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One Lap of America: Event Preview

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Travis Pastrana (1); Steve Arpin (2)

Borne from the tradition of legendary automotive writer Brock Yates, the annual Tire Rack One Lap of America returns for its 35th edition starting this Saturday. For eight days, dozens of racers—from amateur drivers to major professional racers whose names you’ve seen countless times—will take on a number of challenges at race courses across America for the title of One Lap of America champion.

One Lap of America’s roots lie in the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, the legendary underground event conceived by Yates and Steve Smith of Car and Driver in the 1970s. The original event, named for Baker and his record-setting motorcycle ride from Los Angeles to New York in 1922, was a point-to-point dash without any rules aside from the start and finish locations. One Lap of America was first staged in 1984 as a tour of various race tracks across America, but respects speed limits on public roads. Competitors must run the same set of tires throughout the event, and compete without the benefit of massive support crews as in professional racing.

Last year’s overall winner, Christopher Lewis, will return to action again this year, this time partnering with Robert Thorne in a Nissan GTR. Christopher and Tina Lewis posted a cumulative time of 3:12:26.790 last year and scored 1672 class points in a Chevrolet Corvette, competing against Porsche 911s, Dodge Vipers, and more in the Sports GT-1 Big Bore class. Runners-up Andy and Ann Hollis will also return this year, trading in last year’s McLaren 570S for a 720S this time around.

But many of the biggest names on the grid are competing in the Mid-Priced class, including three rallycross and action sports superstars. After winning the Stock Touring class together last year, Travis Pastrana and Blake “Bilko” Williams will split off in two Vermont SportsCar-prepared Subaru WRX STIs. Pastrana will partner with former United States Navy SEAL and Purple Heart recipient Marcus Luttrell, while Williams will partner with fellow freestyle motocross star Josh “Sheeny” Sheehan. Joining them in the class are rallycross star Steve Arpin and Black Rifle Coffee Company co-founder Jarred Taylor, who will run a Ford Focus RS in hopes of taking Pastrana and Williams down.

The eight-day event begins and ends at Tire Rack’s Skid Pad in South Bend, Indiana. The event also visits locations in Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, and Kentucky. A visit to Grissom Air Force Base concludes the first day of competition, while the legendary Road America is also part of the One Lap of America schedule. A majority of the race locations were not on last year’s schedule, with the exception of NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky; save for the Tire Rack Skid Pad, the itinerary changes every year.

The Tire Rack One Lap of America will begin on Saturday morning. Fans looking to follow along with the event are encouraged to follow along online and via social media for daily updates. In addition, in-person attendance is free at all of the event’s stops throughout the next week.

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