For those old enough to remember (or have enough movie history to recall) in the early 1970’s Brock Yates, who was then senior editor of Car and Driver Magazine created the now infamous Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. The premise was a flat-out, no-holds-barred race from New York City to Redondo Beach, California.
Movies such as Cannonball Run and Smokey And The Bandit II highlighted some of the hijinx that occurred during competitors’ trek across the country, the winners doing so in less than 33 hours! After five consecutive events, the event was disbanded officially. In 1984, Brock instead founded the Cannonball One Lap of America. The event would start and finish in Connecticut and see all the lower 48 United States before ending where it began. The event has morphed with the times, and this year marks the 36th running of the One Lap, now called the Tire Rack One Lap of America by Grassroots Motorsports.
Last year’s event was halted, but this year, competitors were chomping at the bit to get back out racing. The field of competitors was full as the event hit the road from April 30 – May 8, 2021. When the brakes had cooled and the dust settled, drivers Steve Loudin and Tom O’Gorman were found worthy of first place in their 2019 Chevrolet ZR1.
Quite the capable track car when it left Bowling Green, Kentucky, the ZR1 underwent tweaks such as Van Steel’s C7 Delrin bushing kit, a rear bump-steer kit, and specialized suspension alignment at the hands of the one and only Danny Popp at RAFT Motorsports. To make sure those fine details were transmitted directly to the road surface, Tom and Steve swapped out the factory wheelset for a set of ultra-strong, lightweight Forgeline one-piece, forged mono-block VX1R wheels. The “R” indicates these wheels are a track-ready competition wheel with all the style and great looks of the VX1 Forgeline wheel.
Steve had competed in the One-Lap for 14 years and this year, he found himself, and co-driver Tom, in the top spot of their class (SGT-1 BB) and as overall winners of the event. Their team is called, “Let’s Finish This Year,” and that they did! Not only finishing, but winning the event entirely!
Our congratulations go out to both Tom and Steve for their grueling efforts needed to secure the top spot, and also to all the sponsors who make fun events such as these possible. Check out the Tire Rack One Lap Of America by Grassroots Motorsports’ website to see all the competitors of this year’s event and if possible, make plans to participate in a driving school, HPDE, or track day near you this year. If your OCD requires years of planning before doing anything like this, then set your sights on next year’s One-Lap and prepare yourself for more fun and camaraderie than any enthusiast could imagine. Even if you don’t wind up at the top spot, you’ll have some life-long memories of doing an event which many others can only remember through viewing on a screen. You’ll be glad you did!