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One Lap of America Begins Saturday at Tire Rack

The Tire One Lap of America kicks off this Saturday in South Bend, Indiana, at the tire company's wet skid pad. It then travels 3500 miles in seven days before returning to Tire Rack's dry skid pad.

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The One Lap of America is called one of the most demanding endurance events in the United States. Competitors use their street legal high-performance cars to compete in 18 designated stages at raceways in Indiana, West Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Illinois.

What's especially significant about this one of the One Lap of America is it is the 20th annual time the competition has included track competition combined with mad dashes at high speeds between tracks on little sleep and a 7-Eleven junk food diet. The real kicker is it's all done on the same set of tires for both road and track with no support crews allowed.

OK, so maybe one shouldn't say "road and track" when writing about the One Lap because Motor Trend magazine is among the presenting sponsors along with BMW and a whole host of tire companies, which only seems natural considering that Tire is the title sponsor.

Although scoring is based on performance at the race tracks, the vehicles and their drivers must survive over 3.500 miles on the road traveling from track to track as well. In years past, all of Americas most famous tracks have been visited. This year’s schedule looks as follows:

  • April 30: Tire Rack Wet Skid Pad, South Bend, IN; Grissom Air Force Base, Logansport, IN.
  • May 1: Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point, WV
  • May 2: Carolina Motorsports Park, May Kershaw, SC; BMW Performance Center, Greer, SC
  • May 3: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, FL; Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, FL
  • May 4: Circuit Grand Bayou Road Course, New Orleans, LA
  • May 5: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham; AL
  • May 6: Autobahn Country Club North Track, Joliet, IL
  • May 7: Tire Rack Dry Skid Pad, South Bend, IN

Spectators are welcome at the various locations. Visit for further information. Entrance fees may be charged at some locations. Usually, though, admission is nominal with some local radio stations giving away tickets.

Here's the modern history of the One Lap of America as presented at its website . "In 1992 put the Cannonball One Lap of America on the format it uses today: Nearly twenty-four hours a day driving with competition taking place as time trials on race tracks throughout the country.

"The event, as it always has been, is foremost one of endurance and vehicle preparation. No support crews are allowed. The tires that are used on the street are the same ones that are raced on (one set per team). Although scoring is based on performance at the race tracks, the vehicles and their drivers must survive over 5000 miles of driving interspersed with the finest meals available at gas station convenience stores.

"Personal hygeine takes a holiday and friendships (sometimes marriages) are stretched to the limits as these competitors battle fatigue, weather, traffic and the demands of high-speed competition with both unknown amateurs and seasoned professional drivers like Parnelli Jones, Price Cobb, John Buffum, Elliot Forbes Robinson and Hurley Haywood.

"What does it take to run in the Tire Rack One Lap of America? A car of course (and there's a competition class to fit every automobile). The entry fee ($2900). A minimum of two drivers who have each had some racing experience (and/or two drivers' schools). And, the willingness to confirm your parents' suspicion that there was always something wrong with you."

The 2011 Tire Rack One Lap of America organized by Brock Yates is the modern evolution of his infamous Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dashes of the 1970's. As such, these annual contests challenge automotive manufacturers, vehicle tuners and driving enthusiasts alike.

Tire shaving is not permitted and all tires, including spare tires, must begin the event with a minimum of 8/32-inch tread depth (to be confirmed during pre-event vehicle inspection) and complete the event with a minimum of 2/32-inch of remaining tread depth (to be confirmed during post-event vehicle inspection) at no less than 2 points around the tire's circumference that are approximately 180-degrees apart.

The following tire company products are allowed for the Tire Rack One Lap of America:

  • BFGoodrich
  • Bridgestone
  • Continental
  • Dunlop
  • Firestone
  • General
  • Goodyear
  • Hankook
  • Kumho
  • Michelin
  • Pirelli
  • Yokohama

The 2011 One Lap of America tires will have unique identification permanently branded into their sidewall to clearly identify their origin. Vehicles will not be allowed to participate in the event unless their tires have the required identification branding. Because of this unique branding, tires must be purchased and installed on the vehicle before competitors arrive in South Bend for registration. Tires purchased through this program are not returnable, even if they have never been mounted.

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