AtomFest Day -1

Monday arrived painfully early when Tim Webb picked me up at 7 AM in Randy’s new Corvette. It has one of those keyless ignition fob thingys, and we had a close call when we pulled into a gas station and Tim realized that if he shut the car off, he wouldn’t be able to get it started again.

We made it back to the track on fumes, and I proceeded to get the Atom out of the garage bay where I’d left it the night before.

Five of us had gotten together to book the track for ourselves on this day before AtomFest. Actually, I had booked it myself and when one of my friends on the Atom Club Forum contacted the track, the track told him I had it booked, so we decided to split the cost.

We all had different goals – some just wanted to have an extra day of fun, CalScot wanted to evaluate changes he’d be making to the car’s setup, and so forth. Personally, I just wanted to get familiar with the track and get some time in so I wouldn’t make an ass of myself during AtomFest proper.

During the day, more and more Atom folks rolled into the infield. The day was cloudy with occasional showers, but nothing major.

Alec and Nadine from the UK arrived in a rented camper, driving up from Texas. I could see that Alec wanted to experience the track, so I offered (after a nudge from Nadine) to let him take my Atom out. Actually, she’d just asked if I’d let him passenger while I drove, but (as I freely admit) I’m not that good (I believe in living the Top Gear motto – “Ambitious, but rubbish”) so I gave the car to him. He had a blast. Here’s a picture I took of him lapping in my Atom:

Here’s CalScot’s amazing 475HP Atom going past in a blur:

I don’t have any shots like those of me driving my car, but here’s a still from the video I was recording with my nose camera:

Once the track closed for official runs, people brought out various modes of transportation and drove them on the track in “slow” laps (though some of them were pretty spirited). In addition to Atoms, we had various cars, including a couple that were probably rented (shhhh….), motorcycles, and the occasional golf cart. There’s a sign on the pit lane entry that says “No Motor Homes” – I expect that someone was crazy enough to try to do a hot lap with a camper sometime in the past. Either that or the track owners saw the Top Gear episode where Richard Hammond tries to invent the sport of caravan racing…

Here’s my Atom #85 on the left and Eddie Hill’s #499 on the right. From left to right, the people are Tom Smurzynski, Eddie Hill, and Randy Lamp:

After everybody’s need for the track was satisfied (at least for the moment), Randy rounded us up for the traditional AtomFest eve dinner at the Rib Crib in Sand Springs. Unfortunately, they seemed to have misplaced the reservation Randy had made for 40 people. However, they recovered quickly and opened up a corner of the dining room for us. The serving staff had the impression we needed separate checks – normally there’s one tab per table and everybody throws into the pot. So they come out with 30-odd folios and try to match up bills with people. It all worked out in the end, and from what I could see, the tips were generous all around.

After dinner, we all got into various cars (we carpooled into town in “normal” cars, since it was raining off and on) and drove back to the track. I headed back to my cabin from the track, determined to make the 8 AM driver’s meeting the next morning (and hopefully catch the last of the 7 AM breakfast).

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