You know you’re tired when the days begin to blur into each other. We’ve been running non-stop and it’s finally starting to take its toll on both man and machine. Today for example is Tuesday, but this morning, on 3 hours of sleep, I had no idea of that. From an automotive point of view the Charger has only eaten one fuel-pump, which isn’t bad considering it’s 42 years old. Cars, both new and old, are truly tested to their limits on this run, so seeing so many still in the hunt for the One Lap crown is pretty impressive.
The 2010 One Lap of America is indeed proving to be an event where anything can happen at anytime. Teams and cars that you thought would have made it through the week have already fallen off. Last years’ winner for example, a two-tone Nissan GTR, succumbed to engine trouble and two days ago dropped out of the competition. For the guys in the running for the win, this was big news. The One Lap of America is an event that plays host to every genre of automobile and every type of person. It is a true automotive melting pot.
Back to business – yesterday we’d spent the day at Hallet Motor Sports Park in Jennings, Oklahoma. The track consists of 10 turns in a short 1.8 miles and incorporates over 80 feet of elevation change. It’s tight, fast and fun but will put you in the dirt if you’re not careful. Hell, there is even one turn on the course called: “The Bitch”… and believe me when I tell you, it is one. On such a short course the Charger is a pig of a car, weighing in at about 4000 lbs. On the straights it’s great, but unload that sucker into a tight corner and you’d better be ready to hold on tight. One thing about tight road courses is that they tend to scare people, especially when they only have one lap in which to learn the track.
You see this is how One Lap is run – you have 1 orientation lap, 3 hot laps and then a cool down lap. Then once completed your total cumulative time is calculated up for your final result. Some may think that one lap is not enough time to learn the track and honestly, you’re probably right. Running the event this way makes it safer by keeping the speeds down, thus decreasing the likelihood of accidents. Like I said, the course is tight, but I had a blast with it in the Charger and was even able to hang the tail out coming out of: “The Bitch”.
After we competed at Hallet Motor Speedway we packed up the car and headed 45 miles to Tulsa Raceway Park where it was time to compete in a little bracket racing. Me personally, I’m no drag racer but thankfully my co-driver and UK native Chris Smith is. He did a qualifying run with the Charger and kicked off 14.86. Nothing uber quick, but this event wasn’t about speed, it was about consistency. Chris figured that the car would run a 14.40 in the quarter and hot damn if he was really flippin’ close. Run #1 saw a 14.45, run #2 a 14.1 and run #3 was a 14.43. Ladies and gentleman to peel off consistent times like that is nothing short of amazing, so when I say the guy’s got skills, I am not lying.
With the bracket racing now over it was time to head off on the 389 mile drive to Madison, Illinois. This drive was going to be a tough one as the entire run was going to take place in the evening and we were all bushed. Remember when I said that the One Lap was taking its toll on both man and machine? Well, last night we experienced the “man” part of that equation. We were all running on empty from being out in the sun all day at the drag strip and the last thing we wanted to do was make this drive, but, like any good road rally, this was part of the route and we had no choice. With clear roads ahead we hammered on, averaging about 88 mph and got to our hotel at around 2:30 am. It was a long day that we were glad was finally over.