. It was only good for growing aquatic species - lilly pads, reed grass, etc. and what the hell do you do with those in Iowa??  My understanding was the track was closed most of 2011 and re-opened in November last year.  Why?  Because it was under two feet of water!  What was it doing this morning?  Raining!  We awoke to a large thunder storm, wind, and rain.  Yippie.  That which is already sinking is taking on more water.

We had decided I would drive the first session the night before.  Our plan for the week was that if the weather would or could benefit one session or another than we would flip a coin, winner picks his run session.  Although the weather was not great I still chose the first session.  As it turned out the rain had stopped, the stiff breeze was helping dry the track as were the early cars completing their sessions.  I went out in the 5th group of competitors.  While the track was not completely dry and there was a puddle or two remaining, there was plenty of grip.

The session was relatively uneventful, only a bobble or two.  It was over in five and a half minutes (5:36+).  Three laps - done.  The effort was good enough for 24th place.  It dropped us to 16th overall.

Lunch was consumed and it was time for Rafael to take his turn at the wheel.  The track was now dry and no puddles - yummy!  Rafael did great and posted a time of 5:33+.  It was good enough for 30th in the session.  It only dropped us one additional spot in the overall to 17th.  Great job Rafael!!!

RG in action at MAM

In the head to head competition - Rafael 1, Robin 0.

Will wrap up for now as we are somewhere in Kansas headed for Hallet, OK.  We are on a two lane road for the rest of our 200 mile journey this evening and I'd like to help Rafael watch for critters.

Cheers and good  night!

Attack of the Killer Beanie Babies

We were awoken this am at approximately 4:30 with a large clap of thunder.  I thought in fact that a train had derailed as the entire motel shook.  Nope, just a another violent storm here in the midwest.

6 am comes and we are up and getting ready for the day.  First stop is the little cafe next door for a good breakfast.  The service may be a bit slow as we are convinced the short hand cook must have one leg and arm, but the chow is tasty and plentiful.  Woody and Neil are already there, so we grab a table with them.

Sitting down I peer out the window and an E36 M3 from Wisconsin is pulling in the lot.  I note the time as 6:40.  The assumption is they are arriving from another motel somewhere north near Council Bluffs, IA.  Far from it as it turns out.  As the three man team takes their seats, we are regaled with a another only on the One Lap of America does this happen type story.

Our boys from Wisconsin (Dave Andrews, Curt Andrews, and Keith Enstrom) begin their tale.  It seems as they were grabbing lunch before the Autobahn event, a woman enters the burger joint and shyly asks - "who owns the white race car in the parking lot?"  Dave cautiously raises his hand.  Upon arriving at the car the reason for the question becomes readily apparent.  The woman drives a large SUV and has backed in to the front of the M3.  According to her though, it is not her fault as the back of her SUV is carrying cargo which did not allow her to see while backing up.  Ouch!!!!

Anyway, cops arrive and reports are filled out.  The team makes it back to Autobahn and run the car.  As there is damage to the radiator, they must be careful not to blow a head gasket with overheating.  They will fix the problem after the event.  How?  Dave calls his wife in Elkhart Lake, WI and provides her with the parts to find out in the barn.  She does and then drives them to the team near Joliet, IL.  Now that is love!!!!

While Dave's wife drives to Joliet, the team starts disassembling the car and await the transplant parts.  Parts arrive and the boys have the car buttoned up by 11:45 pm or so.  It's now a 6.5 hour dash to Pacific Junction.  That's right, the team is just arriving having started their west bound journey at midnight.  They are in good spirits and happy to be here, although a little tired.  We're glad they are still along too.

Oh....and the woman's "cargo"?  Boxes full of fury little stuffed toys.  The SUV was delivering them to the pub next door as give aways to support handicapped children.  Attack of the Killer Beanie Babies will be coming to a theater near you soon.

More later......

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day One Summary

We have just crossed in to Iowa west bound on I-80 in route to Pacific Junction.  We had a great day one finishing 11th overall.  Tomorrow is another day though and a different track - Mid-America Motorplex.

I had a decent outing on Autobahn taking the 22nd fastest time (there are 70 cars entered in the event).  Woody drove Autobahn and placed 37th.  Woody and Neil currently sit in 32nd place overall.

Our bellies are full as is the fuel tank so we'll trudge on for a couple hours before swapping seats again and getting in to a rythum of drive then sleep.  We have 282 miles left tonight with the GPS indicating an arrival of 1:06 am (assuming no more stops and our current speed of 80 mph).  I predict closer to 1:30 - 1:45.

Will sign off for now.  More tomorrow with additional photos and video.

Robin at Autobahn turn one

South Bend Speedway

Gridding up at South Bend Speedway

Wet Skid Pad

Rafael on the wet skid pad.

WOW....Awesome Rafael!

Results for the wet skid pad and oval time trial are in.  Rafael took 17th on the wet skid pad.  On the oval, Rafael posted the 18th fastest time.  This puts team Save the Males 13th overall and 11th in class.  Team M Dorphn (aka Neil and Woody) are 31st overall.

We are only two events in, but it is a tremendous start.  I need to drive well this afternoon to maintain the pressure.

More later.......

Great Start!!!!

Results for the wet skid pad and oval time trial at South Bend Speedway in Plymouth, IN are not posted as yet, but we are feeling fairly good about the effort.  Rafael drove the wet skid pad tossing up an .81 lateral G average.  As we were the 17th car on the pad it is hard to determine where we ended up.  Time will tell.  I believe we did beat Neil and Woody though.

After a quick wipe down of the car and packing our gear we headed down the road a whopping 6 miles to Plymouth and the 1/4 mile oval.  Car is unpacked and Rafael and I conduct a track walk.  The pavement is old and breaking up which should make for some fun.  Rafael was hand picked by the team leader to drive the oval as well.  At two cars per session and 3/4 of a mile it does not take long to get on track.  We paired up with Neil for some comfort.  I watched from the stands and Rafael had the car slipping just enough, but very much in control.  He seemed to be catching Neil too.  Way to go Rafael!

We'll post results as soon as they become available along with some video of both wet skid pad and South Bend Speedway.  For now we are in route to Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL.  I will be driving at Autobahn.  From there we have 452 miles to Pacific Junction, IA.

Caps game starts soon, so switching off for now.  GO CAPS!!!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tech and Sticker Day

Dear Friends-

It's late and today did not have much excitement......but here are the highlights:

-  Up and moving toward a shower: 7:30
-  Free breakfast at motel: 8:00 - 8:30
-  Wash the car: 8:45 - 9:10
-  Leave for the Tire Rack:  9:15
-  U-turn to pick up Rafael's driver suit and helmet for tech (Lap Puppy mistake):  9:20
-  Arrive at the Tire Rack: 9:35
-  Event registration and sign your life away: 10:00
-  Apply additional sponsor stickers: 10:15 - 11:45
-  Pass safety tech:  12:00 - 12:02
-  Lunch: 12:30
-  Walmart run (with Woody) for socks, batteries, tools, and shaving cream: 1:45
-  Stop for gas: 2:15
-  Driver's meeting:  3:00
-  Pack up car and head to motel:  4:30
-  Beer(s) in the motel parking lot:  5:00 to 6:15
-  Italian dinner at Carmela's with friends (Mike, Tom, Dan, Steve, Neil, Woody, Ben, Rafael) and the local high school prom dates (oh my):  6:30 - 7:45
-  Back to the motel for a night cap: 8:00 - 9:15
-  Noticing the "scenery" at the indoor motel pool where Neil suggested Woody may have broken the conditions of his parole:  9:30
-  More night caps in Neil and Woody's room:  9:35 - 10:30
-  Watching Rafael fulfill the conditions of our contract by cleaning the car and applying more rain-x on the windshield:  10:30 - 10:45
-  Writing today's blog:  10:50 - 11:15
-  Saying goodnight - 11:16

Tomorrow we start the 2012 Tire Rack One Lap of America.  Wet skid pad event will be event number one, followed by South Bend Speedway, then Autobahn Country Club, and finally a 450 mile leg to Pacific Junction, Iowa.

We are looking forward to the week's adventures and having some fun with new and old friends.  So for now, goodnight as 6:00 am is looming sooner than desired.

PS:  Photos to start coming in tomorrow from the track(s), etc.  Car looks great!!!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

South Bend Arrival

The 2012 One Lap of America adventure has at last commenced.  After watching the Washington Capitals lose a heartbreaker this morning, I was able to snag a few hours sleep before awaking at 6 am to finish up packing for our 9 am departure.

Car packed and the cats fed, I pull out of the drive and head to the appointed jump off point - Woody Hair's abode.  As I start the car and slowly depart there's an obvious void.  For the first time in 6 years, Suze (my better half) is not there to see me off.  Her job has whisked her away to New York.  All understandable, but nonetheless a bit sad.

My arrival at Woody's is greeted with warm smiles from Neil, Rafael, and the old man himself.  Some brief trash talk is followed by transferring Rafael's gear to the M3.  Some more trash talk and it is finally time to move on toward South Bend.

The drive is uneventful and we arrive in South Bend at 7:30.  A few quick hellos to old friends in the motel parking lot and a beer or two are downed before heading out for a quick dinner.  It has been a long day and Rafael and I are tired, so will sign off for tonight.  Tomorrow is registration and tech inspection.

Cheers....and good night from South Bend, IN!!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

NASA Time Trial - Test Video #2

This video saved at a higher resolution and was taken from my in car at the March NASA Time Trials at Virginia International Raceway in my old beloved 1988 E30 M3 (Robert Grace has her now).

LeMons - Video Test #1

This is a test.  We are hoping to post some videos this year from the One Lap.  This is an out-take of a few of my laps at the 24 Hours of LeMons race at New Jersey Motorsports Park this past weekend.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2012 Tire Rack One Lap of America Countdown

Another year has passed and Lap Puppy Rafael Garces and I are less than two weeks away from beginning an adventure in lunacy that is the Tire Rack One Lap of America.  We'll be conducting our on track business and nightly transits in a 2011 BMW M3 - Competition Package.  This will be my 6th One Lap and Rafael's first.  My better half continues to inquiry as to when I'll stop doing this crazy event.  I'd like to think at this point, never.  Sorry Suze.

Brock Yates (OLOA organizer and chief loonie) is dragging the nut farm entirely west this year from the Tire Rack Headquarters in South Bend, IN, our home base of sorts.  We'll make it virtually to Denver, CO before making a u-turn and heading east.  Transits through Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska could be exciting this time of the year - dodging those pesky little weather anomolies called twisters.  Last weekend saw 120 tornados in Oklahoma.  Yikes!!!

Over the past few days, the car has been lovingly prepped by RRT Racing (Road Race Technologies) in Sterling, VA.  Thanks gents....your continued support is greatly appreciated!!

Justin Good of Redline Design has also completed the graphics on the car - recogonizing all the gracious corporate sponsors.  Thanks Justin (and Nickie) for a wonderful job - again.  The car looks great and has received many compliments in just two short days.  I'll get some photos up this week!  Have a safe trip home to FLA.  Could not do it without your help.

Between now and our departure Team Save the Males will be headed to Summit Point Raceway to conduct some wet skid pad testing and hopefully some hot laps on the Summit Point main circuit.  The lap puppy (that's a OLOA first timer if yu have not figured that out yet) has never driven my M3, so we figure some seat time might be a good idea.  I also want to secure a few laps in the seat with the tires under me we are running this year - Michelin Pilot Super Sports.  These were the tire of choice at last years event.  I'll report on our testing.

I hope a few of you will follow us in our adventures over the course of the next few weeks.  It should be exciting.  Our goals are simple; bring the car home in one piece and finish, have fun, see old friends and make new ones, finish in the top 20, and of course beat the snot out of Neil Simon and Woody Hair.  And like every year, we'll be remembering Tom Holcomb as we travel the roads of America.  Miss you Tommy and wish we could have had this adventure together - I know you are with us though.