Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leaving Mid America headed for Hallett, Oklahoma, and then High Plains Raceway, Colorado

We got out of Mid America late on Sunday afternoon. The beginning days of this event I was very frustrated with Eric's slowness in getting on the road to the next venue. John Boos advised us to get going as fast as possible so we can get to the next location and have the most time to sleep. I think we had the most stuff to pack up and the most work to do to get the car ready for the transitions. We had to remove the large splitter on the front of the car when done and then put it back on at the next track. Each removal/install takes about 1/2 hour. We also planned to sleep/camp at each track to save money and time. But that meant limited showering facilities. The drive from Mid America was to Hallett, Oklahoma, about 400 miles or 8 hours. We made it to Hallett about 2300 hrs. and drove right to the track. We parked the car off the road and left the nose up on the pavement so we could install the splitter. Got to climb into the tent about midnight. Slept 'till about 0600 when the track people showed up. It was good. Very warm down there but not too hot. Eric had never seen the track so he rode the mountain bike a couple laps and made some notes. He drove very good and kept it in control. We had a great paddock location under a nice shelter so we could stay cool. We shared our shelter with team number 47, David Chow and Nathan Sumner. They were very nice guys. We did better in getting on the road to High Plains but still were nearly the last car to leave Hallett. I was very stressed about this because the drive to High Plains Raceway, Byers, CO, is about 620 miles, about 10 hours. Before leaving Hallett I noticed a small cut in the sidewall of the left rear tire. Guessing we must have knicked something sharp on the road somewhere along the way. Eric wanted to swap it out for our spare. So, we headed north toward the next venue and I got busy on the computer looking for a tire shop that could do the job. Found a Firestone shop in Wichita that said they could do it and get us going quick. They were close to the freeway too so not extra driving. We got there about 1800 hrs. and the guys were great. I ran down the street and picked up a couple Subways while they changed the tire. We made it to High Plains about 0200 hrs. I had driven the anchor leg so Eric was asleep in the passenger seat. It was a clear sky and no rain on my phone weather app predicted. I decided to save time and just put a tarp down and then the sleeping bags. Eric wouldn't wake up and said he wanted to sleep in the car. I slept great as long as I kept myself completely inside the bag. It got down to 37 degrees. When I woke up at 0600 there was car number 6 parked behind us, with all three of them sleeping in the car. When they woke up they told me they got in at 0400 because they had turbo problems and had to work long on it to get it fixed. Eric unfolded himself out of the car and said he was frozen. I told him I tried to wake him and would have gladly gotten his sleeping bag rolled out. He didn't remember anything from that conversation. While I had been driving I found a gas station when we were about 50 miles away. So, I pulled in and woke Eric up and told him to figure out how much gas we need to end up at the track with a bit over half tank. That would give us the right amount for his first run and then we could top it up with gas from the cans. He looked at the gas guage and said, "just put in 12 gallons." I told him I thought that might be too much. He kept saying "just put in 12 gallons." Well, I don't know how his guage reads so figured I better just follow his orders. We ended up with almost a full tank at the track. When I told him about that he said he didn't remember anything about the 12 gallons thing. We got a great paddock spot since we were the first ones through the gate. And the greatest part about this track is that it's close enough to Denver that niece Stephanie came over to hang out with us. And Mike Craven, fellow HDT camper guy and good friend, came over too. They had track touring during the lunch break so I ran a lap with Mike in Eric's car. We didn't get to go very fast but he got to feel how it pulls a bit and how cramped and uncomfortable it is for a long road trip. Steph followed us in her R32 VW. After leaving the track we learned we could do more laps for a bit so I drove Steph in her R32. We got it moving pretty good and she said it was great fun.

We got going not fast enough again heading to Hastings, Nebraska, Motorsports Park Hastings. About 400 miles, a bit over 6 hours.

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