It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and has been almost 2 months since Jason’s last race. We are working on plans for next season – where to race and what to race. In the meantime, what is a racer to do in the chilly Midwest to stay sharp?
Indoor karting of course! Today, we made our first visit to K1 Speed in Addison, IL. Our first session was a little slow while Jason took his time to learn the track, but each lap was faster than the last. Add some more drivers and some more laps and he became one of the fastest kids on the track. Jason was definitely having a good time with these slower but still fun electric karts.
Indoor karting is much more technical; the track is narrow and has more and tighter corners. A good driver must think several corners ahead in order to pass. For Jason, this was a new skill to learn. He is not used to this style of track and has not had much need or opportunity to work on passing. When racing in the larger races, it became apparent that he was making progress with passing but was still occasionally getting hung up behind a slower driver. Overall, it went very well. He set the second fastest lap for the week which was also the third fastest lap for the month. This looks like something we are going to continue until the outdoor season starts up again.
Don’t forget Monday is cyber Monday and get a kart sticker for you kart, pickup, and trailer from Atomic Decals.
Thanks to the staff at K1 for showing us a good time and keeping all of the drivers safe. My wife for letting me shirk my household duties for the day (again), and to Keith who I hope is reading with an eye for detail before I publish it.
The season is over for 2013 and the holidays are upon us. Our friends at Atomic Decals are running a special until the end of 2013 on kart stickers to celebrate our season until the end of 2013.
Get your favorite kart driver, parent or grand parent something to show their karting pride. Get a kart sticker for $5+shipping now until the end of the year. Below are some of the awesome stickers and clothing Atomic has made for us over the season.
We were back to Blackhawk Farms for races 7 and 8 of the Championship Enduro Series (CES). We had pretty high expectations for the weekend now that we had the kart set about right and Jason is pretty familiar with the track. We expected better times and faster laps. We were also joined by my wife and daughter and my dad. My Father and wife had a great time watching all of the racers and meeting our kart friends. My daughter, not so much. ”Not enough horses”.
Karen joined us for two reasons. First, to watch Jason race. She has not yet been to a CES race, yet. Second and most importantly on Sunday she ran the 5K foot race on the track, placing first in her age group. We could not be more proud and excited for her. (Karen’s edit: I was the only one in my age group!! But you can’t win if you don’t race, so I beat everyone who didn’t come out!)
Saturday’s race brought some friends from Concept Haulers and a real test of everything we had learned over the summer. Jason’s start was difficult. He got hung up behind his friend Joey and was not able to accelerate into the first corner as he usually does. He battled his main rival, #118 John, a few laps in and swapped positions for a couple of laps. After a little bumping and grinding John pulled ahead and moved on. Shortly after that Jason caught up with Pete Johnson and they swapped spots a few times until the end when Jason pulled ahead again at the finish. This is one of the great things about this series, it is not always about racing your class but who you actually race. Pete shook Jason’s hand when they were lined up for post-race tech, and said “that was the most fun racing I’ve had in a long time!” It was a great race to watch from where we were at the finish line but the video tells a better story.
Saturday night after the racing Jason talked to all kinds of drivers and took in their advice and encouragement. On Sunday, he put all of his seat time and newly acquired advice to work. His start was great. He accelerated hard at the green flag, passing 5 drivers and was the third kart to the corner. Most of this race was folks catching up to Jason. First Pete managed to get by Jason but that did not stick. A lap later Pete, Jason, and Seth went three wide down the stretch and they went Seth, Jason and Pete into turn one. In lap 4 Jason was passed by #251 and in lap 5 passed by #118. From that point on, he was on his own except for lapping the novice class. At some point #251 dropped out and Jason finished 5th. His top speed was 73 mph and his best lap was 1:39.079. Definitely a great end to a strong weekend.
Our next report will be on our last Concept Haulers race.
Thanks to Katie for coming to the track and putting up with her dad and brother and pushing the kart around. Our friends the Losch’s and Johnson’s for being great sports and racers. My Dad for sharing his love of cars and has asked about a kart for him. My awesome wife who runs like a mother.
Our latest adventure brought us to back to Concept Haulers Motor Speedway for Race 11, a heat race at night, Jason’s favorite. We had been working all week to get the kart ready. Much needed to be done to switch the kart from road race mode back to sprint race mode. Change the clutch, gears, carb, and tires then clean and inspect everything. We also planned to make some adjustment to the steering geometry, adjust the clutch, and some carburetor adjustments. Normally, would not make all these changes at once but it has been almost 6 week since Jason’s last sprint race and we have not have any time for testing. So, we were taking a chance.
The Juniors watching the Seniors race.
Since this was a night race we could get to the track in the morning and get some extra practice and testing in. We needed to make sure that we didn’t make the kart worse and have time to fix any problems. After a few warm up laps, Jason said the kart was working well. So he ran a few more sessions to settle in and work on his time. His lap times were about the same as the last race 1:04-1:08. Reports and past experience said the other drivers were going to be faster than that. However, Jason is usually faster when he has someone to hunt down. So, there may be more in the boy and kart yet.
After testing the rest of the racers started to arrive. It was shaping up to be a good night of racing with 6 kids in the class. It seemed that fastest driver in our class Brandon was moving up to seniors. This left Dylan, Tommy, Kyle, Logan, Chad, and Jason. When they last raced Jason was about 3rd fastest. Dylan was already fast, Chad and Tommy were fast and had been practicing and expected to be closer to 60 second laps. So, our expectations were muted due to our lack real race condition testing and the other drivers past record. That said, Jason’s race practice times were very good, in fact better then the mornings testing but still only 1:03-04 range. His is going need to be closer to a minute to get a top 3 finish.
Jason started in the 6th and last position for the first heat. The line up was Kyle, Dylan, Tommy, Logan, Chad and Jason. His sprints starts have been pretty weak he been having a hard time finding the right technique to jump at the flag and pick up a spot. In this case he was not able to get by anyone. Dylan nailed the start and beat Kyle to turn one and everyone else bunched up behind Kyle. Chad got round Tommy and Logan in short order in the first lap but got hung up behind Kyle. Jason and Tommy swapped places and back again over the next two laps. Jason passed Tommy again on the way to turn 4 and Logan spun in the hairpin putting Jason in 4th place. Jason starts to pick up the lost distance on Kyle, with two laps to go it is going tough to catch him. In the last lap Jason is starting to close on Kyle on the exit of the monza, when Tommy made a run and pulls back before the kink before the hairpin, at the hairpin tried to cut the inside and drives right into Jason’s side. Thankfully, Jason is able to recover quickly and does not lose a place an finishes fourth.
Heat 2 to starts the reverse of the first, so Jason is on the poll. Since I did not get the GoPro started I don’t have details. Jason had a good start but some managed to get into 4th and then worked his way back up to 2nd. I do remember it was pretty exciting and really wanted to watch the video. There were lots of highs and lows as he worked his way back up the field.
With his excellent finish in the second heat Jason started in the 3rd spot. Dylan is on the pole, Chad in the #2 spot, followed by Jason, Kyle, Logan, and Tommy. It was now dark and the temperature had dropped. These were ideal conditions for our motor setup, rich with cool dense air. I also upped the tire pressure a bit to try to get some more grip. When the flag dropped Dylan was off and speeding away, followed by Chad and then Jason hot into the first corner. Chad has been running some fast laps all day long. I was concerned that Jason was not going to be able to keep up. But to everyone’s surprise, Jason was hot on Chad’s heels and showing signs that he could even pass him. They ran that way for the next 9 laps while Jason worked to keep up and find away around. At the very end of the 11 lap Jason gets the last corner just right and pulls up on the inside of Chad and get the lead at the first corner. He holds on for the rest of the lap and earns 2nd place with the second fastest lap of the night and his fastest lap ever: 1:01.73!!!
Jason’s next race is this weekend at Blackhawk Farms. There have been lots of folks registered and we have high expectations now that we have figured out the setup for road racing. It should be a great weekend of racing.
Thanks this week to Alesia, Jason, and their crew for putting on a great races and managing the track this summer. To my wife who is going to run a 5K this weekend at Blackhawk.
This was Jason’s plan for the weekend at Grattan.
Friday: Drive to Track and Fish till dark then bed
Saturday: Wake up, Practice, Fish, Race, Fish, bed
Sunday: Wake up, Practice, Fish, Race, Fish, home
That and as it turns out that is how it pretty much went. He raced very well and caught many bull heads and bluegill in the pond at the track.
This weekend we went to Grattan Raceway for the 5th and 6th race of the Championship Enduro Series. From what we had heard it is supposed to be a spectacular and very challenging track. We were not disappointed. It is a 2 mile course that starts with a very long front straight and and heads back around in a twisted writhing snake of hills and curves that includes three off camber turns. Jason loved it.
Carol and Karl Watching their first Kart race.
Jason’s Grandma and Uncle Carl came to watch him race on Saturday. There were expecting sprint oval racing but got something very different. This was the first time Grandma Diener got to watch him race. I am not quite sure what she thinks of all this but she seems to have a good time as did uncle Carl. We where both very happy to have them around and appreciated their company.
Saturday’s lap times started slow, as expected, first time on the track and I had the gearing all wrong. First laps where in the 2 min 40 second range during the first practice. With some more tuning and more practice we got it to a respectable lap time of just over 2 min, but there was still more to go. Finally, I checked my notes from Gateway and Blackhawk Farms and found I already had knew the right gearing 17/55. I did that late on Saturday after the race. I take notes, I should look at them. Sunday before practice, I got the kart set up right and he was off and chasing the grown ups. I wish I had the video for the Sunday race, he was battling with #31 a senor heavy Briggs LO206. Jason would pass him in the straights and #31 would pass Jason in the corners. It was great racing right down to the end.
2 Firsts and a Championship
Saturday Best Lap 01:57.915
Finished 1st in class (7th overall)
Sunday Best Lap 01:50.406
Finished 1st in class (7th over all)
As a bonus this weekend was the Briggs Animal Road Racing Nationals. Jason’s first place finishes in the Novice Junior also gave him that trophy as well. Thanks to Reagan, Briggs, and 4 Cycle Central for setting this race up.
Thanks this week to the Losches and Ed and Ben Leonhardt for letting share your garage and playing with us, your insite and enthusiasm is invaluable. Stardust Memorials for sponsoring us for the weekend your support is invaluable. Last but not least to my wife and her mother we are very glad you are around an let up play with our fast toys. Our next race is August 3rd Concept Haulers and then back to Blackhawk Farms with CES on August 9-11. Karen is going to run a 5K on the track before Sunday’s race to please cheer her on too.
It has been a little while since we put out an update. After the Blackhawk Farms race we got very busy. We entered the kart in Glenview Summer Fest car show and managed to win trophy with a slightly dirt racing kart. I am not really sure how they marked us for door sils and trunk interior but the motor was clean. We also hung out at the C&M Auto team after the show. Folks definitely enjoyed seeing the kart and talking about racing and cars. We have been going to car shows to promote karting and have been having lots of positive response.
We have also been to Concept Haulers for two races. The first race was a qualifying race and we where not at our best placing 4th all day long, not much a story to tell. The second race, a heat and night race, and went better. He placed 2nd, 1st, and 2nd in the feature. Jason started the second heat in third as the race started Dylan and Chad spun out in turn 1. Jason managed to get through them with out incident and lead the race to the finish. Winning the second heat put Jason on the pole for the feature. On the start Dylan beat him to the first corner and was gone. Chad was not able to get around him and they stayed that way to the end. This was a extra special night because both his Mom and sister where there to cheer him on.
Next weekend we are headed to 5th and 6th races with the Championship Enduro Series at Grattan Raceway in Belding, MI. We expect to see a number of Badger folks there is weekend too. From what I have heard it is quite the roller coster of a track with lots of fast corners and rolling hills. We are both looking forward to seeing what its like and how he performs.
This Sunday’s race is sponsored by our friends at Stardust Memorials. Please show them your support.
Thanks to Stardust Memorials for their support this weekend. The Village of Glenview for the great time we had at summer fest. At my wife on our 12th wedding anniversary.
We are back from Blackhawk Farms. We spent the weekend camping at the beautiful track. It reminded me of Road America with the natural surroundings and and excellent facilities. Once we parked the truck it never moved until it was time go home. If you race karts or cars get out here and give it a try.
On Saturday we found that some of our good friends from Concept Haulers came out to race with CES. That was an unexpected surprise. Jason and his CHMS buddy had a blast racing each other. After the racing was done, 4 Cycle Central and River Valley Kart Club threw BBQ parties and showed everyone some great hospitality. Sunday brought the The Badger Karting club. The field doubled and so did the racing excitement.
Jason raced really well taking 3rd on Saturday and 5th on Sunday. Now that we have figured out the formula for the class he is picking up speed. He needs to learn patience when running these long races and wait for the right time to make a pass. Trying to make a pass in the wrong place can cost you position and speed.
On Monday night we did something different and took the kart to the a local car show. This was more fun then we expected. Folks would stop by pause to look at the kart and then start telling stories about how they used to race. I let a number of little kids sit it the kart while their parents took pictures. This is really something other karters should do to promote the sport.
Next race is at Concept Haulers then we are going to take some time off to rest before the first night race of the season. We plan on entering the car show at Glenview’s Street sale on June 29, look for us there and say “HI”.
Once again we would like to thank C&M Auto Service for sponsoring us. They really are part of the community. To Karen without whom none of this would have been possible. Thanks to Jason who lets me play with him.
The weekend brings the second installment of the Championship Enduro Series. This time they are racing at Blackhawk Farmsin South Beliot, IL. Again there will be two days are racing. Saturday with the CES folks and on Sunday the Badger Karting Club will be joining us. We are looking forward to seeing some old friends. Should be an exciting weekend of racing.
Sunday’s race is sponsored by C&M Auto Service in Glenview. The extended family have been a customer of C&M since 1997. Chuck and the C&M team have always provide excellent service to our all of our vehicles including Jason’s Kid Kart. Thanks again guys for your support of a local athlete. Thanks again to Atomic Decals for quick turn around with our new sticker.
Here is a little tastes of racing at Blackhawk Farms from last years event.
See you folks out there. If you not able to catch us at the track this weekend you can see us at the Monday Night Car show on June 3rd at Old Orchard shopping mall in Skokie, IL.
This was a tough day. We were both still tired from racing at Gateway the week before, followed by two baseballs games and one baseball practice during the week. Not to mention work, school, homework. Jason knew he was tired but understood what needed to be done. The travel to and from races is starting to take its toll already. He really loves to race but does not love the travel. It is going to be very hard to find the balance this summer with 20 races scheduled. In the next few weeks I am going to make some “home” time with him and the family and his friends. The worst thing I could do is to suck the fun out of something he loves and I love too.
He skipped the first practice because he was tired and not really focused. This was a mistake. You can skip later practice sessions, especially if you need to conserve the driver or the kart, but not the first one. In the first practice you can figure out if there there are any issues with the kart and then have ample time to fix them. To make matters worse, we were late to practice the rest of the practice sessions, so we really did not get to see how Jason and the kart were running in comparison to the rest of the field. If we(I) had been better organized I would have been able to see that he was having performance issues.
First Racing Scar, Chicks Dig Scars
With 4 racers this week the first heats lineup was Brandon, Chad, Jason, and Dylan (Brandon’s little brother). At the start he was not on the gas, so very quickly fell back and never caught up, the kart of off and he was off. He pulled off early in frustration, and that could have been it for the day. But I knew that the kart was off too, that gave him some encouragement to keep going and get ready for the next heat. I had left the 59 gear on the kart from Gateway thinking it would work better, but clearly it did not. So, back to the pits to get to work.
Having put the 57 gear back on the kart, a close second heat was expected. The order was reversed with Dylan on the pole, followed by Jason, Chad, and Brandon. The boys did not disappoint. They got off to a great start and stayed in that order for a few laps. The younger boys gave Brandon a harder time and it took him 3 or 4 laps for him to get around everyone. Once he did he took off but the Dylan, Jason and Chad stayed close together and in that order till the end.
The feature started with Brandon, Dylan, Chad, and Jason in the 4th position. Jason is quick on the start and beats Chad to the first corner. From then on Chad make move after move trying to get by Jason, while Brandon and Dylan pull away. If you watch Dylan you can really see where Jason’s line is different and is slowing him down. Despite this Chad is not able to get by and Jason finished in 3rd place.
We both had to work though our tiredness. I know I did not have much energy for working on the kart or taking pictures. Jason still ran around with the other boys, but did spend more time then usual under the awning resting. Yet once the day got started we did have a good time. He put in his fastest laps ever at 1:01. June 1st and 2nd will be racing with CES again at Blackhawk Farms and look forward to seeing our friends from Badger Karting Club again.
Thanks to GoPro our new sponsor, to Jason for playing with me this weekend and to my wife, who will be running a 10 mile race in Chicago on Saturday, GO KAREN GO.
This weekend was our First Championship Enduro Series (CES) race in St Louis at the Gateway Motorsports Park. CES is road racing on a full size race track. Gateway has an oval with banked turns and an infield section for other styles of racing such as karting and motorcycles. While Jason and other folks run standard sprint karts, others race specialized karts that are very long and low so that the driver lays down. Road races are also much longer the a sprint race. They are timed instead of a set number of laps. Jason’s race was 25 minutes, which is almost twice as long as his longest sprint race. This was going to be a interesting change of pace and should provide some valuable racing experience and yet another adventure.
Jason and I played hooky on Friday, skipping school and work for the 5 hour drive to St Louis. After a brief stop at the track to register and get a quick look at the track, we traveled on to St Louis to hang out with my Aunt Judy and Uncle Mark and their little dog Toby, and to prepare ourselves for the weekend of racing.
On Saturday, after a hearty breakfast we headed out and arrived with plenty of time to set up Wild Duck HQ in the pits and join the drivers meeting. Since Jason was new it was suggested that he go out with “break in” group to get a taste of the track. This is supposed to be a slower run for folks that are breaking in new motors. They ran a a couple of laps slower than usual, and then took off. Lesson learned, though we may do it again if offered.
Jason went out for five more 8 minute practice sessions before lunch. Before the 4th session, I changed out the the rear gear to a 59 to eek out a few more hundred rpm and mph. He went out and drove it off the track on the first lap, and had a fun ride on the trailer back to our pit. The last practice session did show some improvement with a top speed of 68 mph and a lap time in the 1:45 range.
Coming in to the pits at the end of the session, he had some trouble finding our spot and managed to burn out what was left of our aged clutch. After a few minutes of fretting and pondering, I started asking around for someone who might have a spare we could use. Thankfully, a neighboring driver had an extra clutch and it was even already set up with the right gear. I pulled the engine and after about 30 minutes of work, the kart was ready to go again.
The feature race was very short for Jason, he started the race without incident, but came in after a two laps. He complained that his head was hurting and he wanted to stop. I made sure this is what he really wanted to do and then helped him out of his kart. It turns out his new collar was not set up right and was pushing his helmet to the side and pressing on his head. I’m sure he was also hungry and physically tired from the day. It is amazingly difficult keeping a kid fed and “rested” on these very long days, mostly because there are so many other distractions for him. We packed up the truck and headed back to St Louis. I hoped that if we came back on Sunday, it would go better.
Sunday’s race day started again with a hearty breakfast from Mark and Judy. We unpacked just enough to practice and race. He went out for the first two of three practice sessions and sat out the third to conserve him and the kart. His times where showing marked improvement and the kart was handling great. We were awake, rested, fed, and ready to race. About 11 am, he was on the track for the race. When the green flag waved he was able to get by a few folks and was off and running. While his class’ competition was much faster (1:36 vs his 1:41) he was able to have a very exciting race with a member of a different class. They each passed each other several times each playing off each other’s weaknesses. Every lap they tried to find the faster line to get by the other.
On the last lap, as they ran through the infield turns, the other boy got by Jason. Jason then put his foot to the floor in the big curve riding close behind for a little draft to get by and beat him by a little over a kart length. If you listen carefully to the video above you can here another dad exclaim, “That was worth the price of admission, right there!”, and it was! It was really great to watch these boys learn the craft of racing right before our eyes. When he came off the track he was exhausted and said “I am alive, I am alive”. He had to dig deep to endure the 25 minute battle of wills, machines, and “men”.
This weekend we really enjoyed hanging out with our kart family. Karting is a great family sport. Every driver usually has a family member as part of their support team, even if it is just moral support. Drivers may battle hard on the track but when they come off they shake hands and help each other get ready for the next race. I often found Jason playing games or just hanging out with his competitors taking about the race. He loves to drive but also really enjoys making new friends at the track.
Thanks to Mark and Judy for putting us up and for their outstanding hospitality. To Mike and the Greenwood Restaurant for your support. Ben for the quick clutch help. All the folks at CES for making the weekend happen. And last but not least thanks to our moms. Kart moms are the best! Happy Mothers Day!