Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One Lap by the Numbers

I just wanted to share a few numbers about our One Lap of America effort.  We traveled 4336 miles, a little short of our expected distance.  When we lost the day after running at Memphis we were not able to run at the NOLA (New Orleans) Motorsports Park two roadcourse events or the two events in Mobile, Alabama at the asphalt circle track.  With those miles included we would have completed close to 5,000 miles.  The route book calls it a 3323 mile long event, plus another 1200 miles to South Bend and back, plus miles on the tracks and back and forth to motels, etc.

By the numbers--one millimeter of clearance on the PoorVette
front tire, a 944 Porsche with a Corvette engine 
On the fuel mileage front, we only achieved 16.64 miles to the gallon compared to last year at 17.29 mpg.  One of the reasons for less miles per gallon is that we started popping out of 6th gear after leaving New Jersey.  With some 1700 miles left to go, all the highway miles would have to be in 5th gear.  Another thing that holds down the mileage is the track miles are probably averaging about 6 mpg. and while on the road we were towing a tag-a-long trailer carrying tools, spare parts and spare tires.  Not to mention that the engine is a little modified.  In total we spent $996 on fuel and $118.58 on tolls.  The highest price paid for hi test gas was in Dawsonville, Georgia at $419.9 and the lowest was in Alabama for $3.659 for an average price of $3.829.  One of the numbers that was most impressive was the VW Jetta TDI (turbo diesel injected) which averaged 43 mpg for the trip.

Our longest transits were day one at 641 miles from Tire Rack to Grissom Air Force Base, to the National Corvette Museum, then to Memphis Tennessee in the same day.  The overall longest was on Tuesday when we started in Dawsonville, Georgia, completed 2 events at Atlanta Motorsports Park, drove 147 miles to the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina.  We then finished the day (and night) going 651 miles and ending up in Millville, New Jersey for a one day total of 798 miles.

One thing we didn't count but certainly noticed is the amazing number of road construction areas or the miles of orange barrels.  Another items too frequent to count was the potholes which are certainly more noticeable in a car with a tightened and lowered suspension.  I'm not sure that my wheels are still straight, but I don't know how we didn't damage
a tire on some of those holes.

Monday, May 12, 2014

We made it Home sweet Home!!

Third in Class
We were hoping to make it home on Saturday night and we did but with just minutes to spare. Actually pulled in the driveway at 11:57 pm after a 596 mile run from South Bend.  This morning we ran the Dry Skid Pad competition and then went inside The Tire Rack's massive warehouse to a banquet and awards presentation with the menu featuring steak.  The steak dinner was greatly appreciated after our culinary staple for the week consisted of mainly McDonalds due to the long transit drives and the desire to not spend much down time in a restaurant.  The real bonus was when the McDonalds or another fast food palace was part of or at least next to a gas station so we could fuel both the car and us at the same time so we could save time.  At the Banquet we received our award for 3 place in class.  Unfortunately there is no award for 23rd place overall, but we are pretty proud of that finish after missing 4 events on Monday with a bent  valve and 2 broken valve springs.  Our goal on leaving home to head for the event was a top 20 finish.  After we had our bent valve problem we reset our goal to finishing in the top half of the field.  That meant 26th or better.  After the 1st event at Gingerman we were in 28th place.  I placed 7th in the second Gingerman event and 12th in the Dry Skid Pad event bringing us up to 23rd overall.  With the problems we had that is a very satisfying finish.
Thanking my Transit Driving partner and those who helped us.

Don't forget we are still raising money for our charity, the Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition. We still need a few hundred dollars to meet this years goal. For a donation of $10 or more we will place your name on a Pink Ribbon sticker on the car, or the name of someone you would like to honor or memorialize.  Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition helps women going through Breast Cancer as well as helping to fund mammograms and research. Help us meet our goal. Please make any checks out to Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition or PABCC and send to Jim Roberts 14 W. Main St. Mount Joy, Pa. 17552.  To donate with your credit card go to PBCC.me click on "get involved" and then "events" and it will show Jim's One Lap Adventure, please indicate it is for Jim's One Lap.  This event is really a lifetime experience and we felt is was a good way to leverage it to the benefit of the community by raising funds for this worthy charity.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Last Event--Day 8-- Dry Skid Pad--Good Finish

Reg Noble's car broke yesterday at Gingerman, pushing around dry skid pad
There is a car in there!
This is the last day of competition after a grueling week of long miles and little sleep.  At this point we have achieved our goal of the top half of the field.  The day presents both concern and opportunity.  We need to do well not to slip any positions but if we do real well we might gain another position or two.  When I finished my run, the announcer proclaimed "Jim Roberts is 1st in class, 1st overall", wow was that great to hear.  The only problem is that the field in inverted and the fastest cars were still to run.  My 1st held out for several cars, but then it started and we ended up slipping down the speed charts a bit.  The good news is we finished in 12th place for Dry Skid Pad and moved up 3 more positions overall.--
Picture of Reg Noble being pushed around Dry Skid Pad for a symbolic finish.  The other picture of the guys having fun doing donuts and burnouts after the competition was complete.  Most doing burnouts were those who had a trailer to haul their cars home from South Bend.

Gingerman/Mother Nature--A mixed bag

Trying to stay dry under the canopy
Gingerman Raceway near South Haven Michigan was a fun 2.14 mile 11 turn track near the eastern shore on Lake Michigan.  It had rained overnight and was still raining when the first half of the field ran which really held the times down.  It also had water sloshing around on the floor pan of the open, go kart like, Ariel Atom.  By the second half of the group, the rain stopped the wind kicked up and the back half was running on a dry track.  This really skewed the results with many of the front runners deep in the field and some of those farther back in overall standings at the front of the finishing order.  The afternoon wasn't quite a dramatic with the track not quite as wet for the start but still drying more as time went

Lining up to go on track
on.  My first run was in the wet and a bad finish of 38th place.  My second run there was still moisture in the track but a lot dryer than my first run and I was able to run down the car in front of me, make a pass and ended up with a very satisfying 7th place finish.  One note, turn ten was an off camber skid pad sized turn and had no grip and really felt like a skid pad exercise, which is bad since it leads to the long back straight and you want to be back on the throttle quickly.  Well, everyone had to deal with the same turn;^)

Picture note, here are some of Mid Ohio

Hey I goofed.  The pictures on my last post were pictures from Gingerman not Mid Ohio.  Here are a couple from Mid Ohio.  During the lunch break, non drivers were allowed to do parade laps at Mid Ohio.  I took Shane out and coached him through 3 laps.  His enthusiasm is really growing to start doing track days and really get into the sport.
Here are a couple of pictures from Mid Ohio.  The one is my buddies from Cincinnati, Gary Griessmann, JD White, Steve Barrett, my Transit Driver from 2012 and me.  Just a side note, the latch on the back door of their trailer failed and they lost their luggage.  That bright orange shirt represents a bargain buy in the middle of the night at Walmart to replace some of the clothing lost.  JD had some luck, later that day someone called that had found his luggage on the side of the road.  At this point Gary wasn't so lucky and probably won't be since he said he didn't have any ID on his bag.  When this happened they were already having bad luck when they hit a three foot long 4X4 hunk of wood on the highway transit from Atlanta to BMW and damaged two wheels on the car and had new wheels over nighted from Tire Rack to Anderson, South Carolina where they were stuck.
The second picture is of my Transit Driver Shane Lintner in the car after coming in from parade laps with the Mid Ohio tower in the background.

Day 6 at Mid Ohio

Mid Ohio is a beautiful track that hosts world class racing like Indy Car and the former American LeMans series .  It is a track that should be on every track day guy's bucket list.  I really need to go back for a track day.  When competing with One Lap you only get one lap to reconnaissance the track then your competition laps begin.  You really don't have the seat time to get really good at it in 4 laps.  The track is well maintained and is like a park setting and is very challenging with interesting corners and lots of elevation changes.  I posted  a 25 place finish in the morning and improved to a 17th place in the afternoon.  We were chipping away at the hole we were in from missing those four events on Monday.   From dropping to about 35th place we were now up to 29th.  Our goal on entering One Lap of America was a top 20 finish which is a challenge when competing with a lot of very  good drivers and awesome equipment.  After our engine problem, we reset our goal to the top half of the field.  In racing we call that finishing "above the fold".
When we leave Mid Ohio we head to DEI (Design Engineering Inc.)  for a checkpoint stop and some hospitality and dinner.  A very friendly group at DEI, thanks for everything.  Only 277 miles left from DEI to South Haven, Michigan for our next day's event at the Gingerman Raceway.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

If it's New Jersey it must be Wednesday!

If it's New Jersey it must be Wednesday.  Seriously you start to lose track of what day it is when you are getting in at 2 to 4 am in the morning, so you look at the route book to verify what day it is.
I thought I might do a good deal better at New Jersey since I get down there a couple of times a year.  I did just a little better than my average has been, getting a 20th in the morning on Thunderbolt and a 16th in the afternoon on Lightning.  I had a cheering section of several friends from the Lancaster County Corvette Club plus Scott's parents and Rich Opperman a track day friend from Collegeville.  Thank you Scott for spreading the word, it was nice having someone there to watch you and cheer you on.  I did have an exciting moment when I overcooked turn four on my recon lap and slid off the track sending up a big cloud of dust that everyone could see from the tower.  I made a quick off road recovery and was on my way again.  I have never run New Jersey on my street tires on my Vette, only race tires that have a little more grip.
After the Lightning run we packed up quickly to try to beat the drive time traffic around Philly, since we had 525 miles to go to get to Mid Ohio.  That didn't quite work but the route book direction gave us good directions and even though slow it wasn't as painful as it could have been.  Because of that drive time slow traffic we didn't get to Mid Ohio till about 11:30 but that was great compared to the last two nights.
BTW still raising money for the Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition.  Log on to PBCC.me to use your credit card to donate.  Thank you.