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One Lap of America 2001 - Bill and Mark's Excellent Adventure!
Event 2

Michigan International Speedway - Brooklyn, Michigan
Mid-Michigan Motorsports Complex - Stanton, Michigan

Check the Weather Forecast at Michigan Intl. Speedway

Check the weather forecast at Mid-Michigan Motorplex

Mid Michigan Motorplex

"Netscape's spell checker flagged "O'Dell" <Mark's last name> as an error, and suggested the word "ordeal". Pray for Bill."

- Art McDonald, THSCC officer


gsr vette

Actually, Bill and I are still talking to each other, at least twice a day anyway! Sure, we bellyache about how tough it is to be crammed into our tiny Japanese sports car, but then we came upon Aaron Quine and William Hoskins, who were driving this. It kind of puts things into perspective.

mad canadian

Like the Firebird of Canadians Dan Corcoran and Barry Campbell, many of these cars that we compete against are more race car than street car. These teams have to endure countless hours of droning exhausts and super stiff suspension. Take all the sound insulation and carpet out of your car and you will think you are driving in a tin can, with a few rocks rolling around. Not to mention, the roads across Canada and Michigan that we have traveled are littered with potholes and frost heaves. So we are starting to count our blessings that our car is still almost stock.

brock and brock

And we wouldn't be able to have this much fun if it weren't for these two - Brock Yates Sr. and Jr. They keep quite busy at the events making sure everything runs smoothly and on schedule.

We managed to get a room last night at a nice hotel, rolling in around 1:00pm - we just couldn't go any further. This left us an hours drive to the dragstrip this morning, but at least we got almost 5 hours sleep. The 3 day sleep deficit total is now 9 hours. Tonight is going to be particularly tough because we have to go 900 miles by 8:00am. Expect us to start getting cranky...(Editor's Note: I talked to Mark tonight (Sunday) and he IS cranky!)

scott and m3

This is a really good friend of mine, fellow BMW Club Racer Scott Smith. Scott helped convince me to run One-Lap this year, so I thought I'd show you this picture of him at the drag strip. Ladies, I think he's still available.

mustang drag

Today was Bill's day to shine. Bill hasn't drag raced since he had hair on his head, which was about 25 years ago. He stepped into the car and drove it like a pro without missing a beat. The drag races were held in a "Bracket Drag" format. In bracket racing, you pick a time that you predict your car will run. Your opponent picks a time, too. It's kind of like the price is right, the closest to the predicted time without going over, wins. So the fastest car doesn't win, but the most consistent driving does. The slower car is allowed to start first, such that if both cars exactly met their "dial-in" time, they would cross the line at the exact same time. 90 cars start 2 at a time, and the field is cut in half each round until only 1 remains. Here are just some of the cars that Bill beat...

bmw 1 drag

porsche drag

bmw 3 drag

bravada drag

Actually, this last car, the SUV Bravada, was the most formidable challenger. With 4 wheel drive and an automatic transmission, this driver could run virtually the exact same Elapsed Time (ET) on every run. It didn't matter that his car was slow, only that he was consistent.  The Bravada ended up losing because he went under his predicted ET (i.e. he "broke out"), by only .002 seconds! <phew!>

skyline drag

And here we see the final two cars out of about 90 - Bill versus Emanuel Crouvisier, in his Japanese model (he drives from the right side) Skyline GTR. This is a true Japanese Supercar, not available in the US, and has huge amounts of horsepower and 4-wheel drive. Unfortunately Bill left the start line a hair too soon, and we were disqualified in the finals, which was a shame because the Skyline went under his predicted ET (actually, Bill did too but wouldn't have if he hadn't red lighted the start). The Red Light Start takes precedence though, so the Skyline was the overall champion, but we are absolutely thrilled at finishing 2nd in this event.

We left for Michigan International Speedway by 11:00, about a two hour drive. Once there, we unpacked and Bill set up the car while I walked the track. MIS is not a track that either of us have been too, but fortunately several of the Corner-Carver members sent me some excellent video, so I could try to drive the course virtually before I got there. You drive around the NASCAR oval, and then dive into the infield to navigate a twisty and bumpy infield road course.

tammy's bimmer

This is a picture of the BMW of Tamara Hull and Bill Arnold. BMW drivers stick together during One-Lap, and since we were officially listed as driving my BMW club racer, Tamara had been looking for Bill and I during the first couple of days. She went to a lot of trouble to let the BMW crowd know that Bill and I were running the event as well, so here is a picture of their car to say thanks.

The Michigan event went by very quickly, because there was only one heat.  I started to walk the infield portion of the track, as I like to do when I haven't been there before, but got kicked off the course because some NASCARs were practicing on the oval section, and the track officials didn't want anybody getting too close.   We arrived at the track by 1:30, and I drove our 3 lap heat by 3:45, and we were packed and en-route to Topeka by 4:30pm. I think I did reasonably well, despite never having driven there, but I haven't seen the results yet. I expect to drop a few positions, but fortunately the infield course was very autocross like (which means it had short straights with lots of turns), so I don't think we lost too much time despite the lack of familiarity with the course.


Right now we are racing (well not really racing) across Indiana, heading toward our check point in Des Moines, then we will proceed to Topeka. Please pardon any spelling or grammatical errors, as I am writing this from the passengers seat and fatigue is setting in. I hope you enjoy our updates, and check back soon for Heartland Park.


To go to the next story, click on this link: Heartland Park