What a crazy 8 days! We traveled over 3,500 miles in the Mustang and ran 19 events. We drove through some great country, only had one day of rain, and visited some of the coolest tracks. Sebring had to be by far the most historic and best track to get to race at!
Last night after arriving to South Bend we were able to get a little sleep in preparation for the final day. Day 8 was a dry skip pad. It is exactly like day 1 but instead of driving on wet well, as you guessed, we drove on dry. The car did well but again we were at an event that typically a Corvette will do well at. This event was short and we were in and out of it in a matter of hours.
After the dry skid pad Brock Yates and Tire Rack put on a giant meal and awards dinner. It was nice to get a good meal, have a few beers and laughs, and watch a slide show of the week of racing. This year we finished 4th in our class. We were, of course, shooting for first which was our ranking last year but this year it was not going to happen. I will say the car did fantastic with zero breakage or issues.
After the awards the party was not over. Big Chris and myself heading back to the home base for a big Welcome Home Party over at Pie Eyed Petey’s. Thanks Everybody at Pete’s for putting that on!
We want to thank everybody involved in this event. Family for dealing with us being gone, Brenspeed for supporting the build, Gas Monkey Energy for the great sponsorship, SCT Performance, Mcleod Clutch, and Continental Tire. A quick shout out to our friends at Gas Monkey Garage and Collins Brothers Jeep as well! Thanks Tire Rack, Brock Yates, Bryan Humphries for the great photo’s all week, and of course Solomon Rosenthal for all you do!
For Day 7 we found ourselves much closer to home. After an 11 hour drive yesterday we made it to South Haven Michigan. South Haven is a cool place but unfortunately we have zero time for fun and had to get some sleep for Gingerman Raceway.
Gingerman is a cool track. Its short and does not have walls like some of the others. We prefer longer tracks with more room to unleash the beast but Gingerman will have to do. Chris and I had a meeting in the morning and here is how it went. I looked the car over and we had good rotors, good pads, the engine was not knocking, and we had plenty of tire left. We needed points so the result of the observations was how would you say…. “Balls Out?”.
Its one of those things that you make a gamble. You look at the events you have ahead of you and determine hypothetically where you will finish if you take it easy, where you will finish if you drive hard and rock the track, or where you will finish if you go off the track. Remember this 8 day race is an accumulation of 8 days of points. We needed points and playing it safe was not option.
The first event of the day Big Chris was in go fast mode. He shredded the track but then went into a turn a little too hard and the car spun off the track. The good news is it was just grass around the track and no walls, the bad news is that will put us back in points. That’s racing, and that’s a chance we were willing to take. The day went well for the most part and the car has held up great. We only had an hour drive to the final destination, South Bend Indiana, and that was a drive that was way easy compared to every single night the last week.
It was bound to happen. RAIN RAIN AND MORE RAIN. Last year we spent the first 4 days of the race in the rain and it was miserable. This year it has been awesome weather but all good things must to come to an end. We found ourselves at Dominion Raceway in Virginia. This is a newly renovated facility and WOW was it nice. They had a 3 story building with a restaurant in it so that was good news since it rained all day.
The track itself is pretty much surrounded with concrete barriers. That’s not good news when racing in the rain. We have traveled 2700 miles prior to arriving and it is starting to take its toll on the brain. Racing in the rain is crazy stressful but luckily Big Chris is from the UK and he drives in the rain about 300 days a year so he pushed the stang to its fullest today. We had 3 events scheduled for today but one was cancelled because of the rain. That event was an oval track and they felt it was not safe, but hey, they let us go 150 mph in the rain on the road course surrounded by concrete so I guess it all made sense.
We finished the day with a 5th and 3rd place. We had an 11 hour drive after the events and that was not cool. We did stop and eat on the way back because we were already going to be so late getting into the hotel it really didn’t matter at that point. Friday is Gingerman Raceway. A small track with not a lot of room to unleash the beast. That will not be in our favor.
OK I don’t know if I would call it a problem in the sense of we wrecked or anything, but more of a problem with the car liking the track. Day 5 put us in SC at Carolina Motorsports Park. We have completed 2,337 miles and 12 events! Over half way finished!
Now to new business. We have had ups and downs with our set up and getting used to the tracks. Certain tracks have proven to really mate well with our combo and others not so much. Today we are referring to it as racing on ice (slightly over exaggerated) . We struggled getting the tires to grip enough to keep the power planted to the ground. The track was 2.3 miles long for a total of 6.9 miles after 3 laps. The nice thing about that is the brakes and engine were much cooler than Sebring, but it was tough to make it all work. A couple cars had really ideal set ups and were running flat out fast. We did much better in the afternoon session and finished 3rd.
We decided to change our strategy for the next few days and we will see how that works for us. Our crew we run with had a slight issue with a splitter coming unfastened after hitting some debris in the road. We stopped by a local Ace Hardware for a quick repair. After that, we hit the road to Virginia.
Day 4 put us in Sebring Florida. Heeeeellllooooo Florida! 90 degrees and one of the most historic race tracks in history. Sebring is very old and over the years has held some great races. It was awesome but with age comes some issues. Sebring has a very rough track surface and if you are not careful you can bring the life of your tires to a rapid end.
We arrived at 7am and were one of the first ones in the track. Our hotel was located on site which meant our drive to the track in the morning was all of 30 seconds. Sweet, an extra 15 minutes of sleep! We knew it was going to be warm and we were planning on running the car hard for 10 mile sessions. The car was ready, we were ready, but we did not know for sure how it would handle the heat.
Half way through the day we saw 2 Corvettes toast their engines and a couple cars over heat. Our morning went well and the only real issue was a little clutch smell. We were hitting about 155 mph on one of the straights and that was at max rpm in 5th gear. A hard shift into 6th, which is overdrive, caused a mild clutch slip so we decided to keep it in 5th in the afternoon.
One of our racer friends had access to a suite at the track so we enjoyed some A/C and he had food catered in. Lucky for us, we were able to have a good meal because once the racing was over we had to drive to South Carolina.
The afternoon event went well but it was hotter out for sure. At the very end of the 10 miles the oil temp was hot enough to implement an RPM safety to help protect the engine. Basically that means we were limited to under 7000 RPMS but that’s OK it is programmed into the calibration and there to keep us in the event all week. After seeing the other cars toast engines from heat we were OK with that.
Next stop Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina.
On Day 3 we woke up in Atlanta Georgia. Our 2 scheduled events for the day were held at Road Atlanta which is an old school track with big speeds and fast corners. It was not the longest track that we will see this week but it has some scary blind turns. By that I mean drive well over a 100 mph over a crest of a hill and the track that you think is straight on the other side has a nice turn immediately. As an example one car was hauled off the track after a crash on the warm up lap and during the warm up lap you are not even in full race mode.
We struggled at this track more than yesterday figuring it out and working out a small issue with the car. In the end the car is in one piece and so are we so now it’s time to mentally prepare for Sebring Florida. Road food is getting old but we did score a good meal and a couple beers at a nice outdoor restaurant that served dinner late. That goes a long a way mentally because granola bars and McDonalds are already starting to get to us.
Check out the pic of our front wheels. Those used to be gray.Major heat and brake dust. Day 4, Tuesday, will be racing in Sebring Florida.
We transit with this Porsche and GTR after each event.
Day 2 started off in Memphis Tennessee. We arrived at Memphis International Raceway at 7am to get ready for one of the longer days of racing. Day 2 consisted of 4 events. 2 road courses, 1 top ET drag race and 1 bracket drag race.
We are running a new Continental tire called the Extreme Contact Sport. These tires worked really well today and have been a great tire for the various types of events we have to run the Mustang through. Remember you have to run the same tires all week so they need to be desirable for rain and dry and wear decent on the highway. The officials brand the tires with OLOA2017 to monitor that no tires have been changed.
The first event today was the first time we were able to drive these tires hard. We were pretty much guessing from past experience on what pressures to run and after a few laps around the track we only had to make minor adjustments. We ran the 2nd event with new pressures and found that to be perfect. The car held together nicely but some were not so lucky.
We were only half way into day 2 and A LOT of cars were on jack stands. Walking around we found one car broke a crank shaft and needed a new engine, a couple had rear end issues, one broke a coil spring, and some more with minor issues. That is how hard everybody was driving today as to most it is all about winning. You just have to remember we have 8 days of this so sometimes you just don’t lean on it as hard as you could.
The last half of the day went just as well as the first. We had no issues during the drag racing events and the Mustang’s 700 plus horsepower was loving the drag strip as much as the road courses. I will say MIR is a very cool track and we loved the way it was set up.
We finished the day with a first and third place in the road course events and a first and third place in the drag race events. That is just what we needed from a points stand point. Atlanta Georgia is next for day 3. Cars will continue to break and we hope ours is not one of them.
We are all fired up for the Tire Rack Brock Yates One Lap Of America. Day 1 started off in South Bend Indiana. We headed up Friday for the tech inspection. After passing tech we had a drivers meeting to go over the rules for the next 8 days. Saturday morning was the official start to day 1 and they had two events in store for us.
The first event was held in South Bend at the Tire Rack headquarters. Its called a wet skid pad and basically they run sprinklers on the skid pad and with your wipers running you are timed driving the skid pad to measure your G’s. The second event for the day was held at Grissom Air Force Base. That was set up as an auto cross. These are the two events that our Gas Monkey Energy Brenspeed Mustang struggles with the most. We have a lot of power and that is something that is not needed at either of those events. Nimble cars that handle well and hug the ground are great for those events. I believe a Ford Focus won the skid pad beating the fastest cars in the field, see…. power does not matter (for now).
After the two events we headed out to Memphis Tennessee. Day 2 of the race is held at Memphis International Raceway. We drove 627 Miles on Day 1 and put two events behind us. We have 4 events on day 2 so its going to be a long day for sure.
(If you are reading this for the first time scroll down to Prep Day Before day 1 and work your way back up)
Day 8 is complete and a great day it was. After 8 days, over 3000 miles, and 17 events we finished first place in class in the Brock Yates One Lap Of America. Saturday we went into the event with enough points that we pretty much had the win locked in. That made it less stressful as well as allowed us to be a bit easier on the car for the event. The last event was called a dry skid pad. It was just like our first event except rather than the track be covered in water we used a dry surface.
We finished the event and we were waiting for the points to be updated online. Even though our calculations told us we had first place in our class we had to see the results with our own eyes. Once the points updated we had the confirmation we had done it. We had accomplished what we had set out to do which was take the Team Gas Monkey Energy Brenspeed Mustang to first place in our class. 8 days were over and the highs and lows have paid off.
After the awards we headed back to the home base in Indiana for a huge celebration. Thanks to everybody that made this happen. Thanks to our family’s, the team at Brenspeed, Gas Monkey Garage, Kooks Headers, Lucas Oil, Mcleod Clutch, Roush Performance, 360 Wraps, Tru7, Continental Tires, Collins Bros Jeep, Kedan Logistics, American Car Magazine UK, Tire Rack, Auto Park Ford in Bremen Indiana, Brock Yates Jr., and all the staff involved in making the One Lap Of America possible.
The Mustang held together very well we would not have done anything different.
Today was another great day of racing. We were at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet IL. I have drag raced in Joliet for years over at Route 66 so it was nice to be at a new location. Autobahn Country Club was a very nice facility with two cool road courses.
This was an abnormally short day. After a first place and third place finish we found ourselves coming to the realization we only had one day of racing left. Today was good and even a Viper felt the wrath of the Brenspeed Mustang. After racing we only had a few hours drive ahead of us. We spent some time going over the car to make sure it was good to go for the drive back and one last event. We have put the Roush Supercharged Team GMG Brenspeed Mustang through a very rough week. I have a list of about 6 things that need replaced but none will keep us from the event tomorrow in South Bend Indiana. The car is tired, and so are we.
We have been through a very rough week from a weather stand point. Today we only had rain for about 5 minutes. It’s hard to believe we have one day left. To us the week feels like a couple days. Focus, that is about the best way to explain it. You block everything out which is hard to do but you have to if you want to compete seriously in this event.
We are sitting very well in points. Tomorrow could be very successful if we stay on track. We had a great time tonight hanging with racers, having a few drinks (maybe more than a few), and just talking about the week of racing. Our competition comes from different countries, different budgets, different lifestyles, but we are all one and the same for 8 days.