Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
11/8/16 3:30 p.m.

Sitting in the race car just minutes from go time, terror fills the cockpit. We are on hallowed ground, the hot pits of Road America, one of racing’s most storied road courses.

It’s a beautiful place, but its reputation for separating the men from the boys weighs heavily on our minds. The track contains a number of fast, blind turns along with three very long straights where our speeds are expected to exceed 130 mph.

This is unknown territory for us and our car. Our Civic has barely ever broken 100 mph and has zero aerodynamic development. Plus, conditions are cold and slightly damp. Oh yeah, and our total “practice” consisted of two laps that morning on a kid’s single-speed bicycle.

Sensing our trepidation, up walks Brock Yates Jr. for a little chat. As the ringleader of this traveling circus, he’s a logistical and promotional wizard, for sure. However, he’s also a great coach and friend for all involved, constantly taking the pulse of the event and its participants to ensure a fun and safe experience.

“Lap pups” like us stand out like sore thumbs—you can tell by our brand-new driver suits and wide-eyed looks. Brock calms us down with some relaxed conversation about nothing in particular.

Moments later we’re out on the track, assessing the grip levels and feeling the speed build. Our focus is intense as we press harder each lap—brake a little deeper here, carry more speed there, closer and closer to the edge—until the checker flies, ending the three-lap time trial.

Heading back to the pits, incredible feelings of exhilaration had replaced our earlier terror. In this instant, we understand why One Lappers return year after year.

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