Long drives and tough times
Today the 2012 Tire Rack One Lap of America Presented by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine visited Hastings Motorsport Park in scenic Nebraska. This was another track that was new to the One Lap and presented the competitors with another challenge. The day was a long one, split into 3 events, beginning with a time trial followed by an autocross and punctuated by another time trial in the afternoon before setting off for the longest transit drive of the event.
Hastings is a relatively flat track that has some fast straights and a few technical corners. Overall this is a track filled with late apex turns where being patient gets rewarded with a decent time. As to be expected with any new track some drivers took to learning the line sooner than others. The excitement came in the afternoon with the autocross segment of the event. Autocross is a course marked with cones each pointing in the direction of required travel. Competitors must stay to the outside of the directional cones in order to complete the course. Missing a turn or hitting a cone results in a time penalty. Competitors either love or hate autocross, those who are not used to running them tend to heavily dislike this event.
Due to the difficulty some have with autocross there were some surprises in the point standings by the end of the session. This made the afternoon time trial all that more important for teams who lost points during the autocross. While some teams lost time others lost their chances altogether, 3 vehicles succumbed to the clutches of the One Lap today, one during the autocross, another during the afternoon time trial and the third on the long drive to Minnesota. The biggest upset of the day came from the third breakdown of the championship contending GTR of Catesby Jones having to drop out of the event with mechanical difficulties.
With the final event in South Bend closing in competitors were reminded that until they cross that finish line at the Dry Skid Pad in front of the Tire Race nothing is certain.