One Lap of America 2010: Day One – click above for high-res image gallery

Spring has sprung and we're at the Tire Rack in South Bend, Indiana, which can only mean one thing: the start of another One Lap Of America.

Every year we tell ourselves we're crazy for embarking on another one of these eight-day 'round-the-country exploits, and for over ten years now we've been signing on to help run the event on the timing and scoring crew. And could you blame us? Every year, a great bunch of people gather together at the behest of none other than Brock Yates, and they bring with them all manner of machinery to compete on race tracks across the nation.

This year's event starts off as usual, with a wet skidpad event at the Tire Rack, with the racers moving on to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for stints around Road America, one of the country's most historic and challenging roadcourses. After the time trials at RA, it's off to Mid America Motorplex, a fine 2.2-mile long roadcourse off in the middle of nowhere Pacific Junction, Iowa. On Monday, the racers will visit the surprisingly quick and engaging Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Oklahoma, followed by some drag racing at Tulsa Raceway Park. The next day will find the competitors at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis for a 1.6-mile road circuit. From there, it's on to Mid Ohio on Wednesday, a circuit that needs no introduction. The increasingly bedraggled competitors will then make the drive to New Jersey Motorsports Park on Thursday and then jog back to Ohio's Nelson Ledges for the last roadcourse events on Friday. After that, the teams will filter back to the Tire Rack in South Bend for the final event, a dry skid pad (weather permitting) and to unwind at the awards banquet on Saturday.

Got all that? Said another way, it's another action-packed week that's sure to test the racers' mechanical, mental and intestinal fortitude.

Click through to the jump to read on.

Photos by Chris Paukert / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs Inc.

One Lap has prided itself on its eclectic mix of participants since back when it was a markedly different event known as the Cannonball Run. This year is no different, and the competitors are beginning to fill up the lot, with everything from the usual bevy of Porsches and BMWs to tasty vintage items like a Katech Engineering-motored 1967 Camaro and a patriotic 1968 Dodge Charger. Supercars like a Ferrari F430, an Ultima and a Dodge Viper have already been spotted, and there's also an ever-growing crop of all-wheel-drive Japanese carsSubaru WRXs, Mitsubishi Evos and last year's winning Nissan GT-R. It wouldn't be One Lap without some heavyweight machinery, including a BMW X6M (driven by BMW Performance Driving School instructors!), a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Dodge Ram SRT10. You can see the complete rundown of cars on the official One Lap site by clicking here, and be sure to check out our gallery of the first arrivals below.

With the economy still in a bad way and gas prices again on the rise, it's perhaps unsurprising to see a somewhat smaller than average field this year, with 68 cars expected to tackle the 3,500 or so miles for this year's event. Slightly lighter grid or no, word is that the top ten or so cars are expected to be particularly fast this year, so there should be no shortage of action, and there are plenty of first-timers ("Lap Puppies") who remain an unknown quantity for returning "Lap Dogs" until the racing gets going.

We'll cover the proceedings as best we can, but as we are part one of the two timing and scoring crews hopscotching the country working to get ahead of the racers, we won't be present at each and every event. Thankfully, if you're looking for the latest standings and race results, you can check out along with Motor Trend. If you're competing in this year's event or planning on being a spectator somewhere along the way, be sure to come up and say hello – we'll be piloting a BMW 335d and a 550i.

Photos by Chris Paukert / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs Inc.

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