So Scotto finally gets down to brass tacks and sends in his first track report from the Cannonball Baker One Lap of America, and it's a lengthy-ass doozy that ends up with Block blowing the STi's motor the first day out. Oopsers. According to our extremely tall friend, the car is fixed and they're ready to hit it. Exploding Subies are so better than donks, Brian. Click on for the continuing story of Block and Scotto's play with madness.
Okay, now bear with me. It's a circle with sprinklers, and the point is to drive around it as fast as you can. No, it's not the anti-ambidextrous sport of NASCAR, but the skidpad event at the Cannonball Baker One Lap of America race, and Ken Block has just pulled 0.839gs, securing third in the mid-priced sedan class and 10th overall. We deem it as a good start and get psyched for the next event, but before we embark on this 4000-mile journey, I have to explain who "we" are and why we are here.
I'm a journalist; an editor at RIDES Magazine (yes, there is more to my thing than bling, shit, I will even race a ring). I am also 6'8", which is useless information but comic scenery. Well enough about me, let's talk about who I am co-driving with — Ken Block. For those who don't follow rallying, he was the 2005 Rally America rookie of the year, and is currently leading in points in the series, where he drives for the Subaru Rally USA team. Apparently, the guy knows how to use the round thing that protrudes from the dash, but at the same time has no real experience driving on a paved track, so this should be interesting. Oh, and if you missed all the DC logos on the STi we are campaigning, he also co-founded DC Shoes.
Ken and I met exactly a year ago in London. He was participating in the Gumball 3000, and I was embedded in the back seat of the same STi we are driving now (graphics and front clip have changed). Somewhere during my seemingly endless chatter, I mentioned One Lap. To fast forward through all the logistics, scheming and plotting; we eventually made it here to South Bend, Indiana, but don't get comfortable, homie—we gotta drive to just outside Chi-town for the second event of the day.
The drive to Autobahn Country Club is boring at best, until we get lost, then it is still boring, just minus any sense of direction. The transit is only 100 miles, so we arrive at the track with hours to spare. We grab food and return to walk the track...an activity we joked about yesterday. You see, we came out to have fun—no pressure. Then Ken went and pulled a 10th overall on the skidpad without trying in a car that is not tuned much more than your average street STi. After hiking the 2.1 miles of the South course, Ken starts jotting rally notes; "600 !! R2- into L4+" This seems to alarm some nearby drivers.
Just before Ken's group takes to the track, I position myself at turn four, which provides a vantage point to see 90 percent of the course. The format for the track events is one warm-up, then a standing start with three hot laps for a cumulative time and a final cool-down lap. Ken comes around the first three turns like there's no cold water in his pipes. He barrels down the straightaway and storms turn four, leaving a rooster tail of dirt behind as he drops two wheels off. "Is he gonna hit that guy?" asks a track marshal who is afraid he may catch the cool down cars who are half a track ahead of him. I laugh and assure him "While Ken may be fast, no one is that fast."
I can't see him start, but I can hear that distinct boxer motor rumble and within a blink he's bombing the straight on his first hot lap. I fire off frame after frame. Ken is aggressive, and while he later admits he was only driving at 7/10ths, his seven is most guys' nine.
Spinning around, I set up to catch him coming into turn 11 after the track's longest straight. He makes quick of the section and blasts on for lap two. The car behind him is falling very far behind. Ken soars out of turn three and heads down the straight, but something is wrong, he is not barreling or bombing. The headlights flicker on and off as the STi appears to be coasting into turn four where Ken pulls off onto the inside grass and stops. Vrooom, the cars starts back up and he pulls out before the car behind gets ahead. Then POP POP POP...the STi disappears from my view. "The white car is off to the side and there is fire coming out of his thingy," a female voice says over the track marshal's walkie talkie. Fuck!
More Scotto's One Lap [Internal]