Recently my dad and I competed in Brock Yates’ One Lap of America driving competition. The official website for the event is found at onelapofamerica.com. Since the event was technically a competition, the events were time trials. Each team was scored and ranked based on how fast they completed each event. The results and rankings from the event can be found on the results page. The car we used for the event is my dad’s 2017 Chevrolet Stingray. This put us in the SGT-1 BB and Stock - GT Classes, where we placed 17th and 15th respectively. Our overall standing was 63rd.
Our goal, however, was not to place well, but to have fun, complete the event, and bring the car back home, and we completed all of these goals. The competition was long, but fun. Each day had roughly the same layout. We would wake up early, around 7, then head to the track, where we would drive in two events. After which, we would then drive for around 500 miles to reach the next hotel, so that we could do it all again. The complete schedule for the event is show below.
Day 0 Travel
The first day we packed up the car and traveled to the first hotel. We knew we were at the right place when we saw a viper with one lap stickers and a Lamborghini next to it.
Day 1 Registration
The first day of the event we added stickers to our car, went through tech inspection, walked around and looked at all the other cars, received our information book, and attended a drivers meeting.
Day 2 Skid Pad and Autocross, South Bend and Kokomo, Indiana
The first day of driving, we started off at the Tire Rack Headquarters where we drove on a wet skid pad. The goal was to see how much G-force you could put into turning.
After the skid pad, we then went to Grissom Air Force Base where my dad drove the autocross event. Before the event we both walked the course many times and discussed strategies on how to drive it.
We closed off the day by driving from Indiana to our hotel in Ohio.
Day 3 Nelson Ledges, Garrettsville, Ohio
The second day of driving, we were at Nelson Ledges Road course. We got their early enough that we were able to walk around the course before the track went live. There was an old bridge that went over the starting line. The bridge would shake when cars passed under it. My dad drove the course, but there were parade laps after lunch that I drove.
Day 4 Road America, Plymouth, Wisconsin
The next track was Road America. In the morning there was rain and the track was very slippery. There were some wreaks as cars slid off of the track, so our run group at the end of the pack was delayed until after lunch. Going after lunch had the great benefit of allowing the track to dry and the sun to come up. This track was very large and there were many walking paths around the track and places to spectate.
Day 5 Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota
Day 5 was one of the nicest, sunniest, and longest days of the trip. In the morning I started to walk the course, but I only made it down the drag strip portion of the front straight before I realized just how long the total course would be. This track also had great places to spectate. The morning event was the large full course and I spectated the driving from the top of the sky box building. The track had a tunnel under the straight to cross from one side of the track to the other.
In the afternoon, we drove on the shorter SCCA road course portion of the track. This section of the track also had a rooftop to spectate from. The shorter course was fun to watch, since you could see for a greater percentage of the track and close to the start/finish line were fun turns to watch. Travis Pastrana was fun to watch go around one of the turns in particular. He would power slide each time he went around. People spectating closer said that he was waving to the crowd of people watching while doing the power slide. In the morning run, he was talking on the phone with his teammates in the stands as he was driving around the track. It was great fun to hear his conversations/interviews and watch him drive.
Next we did drag racing on the front straight. The first time on the drag strip, you tried to see how fast you could go. Then they did a bracket race, where cars would try to get as close to their first time as possible without going over their previous time. In the bracket, they would start the cars at different times so that they should arrive at the finish line at the same time (assuming they ran the same time as before). Finally to finish off the day, we had one of the longest transit drives of the trip, 555.5 miles.
Day 6 Motorsports Park Hastings, Hastings, Nebraska
Hastings was a smaller course. We were able to walk the course in the morning. The weather was rainy and windy, but there were shelters from the rain. They had multiple covers and also a party bus. The party bus was nice since in addition to blocking the rain, it would block the wind. Even with a fire suit and multiple layers, it was cold this far north. This is also where our EZ pop up canopy finally collapsed. It was starting to look rough, and had already blown over once. This time we strapped it down really well with bags and hammock straps, and instead of blowing away, it folded in on itself. However, our stuff still stayed dry and we ended up not needing it for the rest of the trip. This place also had the best food. They had only one thing on the menu and it was a delicious brisket sandwich.
Day 7 Blackhawk Farms, South Beloit, Illinois
Blackhawk Farms was a nice course. By now we had the rhythm down. Wake up, get coffee, drive to course, walk course, morning session, lunch, afternoon session, transit drive, Cliff Bars and gas station pizza for supper, check-in and collapse in hotel bed. Repeat. By this point a nap was required, and I was glad to have brought a hammock to nap in. This track has a second story building to watch from, but the best place to watch was at some metal stands in the U portion of the track.
Day 8 National Corvette Museum (NCM) Motorsports Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky
I drove the events at NCM and it was a blast. The weekend before I went to a Chin Track Days here, so I already knew the course and had multiple sessions of experience driving it. In the morning, we first drove the east course, then afterwards we moved directly into line to drive the west course. Driving the split up course was new, but pit-in and pit-out was easy to find, and we looked for them when we walked on the course in the morning. I was able to run good times and I felt more confident on the track than I did during the week before. The previous experience helped tremendously. The sink hole portion was the most fun, and I was able to squeak the tires for most of the entrance turn. My time on the west course was comparably better, but the straights were to the advantage of our car. For lunch they had hibachi from a food truck. I was happy to have Asian after all of the BBQ I had been eating earlier in the week.
After lunch we drove on the full course. I enjoyed the full course and I was back in my comfort zone driving the same configuration I had during Chin. The laps were good and the only sad part was I forgot to hit record on the car’s race cam, so I don’t have any footage from that run. And without any proof to the contrary, those were my best laps on the track ☺.
After the event, there was still time left for the track rental, so they opened up the track for open lapping. My dad was finally able to drive on the track at speed. Previously he had only done a parade lap on the course. This was the last track day, but we still had to drive back up to Indiana for the skid pad part 2, banquet, and group photo. So after being in Kentucky (closest destination to home) we heading back north for the last day.
Day 9 Skid Pad, South Bend, Indiana
First we line up all the cars to take a group photo. Then I got a chance to drive the skid pad again, but this time on a dry track. I did much better in the dry and I had more confidence to go fast. I think I was much closer to the limit of the tires this time around and the car was sliding around more. For this event they ran the cars in reverse order in the standings, and even so, it was great to hear that I took first place on the skid pad after completing my run. Finally the event ended with an awards banquet where the food was good and I learned what a shoey was.
And so after the banquet our trip was complete. We had successfully made it around One Lap of America. Tired but happy, we then made our last transit drive back home. At this point we were pros at long drives and we made it home safely.