The month of May brings springtime, but it also brings out the lap dogs who compete in Brock Yates’ One Lap of America, a 4,000-mile, eight-day, 10-racetrack shootout sanctioned by the National Auto Sport Association.
The 2023 running of One Lap of America began at Tire Rack’s headquarters in South Bend, Ind., on its wet skid pad on May 6 and then headed to Grissom Air Force Base for an autocross. The field moved on to Nelson Ledges in Ohio, Road Atlanta, Nashville Superspeedway in Tennessee, Eagles Canyon Raceway in Texas, Thunder Valley Raceway for drag racing in Oklahoma, Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Kentucky, and back to the Tire Rack in Indiana for the final event, the dry skid pad.
One Lap rules mandate teams must use a single set of tires purchased from the Tire Rack for track competition and transits between race courses. Cars cannot be trailered or have support/chase vehicles. Everything the teams need for the week of competition has to be shuttled along by the car they are competing in. Each team is allowed one spare tire. These specific rules create unique challenges for teams and interesting strategies. Vehicle choice, tire choice, the decision to pull a small trailer full of tools, choosing which driver attacks which tracks, all of these decisions determine how successful a team’s week will be. And if they choose the wrong adventure, they will find themselves on the back of a tow truck somewhere between Texas and Kentucky.
Seventeen-time NASA National Champion Dave Schotz decided to compete in the 2023 One Lap of America in the Vintage class driving a 1980 MGB.
“When I posted on Facebook that I was going to run One Lap with my friend Jeff Morrow in his little MGB, people thought I was playing a joke,” said Dave. “I kept telling my friends, people who have done One Lap before, no this is not a hoax. I’m actually running the MGB.”
MGBs are British roadsters that are notorious for having electrical problems, engine failures, and random metal breakage. Regardless of the lack of reliability, the cars are also tiny, so bringing tools, two helmets, luggage, and making all of that fit in an MGB seemed impossible. “That’s why we didn’t bring a spare tire,” said Dave. “There was no room for one!”
Signing up for 10 tracks, eight days and 4,000 miles in a British car without a spare tire seemed like a terrible choice. Regardless, Dave was optimistic of the team’s chances.
Dave was optimistic because the MGB had its anemic four cylinder replaced with a small-block Ford. Jeff Morrow and Dave Schotz picked up the lead early in the Vintage class and never looked back, earning solid points track after track. “We had to get some fresh front brake pads from G-Loc during the week, and at one point the passenger door stopped opening, but other than that the little B was great!” said Dave.
The little MGB was given a lot of praise by competitors, many of whom were skeptical whether the MGB would make it through the week, let alone win its class. At the awards ceremony on May 13th, Jim and Dave picked up their Vintage class first place trophy, handed to them by Brock Yates Jr., proving to the world it could be done. Besides winning the Vintage class they finished 37th overall out of 82 competitors.