It has been far too long since our last update, and now the season is over Since we last sent an update Jason wrapped up the season traveling to old and new tracks. At USA International Raceway, after locking up the LO206 sportsman championship in the 206 Cup he moved up to the Junior LO206 class and took home second place in his first race(video) in this class. He also brought home his first Animal Sportsman race(video) win in a very tight race, swapped the lead 4 or 5 times, until he took the win on the last corner. In early October, Jason traveled to Delmar, Iowa for the 61 Kartway Challenge(video), a 30 lap endurance race. He spent the morning learning a new track, and that same evening, as the sun set during the race, took home second place just half a second back from the local favorite.
It has been quite a season of racing, it started off a little rough as we brought two karts up to speed. Despite, early motor and wheel issues, Jason and the karts were very fast out of the gate, picking up an early 206 Cup win. As the season progressed Jason received some coaching and I got the karts really dialed in, leading to a podium almost every race. At a race at Concept Haulers Jason dominated the track(Heat 1) to the point of breaking the track record for the year by nearly a second. Our lowest point was at MKA with the 206 Cup where Jason was driving very well but the karts where bedeviled by broken chains and the animal motor problems. The high point was at USA International Raceway with this Animal win and his first LO206 Junior podium.
Here are some of the honors from Jason’s 2015 season
Briggs and Stratton 206 Cup LO206 Sportsman Champion
Championship Enduro Series Novice Jr Champion
Briggs and Stratton 206 Cup Animal Sportsman 2nd Place
Mid-American Sprint Series LO206 Sportsman 3rd Place
61 Challenge LO206 Sportsman 30 Lap Race 2nd Place
Some statistics. Because a good race team is about numbers.
3 racing series, 3 local track series
20 weekends of racing, 28 racing days, 4 full practice days, 39 races
40 gallons of racing methanol
11 sets of tires
1 driver and 1 mechanic
Miles and miles of track time and truck time.
Fun Fact: Jason has driven approximately 400 miles on BlackHawk Farms Raceway since 2013.
In other news, it seems the TV show that Jason was interviewed for has been put on the shelf. Hopefully,Adventure Aaron and the producers will find a way to get it out there.
On a more positive note Jason was recently mentioned in a press release from Coyote Motorsports, the manufacturer of his chassis. The press release highlighted his Championship in the LO206 Cup and featured his first Junior LO206 race and subsequent 2nd place finish.
Lastly, our friend Christian Lantry has taken some end of season pictures of Jason, kart, and trophies. Christian is a professional photographer with deep experience in the professional sports, entertainment, and advertising industries.
Looking forward to next year, Jason is hoping to start racing in the Senior League at K1 Speed now that he is tall enough. Over the winter, time will be spent in the garage tearing down the karts for inspection and rebuilding to prepare them for racing in Junior classes.
Thanks to Dave Larsen and the Championship Enduro Series team, and Greg Jasperson, Steven Vermeer and the Briggs 206 Cup Team. Without these guys and their supporting groups this would not have been possible. Thanks to Regan Verhing at 4 Cycle Central for all his support and giving us a motor that runs fast.
Its has been a pretty good summer of racing so far. Though, I would have like to see more entries in Jason’s classes. All three where very light in Jason’s classes. The best turn out was a club race at Concept Haulers a few weeks ago with 12 drivers in his class, Jason really liked that and wanted to go back just for the on track traffic. This last 206 Cup race at Concept Haulers was disappointing with only one other driver in each class. When we plan our season work to keeping our commitments and then having nearly a no-show at Jason’s home track is really frustrating. We were expecting to have a great time racing with the 206 Cup in both Animal and LO206 classes with good drivers near by. To make it worse, the LO206 Senior and and Junior classes both had good if not great turnout and were well worth watching. Jason really wants to race and hone his skills, just putting in laps by himself is not enough.
Enough with the rant, on with the race report:
Jason’s LO206 kart was very well dialed and his only competition was a very green driver in his 7th and 8th race ever. Jason pulled away at the start and ended all races many seconds ahead. He did set some very good lap times.
We thought we had the Animal kart had tuned up, but we unfortunately missed something and it was about a second slower than the other driver. We never really quite figured it out, though I do have some theories and will be looking to try them out at US Air for the last race of the series.
Jason’s next race will be at South Haven, Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway on September 12 and 13th. This is the last race of the Championship Enduro Series this season and the 2014 Awards Banquet, were Jason will receive his 2014 Championship Trophy.
Thanks Karen looking forward to the Walworth County Fair and good luck Katie in the show, Mike and his son for coming out to visit, we will get you guys in a kart this summer.
In preparation for the third installment of the Briggs and Stratton LO206 Cup, Jason and I visited Concept Haulers Motor Speedway for a some testing and a practice race with the local club. This track was the first one he put his very own kart on, and he ran his first season of LO206 Sportsman there. His first race this season was here and he did okay, taking second, but it was not spectacular, fast but not real fast. After working hard this season he has been reaching for the “real fast” and the potential for Jason to do well was there. The hope was that we would be able to at least keep up with the locals and give them a challenge.
Getting Air while tuning the animal kart
We arrived for an early in the day open practice and tuned up his animal kart until we ran out of gas. Once official race practice started, he was already warmed up and ready, so, I put him in the back of the field, first to see what he would do and second to give him some practice passing. His instructions were to be patient and smart and drive clean. For the first two practice sessions he was very clean and passed the entire field both sessions. In the second lap of the third practice, he exited from turn 1 a little hot and spun off the track in turn 2, then rest of practice watching the other drivers. So much for being patient.
The field this week consisted of 12 karts. We have not seen a field this size since his kid kart days. We knew most of the drivers and understood what they would do, but there were also a couple of unknowns. Jason started the first heat in the middle of the pack in 8th, and the second in 5th(bumped up to 3rd, due to new drive moving to the back). Being in the middle give him a better chance of finishing high in the heats and then starting near the front for the feature which makes winning easier with fewer karts to battle with in front of him.
Let’s watch, now, and see how he did.
Race Heat 1, starting 8th
Race Heat 2, starting 3rd
Feature Race, starting on the pole
I am hoping that you watched the video. If you look back at the first race of the season he is actually a completely different driver. At the beginning of the season he was letting off on the gas into corners and over breaking, now he stays on the gas through most corners, using the breaks to adjust speed and and direction to navigate the corner. Not only did Jason win the heats 1 and 2, and the feature (by 17 seconds) but he also set the new 2015 track record with a 58.967, 1.271 seconds faster than the previous record and only 1.1 seconds away from the over all record. We will see if it still stands at the end of the season.
Jason’s next race is August 21-22 at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway. This will be the third race weekend of the Briggs and Stratton 206 Cup.
Thanks to both my parents and my wife for letting me muck with cars, motorcycles, and motors. Without the skills I learned there I would not be able to keep Jason’s kart right. Thanks to my Dad for hanging out with us this last weekend. Your company was much appreciated.
This weekend the Championship Endro Series held the third race and second visit to Blackhawk Farms Raceway. Blackhawk is a nearly two mile long race track used for many forms of road racing including cars and motorcycles. It is a track loved by drivers for challenging 7 turn course and its beautiful woodland setting. When we visit we don’t even consider getting a hotel room, we know we are going to camp at this track. Jason has now visited at this track 12 times running some where in the area of 200 laps, that’s about 390 miles. That’s about 4 hours on driving time averaging 70 MPH.
This weekends competition was regrettably small, with no one in his class to race with he is a little bored. In the past he has been able to run with some of the other classes but this year everyone is faster then he is and he is often by him self while others are races up ahead. Its not very exciting for him. Saturdays race started very well with Jason as usual jumping up to about 4th or 5th place and then as the faster but heaver karts picked up speed he dropped down to 11th of 17 by the end of the race. Still a good race for him and consistent with his previous races and he won his class.
Some of Jason’s fellow drivers
After the race on Saturday, started working on changing the kart setup to meet the Animal Junior class rules, with encouragement from his older and questionably wiser race buddies. This class is normally for drivers 12 to 15, but since Jason is a pretty skilled and reserved driver and should be safe. The Junior class runs without a restrictor plate on the carburetor and the driver and kart must weight at least 300lbs. The plate prevents gas and air from getting into the motor and limits it to 7 horse power, down from the stock 12. While adding the approximate 25lbs, I did my best to keep the kart balanced and safe, an unbalanced kart can be difficult to drive. The only thing I did not do was put 6 in rear wheels and tires on as I don’t have any. The tires would likely made him a bit faster. He was given strict instructions to be careful and thoughtful with the new power and speed he when out for his first real Junior Practice.
The race on Sunday was a really good time. It however did start with a very scary moment of Jason spinning out in turn 6 and almost getting run into. Thankfully, the guys behind him where very skilled and made the moves to get around him with out incident. The rest of the race he played catch-up picked off kart after kart. At one point he picked up a draft partner who stuck on him like glue and only briefly managed to pull in front of Jason, but Jason got him in the next corner. In the end starting in 11th then going to 17th(dead last) all the way backup to 8th, quite the drive. Although he was not on the track with other junior drivers lap times right there with the current drivers lap times of 1.33, though in the past 1.28 would be the high mark, with some tuning and practice we could do that.
Thanks all our road racing friends for their encouragement and support. Karen, the season is starting to wind down, soon we can start to enjoy banquet season. This race was supported by Glenview’s The Greenwood Restaurant.
The second race weekend of the Briggs and Statton 206 Cup was held in at the Mid-West Karting Association in Eau Claire, WI on July 24th and 25th. Our trip started on with something new, a stop in Madison, WI and a stay at an AirBNB, the Uber of Bed and Breakfasts. Our lodgings where very nice and exactly suited to our simple needs, a place to rest our heads for a reasonable price, Thanks Dustin and Family, hope to visit you again.
After our Thursday nights rest, we finished our drive to the track and set about to practicing and tuning Jason’s karts. Jason spent the first few laps puttering round on learning the track and then quickly picked up speed as he tested the track for the fast line. This tracks main challenge is a squiggle that runs down the back stretch. The entrance is out of a high speed sweeper and If you don’t set up the first kink correctly you loose more speed and time at each subsequent turns. At the exit then you have to setup an moderately sharp u-turn in to the rest of the infield. Getting that entrance wrong will blow the rest of the lap. While Jason was tuning his driving, I was turning the karts, making the subtle adjustments as he reported back. By the end of the day we were both hot and tried, but both karts where ready for racing.
Saturday started with practice which went very smoothly but the racing was another matter. The LO206 had a drive chain fail and the Animal had a tire come apart during the heat races. I was able to replace the chain and the tire before the feature. Unfortunately the “new” chain also failed during the first lap on the LO206 feature. Both karts had well worn tires, as the day progressed karts got more difficult to drive through corners. Eventually, as the laps wound down the kart slid around corners like he was using his hard tires and the slower lap times reflected that. While, it was not our best day we learned some thing about these soft tires, when they go, they go. Despite the failing tires Jason set the fastest LO206 Sportsman lap of the weekend of 40.242, just needs to work on passing to get around the competition. That will come in time. He finished 3 third in both classes for the day.
Sunday Animal Race in the Lead
Sunday started with new tires for both karts and some more practice to break them in and bit of fine tuning. Like the racing at Badger it was very exciting, but not much actually happened. Jason and the other drivers in both classes where so closely matched now that they where nose to tail evey lap of every race. Each driver looking for or to make the opened needed to move up a position and no one giving ground. Jason was not able to make any progress in the LO206 the 4 races and finished 3rd for the day, but did set the days fastest laps. In the animal sportsman class race one Jason took and early lead and stretched the lead to a few seconds at the end of his first win of the weekend. The second race ended when the throttle cap came loose and he retired early. The feature was quite the battle between the three drivers, again where nose to tail as they raced around the track. At the end of the 11th lap Jason spotted an opening and made his move to take the second spot. Jason held on to the position for the last lap, finishing second in the race and for the day. The day ended with 3rd in the LO206 class and second in the Animal class. Can’t wait for these guys to meet at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway, Jason’s home track, for the next 206 Cup race.
This next weekend we will be at the 3rd Championship Endro Series race and second visit to Blackhawk Farms, in South Beliot, IL. This should be a fun but relaxing weekend with our racing friends.
Thanks Neil and Christian for their company and competition in both the sportsman classes. Congratulations to Regan and Jen on your first born and thanks for the great motors from 4 Cycle Central. Karen, we have a trailer now and it work mostly, thanks for the trust. Kate nice working earning all of those ribbon at the Lake County Fair, 5 Grand Champions and 2 Reserve Champions.
I have noticed something new about Jason during the last two race weekends. He is starting to be part of a team and not just his team. He is no longer the “Lighting McQueen” thinking only of what he does. He is understanding what it takes to be part of a racing team and part of a race. The driver is the celebrity, and without their talent and skill there would be no racing, but without the rest of the team, the track owner, the corner workers, and all of the people it takes to put a race, on there would be no race.
A few weeks ago, after his first regional kart win, the first thing he said to me was “Happy Father’s Day” and “we did this as a team”. That right there, made me proud, but this weekend, at Grattan, I was a bit choked up when I watched his race video with some of our kart friends. After the checkered flag, all karts take a lap to cool down and then pull into the pits. As he passed each flag stand and corner worker he gave them a “thumbs up” of thanks and acknowledgement of their work. This made me happier then any trophy he could have brought home.
Thank your corner worker today
Grattan Raceway Park is by far one of our favorite tracks. For a the driver it is one of the most challenging tracks in the mid-west, with a mile long straight and lots of difficult corners. It is only perhaps surpassed by Road America. It has also some the more unusual features of a swimming pool, a stocked fishing pond, and an off road motorcycle track. It is difficult to tell whether Jason likes fishing more than racing. When he is not doing something related to his kart he is down by the pond fishing for an assortment of game fish, sunnies, bluegill, bass, and bullheads (yuck).
On Saturday, we were visited by my friend Jordan Lindberg and his son Myles. Jordan is a renowned trout fisherman and owner of Stardust Memorials. It has been a few years since we have been able to hang out, so we’re really glad they could make the trip over. Stardust Memorials has been a sponsor of Wild Duck Racing for three years and this their first visit to a kart race. Thanks Jordan and the Stardust Memorials team for your help. We are glad to be a part of your growing business.
The weekend’s racing was great. Jason drove stupendously on both Saturday and Sunday running a very fast and clean. Last year he was running 1.48 second laps and this year he ran 1.45 second laps. Quite an improvement. We also had some competition from another father and son team who came with a group of teams from the Detroit area. It was great to see another team working hard and joining the fun. Jason brought home two first place trophies. All in all a great weekend.
Jason will be at the Monday Night Car Show with his karts on July 20th, so come on out and see him. Following that, we will be traveling to Eau Claire, WI for the second weekend of the Briggs and Stratton 206 cup on July 25th and 26th.
Thanks to all of our racing friends and the new ones we made this weekend. Karen, Happy Anniversary. Who knew that this could come from that hot day in July 14 years ago? Thanks to Regan at 4 Cycle Central for our motor and help with our new trailer. Good luck to Katie this weekend in her first horse riding competition. You have it in you.
Jason and I got to spend Father’s Day weekend at Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park at the first Briggs and Stratton LO206 Cup race of the season. It was one of my favorite weekends so far. The only thing missing was my own Dad, who was home with the rest of the family. Though they were cheering us on via the internet and text messages. We were in for a lot of work, with this being our first real competitive run with two karts. It was all worth the effort.
Jason has been racing and practicing most at Badger this year, but he has not yet used the 206 Cup’s spec tire, Vega FH Blue. Usually, we use Bridgestone YDS tires, which is the spec for most local tracks. The YDS tires are very hard and the karts tend to slide sideways (drift) as they fly through the corners. The Vege Blue is very soft and sticky, giving loads of grip to the track. This allows for faster speeds through corners but requires a different chassis setup. The drivers need to adjust their line, style, and speed to account for what has turned out to be a dramatic change in kart handling. After consulting with some experts, we made some adjustments to both of the karts on Thursday night and then spent Friday fine tuning. We managed to drop several seconds from our normal Badger lap times mostly due to tire changes but also due to changes in Jason’s driving over the last few weeks. He has gotten much faster, to the point were he is driving most of the track with gas held to the floor and just a touch of break to slow into the corners as he pitches the kart sideways.
The Briggs Animal Sportsman class turnout was not the best, with only Jason and one other driver. We made the best of it though. We got some more laps in the kart and made small changes to the kart to try to eek out a little more speed and improve handling. In the end it was really just good practice for Jason. He was about one quarter of a second slower then the other driver, who also happens to be the Animal Sportsman class champion at Badger. Both Saturday and Sunday Jason took second place but was able to keep up, only dropping back when the other, more experienced teams’ tires really started to work. As the weekend progressed Jason’s extra seat time really showed and he made steady improvement in both classes.
Jason’s second class, Briggs LO206 Sportsman, on the other hand, was great. It was everything that the LO206 racing is supposed to be. The motors are basically equal, so it is all about chassis setup and driver skill. The class had five very good drivers, all of whom Jason has raced before at one time or another. Their mechanics all had done a great job of getting karts prepped. All weekend long these kids were running nose to tail with each other, each one of them in contention for a position. It made for some very exciting racing. Jason raced extremely well on both days. On Saturday he finished 2nd in the first two heats starting from the middle. The first heat was marred by a pileup in the third corner. Jason, who was in the lead, was tapped by another kart in the rear and spun, causing a chain reaction. The resulting damage slowed some karts in the second and third races of the day. In the feature (on board video) he started in second and got a good start. Halfway through the race, the leader made a mistake heading in to the boot. Jason took quick advantage and moved into first. He led to the checkered flag, taking his first regional win!
Mini-Sportscasters coverage of Saturdays LO206 races
Sunday’s racing was more complicated. Jason started the first heat on the pole. His start was a little off and he dropped to second and stayed there. He started last in the second heat, picking up two spots by turn one, and finished third after a defending his line and trying to make it past the drivers in front. He started the 12 lap feature in 4th and was not able to make any progress but neither was anyone else. Those kids drove hard and pushed each other to drive smart and fast. All of their lap times were within a quarter of a second. Despite the lack of action it was very exciting.
Jason is now in first place in the Mid-American Sprint Series and the Championship Enduro Series, and is in 2nd place in both classes in the Briggs 206 Cup. His Animal finish also puts him in first place for the CES/206Cup Challenge. After taking a few weekends off, on of July 11th and 12th we will be heading to Grattan Raceway for the next race with the Championship Enduro Series and Jason’s favorite track.
Happy Father’s Day to Joe, and to Gary, who is very much missed here on earth. Thanks to T.J. Ross for this weekend’s support. It means a great deal to us. Thanks Steve, Greg, Briggs and Stratton racing, and the Badger Kart Club for putting on a great weekend. Regan at 4 Cycle Central – thank you for your technical support. Thanks to the Murray clan for feeding us chocolate and lending us tools. Payton and family – thank you for helping me keep Jason sufficiently rested and hydrated so we could race safely.