View Full Version : 2013 One Lap of America - Day 4

James OLC
05-08-2013, 07:30 PM
Tuesday May 7, 2013

After last nights long transit from New Orleans this morning came way to early but the overwhelming sense of excitement made up for the exhaustion that everyone was feeling. Today we were going to drive Daytona International Speedway.

Daytona... one of the fastest, highest banked, well known, and respected race tracks in all the world. And today we were going to drive it.

The day started with a quick splash of fuel and a very short drive to the track. Entry to the infield was via a tunnel under approximately turn one. A quick drive through the tunnel and we were there. We quickly found a garage space and left to walk the track... a task easier said than done. The banking on the oval portion of Daytona is as high as 31 degrees... just standing was a challenge.

The track walk was just like many others but the overwhelming sense of... Daytona... was everywhere. On more than one occasion a track has gotten "into my head" and although I wasn't thinking about it at the time, in hindsight Daytona had done just that. I thought that I had it as figured out as any other new track on the One Lap of America. I had studied notes... I had watched video... I had driven computer simulations. I was ready.

Car prep for Daytona was much like any other track - just with a bit more air pressure and a bit more thought as you went through the motions... safety was definitely at the forefront of everyones thoughts. Some cars would be reaching 180 mph this mornings although we figured 155 would be about our max.

Before we knew it the call came and we were on the track. After a short recon of the flat infield portion of the track I entered the high banks for the first time. Coming out of turn six there is a brief transition from flat to 31 that, at 60 mph, took barely a heartbeat. In an instant the OneLapCamaro was almost on it's side and all that was going through my mind was... something I can't repeat in this blog.

It took a minute to regain my composure and start shifting through the gears. Around the back end of the track at 125 mph, downhshift to 4th through the bus-stop and back to 5th and in to the infield once again, stopping at the infield starting line I awaited the green.

When it came I was hard on the gas and it was business as usual... until I hit the high banks again and then it was that same overwhelming sense of focus and awe. Hard on the gas, through 120, 130, 140 mph to the bus stop. Hard on the brakes... and the car is full of smoke. A quick check of the mirrors through the kink showed nothing so back up the track, 4th gear... 5th gear... 150 mph... 155 mph and hard on the brakes. More smoke. Again nothing in the mirror and I'm back to the infield.

Damn! I'm back on the infield.... go go go! This is literally a race track inside a racetrack and they are as different as two tracks could be.

The three laps were over almost before they began, every sense was on fire... it was like nothing that I can describe. I was never so pleased to have done something. I was never so happy that something was over.

The good news is that I had done it. The bad news was that the engine was smoking badly at the end of the straights. Badly enough that there was a lot of radio conversations about it. The smoke hadn't been my imagination... the engine was showing it's age and the valvetrain was hinting at it's displeasure with the constant high RPMs and sudden deceleration. Damn... just when I thought things were going to be ok for the week.

At lunch time I took Mary for a 100 mph parade lap around the track - it was easy and the car didn't smoke as the pace was restrained. We also got the results... the engine issue was making itself known... we were third in class, three seconds behind Jimi and one second behind Carl. Damn...

Mary took to the track in the afternoon and the engine issue was on everyone's mind. To make matters worse one of the Vipers in the run group before Mary spun and hit the tires - more to think about. After the Vipers spin a Porsche GT3 went off track - delaying the program and adding more mental pressure to Mary. Finally she was off and I got my first look at the smoke... it was bad.

The good news is that Mary finished first in class - running almost the exact same time as I had in the morning. Jimi had a shock issue with the AMX that slowed him down and Jon spun in the bus stop and took a DNF, pulling off the track early. It wasn't pretty but it worked.

With the track behind us it was time to double check everything and head out for a relatively short transit for an early arrival at the hotel. The OLC's engine issue was strictly internal - at this point we've got what we've got and all we can do is take care of it as best we can. The Honor Flight Camaro was unmarred following it's spin. The Centerforce AMX however had broken a shock. It was still "functioning" but was leaking oil and no longer dampening as intended. A few frantic calls and the decision was made to press on with a replacement on it's way to tomorrow's hotel.

We got about half way to the hotel when the other shock broke. After diagnosing the damage in the parking lot of "Joker Joe's" I pulled out the Camaro's spare shocks and offered them up as the best alternative to a bad situation. They were physically close but different enough... but we had no choice. The swap took about two hours but we we're back on the road and on our way. We were supposed to be at the hotel by 10... we got there at 12:30.

We were wounded but were ready to fight another day...

https://static1.pt-content.com/images/pt/2013/05/IMG_9730-1.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xtmuHtCOlww/UYp_lTg9TyI/AAAAAAAAA8k/pR80RLXq40I/s1600/IMG_9730.jpg)

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https://static1.pt-content.com/images/pt/2013/05/IMG_9769JPG-1.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PEz8NRMZa4k/UYqA_DXsKUI/AAAAAAAAA80/dwXUzX9Mg9o/s1600/IMG_9769.JPG)

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David Pozzi
05-09-2013, 03:52 AM
Here's a local news report, warning, it starts with a short commercial but has great footage featuring OLC & Kyle Tucker.

05-09-2013, 05:52 AM
Dang sorry to hear of the possible issues. Hope VIR goes well!

Keep in mind I'm right off 80/90 in northeast Indiana in case anything is needed as you pass through tomorrow evening

05-09-2013, 08:28 AM
Great write up James. Hope all goes well with the mill for the rest of the trek!

05-09-2013, 08:48 AM
Here's a local news report, warning, it starts with a short commercial but has great footage featuring OLC & Kyle Tucker.

Hmmm "... to whatever you got in the back yard" as they show James' OLC. LOL. Wonder if they meant to do that.

John Wright
05-09-2013, 01:18 PM
Noticed some swift moving Vintage American Iron on Rt 29 South of Lynchburg, Va and had to stop and say hello. It was nice to finally meet Mary, Jimi, and Carl in person. Say "hello" to the rest of the gang for me. Best wishes on the rest of your trip....be safe.