Cup Karts at G&J Kartway

Our return to sprint kart racing has not been without it’s drama. The weekend of racing at G&J Kartway was no exception.   G&J Kartway is another of the vintage era tracks, like East Lancing Kart Track. It was built in the mid-50’s and is the birthplace of the World Karting Association one of the national kart sanctioning bodies. This is also a track that we have never visited previously and will test us.

We have been struggling with ourselves as well as the kart. Both Jason and I have been discouraged with the lack of speed and have been nipping at each other while trying to work together. We both need to remember why we are doing this.  It’s not for plastic trophies but for each other and the fun of it.

There was hope we could get little practice in on Thursday night but we killed the spare motor during the 4th of july parade and the primary was sick and in Milwaukee.  We did, however, have a plan and rented a motor from Tony Power to get us through the weekend.  While this is not our preferred approach to racing but for the moment it seems the best option while we decide what to do about a new motor. 

Jason practiced all day Friday.  Once he figured out the track basics we began tuning the kart.  At the end of the day we had the kart pretty close and with some new tires on it would be ready for racing on Saturday.

Saturdays practice started later than usual becuase the racing would be under the lights at night.  It also started very badly with Jason going off in the first round then again putting it in to the bags in the second round. Finally, he got some laps in the third round, this really delayed us from adjusting the kart for the day.  The practice tires seemed to have given up earlier then we expected.  We put on new tires for qualifying but the left rear was flat and he qualified very poorly.  The day continued to be  extremely frustrating.   In heat one he was not able to make up any spots and finished 7th,  in heat two he picked up a single spot finishing 6th.   At last it was dark and track was was lit up.  The final frustration of the day, the clear visor was left at home and he had to race with a smoke visor.   According to Jason, it was not too bad but after the race he said drove the track by feel and memory.  The things you don’t want to know after a race.  Despite the days troubles Jason finished 5th in the feature. 

Sunday we worked to regain our focus.  At this point most of the work need to be done on the track.  We did, however,  make a gear change and Jason qualified 4th.  In heat 1 finished 4th right with the pack.  In heat two the Jason continued to run with the pack and finished 5th.   We thought he could find a bit more speed and changed the gear back for the feature.  A bad move, Jason was not able to keep up with the pack but still finished 5th.

Despite all the weekends struggle, Jason declared that he wanted to go racing as we pulled out.  I guess we had a pretty good time. 

The next race will be Championship Enduro Series Blackhawk Farms Race II.  This is the begging of a three week stint of racing.  We will be flipping from road racing to sprint racing and back.  The days between weekends are going to be just as packed as the weekends as the karts are reset for each track. 

Thanks to Chris Cirillo from Tony Power for the use of the motor and advice over the weekend, if really made a difference.

Thanks to our 2018 Partners for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross Art, Amsoil, Christian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service, EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier Tires, InTech Trailers, Jegs Performance, NVUS Images, OGIO Bags, Slick Products, Shorai Power, Winning Synthetics, Stardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

Animal Nationals at Grattan Raceway Park

The second three day road racing weekend of our season was held at Grattan Raceway Park.  This is probably one of the most difficult tracks with several off camber corners and blind features.  Of course being July it was also extremely hot.  Though this time we have the trailer AC working again thanks to a borrowed home generator.  

I got a chance to drive the track on Saturday when it rained and the track needed some car and trucks to dry it off.  It was pretty funny having Jason critique my racing line while I was really trying to hit the puddles to air them out.  I really have to give these guys credit, running bumper to bumper at 70-90 miles an hour over hills and though steep corners.  There is a huge amount of trust between race car and kart drivers knowing that the guy in front and the guy behind is not going to take you out. 

For the sprint junior class Jason ran both races in his sprint kart in an effort to find parity with the other drivers.  On Saturday, I put on the black plate(Dart Rules) but the other kart was super fast and Jason had no chance to catch him.  After discussing the issue with the other Dad I took the plate off to run CES rules.  Unfortunately, the other kart had technical issues and Jason ran away from the field.  This is probably the most frustrating part of the weekend.   I would like to see Jason and the other driver race and not blow each other out of the water.  It has put a real sour taste in my mouth for the class.  

Since this is a CES race weekend we put the road kart out with the Animal 370 karts.  Jason was looking forward to racing at Grattan in his road kart with this group.  Friday practice went pretty well Jason was definitely middle of the pack and we made some progress in getting the kart tuned up.  As Saturday practice wound down the motor started burping, during race 1 it burped some more and died after a few laps.  We though it was a loose plug wire, but during race 2 it completely fell over during first corner.  For Sunday, I put a spare motor on and a new set of tires too.  However, during the first race the seat struts shifted and Jason pull off a few laps in.  After working all afternoon between racing getting the seat sorted he was finally able to race.  He did alright, after a great start and only fell back a few spots finishing in the middle of the pack.  

While we had fun it was not the weekend we had been expecting, we would have liked to been racing more and wrenching less.   The weekend was also the 4 Cycle Central Animal Nationals and the racing as always was great,  Patrick Olsen put on a stellar performance winning 3 out the 4 races.  Jason was the only one in his class but still had a great time racing when he could.  He he put in the effort in setting up his kart and driving very hard.

Thanks Regan at 4 Cycle Central, Jack at Reall Racing for their setup and motor assistance. 

The next race is a return to sprint racing at G&J Kartway in Camden Ohio.  It is the last race of the Cup Karts of North America central series. 

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross ArtAmsoilChristian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service,  EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, NVUS ImagesOGIO BagsSlick Products, Shorai Power, Winning SyntheticsStardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

East Lansing Kart Track

The Champions Cup of North America brought national level racing back to East Lansing Kart Track June 29-July 1.  ELKT is family run since the 60s and last hosted a traveling series a little over a decade ago.  The track is full of hair pins of various dimensions and just under a half mile.  In the historic karts with hard skinny tires this would have been an extremely challenging track.  In today’s modern karts with grippy tires and flexible chassis the challenge will be to maintain your speed through each turn to maximize your exits and be prepared to capitalize on others mistakes. 

We arrived late Thursday night and promptly stayed up because the of the time change and practice started at 11 am Friday morning.  It was extremely hot all weekend and our trailers generator was not working preventing us from using the AC unit.  Stay hydrated was a great challenge all weekend.  We struggled all day Friday during practice to get speed from the kart.   It was consistently off the pace by 2 seconds.   This frustration continued into Saturday morning the speed was still not there.  There were a number of factors contributing to this.  The body on the kart was preventing the chassis from flexing and not allowing the kart to twist through the many hair pin turns.  We removed the side panels and picked up a half second.  The motor was missing at the end of the long runs.  We usually attribute this to carburetor issues but could not find anything and even swapped it out.  Eventually, we ended up renting a Tony Power motor for the weekend and picked up another half to three quarters of second.    While all these mechanical issues were taking place Jason was also learning a new track it took him a bit but eventually he found the smoothness required to turn some very fast laps which would potentially put us in the mix for second place in Saturdays racing. 

We found some of the speed Saturday for qualifying but so did everyone else.  Jason qualified 3rd and finished 3rd in the first heat, he had a slow start and had to pass a slower kart with a very defensive driver and was not able to make ground on second.  The second heat he finished 4th due to making a bump draft error and having to give up a spot.  The 12 lap feature started badly with Jason dropping back at the start and having to make up spots.  He manged to pass for 3rd quickly and after a brief battle for the position he pulled away finished third for the day. 

Sunday, we were better prepared, over night we swapped the steering column and put on new tires.  These changes quickly showed their merit as Jason picked up a couple of tenths and was definitely in the mix with a possibly of running closer to the front.  The only thing that was holding him back was the starts.  After the first heat, we rebuilt the clutch with new springs hoping they would do the trick but the next heat showed we had the wrong springs.  There was not enough time to change them out for the feature so we just had to live with the results and hope for the best.   The feature started and Jason moved to the back but put continuous pressure on the 43 who was doing the same to the 25.  The three karts ran nose to tail for the entirety of the 12 lap race.  As the trio entered the final hair pin of the last lap 43 made a desperate move for a pass on the inside and pushed 25 wide allowing Jason and the 43 to get by.  The move, however, was reviewed after the race and 43 was put to the back giving Jason 2nd and 25 3rd.

Remembering Joe Pribyl this weekend

Next up will be one favorite weekends at Grattan Raceway.  Jason will spent it either racing or fishing at the infield pond.  He has plans to fish for bass and is looking forward to racing with the Animals Sr class again.  We will also post some video of Jason in the Glenview 4th of July parade. 

Thanks Jim Liperi of Coyote Motorsports, Chris Cirillio of Tony Power for the motor advice and assistance.  Holtz Racing for the company and donuts.

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross ArtAmsoilChristian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service,  EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, NVUS ImagesOGIO BagsSlick Products, Shorai Power, Winning SyntheticsStardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

I love racing on Father’s day: Mid-Ohio

I want to say Happy Fathers day to all the dads out there taking their kinds to all their activities.  There is a special place for those that are able to involve their child in racing.  Your giving them something special, not everyone has the opportunity to strap on a motor and see how fast they can go.  They are learning the discipline to find the edge of speed and the patience to hold it.  Enjoy your time with them.  

Our racing was inspired by stories of my dad helping my grandfather fixing cars and of his cars as he became an adult.  He showed me the beauty of these machines that propelled us down this road.  We shared with him our love of racing, Thanks Dad.

The latest race was at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 15-16.  This is the first of two shared events between Championship Enduro Series and AKRA/Dart Kart Club.  Mid-Ohio is a favorite due to its hills and blind corners that combine to make it one to the fastest and most challenging tracks in both series. 

The Dart Kart Club requires junior animal drivers to run with the black plate on the carburetor.  The keeps them from ‘going too fast’.  Early in Friday’s practice, Jason reported that the karts were both burping at the end of straights.  At first we thought the motors where having issues but after talking things over with a number of people, we figured out that the plate was causing the carburetor to overload the motor with fuel.  Now that we knew what the problem was, we did not have time to figure out the proper setup and had to take a few guesses.  Some of them seem to work a bit better but still not quite right.  Eventually, we asked a former junior driver for his suggestions and he gave us his carburetor parts.  I put them in and the burping was gone and the kart was faster.  This may have been the same issue we were battling last year. 

Saturday was pretty good, aside from losing a wheel on the road kart.  Jason helped scale the kart and missed the cotter pin holding the lug on and the wheel, which quickly came loose once he was on the track.  The racing was great.  Jason and Keith, a senior super heavy driver had a great race.  They swapped places almost every lap, sometime more than once.  Jason could catch Keith in the corners but Keith would pull away on the straights.  Keith’s timing was just a bit better and he was looking for to beat Jason when his frame broke two laps from then end and he slowed.  Sunday things got a little rough when the clutch came off the road kart in the first practice and the belt broke in the second practice, but we got things sorted for the races.  Jason finished first in all four of the weekends races.  

This weekend was also the AKRA Awards presentation(2017 points).  Jason managed to win the Sprint Junior Championship by a mere 38 points.  He had Matthew had a great season with Jason winning the first few races and then Matthew dominating the last few.  The season came down to the last race where Jason needed to finish fourth or better.  After the awards the team was interviewed by Mid-Life Karting Crisis on Facebook live.

 

Next up is East Lancing Kart Track with the Cup Karts of North America, this will be the first time we have visited this track, though we have though about going for many years.  In the mean time we are going to the Indy Race at Road America this next weekend.

Thanks to all the Folks that support us and the 4 Cycle Central Animal Pen at Mid-Ohio: Michelle, Jen, Jenna, Lisa.  The food was great and the company was better.   Thanks to Jack for the scale work and Reagan(4 Cycle Central) for continued kart help.  Thanks to Jordan Johnson for the carb parts.  Of course Happy Fathers day to all our racing dads. 

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross ArtAmsoilChristian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service,  EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, NVUS ImagesOGIO BagsSlick Products, Shorai Power, Winning SyntheticsStardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

Racing in the Woods: Blackhawk Farms Raceway

I really can’t express how much we love to race at Blackhawk Farms Raceway.  It’s 7 turn 1.9 mile track is nestled 216 wooded acres and is as fun to drive(according to Jason) as it is beautiful.  This weekend we also brought some family to the track with us.  My Aunt her partner and my Mom.  Having folks in the pits with us makes it just that much more fun.  Not only do you have someone to talk to during the race sometime lunch suddenly appears when you need it most.  Thanks Mom. 

Jason was very fast in the sprint kart, but has few to race with.  On both days he ran about as fast as that kart would go, with 1:29 second laps, a mere 2 seconds slower then the fastest animal road karts.  On Sunday there were a couple of other drivers in his class but he left the grid and was gone.  Both races he handily took the race and class win gaping the field by nearly 30 seconds.

Saturday’s practice in the road kart started off pretty well.  We were starting to get it dialed in when a side cover gasket let go on the motor.  Thankfully, the worst that happened was some oil was sprayed around the kart, to 4 Cycle Central it goes for minor repairs.  I grabbed the spare engine and had it back together just in time for the next round of practice.  The spare motor has a bit more horse power and I was saving it for Mid-Ohio.  With one round of practice left before racing we were still tinkering to get the handling right.  It was a bear to drive and Jason had to keep it finessing the wheel to keep it on track and was losing about a second to the much of the field.

After wresting setup all Saturday and most of Sunday to improve handling, we finally noticed that the tires had been used up and that was the cause of most of the issues.  Of course, this was just before Sundays second race.  Jason found a set of mounted tires we borrow.  The only issue was they wheels where wider in the rear which again changed setup, it was all just a guess.  This of course resulted in the last race being tough and Jason came off physically and mentally sore from struggling with the kart.  As we packed up the karts he noticed one of the borrowed tires had gone flat as some point during the race and the some the floor panel bolts had ground off.  He can really drive a bad kart fast, yikes!  He started Saturdays race in 20th and finished in 7th and 12th, Sunday he started in 19th and finished 10th and 12th.   Really, not a bad weekends result. 

The next race will be Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  This track supports both Indy and NASCAR races.  It is loaded with rolling hills and technical turns were you need to plan for the next 3 corners.  We hope to repeat last years results but expect to learn something no matter what happens.  That weekend is also the Dart Kart Club banquet where Jason will receive his 2017 Championship accolades.  

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross ArtAmsoilChristian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service,  EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, NVUS ImagesOGIO BagsSlick Products, Shorai Power, Winning SyntheticsStardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

MIS Is Awesome except for the rain.

That storm behind came to the track

This weekend at Michigan International Speedway, hosted by the Michigan Kart Club, Dart Kart Club and AKRA, was a heaps of fun.  Not only did Jason drive on a premier NASCAR track, we used the same garages that NASCAR teams do.  Our struggles with the road kart did continue.  The frame cracked and needed to be welded(Thanks Jack) and the breaks just aren’t right yet.  So, work is continuing there,  the axle will get rebuilt before the next race.  I plan on removing the front breaks and convert to dual rear breaks.  That change should also allow better freedom of adjustment in the front and eventually give us a better handling kart.  The sprint kart was also fast and had no issues.  

There was some drama on the track as well but due to weather.  All four of the his races were shorted due rain.  The rain delayed start on Saturday shortening all races and his last race was red flagged due to a downpour(see video below).  Both Sunday races where red flagged due to a wet track.  As the rain started he kept his cool and adjusted and signaled to the corner workers that it had become unsafe.  In the end he swept all four races this weekend. 

Repaired motor mount with extra bracing.

Kart racing, like any sport, at an high level, or even at a mid-level like us, is hard.  I don’t care what sport your in you have dedication and put the work in to be even moderately successful.   I would rate us as a B- level team in mid-tier series.  Jason and is karts are going to finish at or near the front of mid-pack on any given weekend.  We can build and drive a fast race kart but its not going to be the fastest.  We are still learning and working to make that happen.

When we started, we did the research in to pick a motor package that would work for us and the time and effort to learn about karts.  Jason was, and still is, almost always willing to hit the track for practice and racing.  Even now, we just finished a 5 weekend stint of racing and between every weekend Jason and I spend time in the driveway wrenching to keep the karts in racing shape.  At out level of racing, we can’t expect to bring ‘last weeks kart’ to the track and do well.  There are guys that can do that but they have decades years of experience or are paying someone else to do it.  That is not why we race.

NASCAR Garage and Trophies

Here is the thing, we are still having fun.  We don’t always win, but that is not why we do this.  Our goals are to have fun and if we can make the kart faster then it was last time out.  If it happens that we have our act together enough to win a race or two even better.  We are still having a blast learning and working together. 

There is no racing for us this holiday weekend but lots of racing on TV: Indy, NASCAR, and F1.  The next race at Blackhawk Farms the first weekend of June for the second meeting of the Championship Enduro Series.  Jason will be racing with the Animal 370 class again and is looking forward for another opportunity to learn.  We are going to skip the Cup Karts race at Mid-State Kart Club, however, more sprint racing will come soon. 

Thanks to Jack and Reagan(4 Cycle Central) for your support this weekend.   Definitely would not be able to field the karts we do, with out your advice and assistance.   Thanks to Michigan Kart Club for putting this race on,  it takes a lot of work from many people to pull off an event like this at this track.  Thanks to Michigan International Speedway and NASCAR for letting us use this great facility. 

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross ArtAmsoilChristian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service,  EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, OGIO BagsSlick Products, Shorai Power, Winning SyntheticsStardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

Back to the Beginning at Gateway: Mothers Day!!

The most important thing in this post is this “Happy Mothers Day” to our moms.  Jason and I have not been with our moms for the last few years because of this race weekend We feel bad and miss our moms, but understand that we love you more then we love racing.  Thank you for letting us do this. 

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!

It should also be noted that Jason’s birthday is on the 15th, he still can’t drive a car but drives faster then I do. 

The Last race weekend we were the best prepared we had ever been.  This weekend we where the worst.  Worse then our first road race ever which was also at Gateway Motorsports Park.  The sprint kart was just about ready, just change the motor, clutch, axle, wheels, and mount new tries.  The road kart was another matter it also needed a motor, clutch, new tires, plus generally inspected and cleaned up.  It also need to weight #370.  This meant we needed to add ~#50 of lead weight to the seat.  We made as much progress as we could in the short time working into the dark in the driveway every night.  We still needed to get motors and tires at the track on Friday.  The Hoosier R60 tires for both karts, were attained quickly from TJ of Winning Synthetics, with lots of time to mount them Friday evening.  Our 4 Cycle Central motors would not arrive until 11:30 PM Friday, by that time I was to tired to do any more work. 

Saturday started very early with preparing and mounting the motors.  There was not time for breakfast or coffee, just get busy.  We managed to get the road kart ready for practice at 9 but the breaks where still weak, so adjustment was still needed there.  The sprint kart came off the track from practice early with the engine burping, which led to carburetor adjustment and finally a good cleaning.  The rest of the morning was spent making adjustment and chasing gremlins until the noon lunch break at which point we were finally ready for racing and the karts felt good.   It was a long hard mornings slag to get things to the point where the karts could be raced and even then they need adjustment to make them fast. 

The sprint kart racing was not very exciting as the class is just him and the other classes in the race were are also small.  However, he did use the time on track wisely by exploring the track surface and testing new racing lines.  Its cool how he can still run at speed but still put the kart almost anywhere on the track he wanted too.  I forget how much seat time he has has and how much racing wisdom he has collected over the years.

The road racing was great!  Jason was introducing Animal 370 Junior class this weekend. It is the same as the Senior class but scored separately and he will always start behind them.   He was able to race with the guys he has been looking up to for the last 7 years.  During all the races, Jason found his spot mid-pack as he raced hard and learned a lot.  He finished 6th and 5th on Saturday.  On Sunday the track got slick and we had trouble adjusting so he finished 7th and 8th.  He received lots of compliments and raced like he belong with them.

Picture from Nvus Images of the racing this weekend. 

This weekend we had some great company with my Uncle Mark joining us and finally getting to see a race.  Over the last 7 years of visiting the track he has never watch Jason race due to scheduling, technical issues, or tornado. Thanks to Jack, Keith and Reagan at 4 cycle Central for all the help this weekend, your advice was invaluable. 

The next race is with Dark Kart Club at Michigan International Speedway, we missed this race last year due to injury but look forward to getting back to do another Indy and NASCAR track.   Just need to remove some weight and put the restrictor plates back on the carburetors.  

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Atomic Decals, Alex Ross ArtAmsoilChristian Lantry Photographer, C&M Auto Service,  EVS Sports, The Greenwood Restaurant, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, OGIO BagsSlick Products, Shorai Power, Winning SyntheticsStardust Memorials, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

Cup Karts of North America at Concept Haulers

The first regional race, with the Cup Karts of North America, was a blast.  I had forgotten how much work sprint racing was.  Both Jason and I are tired and sore form the weekends workout.  I am in disbelief that we used to manage to race two sprint karts.  Really, the best part of the weekend was re-connecting with all our sprint race friends again.  It was great to hang out at the track and swap stories of the day and of years past. 

The Cup Karts of North America Champion Cup Series, formerly 206 Cup, is a pair of regional kart racing series that focuses on racing the Briggs and Stratton LO206 motor.  The motors are sealed at the factory and the parity is very high.  The biggest differences comes from driver skill and the crews pre-race preparation.  The series attracts some of the best teams in the country.  Based on our previous outings this summer we high mid-level expectations, somewhere in the top 10.  

The prior week was spent tearing down the kart and rebuilding it.   The axle was changed out for a softer one.  The kart was scaled and aligned to the best of our ability.  We arrived on Thursday night and prepped for Friday practice and testing.  Based on last years times we had a pretty high mark to hit of just under 54 seconds.  By the end of Friday we managed a only just a few 53 second laps.  Some of this was due the usual driver and set up issues but we also had carburetor issues but Rob from Kart City Performance helped us resolve that very quickly.  He ended up assisting many folks get their carbs sorted out by the time the weekend was out. 

Saturday morning things fell apart and we were back to mid 54s again.  The track was hot and sticky which cause the kart to grip and hop causing slow corner exits.  I also missed the gear changes, the hot dry weather caused the motor to drop horse power.   Jim Lapiri of Coyote Motorsports gave us lots of great tuning advice and we manged to tune the kart back down to 53s by the end of the feature.  Jason, despite our troubles, managed 7th feature against a field of 16 excellent drivers. 

Based on Saturdays lap times and results, Sunday’s target lap time was mid 53 seconds/lap to get to the front and that would be a very tall order for the team.   For practice the kart was good and he was able to get the lap times setup right off the bat, but still short of the lead, but a top 5 finish was possible.  With some more help from with chassis tuning from Coyote Motorsports, Jason picked up spots all day long until he was starting the feature in 6th place.  The 12 lap feature started very well he held his spot and was battling for 5th.  As the race ticked the 7th lap in the tires started to get really sticky and the kart stopped sliding and started hopping again.   Jason started taking corners on two wheels but still managed to hold his spot.  During the last lap it became to much too defend and keep the karts speed and he dropped to 8th as two karts passed him in the monza.   It was pretty amazing that he kept the kart where he did, it looked awful to drive.  We have some plans to fix the late race issues net time around.

The next race is the first road race of the season at Gateway Motorsports park near St Louis. MO.  The next week will be spent changing setup on the sprint kart and prepping the road kart for our first outing in Animal 370 Junior.  He will be starting behind the Animal 370 senior class and learning to race with the drivers he has been looking up to for years.

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support:
Alex Ross Art, GoPro, Hoosier TiresInTech TrailersJegs Performance, Slick Products, Shorai Power, AmsoilWinning SyntheticsEVS Sports, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Xona Software, Wicked Audio

CHMS Race 4 and more practice

Once again the trailer was packed for a second dry run at Concept Haulers as we joined them for their Race 4.  The previous week the kart was reset for hard tires and notes were made with planned settings for the medium tires.  This time we planned to stay over night and practice on Sunday. 

The Racing was just about as expected, we are still a middle of the pack kart, but at least now we are in the front of the middle.   For heat 1 Jason started in 7th, and managed to only move up one spot to 6th, after getting a bad start.   Jason started on the pole and was quickly passed by the fast group but was able to hold of the middle pack for 4th.  Based on the other drivers we expected either a 4th or 5th place finish in the feature, 3rd was possible but it was not in his control someone ahead needed to make a mistake.  Knowing the other drivers we knew this was possible.  Jason started the feature in 5th and he and 3rd made plans to push each other to pick up spots at the start.  Unfortunately 4th(our friend #43) broke his throttle just as the green fell and Jason’s start was once again out of sorts.  He lost several spots as they all careened into turn one.  As the 12 laps progressed he and the #13 kart manged to work together to pickup spots until he was 4th.   Halfway through the lead kart spun in the hair pin and Jason managed to pickup 3rd, fate rolled the dice in his favor.   He just need to fend off #13 and the once leader for 6 more laps.  With some skillful driving he both managed to pick up speed and run a defensive line to keep his podium spot until the checkered even putting a gap on 4th and 5th place.

Overnight the kart was reset for medium compound tires.  Tires compounds come in different levels of softness.   Very soft tires are very sticky but wear out quickly but allow for faster laps,  hard tires last for ever by slide easily requiring slower speeds.  The traveling 4 cycle series use a medium compound, a compromise for wear between speed.  Each tire compound requires the chassis to be set up differently to maximize lap times.  Soft tires the kart is tuned to have less grip to keep the kart smooth.  When using harder tires the kart needs as much grip as possible.  A suite of changes required from wheel spacing, caster adjustments, tire pressure, and other tunables.  As the day progressed we made slight adjustments to searching a setup that freed the kart up for smooth driving and low lap times.  In the end we did pick up a second due to tuning and some better driving as well.  We where testing using older tires from last year, new tires will be a little faster but will require further tuning.

Next weekend is the first race of the Cup Kart of North America some of the mid-west best 206 drivers will be there.  The reports are that the junior class will be the biggest ever.  Very much looking forward to seeing were Jason and I stack up, if our current testing holds I would be happy to be near the front of the middle after a year away from sprint racing and improve on that as the season progresses. 

Thanks to our 2018 Sponsors for their continuing support,
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New Season, New Skills, New Friends

We missed the first Concept Haulers race because of previous commitments and  second race was rained(snowed) out.  After a year since the last sprint race, Wild Duck Racing has returned the sprint track with Concept Haulers race #3.  We are just about the best prepared we have ever been with two practice sessions and proper time spent reviewing notes and doing kart setup.  The only thing holding us back is the lost time of being away.

Being a one day race we traveled light with just the kart, tools, and a few other necessities packed into the truck much like our early days in kid karts, although we did forget cleaners and lubricants.  The last sprint race Jason ran was in April of 2017 at 61 Kart-away and before that he was a sportsman. Both of us needed to start over.   He is driving a new kart, a 2015 Coyote Wide Track, and it is still very much a mystery.  Now we are and need to study and pay attention to every little thing. 

Jason started heat 1 mid pack and finished there he passed the slower karts and the faster karts passed him.  In heat 2 he started in the back and picked his way to  mid-pack.  The feature race was pretty good race for 4-5-6 and some good practice with pushing and drafting and he finished 5th of 8.  He was 3 second off from the leaders pace which was blazing compared to everyone else.   Just being on the track again was enough, we now know where we stand now and what its going to take to be competitive again. 

Instead of heading home after racing got a hotel room and hung out with some kart friends and relaxed.  Sunday,  we were back at the track for some practice.   Spent all afternoon testing, tuning, and practicing.  By the end of the day, Jason and the kart were moving a bit faster, but, there is still lots of work to do.   We are very likely to do the race and practice again next weekend.