Thursday, May 3, 2012

Diary of a wanna be race car driver.

Update. Many friends have been asking me to update them on the progress of the One Lap and what's it like out here. This is my sad attempt at writing it and posting it. I will keep this updated as well as have Live Video/Audio of the event. The event is May 5th - May 12th. I wanted to post to tell my friends and family about One Lap and exactly what it is. So what is it? The One Lap of America is a motorsports event in the United States that has been held since 1984. It is the successor to the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an underground auto race of the 1970s. The premise for both is to drive cross-country, but the One Lap of America respects speed limits. Competition occurs as time trials held at various race tracks around the country. The competitors drive from race track to race track, (often driving 24 hours at a time) without the benefit of support crews. The field of competitors is divided into several classes based primarily on original manufacturers suggested retail prices and number of doors. Competitors may make any modifications to their vehicles as they see fit but must run on a single set of tires throughout the entire event. Race track events are time trials with up to eight cars on track at a time. Competition is for fastest time rather than wheel-to-wheel racing. Now that you all know what it is, I want to introduce my co-driver in the event and master mechanic Derek Heim. He has been the most important person in this process. Without his motor head knowledge and attention to detail, I would not be able to even register for this event. Derek owns EI Racing in Central Florida.
Prior to the event I was called by a person named Kirsty Robson from Los Angeles CA. She is a TV Producer and interviewed Derek and I about being rookies in One Lap. We just told the truth and she picked us to be one of 6 teams to have camera's and mic's in the car for the event as well as interview us before/after the event. This should be fun or really bad. Just a reminder about the event. THERE ARE NO SUPPORT CREWS! It's bring what you can fit in your car and that's it. You blow a tire on the race track Now that you know it's just us two and no support crews and the one set of tires for the event we are finally off. Day 1: Leaving Orlando, Fl to get to South Bend IN. Now it's just under 1200 miles to get to South Bend and we loaded the car in the trailer and were ready as ever and set off.
SNAP! Something happen 5 miles into the trip! The rear axle on the trailer had issues. Me not being a car/trailer guy asked Derek what happened? He said we lost the ball bearings on the trailer's right side. Ummmmm What are we going to do I said? We thought of getting another trailer but just didn't have time. So we took the escape pod (the car) out of the trailer and loaded it down with all our gear including a 5 gallon gas can. We made the decision to drive the 1200 miles in the GTR to make it in time. As we drove late into the night and our schedule/distance is all off, we needed to sleep. We called 3 hotels and no luck. Was this the start to a crazy 14 days? We called one last place a local Hilton in Marietta Ga and was able to get a room. It wasn't the nicest but hey last minute hotels are sometimes hard to find. (hehe).
We drove almost halfway the first night so we were a little a head of schedule. With this thought and great timing we wanted to see if we could make it all the way the next day to South Bend, IN. It was just over 700 miles and we woke up early and took off. We are not in Florida any longer! Day 2: I drove all just before Nashville, TN and Derek took over after that. I wanted to post this sign picture as my Aunt and Cousin live in Nashville/Knoxville so I wanted to show them I was thinking of them. Love ya guys!
Derek's wife Rita told me I HAD to take care of Derek and make sure he eats something! He can go for days on one grape. So Rita here is the picture ensuring he is eating.
Farm land for days when Derek took over the driving.
Arrival! Day 2 over and the POD is dirty. We needed to eat/sleep. If this is what we have coming to us the next 8 days, we are in trouble.
Day 3: We wake up and go outside and what do we see?
Not a big deal. He was making sure all the cars are safe. Now some of you on this blog/facebook/twitter/linkedin don't know cars and could care less, but some might think what car is that? Well it's a Nissan (yes Nissan) GT-R. The car currently has just under 600 HP. It does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. Yeah it's that fast. To date I have had it up to 187 MPH. I am blessed to own this car and blessed even more to have such a great wife to put up with me and all the late nights and weekend trips to Derek's to work on it. The reason I bring this up is there is a company in West Chicago called AMS Performance. Eric (sales manager) and I have talked a few times on the phone and I have purchased products from them as well. They are the God Fathers of the GTR. They had the first 10 Second/9 Second/8 Second, 1/4 mile GTR. They also did a record run at 233 MPH in the Texas Mile this past weekend. Ivan was the driver and when he pulled the chute the entire car came off the ground and he was able to get it under control! WOW search Youtube for AMS performance and you can see if for yourself. I asked Eric if we could come up and meet the guy's and look at the shop. Eric and the WHOLE crew were awesome. The oil we use in the GTR needs to be changed every 3750 miles. We had driven almost 1500 miles already and with One Lap starting this Saturday we needed the oil changed. Eric (far left) was super nice and got the car on the lift and changed the oil for us. We will be looking at the Alpha 9 plus package this year and getting even more power. We also met Brian the Marketing Guru from AMS, super nice guy as well and even showed us the Alpha 12 car.
On the way back we had to stop for lunch at the one and only Portillo's.
After lunch Derek and I were laughing at all the signs on the road about what you can and can't do. Here are some pictures we captured along the way.
Well it's late and I am off to get some sleep, as well as get ready for registration tomorrow. I think I might take a quick jump in the hotel pool.
Update will come tomorrow. Stay Tuned!


  1. Sounds like you guys are having a great time. Be safe out there and remember to stop for school buses.
    FPF Rules (Fast People Floorin'it) I can do this all day.

    Andy Wasson

  2. Bob this is awesome, I would tell you to do a great job but I already know you will. I wish you guys nothing but the best of luck along this journey. Be saFe have fun and we will all be pulling for ya.

  3. Dude this is awesome! Thanks for sending me you link. Love the car too! Livin the dream, good for you! Brother Dave

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