This is one of our favorite weekends of the summer. The SCCA June Sprints takes place at Road America and there is a Road America Kart Club race on Saturday night. The June Sprints is the Sports Car Club of America’s major race in the Midwest where amateur, semi-pro, and professional car racers compete in a verity of classes from near show room stock cars to purpose built race cars. The best thing about this weekend is I get hang out with my Dad and we have Jason as our guide in the pits, where he talks his way into cars.
The weather on Saturday was a bit goofy – cloudy with alternating heavy fog and rain for most of the day. The three of us did manage to stay dry while we wandered around the pits and talked with drivers and crew. Jason, as always, was quite the charmer, talking his way in to a spec Mazda Miata, to the point of being strapped in with the 5 point harness. We also met some former CES racers, who were now racing a open wheel SCCA Formula car. While we were chatting with drivers and crew, Jason was always sure to bring up the kart races and ask them to come out and watch and see what kart racing is all about. This is great way for him to learn to network and market himself.
Practice for the evening was expected to start around 4:30, but instead, it rained for a bit and soaked the track. Once the rain stopped, we made the best of it by running practice laps on the wet track for about 45 minutes to help get it dry. Jason did a great job of keeping the kart under control and moving fast. Some of the older drivers did not demonstrate the same level of discipline. Once the track was dry there was one single practice session and then they were racing. Jason had a great start and was up to third, from 5th, by the first corner. By corner 4 he was in second and battling his friend Payton for first. With one lap to go his kart seat came loose and he was forced to retire before the finish. I was able to quickly fix the problem but we were all a little aggravated by yet another mechanical problem.
Heat 1, note the wet hot grid.
After round one was complete it rained again, and again, Jason drove for 30-40 minutes to dry the track. He was having a blast exploring the changing track conditions as the track went from wet to dry, slick to sort of grippy. Once the track dried there was another quick practice and the second round of heats. Jason started in 3rd, but, at the start was forced to last when the kart in front of him had mechanical problems. Just up the hill, most of the field in front of him tangled and he dodged the melee, moving up into second. This time he was battling his friend Logan for first. It was a very close race but in the end there was not enough time to figure out how to get his kart out front, and he finished second again. Unfortunately, a few classes later, it rained again and the evening was called off. No features were run. It would have been great to see a race without incident between this set of drivers.
Heat 2, camera filled and stopped recording.
Sunday was spent watching the races on the big track. One of our friends has a Spec Racer Ford and had a great day of racing, he finished 3rd. Like us and every racer, he got bit by a change in the weather between practice and racing. His tires inflated too much for the now higher track temperature and prevented from driving all out due to lack of grip. In our wandering of the pits, we even met up with Adventure Aaron, while he was working on a June Sprints episode for MAVtv.
This coming weekend we put all the practice and tuning from the last 2 months to work. It is the first race of the Briggs LO206 Cup at Badger Kart Club, where we will be fielding both the LO206 and the Animal karts. We will arrive on Friday for practice and more tuning and then two days of racing. The level of competition will be much higher with more experienced and better funded teams. This weekend’s racing is brought to you by T.J. Ross and Family, thank you for your support.
After a few weeks of rest the next race will be at Grattan Raceway. This is a premier race track in Belding, MI, A drivers favorite.
I need to thank my Dad without whom none of this will be possible. It was he who gave me my interest in motors and supported me as I tinkered with them when younger. Thank you, Karen. Some day when NASCAR Driver Jason buys you a house, you will thank me.
It was a difficult weekend for us at USA International Raceway for the Mid-American Sprint Series third weekend of racing. We had high expectations but things did not come together for us. After a lot of work we did get the kart where Jason could run with the leaders, as long as he drove clean. Saturday we dialed in the kart and he took second place in the feature. Sunday started with a rain delay, and then he misjudged a corner in the feature and drove off and covered the kart in mud. All weekend long we wrestled with each other and ourselves. I think the drive and sleeping in the tent in the rain wore on both of us and prevented us from working together. We are going to have to do something different for the next time we visit this track.
In other “racing” news Katie had a great weekend at Timmermann’s Ranch Fun Show. She finished first in the horsemanship class and second in flags, and is getting her and this summer’s horse ready to compete.
This weekend we are going to return to our original kart track, Road America, to watch the SCCA June Sprints and join the Road America Kart Club for a night race. This is a fun weekend for us where we don’t have any expectations. It is an opportunity to simply have fun racing and try some different adjustments to see what effect they have on lap times.
Thanks Peschang Racing, Sorry about the dirty tires. Congratulations to Katie on your trophy and ribbons this weekend. Karen, thank you for putting Katie on a horse.
This weekend started with a very busy Friday after working all week on kart prep. Jason went to school and then to a hot and humid football combine. From there, we both drove to Atomic Decals to get the stickers for the Animal kart, and then we were finally off to Blackhawk Farms for the first Championship Enduro Series of the year. This was also the Animal Nationals and the inaugural race of the 206/CES Challenge. Our expectations were high for a weekend of great racing.
Unfortunately, Saturday was a cold and wet day of rain for most of the day. While we waited, I was able to put Atomic Decals on the kart to give it its final touches. Just as the races where canceled, the sky cleared and the Saturday night party started. 4 Cycle Central put a great bash and someone managed to get a Red Bull party truck to come out so we could watch the Chicago Blackhawks finish off the Anaheim Ducks in game 7.
Sunday, on the other hand, was beautiful for racing with clear skies, cool air, and a sun warmed track. Practice for everyone was a little touch and go with couple of red flags for accidents, but everyone was uninjured and the karts where repairable. This interfered with our own testing, since we have never run this kart and motor here, and we never got a really hot lap in. In order to get the kart set up I had to review all of my notes from years past and go with my gut. The hope was to get Jason fast enough to race with some of the Sr Super heavies again. He ran a great race and kept it clean but we were just off the mark. Still, he brought home first place for his class and a trophy for the 4 Cycle Central Animal Nationals.
While waiting for the his race to start he got to spend some time with the crew of MavTV‘s Adventure Aaron. With some luck we hope to be part of the show which should air sometime in August. Aaron and his team have been traveling the states this year visiting various race tracks and racing events.
As is tradition after a CES race we went to the Monday Night Car Show at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie. Folks enjoyed the new kart and it’s always fun to talk to people who used or still race. Their faces light up with the memories.
Jason also ran the last race of the K1 Speed Junior League in Buffalo Grove. This has been a real challenge for him because getting fast karts is not always possible. His first practice of the night was great – setting a very fast time and making some great passes. After that, it fell apart. He got a very slow kart for qualifying (7th) and a mediocre kart for the race, finishing 8th. That said, he still finished in 3rd for the season. The kids put on a great show, and congratulations to all of them.
The next race will be this weekend at USAir Motorsports Raceway for races 5 and 6 of the Mid-American Sprint Series. This is one of Jason’s favorite tracks. One of my favorite features is the downhill straight into a left hand turn that the drivers take without any loss of speed and no fear.
Since our last outdoor race, Jason has been practicing hard at Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park(AKA Badger) in Dousman, Wisconsin. He is getting ready for the LO206 Cup and the most recent race weekend with the Mid-American Sprint Series. This will be the 6th and 7th days of racing since we started in at the end of March. That does not include the weeknight races at K1 Speed. It is a hectic pace we have set for ourselves this summer. The early season is taking its toll and we need to be sure that we continue to pace ourselves and not get too tired and burnt out.
We are getting so close to having the LO206 kart and Jason put together to be really competitive. Jason and I both need more coaching, though I think I need it more than he does. He has been driving the kart just about as fast as it will go with my inexperienced hands. Every lap he turns is more consistent and faster. We are starting to reach some of the faster lap times that it will take to win races. Most of the changes this weekend were very subtle gear changes to adjust for temperature changes. Other than that it was check nuts and bolts and keep it fueled. I am going to have to start branching out into more chassis adjustments to refine the setup for maximum speed.
Jason had a very good weekend. On Saturday he qualified third. He started 3rd but dropped to 5th with a really bad start, finishing 4th in the pre-feature. In the feature he started 4th but picked up a spot and finished 3rd for the day. Sunday’s racing was a little more exciting when he qualified 2nd. He took advantage of his start position and managed to take the lead on the start. He held it together for the whole race and took the checker with his first win in this series. For the feature, he started on the pole and kept the lead until the hairpin where he made a small mistake and dropped to second. He stayed ahead of the rest of the field and finished second.
Sunday Pre-Feature Win
We are taking the week off from racing to watch racing – the 99th annual running of the Indy 500!!! We watched the Indy Lights race on Friday, hung out at the track for the driver’s meeting, and then watched the spectacle on Sunday.
The next kart race will be at Blackhawk Farms for the first race weekend of the Championship Enduro Series on May 30th and 31st. Two days of road racing. If your cable provider has it, you should be able to watch some of the event with Adventure Aaron on MavTV later this summer. This race also counts toward the LO206 CUP/CES Challenge where the top points from the combined series will get a trophy. After that is the last K1 Speed race of this season. Jason is currently in 3rd place of this competitive series.
Thanks to Jason and congratulations on the your 10th Birthday, keep up the good work. Thanks to Karen for giving me a great son to hang out with.
I was finally able to take Jason to a K1 Speed race this season and I almost regret it. It was one of the roughest races I have ever seen. Some of the better drivers where missing and there was only enough drivers for one large group. Jason was caught in the pack for both qualifying and the race and really had to fight to make any head way. In qualifying he was never able to get free enough to get a clean fast lap. His lack of space put him in 5th place for the feature start. Quickly he moved up to 4th and was making effort to move into third when he hit the wall and lost many places as the caution dropped. In the end he finished in 7th. The good news is, Jason is now in third place for the season an with one race to go and only two points back, finishing second is very possible.
Thanks to our Moms for taking care of myself and my wife long enough for us to find our own way in the world. You have laid the foundation for our lives. Thanks for Karen for taking such good care of our children and giving them the confidence and freedom to be their own unique people.
I am exhausted after this weekend. We have been pushing hard in the last few weeks, racing every weekend and it wears on the body. Jason is hanging in there but ready for a break.
Last Sunday we drove up to Badger Kart Club for their first race of the season with the plan of running both karts and to trying to redeem myself from the last trip. My Dad came along to help out and cheer for Jason. He managed to get some fun pictures of Jason and I working together. It is always nice to have more family hang out with us the company is good and the extra hands always help.
There has been a real change in Jason in the last few weeks. He as started to take care of himself at the track, making sure he eats, drinks, and is ready for sessions, with a more conscious attitude about driving and what his goals are. He is still having fun but is now also taking enjoyment in the hard work that is starting to make him more successful.
Badger now only has one practice session before racing, which makes tuning for the day a bit tricky. After practice, I made some very quick guesses and adjustments to the karts to get them both ready for qualifying. Jason did very well in both qualifying sessions, getting second in the LO206 and 3rd in the Animal. Our friend Riley (#91) took the pole in both. She has really gotten her karts sorted out and was running very fast. Camden (#57) was just behind Jason and ready for a chase. From this point on until the end of the Animal pre-feature Jason was hanging out track-side wearing most of his gear, often still in his helmet, and watching races and chatting with his race buddies.
The LO206 Pre-Feature was very exciting with Riley, Jason, and Camden staying out in front and racing hard. Jason dropped back at first but caught up to the front two as they fought for first. Jason managed to catch and pass Camden coming out the hairpin and beating him to the top of the boot. Jason raced to the finish with a great 2nd place run. The only down side was, the front body mounts failed and needed to be repaired. I started working on that and put together a repair plan, and then went to get the Animal ready for the pre-feature. The Animal kart is not quite tuned right and I am still struggling to get the gearing and handling right. Jason started in third and stayed there, dropping back from the leaders but not losing ground from the rest of the pack behind him. The kart is still pushing in the front and needs some more fine tuning. After the race I finished repairs on the 206 kart and made a gear change to both karts, hoping for a little more speed.
The LO206 Feature started with me running to get tools to tighten the motor mount then more tools to tighten the motor mount nut, so many things to check. With that taken care of they were off for a spectacular race between 4 drivers – 3 sportsman and a senior, each of the them swapping places repeatedly until in the closing laps the senior pulled out front and the Camden, Riley and Jason battled for 1,2, and 3. Then Camden got in front and pulled away, leaving Riley in second and Jason in 3rd. In the last lap Jason managed to pull out of the tree turn on the inside of Riley and pulled alongside. It was a drag race to the finish! Jason just beat Riley by just 1.5 hundredths of a second. Wow! What a great race. The Animal race did not go as well. He started in third and fell back quickly. Will, #43, was pressing Jason for a pass. At about 4 laps into the race, out of the tree turn, Jason’s motor died and he pulled into the pits. The spark plug wire had come loose. There is still so much work to do on that kart just to keep it running. Though he took this DNF with more grace as he understands that these things happen.
It would have been nice to get both karts to the finish line, but we could be hit by random problems anytime. Right now, the kart problems are a bit self induced along with random failures. The driving is getting better and better. Once I get these karts roaring along he should be able to fly.
The next race is at K1 Speed race 4 on the 5th, after that it will be MASS Race 2 at Badger May 16th and 17th. In the meantime we will be taking some much needed time off and testing with the Animal kart.
Welcome to EVS as our newest sponsor. They had a neck collar that actually worked for Jason and keeps him safe.
This weekend was the inaugural race of the Mid-American Sprint Series at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway. This is a track that Jason knows well. He raced here the entire 2013 season, finished second in his class and still comes to practice and tune. We only had one kart to manage this week, the LO206, since MASS does not have Animal classes. At some point we are going to need to bring the Animal here to test and get us and the kart ready for the 206 Cup Series
Jason was very eager to see how he stacked up against the other drivers now that he has some more skills in his gloves and the confidence to go with them. I managed to get us there just as the first practice of the day started, so my morning was a little crazier then usual as I filled out registration forms, unpacked, prepped, and pre-teched the kart, had to borrow some gas too(Thanks Jeff). After that the day was actually fairly relaxing, there were an unusual 5 rounds of practice in the morning, usually there are 3 maybe 4. There were only 2 other LO206 sportsman karts, which was a little disappointing, Ashton, last years champion, who is super fast and clean, and Payton in his first sportsman race moving up from kid karts.
Jason has finally settled into qualifying races. He no longer complains they are “not racing” for those three laps. This time he was able to qualify for the second position just a second behind Ashton, a far cry from last year where he was seconds behind the field. Payton qualified one second behind Jason in third place. The pre-feature was exciting with Jason just hanging onto the back of Ashton for all 8 laps. He was not quite able to get close enough to make any real attempts at passing but it was still impressive that he was able to stay right there with him, even setting the fastest lap of the race.
Jason’s great pre-feature put in the second spot for the feature. By the start of the race the temperature had risen from the 50s and 60s into the low 70s. The warmer temperatures meant slightly lower horsepower. Low enough that Jason was no longer able to keep up with Ashton and was barely able to stay ahead of Payton. Though Payton gave a really great effort, Jason stayed just ahead of him for 14 long laps. Had I known that this could happen, I would have changed the gearing to bring the power back and let him keep up. Another lesson learned and added to the notebook.
Sunday was not anywhere near as relaxed as Saturday. There had been predictions of rain all week and it was expected to arrive with vigor in the afternoon. The race marshal decided that there would be one practice and then racing straight through to the morning to get all the racing in before the afternoon rain. Jason went out for practice and got loose in turn two of the first lap and ended up stuck in the grass. The track crew was not allowed to help him get back on the track so he had to sit there and stew. Thankfully, he was able to go out and practice with the Yamaha rookies for some fast laps and was able to collect enough data to let me know that I need to drop the rear gear back down. This would let him run faster in the now cooler weather.
He qualified 2nd and ran the whole pre-feature right behind Ashton. He continued making aggressive attempts at passing, often pulling alongside, but not in exactly the right place or time to make it stick. He finished the race 3 seconds back in the end, but still close. A really great race. After the checked flag, as he came around turn 3, the left rear wheel rolled away from the kart and through the grass. He and his kart slid to a stop in the grassy infield, and he hopped out and chased down his loose wheel. His kart was picked up by the track crew and he got a ride in the golf kart with this wheel in his lap. Somehow, that wheel and the right front had worked their way loose and had wallowed out the hole. Eventually the nuts came off and then the wheel. This necessitated a mad scramble to find spare wheels with tires and get them checked out by tech since we can’t change tires during the weekend without approval. Thankfully, the Peschangs had a spare set that were ready to go and had some lug nuts as well. On top of the errant wheels, an aluminum body mount strut was broken. Some quick but frustrating work with a drill and that was was fixed too, well in time for the feature race. Regrettably, we don’t have video of the wheel chase, that would have made some great GoPro footage.
Sunday’s feature was very similar to Saturday’s, Jason and the kart were in tune and running fast keeping, up with with the #7 of Ashton for about 7 laps. Then Jason started to slow down and drop back while still staying far ahead of Payton. In the end he finished in second place, a few seconds back. We were all happy with his performance and glad to put a much better end on this weekend than last weekend.
This weekend we had three very specific goals. The first is to get both karts setup for race speed. We have not run either of them in this configuration this year, the white kart with the LO206 motor and the orange kart with our freshly rebuilt 4 Cycle Central Animal. The second was to get Jason some coaching to break some old habits and bring some new one to find those those elusive seconds. At lastly, simply see if we were capable of managing two classes. If things go really well, Jason should win some races this weekend.
The first challenge of running two karts, is getting them there, so, I rented a trailer to transport the second kart and a bit of equipment to the track. The first trailer had a tail light out and it took some extra time to figure that out and get a new one hooked up. We still were able to have a relaxing breakfast at The Greenwood Restaurant before hitting the road. A few hours later we were unpacking karts and getting them ready for a day of practice. We met up a veteran Badger driver Robert Murray and his father for some assistance for the day. Robert was going to help Jason find a faster line around the track and give him some general driving tips. Robert is a former champion at Badger and knows his way around this and other local tracks. He is also now an Eagle Scout, Congratulations Robert!
Once the karts were ready, Jason took a few warm up laps in the orange Animal kart and found that it really pushed, the front was sliding instead of turning. While I fixed the pushing by moving the front wheels our by 1/4 inch, Jason and Robert discussed how he could go faster if he turned deeper(later) into the corner and let the kart slid to the outside more in the first corner. The gearing seemed about right, he was hitting the right RPM at the end of the straight for maximum speed. When Jason the the track again working with Robert he got faster and faster with each lap.
We then began working on the LO206, this is a well known kart for us and we can tune up quickly since we have run it this way for 2 years. Robert and Jason began working their way round the track giving each corner adjustments that where really shaving time and altering his style. The kart its self only needed some minor gear changes to keep up with his new found speed. The only thing that went wrong the 206 kart was a lost bolt on that held a side panned bracket on and it suddenly “would not turn”, I found a new bolt and he was back out. It is amazing how he can feel the changes in the kart to that degree. He knows when something is not right, can’t always tell me why but has the clues to find the problem.
While practicing with the animal kart the clutch came loose and the exhaust bolts started pulling out of the head, that put the Animal on hold for the day. Jason was also starting to lose focus, so, he took a quick trip around the old practice track in the 206, which was a bumpy kidney buster, we packed up the trailer for the night. We put the Animal in the truck and took it to Regan to fix the head bolts and get clutch parts. Jason’s repaired primary LO206 motor was also ready for pick up as well. After returning from 4 Cycle Central, we grilled meatballs for dinner, did a bit of kart work(LO206 motor swap, fix animal clutch), hung out with friends, and got a good nights sleep in the tent.
First lap of first Sunday practice and he is pushed into the bags
Sunday was race day and the test of Saturday’s work. Jason now needed to put all the things he learned on Saturday to the test and I needed to keep track of two karts and one boy. The LO206 class qualified first, Jason ran his three hot laps, and then he got the Animal for its turn. As we waited for Animal qualifying to start it was announced that the LO206 class would have to re-qualify because the timing computer crashed, so right after Animal qualifying he and another driver quickly walk over the their LO206 kart, hopped in, and drove off. The rest of the racing day was a bit like that out of one and into the other. Jason qualified 3rd in LO206 and 1st in his Animal besting his lap time from last year by nearly 2 second in both classes.
Jason’s LO206 pre-feature was probably the best race I watched all day and one of his best ever. He qualified in third putting him at the very back of the pack. The Senior Class was also in this race starting in front of the Sportsman. He made a quick shift to the outside to get the fast line at the green but was a little late and far back to gain position. In the hair pin of the first lap Jason and Camden #57 both passed Riley #91, putting Jason in second, 4th over all. By the hair pin of lap 2 they both had caught up to a slower LO206 Senior and Jason was putting pressure on #57. They both passed the Senior in the boot and as they came out of the tree turn Jason made a good attempt at a pass on #57 but it didn’t stick. For the next four laps Jason just dogged #57 looking for the mistake or way around. In lap 7, Jason made the pass out of the tree turn as #57 bobbled, just as Jason perfected his timing through corner. They flew passed the white flag into turn one where #57 tired to pass on the out side but Jason held his foot down into and through the sweeper and headed down into the hair pin in first place. He started to pull away and took the checker with a very loud yell and fist pumps. A really great race, no matter who won, both drivers really worked hard and challenged each other.
The Animal race was not quite as exciting but still very good, there were four drivers and Jason was on the pole. At the green flag Jason took the lead and never looked back. With each lap Jason pulled farther ahead and in end he held the lead with out a challenge. At this point the Animal kart was really dialed in and ready for more racing.
Jason started the LO206 feature race on the pole but gave up the lead at the start as #57 got the start right. He stayed on #57 for 4 laps until they caught up to a senior driver in the sweeper. #57 kept looking behind him to see where Jason was as they drove through the infield turns. As they came up to the tree turn he looked back again and lost concentration and drove wide touching the grass and dirt loosing momentum. Jason took that moment to drive through and start to work on the senior driver. By the time they hit the boot again he was first in his class and second over all. With two laps to go Jason was making distance and as he entered the boot, the motor suddenly sounded “faster”, the drive chain had fallen off forcing him to pull to the infield and retire from the race. If you remember the new LO206 motor, I had put it on the night before in the dark and put the wrong washer on the clutch. I found the mistake before the feature and fixed it, but did not tighten the motor mount down enough. This allowed the chain to pull motor back and loosening the chain until it fell off. Drat.
Even worse, the Animal feature never started for us. The motor stalled out during the parade lap and I was not able to get it to keep running to start the race and that was that. It was a really disappointing way to end what ultimately was a great weekend. However, we were able to get him and the karts in a state where he can go fast and win races. All of the problems we had we fixed before the race or will be fixable in time for the next weekend. Once he got over the shock of not finishing both feature he was proud of the work he did and was looking forward to the next race. I think we are in pretty good shape to race two classes as long and we stay focused and keep our wits about us. Though, I have to admit, it was a lot of hard work for both of us.
We owe a heap of thanks to Regan at 4 Cycle Central getting the motors in shape for the season and help us out this weekend. Marty and Robert Murray both of which provided in valuable assistance in keeping the karts on the track and getting Jason driving tuned up. To Karen for not being to ticked off about renting a trailer, it seemed to work and will keep up on budget and out of trouble.
It was the first Tuesday night of the month and that meant a K1 Speed Jr race. This is the 3rd race of a 5 race series at K1 Speed, and Jason was ready and psyched up for the event. He got even more amp’ed when he found two face up “lucky” pennies on the way in. Kids are funny.
The night’s race brought 14 drivers and with a few of the 13 karts down, they split the racers into two groups of 7. The upside to this is that there are fewer karts on the track making it easier to get a clean lap in. The down side is it will be a longer evening and scoring two races as one is a little funny.
Jason qualified in spectacular fashion, even though he started in the middle of the field. He was able to get some competitive laps in early, moving as high as second, but then down a bit in subsequent laps. At about lap 6, the drivers immediately in front of Jason got tangled up. He managed to drive by and into clean track and press on the speed. In lap nine he set a blazing 17.722 second lap. This is a personal best, fastest lap of the night and the 2nd fastest time this month (yeah, 7 days in). This put him on the pole for the feature. In addition to putting in fast laps he was making great moves on the other drivers, including some well-timed passes in the closing laps.
The karts are assigned by the order they come in from the last race and then by the position you start in. This gives a “random” draw for what kart you get. Some are better then others depending on a number of factors including battery charge. Jason got a kart that was low on power on the start and he quickly dropped to 2nd and the leader pulled away. He was still turning good lap times and was running a very tight line making passing difficult. In the 12th lap he entered the second corner a bit wide giving room for the drivers in 3rd and 4th to push by, knocking him off the podium. He finished 4th two laps later and was bummed, despite his excellent drive.
He had no reason to be disappointed with the finish. He did a great job of running the kart he had, and kept all his laps at or under 18.5 seconds. On top of that, he is now in second place, 8 points back from the lead, with third place 4 points behind him. It is possible for Jason to move into first but it is a pretty tall order. He will need to beat the #1 driver in two races or two positions and there are two races left.
The next outdoor race has been changed from our previously announced schedule. We are going to skip the CHMS Race 2. We determined that it is too much work without enough value. Instead we are going head to Badger Kart Club on Saturday for some practice, tuning, and and coaching, followed by camping at the track and racing on Sunday. This will also be the first race with two karts and two classes and I am hoping neither us or the equipment breaks under the strain.
Thanks to Katie for putting up with yet another race at K1 speed. We are working on your races. And to Karen who got him there and kept him sane between races.
The night before a race is always a little hectic. Being the first race in almost 6 months I was a bit out of sorts trying to remember exactly what needed to be packed. There is a lot of work to finish up, inspect, and pack. I did make an attempt to put stickers on the kart but the cleaner froze as soon as I sprayed it on making a huge mess of the body. I have talked about a rhythm to a race day and Jason and I fell back into it pretty quickly, enjoying having our time working on a project together. Some families play baseball, garden, or build furniture in the garage, We Race Go Karts.
We were the first to arrive and register for the season. Despite the freezing cold and wind, we focused unpacking and began to get the last minute setup and inspection done. After getting the kart inspected, Jason hit the track for the first round of practice. Unfortunately, it did not last very long. Due to a oversight of the crew chief, there was no oil in the motor. After most of a lap it made a bad noise and seized. Jason and his kart had to take the tractor ride into the scale house. Luckily, we still had his old kid kart motor. With some help from Jason we got the motor installed in about 10 minutes and he was back on the track for practice rounds 2 and 3. His driving was pretty good and he seemed to be one of the faster ones out there but there were many new faces that my have been just getting warmed up. We really did not have much time to spend on tuning the new kart since we were concentrating on getting the kart around the track as much as possible to get a feel for it.
Not only did we battle the busted motor and the cold, we have been having issues with the 360 collar not quite fitting right. It has been causing Jason’s helmet to rise up and interfere with his vision and put pressure on his neck and shoulders. This is the same collar that caused him to pull off in the first CES race 2 years ago. We were both pretty stressed out by this and it almost ruined the day, to the point where we considered going home after the drivers meeting. We tried on a number of collars in the shop and none made any improvement. We finally tried on Ryan’s collar which seemed to fit much better. We made some adjustments to the current collar to give it a slightly better fit, and added some caramel corn and soda. Jason soon recovered and was ready to go for the race day.
Jason started Heat 1, by random draw, in the 7th position. This should give him a chance to see what the others could do and give him a chance to practice passing. The start, in classic junior style, did not go well. The novices were not well versed on start procedures and half of them did not take the cut off on the parade lap and took a full rap around. It was another 2 parade laps before they were even close to being sorted out. By then Jason was moved to 4th and the green flag was thrown. Jason made a good entry into turn one moving up to third. He spent the rest of the heat attempting to get around #42 Ryan who had fallen back to 2nd to from the pole. He was just not getting the timing right. In the 6th and final lap Jason made a charge at Ryan just before the hairpin. He made it by, but it opened an opportunity for #10 Daniel to slip by them both. As they approached the finish line It was a drag race as Jason and Daniel made the final charge to the finish. Jason came up short by just inches and had to settle for 4th.
As usual heat 2 started the reverse of heat 1 with Jason on the pole. and #56 Chad is his was also in a bright orange kart. What you can’t see in the video are the drivers behind Jason and Chad who out again and where not able to maintain a rolling grid forcing the group to take second parade lap. This time on the around they were close enough and the flagman just let them go. Chad managed to beat Jason into the first corner and moved into first. For the first two laps Jason was dogged by Daniel until Daniel locked up his rear and spun off just before the hairpin. From then on it was Chad pulling away from Jason and Jason pulling away from #3 Kaleb and the remaining field until the end, with Jason finishing 2nd. At the scale house, they all got a much needed talking to by the race director about parade lap procedures, including Jason who did not slow down enough when directed.
Between the last heat and feature I did some minor tuning and changed the rear gear to see if we could get a little more speed at the end of the straights. Jason started in second and Chad was on the pole. This time the parade lap was clean and they were off with out a hitch, Chad in first, Jason in second, and Ryan in third. Again they all pulled away from each otherm stringing out the whole field. In lap 9, Jason was getting ready to set up to pass and lap Yosel in the #15 as they entered the monza turn, and Yosel spun. Jason had to make a quick dodge to the inside as Yosel slowly rolled over the outer lip and down the back of the turn. The rest of the race was uneventful and Jason took his mighty fist pumps and checkered flag for 2nd place.
Despite breaking some equipment it was a good day of racing. We were able to successfully field a new – to us – and untested kart . We managed to find a solution to a lingering problem with his collar. We still have some work to do to find those remaining seconds to get him up with the leaders but we at least have some plans and starting places to work with now.
The next race is going to be at K1 Speed on Tuesday with the Jr League. The next track race weekend will be a doozy for us. We are planning to go to Race 2 at Concept Haulers on Saturday and then race both the LO206 class and the Animal class at Badger on Sunday. This will be a real test of whether or not we can put two classes together for the LO206 cup.
Thanks Jason for letting me do this with him and learn to do these cool things. To Karen for not being too upset at the loss of the motor and even a little bit understanding. To the crew at Concept Hauler Motor Speedway for putting on a great first race of the season.