2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Laguna Seca Track Day, Part 1
November 17, 2014
You may recall earlier this year when we headed to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for what some guy termed "The Greatest Event in Track Day History."
Well, this past weekend we headed up to the Monterey area for another one of these Friends of Mazda two-day car/motorcycle track weekends. But this time instead of using the Silverado as bike hauler and our long-term Vette as track car, we loaded my Honda CBR600RR into the bed of our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, while towing my turbo Miata on a U-Haul trailer.
Much adventure ensued.
First things first, on Friday I needed to do some prep on my Miata. I wanted to change the oil and filter, swap in a set of track pads front and rear, and put on some new spark plug wires. Plus I also had to drive over to U-Haul to pick up the trailer, but of course I needed to load my moto into the Ram's bed first, since I wouldn't be able to do that once the trailer was attached.
Me being me (that means slightly dimwitted and slow-operating), I didn't get all of these tasks done, and the truck packed for the weekend, until 6:00 p.m. It's safe to say, in retrospect, I didn't get going on this stuff early enough in the day.
Which also means, this being southern California, I screwed myself further because now I was heading out of Orange County up through Los Angeles at just about prime traffic time. Good one.
The Ram EcoDiesel was certainly an easy trundler in traffic, and I just basically kicked back, enjoyed the comfortable cabin, some good tunes and dieseled along until things cleared up. North of L.A. we started to climb some hills, and the EcoDiesel handled the big load it was hauling pretty well. Certainly not the oomph we're used to when it's unladen around town, but also never lacking when I asked for a bit more thrust. Sure, it doesn't have the overabundance of torque like the heavy-duty diesels, but it was adequate. To be honest, I was shocked by the number of cars and SUVs I was passing up long grades, even though I was keeping pretty close to the 55 mph trailer speed limit.
Which brings up another point (or two). Sticking near the 55 mph trailer speed limit is, in some ways, calming. Sure, I would have liked to have made better time, but I also wasn't worried about being pulled over for speeding. Also, because I stayed out of the left lane, I was blissfully unaware of all the left-lane hogs camped out over there. So nice.
Now you'll probably think this is weird, but I was kinda jazzed when (a couple times, anyway) some eighteen-wheelers gave me a flash of the lights on Interstate 5 after I passed them, letting me know my trailer had cleared their rig and it was safe to move back over into the lane. Made me feel like one of the gang, know what I mean? Secretly, I've always thought about being a long-haul trucker. But I digress.
So what time did I roll into the hotel in Monterey? A pleasant 1:30 a.m.
Like I said, not exactly the brightest bulb over here.
During a break between sessions, we took the Ram out to Laguna's Turn Six to check out some of the action. Kind of a cool shot, huh?
At the end of Day 1, we gathered E-Z Ups, chairs, tables and bikes together, and left them overnight in Laguna's paddock area.
Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor @ 17,340 miles