May 13 - Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota: Skidpad + Banquet + Depart

Sadly, the last day was upon us. Dad would drive the event this morning, although it was only a skidpad. A repeat of the very first event, only dry instead of sprinkler-soaked. 

Our finely tuned morning routine took us to McDonald's across the street. We celebrated by ordering what must be the unhealthiest food by weight: Sausage Egg & Cheese McGriddles. Plus hash browns. 

Back to where the first event and kick off was held: Tire Rack Headquarters. Parking was in our assigned and numbered spaces- right next to the MR2 Lins! Everyone was dropping off their trailers and making their way across the skidpad to line up for photos, so we did the same.

We were directed into place and got out to visit while everyone else parked. 

Photographers on the roof of the building in the upper right.

Photographers on the roof of the building in the upper right.

Dad and Taylor visiting with Howard, the syrup magnate.

Dad and Taylor visiting with Howard, the syrup magnate.

All competitors made their way to stand next to their cars and wave. The top 10 finishers (at least with one event still left) were parked up front.

Once the photo was finished, cars were driven back to the parking lot and parked to wait for the skidpad event to start.

Finishing breakfast, waiting to start the last event.

Finishing breakfast, waiting to start the last event.

As mentioned previously many times, we had some concerns about the tires lasting to the end. Expectations were fully bald tires by this point in the trip, but as you can see below, we had some tread left for the journey home- yay!

Maybe someone can benefit from this photo in the future: Bridgestone RE71R's after a full One Lap event, plus a 2,100 mile highway journey from Seattle.

Maybe someone can benefit from this photo in the future: Bridgestone RE71R's after a full One Lap event, plus a 2,100 mile highway journey from Seattle.

One of Taylor's good friends from college, Matt Smith, drove out to meet us and say hello! If he sounds familiar, that's because his father, Bruce, hosted us for burgers in Montana on the journey out!

Matt, Taylor, and Freddie, a fellow competitor. Thanks for coming to visit us, Matt!

Matt, Taylor, and Freddie, a fellow competitor. Thanks for coming to visit us, Matt!

The run order was the reverse of the overall standings, so we were running pretty early. Dad got in line and ran the short skidpad event.

And with that, we completed the 2017 One Lap of America! Dad's run was good enough for 55th place with a 0.894g average of both directions. We were in close running with the Civic Si in the overall standings, and Dad beat them, so we held on for 59th place- yay Dad!

We did it! All events completed! Dad parked in our spot and we wandered around, visiting with friends. Everyone was in high spirits to have finished such a grueling event. Nice work to all!

Taylor in the aforementioned high spirits.

Taylor in the aforementioned high spirits.

Because we went so early, there was plenty of time to enjoy the morning.

Matt and Taylor discussing the car lineup.

Matt and Taylor discussing the car lineup.

Film crews out in full force, me included!

Film crews out in full force, me included!

Dad, always sensitive to anything amiss in the force, was concerned about a vibration that had slowly crept its way into existence on the Volvo; he suspected a tire out of balance, which wouldn't be unreasonable given the punishment we'd inflicted.

Fortunately, we were at one of the largest tire service centers on the planet, so we scheduled a quick appointment to get the tires rebalanced. After all, we were going to leave for a 2,100 mile road trip to Seattle in just a couple hours. Tire Rack has outstanding customer service and were as helpful as ever; the Volvo was in a service bay for tire balancing before lunch.

Volvo ready for a tire balancing.

Volvo ready for a tire balancing.

Inside Tire Rack, a massive warehouse and service center.

Inside Tire Rack, a massive warehouse and service center.

After dropping the Volvo off inside, I made my way back out to Taylor and Matt to watch the front runners make their skidpad runs.

Happy as ever to have his picture taken. Again.

Happy as ever to have his picture taken. Again.

The last of the competitors to run the skidpad. The wagon was given #1 as a wink, nudge sort of joke. They were in last place.

The last of the competitors to run the skidpad. The wagon was given #1 as a wink, nudge sort of joke. They were in last place.

Watching the fast guys go.

Watching the fast guys go.

Once everyone had finished, the winners were settled. It was our friend, Hugh, in the red 1,000 horsepower GTR with the victory! Congratulations, Hugh! He's a really nice guy and engaged us in friendly conversation throughout the week.

My favorite car, the black Porsche, took second, and the crazy guys in the Ariel Atom took third. Well done, chaps!

The winners.

The winners.

The event was officially over. 

However, tradition held that whomever felt like destroying their tires was free to line up to do burnouts for the crowd. So the crowd gathered and many lined up to try their hand at a crowd-pleasing drift and/or burnout.

Most failed.

The Roadkill crew did not.

Chris Lin and I were filming from the crowd. I was experimenting with the slow motion setting on my Sony RX100 V. A better photographer/cinematographer would have nailed the following shot. I messed up the focus. Sorry about that.

Once the burnouts were over, everyone made their way over to the storage warehouse side of Tire Rack for the closing banquet and awards ceremony. It smelled very strongly of rubber, but the food was good. 

In the food line.

In the food line.

More importantly, there was beer. Even a local brewery that was pumping a couple select drafts!

In the beer line.

In the beer line.

The Lin's were looking lonely at a table by themselves, so because we were sure there was no way they could possibly be sick of us, we joined them.

Mike + Chris.

Mike + Chris.

To be honest, the ceremony was pretty odd. A lot of goofing off by longtime competitors with a huge amount of inside jokes. I'm sure it was awesome for them. For those of us on the outside, it was just strange.

But hey, food + beer!

I spent some time hanging out with Walter, the Falken Tire cinematographer, talking racing and cameras.

Walter grabbing some B-roll footage with a cell phone.

Walter grabbing some B-roll footage with a cell phone.

Yo Dad!

Yo Dad!

Brock Jr. presenting awards.

Brock Jr. presenting awards.

Losing interest in the inside jokes...

Losing interest in the inside jokes...

After an hour and a half of the gong show, we decided we ought to hit the road. We hoped to make it to the edge of South Dakota for the night. Preferably before 3am. This time the time changes would be in our favor, though!

We said our goodbyes to those that still remained. Many had snuck out before us and the parking lot was pretty empty.

Hooking up Tom for the last time.

Hooking up Tom for the last time.

We hit the road again, aimed for Seattle. By this point we had become salty old highway pirates, unfazed by the never-ending asphalt seas before us. Finely tuned road tripping machines, forged in the fires of One Lap.

As such, not a whole lot to report from the road during this section. There are some pictures though.

Gas stop at an Oasis off the Illinois Toll Road leading into Chicago. Expensive toll road at that.

Gas stop at an Oasis off the Illinois Toll Road leading into Chicago. Expensive toll road at that.

At some point, Taylor lost his sunglasses. Matt Smith donated a pair for the journey back. Thanks, Matt!

At some point, Taylor lost his sunglasses. Matt Smith donated a pair for the journey back. Thanks, Matt!

Our dinner stop came in Wisconsin. We tried to make engineer a Pizza Ranch pizza buffet dinner, but it wasn't meant to be. None were close enough to hit that glorious buffet window.

So we stopped at a B.A. Burrito Co., a Wisconsin burrito chain that puts Mac N Cheese, among other things, in burritos.

None of us were interested in a Mac N Cheese burrito. Well, more like we weren't interested in the consequences.

None of us were interested in a Mac N Cheese burrito. Well, more like we weren't interested in the consequences.

Dad finished pretty quickly, then took the car for a gas fill up around the corner. Once Taylor and I finished, we sat outside and watched the sunset while we waited for Dad to return. It was nice.

Taylor looking majestic, living and loving that #modellife.

Taylor looking majestic, living and loving that #modellife.

The Wisconsin farmland was picturesque as we made our way west. I'm sure a good photographer could have generated some seriously nice photos as we traveled during the golden hour of lighting.

We cruised into a Hampton Inn, brought to you by Dad's Hilton Honors rewards points, around 12:30am Central (yay for the hour gained!). After a smooth check-in, we were in bed before 1:30am.

While a celebration to commemorate our successful completion of One Lap might have seemed in order, the 1,500 miles and 22 hours of driving loomed large. 

We were pretty proud, though.

Damen Hattori

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