One Lap of America at MAM-2012

Several years ago, David Tracthtenberg, Mike Benge and I thought we would make the trip to Mid-America Motorplex to see for ourselves what the Brock Yates “One Lap of America” thing was all about. We made the trip from Des Moines, watched the cars on the track and returned to Des Moines, but we have not been back to the event since. As you might recall, this now legal exercise in speed, began its life with the somewhat illegal road race from the East Coast to the West Coast depicted in the movie Cannonball Run.

This time, it all started with several emails from Steve Maguire at the BMW Performance Center touting the brand new redesigned M5 would be sponsored by the BMW Performance Center and driven by Performance Center lead instructor Mike Renner in this year’s edition of the “One Lap of America.”

I brought this subject up with my lovely wife Becky, and she was up for the trip to western Iowa. We determined the best situation was to go over on Saturday afternoon, find a decent motel and be at the track early on Sunday morning as the first cars would be arriving. The plan went well as we stayed in Avoca, but awoke to a nasty thunderstorm with heavy rain and wind.

The event started on Saturday at the Tire Rack in Indiana with a stop at Autobahn Country Club near Chicago. MAM would be the second day on the tour with cars grouped in five’s according to the previous day’s times.

We postponed our departure from the motel for about an hour and arrived at the track just as the cars were arriving. Due to the weather, the start time had been moved back an hour to let the track dry. In that time, it gave us time to introduce ourselves to the BMW crew of Mike Renner, Steve Maguire and one other friend as their “official photographer.” We had a great visit with the crew and they informed us of how the new M5 was working and the preparations that had been done to prepare for the event. Since this was a pre-production car from Germany, the factory would only let them change the brake fluid and the brake pads, other than that, it was 100% showroom stock.

After visiting with the crew, we let them go back to their preparation for their first run. We then wandered the pits and I visited with other drivers and Becky photographed their cars. We were able to get wonderful stories from the drivers of many of the entrants such as the 1981 Camaro from Connecticut with 118,000 miles gathered during the past 25 “One Lap” events. The driver is also a BMW enthusiast and owns a 740i. There was the crew from Switzerland with a group of Cadillac’s and HHR’s as well as the stripped out, race equipped Honda Odyssey mini-van from the Honda factory. There was also a new white 1M from Oregon with the MAM track map taped to the middle of the steering wheel.

Soon we noticed the Bell’s had joined us and were wandering the pits looking for drivers to visit with also. The group soon determined it was time to watch some of the action on the track, so we picked a prime spot up high so we could have a good view of the entire track and hope for the best for all of the BMW drivers.

The fastest cars of the day were the Nissan GT-R’s that were mostly sponsored by a premium dealership in Florida and eventually gathered the most points by the end of the event. All of the 2012 “One Lap of America” action can be viewed on the blog by Steve Maguire at and also at I can’t wait until they come back again.

After the M5 had made its final run of the day, we departed for central Iowa and the drivers and crew packed their luggage and tools for the trip to Hallett Raceway in Oklahoma, which would be Day 3 of the 2012 event. The tour continued on to Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Michigan and then finally ended eight days after it began back at the Tire Rack in Indiana.

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