A Cold Mid-American Sprint Series Race 2

This weekend was the second race weekend of the Mid-American Sprint Series at Badger’s Briggs and Stratton Raceway Park.  We arrived Friday evening to do a simple camp setup.  It was too late in the day to get any practice in, never mind the fact that it was nearly freezing.

Every kart racer should have a notebook with details on kart setup and kart performance for each race and practice session run. Things like gearing, tire pressure, castor, and lap time and max rpm.  This makes it easy to get a kart ready for a race ahead of time and will give you more time for fine tuning during practice.  I have a notebook that has pretty good notes and I check it before every race.  However, I apparently don’t believe everything I read.  I didn’t follow my notes this weekend and the setup was not accurate.  This would have a detrimental effect on the weekend’s racing, with added cold, wind, and snow.

IMG_7880Our friend Robert came out on Saturday morning to help us with a bit of coaching.  His dad, Marty, also gave me some tuning advice.  The days temps were not expected to reach much above freezing, and there where light flurries before and during practice.  Jason took to the track but could not get the kart to turn to the right and reported general handling awfulness.  Robert and I struggled to find the cause and find the setting to get the kart to hook up on the track.  IMG_7990Jason and Robert did try to work on his racing line and set some goals for when the kart did start working, if it started working.  During qualifying, the right nerf bar broke, which would have put us out of the race.  But once again, Marty saved us and welded it up just in time for the pre-feature, where Jason took third.  We eventually found the problem with the kart; the rear wheel spacing was not set correctly.  The left wheel was set 1/2 inch too far out and the right wheel was 1/4 inch out and the castor was 0 instead of -2.  The settings were in my notebook (sigh).  This would cause the kart to not turn right and have generally poor handling.  Even then the kart was still a handful to get through corners due to the cold tires and track.  The Feature was actually very exciting with Jason putting on a great show with a Junior driver and a sportsman driver, all three fighting for the same position.  Each of them working together and against each other using bump drafting trying to get the advantage.  Eventually, Jason found it and made some great front straight passes to take a very well earned second place.

IMG_7871Jason turned 11 while he was on the track for practice on Sunday.  During the drivers meeting, all the drivers, crew and families sang “Happy Birthday” to him, and we served birthday cake later that day.  The racing brought more bump drafting and very fierce racing between the same three drivers.  Jason managed to make a really cool 2 kart pass in the front straight but was not able to make it stick in turn one.  He settled for third place all day.  Not the best ending to a birthday but he worked very hard and showed some determined spirit and skill.  I was impressed by the trust of his drafting partners in each other.

These drivers will meet again at the first race of the 206 Cup at Road America, next weekend.  We will be using Jason’s favorite sticky tires and the weather is expected to be much better.  This time I will make sure to check my notes carefully and check my work before packing up the trailer for the weekend.  Even so, there will be some guess work for the Animal kart which will be running a new configuration in an experimental class.

Thanks as always to my lovely wife Karen.  We could not do this without you and without your very generous permission. Thanks to Katie and my parents to taking the time from other things to hang out with us enjoying the racing and celebrating Jason’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Jason!! Once again a huge thanks the Robert and Marty Murray for helping us improve our skill set and getting us back on the track quickly.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors for their continuing support.
Bell HelmetsGoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS Sports, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

First Race Second Time Around, CES at Gateway

This weekend marks our return to Gateway Motorsport Sports Park and the Championship Enduro Series.  Gateway was the location of Jason’s very first Road Race in 2013.  Jason was 7 and running his LO206 kart in the Novice Jr class, and we had no idea what we were doing and it was awesome.

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Jason on the start/finish then and now
This time around Jason was racing with the Animal Junior class in two 15 minute races each day with some fast and talented drivers.  These races are crowd favorites with big classes and fast and close racing.  Jason was driving a his Animal kart, the motor is unrestricted, putting out about 12 HP and weighing about 300 lbs with the driver, compare that to the 5 HP and 265 lbs of his LO206 Kart of just a few years ago.

IMG_7774_cropSaturday’s race 1 was a bit of a surprise, Jason’s main competitor had softer tires(better speed in the corners) then we did.  This allowed him to pull away from Jason quickly from the start.  It was still a great race to with Jason and an Animal 360 kart trading places just about every lap.  Jason would catch and pass the 360 in the twisty infield and the 360 would return the favor on the long straight.  While all this was happening Jason and most of the Animal drivers were lapping the ~15 kart LO206 class.  Jason crossed the finish line in 9th over all and 2nd in his class only 6 seconds back from the class leader.

IMG_7791The second race was rained out by a fast moving storm, but not before a great attempt at getting everyone on the line and ready.  When the tornado siren rang out from the near by town we knew it was time to give up, put the karts to bed, and seek shelter.  After the storm passed we had a chance to hang out with our kart friend and family.  My aunt and uncle came to visit and watch racing and just like last time did not have a change to see Jason race, still good company.  Hopefully, we will be back here next year, and they can watch us play.

Watch for the yellow blur!

For Sunday’s race 1 I put on softer tires on Jason’s kart.  With a little gearing adjustment he had dropped 2 seconds a lap by the end of practice and was looking good for the race.  At the start he stuck behind his class mate for the opening laps and then passed and pulled away, never looking back(Video from classmate).  He was flying around the track lapping the slower traffic and his lap times only a second off from the Animal 360 front runners.  In the end he finished 5th over all and 1st in his class, beating second by 13 seconds.IMG_7806

The sky’s remained open and bright for race 2 on Sunday.  The down side of soft tires is they wear out faster.  To save these fast tires, for other racing, I needed to switch back to the hard tires.  At the start his class mate pulled away and Jason again traded spots every lap with an Animal 360 kart.  There was a chance that the class leaders tires would fall off dramatically and Jason would be able to catch him, but, that gamble did not pay off. Jason did finish 8th over all and 2nd in his class.  Unfortunately, the first place driver was disqualified handing Jason a technically earn first place.  No one likes to win this way, it sucks the fun out of things.  We have been DQd and it is no fun no matter who looses out.

CES rules allow the use any tire compound.  The softer the tire the better the kart will stick in the corners but the faster it will wear out.  Harder tires will last longer and let the kart slide more.  Event the construction of the tire side wall can make a difference, soft sidewall give more lateredsral grip then a stiff tire.  We normally run a Bridgestone YDS tire on our animal kart.  It’s a hard tire and allows the kart to drift through corners on both road and sprint tracks, however, you do need to keep the corner entry speeds down to prevent the kart from drifting off the track.  For the first race on Sunday we used a Vega Red which is a medium tire, turns out to have about the right grip for road racing but might wear out quicker.  We might try to use the reds again, but for the moment we are going to stick to the YDS or find some used Bridgestone YLC tires that are similar to the Vega Reds but are more readily available.

Our next stop is the Mid-American Sprint Series race number two at Badger Kart Club.  Jason knows Badger very well but some of the very fast locals are likely to attend.  It will also be Jason’s 11th Birthday.

IMG_20160507_123612In other news, the fiercely competitive, Katie won 5 of 8 blue ribbons and Grand Champion at a show this weekend.  She is preparing for a summer of competition with this summers horse friend Simba.

Yes, we are again racing on Mother’s Day.  We are very grateful that our mothers let us not just race but do it on this of all weekends.  Thanks to all of our Moms for taking care of us and letting us race this weekend.  Wish you where there.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors for their continuing support.
Bell HelmetsGoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS Sports, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

Regional Racing Begins

13029597_1059624450765256_7594425668638970111_oApril brought no showers for the the first race of the Mid-American Sprint Series at Mid-State Kart club.  We have only been to this track once, when we ran this series two years ago, and looked forward to racing on it again.  To get the required practice and tuning in we left for Springfield on Thursday afternoon right after school.  We were surprised to find the the track gates locked when we arrived.  Our trailer is small and does not really allow storage of the karts and sleeping at the same time, making boon-docking with karts difficult.  Thankfully, while we were struggling to figure out sleeping arrangements, the locals noticed us and let us in.  We picked a nice spot with good access to the track, and did a little unpacking to make room for a good night sleep.

Friday morning, we finished unpacking the karts and put the Animal on the track for a some “fun” practice and testing.  You never know what you might learn.  It seemed to perform much better than it did in the snow which allowed Jason toIMG_7662 really drive it fast.  After lunch we put the Animal away, since it would not be racing and got out the LO206 kart. Over the next 100 or so laps we started to figure out the setup sweet spots.  This track is unusual for the sportsman class because we gear for power to exit corners instead of gearing for top speed.  The green slide restricts the engine’s power enough getting through the corners quickly and hitting max rpm in the straight is impossible.  This means we had to really pay attention to lap times and gearing to find the right balance.  In the near future we are going to need this skill to set up the animal motor which does not have a rev limiter so we need to hunt for the max speed and power balance.

IMG_7703_cropThe kart count for the sportsman class was low, so Jason practiced and raced with the LO206 Junior class (older drivers and more horsepower).  Jason took to the track and demonstrated how far he as come since he was last at Mid-State; first by racing around and past Junior drivers and then by showing he could run with the top sportsman drivers with consistent low 37 second laps.  Jason’s fastest clean air lap was 37.174.  He even managed to have a lap 36.9 second lap by drafting(just like NASCAR) a Junior kart.  At the end of the weekend Jason finished first in his class and fourth over all in both the Saturday and Sunday races.

New Camera Location, helmet cams banned
We will be returning to the track of Jason’s first road race on May 7th and 8th (yes, Mother’s Day weekend) at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL near St Louis, MO with the Championship Enduro Series.  This first road race of the season and the first time racing Animal Junior kart on a road track.

IMG_7648_cropThanks to my Dad for hanging out with us this weekend.  Karen for putting up with our loud re-entry into the house after an exciting race weekend.

Thanks to Bell Helmets for joining the team and helping us with a new helmet.  We love the fit and form of the Star helmet.  Its a great helmet for karting with its heads up design and ample ventilation for those hot days at the track.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors for their continuing support.
Bell HelmetsGoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS Sports, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

Seasons First Race at Badger

IMG_20160403_174925The racing season has at long last started.  We haven’t been just sitting around just pinning for race day.  We have been very busy working, while pining for race day.  Last season the animal motor spun its bearings and died.  We had a new one built using some of the parts from the LO206 motor we blew up at the last years first race.  Jason has been practicing at K1 Speed and has now moved up from their small karts to the adult karts.  I have been inspecting and repairing lots of little things on both karts as well as adjusting the karts to accommodate Jason’s growth over the winter.  The LO206 kart remained mostly the same just a bigger seat, while the Animal kart kept is seat but got bigger tires, more weight, and a more powerful motor from Regan at 4 Cycle Central.

12916251_1051697234891311_4392144678230672148_oThe racing weekend started with some hockey practice, then Jason and I headed up to Badger Kart Club for their first race of the season.  As a bonus Karen and Katie would meet us at the track.  Karen was towing our old trailer to deliver to its new owner.  I was hauling the new to us toy hauler with a, also new to us, pickup.  It was a cold and SNOWY(!?!?) day.  I managed to get the 206 kart ready for Jason to get a few rounds of practice in but they were very short due to freezing hands.  The rest of the night was spend in the trailer hanging out and keeping warm.  The warmth lasted till about 8 pm when the trailers heater stopped working.  Thankfully, our friends the Murray’s live near by and brought us a space heater for the night.

Sunday’s race day started early with some last minute work(and snow) on the animal kart to get it road worthy.  IMG_7561Badger has moved to a single practice format and added laps to the races.  This is great for racing but makes fine tuning the setup a challenge.  During the LO206 pracatice the kart took some damage as he was collected some novice drivers crashing in the hair pin, but was repaired with lots of orange Duck Tape just like NASCAR.  The Animal, on the other hand, was having handling issues and the break caliper too tight.  Most of my time was spent working on itto get the brake to stop rubbing and then repairing a broken brake line.  It was finally fixed by adding some washer as emergency shims.

IMG_7452The LO206 ran very well and Jason brought home second all day long with some excellent driving.  He led the feature for most of the race but the local favorite was able to catch him.  There was a puckering 3 wide pass in the hair pin involving Jason, the leader and lapped traffic, all made it out clean.  The kart just needs some fine tuning and seat time to run out front again.  The animal kart is another story.  The kart was reconfigure with more weight to run the Jr class and was out of balance and over weight by 22 pounds.  Fixing the weight made the kart more out of balance and hard to turn right.  The breaks are better but need some TLC to be perfect.  The feature race was exciting from the stands and there was smoke coming from brakes, later it was discovered that number plate was rubbing the break disk and smoking.  It will be a challenge this week to get kart balanced correctly in just a few hours of work each night.   Despite the wacky kart Jason met some luck and finished second due to two other drivers falling out due to their own mechanical issues.

Jason’s next race will be this weekend at the Mid-State Kart Club in Springfield, IL for the Mid-American Sprint Series’ first race of the season. The races at Badger last weekend were rained out, but we did get some practice in on Saturday and the Animal kart is starting to shape up.  Some more seat time and tuning should get it right.

Thanks Marty Murray for preventing our untimely frozen demise and doing technical inspection for both CES and Badger.  Karen and Katie it great to have you around cheering us on and lending a hand.  Reagan of 4 Cycle Central saw the problem with the sticky brakes and built a great Animal for the season.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors for their continuing support.
Bell HelmentsGoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS Sports, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

2016 Schedule Announcement

2016 Schedule

Wild Duck Racing will once again be traveling the Midwest with 3 regional series and additional local races as time permits.  Jason will be returning to the Championship Endro Series, this year in the Animal Jr class.  He will also join the Briggs 206 Cup and the Mid-American Sprint Series in the LO206 Sportsman class.  

The races below will be added to the schedule as time permits.

Full Hero

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors for their continuing support.
GoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

2015 Season Recap

IMG_6768It has been far too long since our last update, and now the season is over  Since we last sent an update Jason wrapped up the season traveling to old and new tracks.  At USA International Raceway, after locking up the LO206 sportsman championship in the 206 Cup he moved up to the Junior LO206 class and took home second place in his first race(video) in this class.  He also brought home his first Animal Sportsman race(video) win in a very tight race, swapped the lead 4 or 5 times, until he took the win on the last corner.  In early October, Jason traveled to Delmar, Iowa for the 61 Kartway Challenge(video), a 30 lap endurance race.  He spent the morning learning a new track, and that same evening, as the sun set during the race, took home second place just half a second back from the local favorite.

It has been quite a season of racing, it started off a little rough as we brought two karts up to speed.  Despite, early motor and wheel issues, Jason and the karts were very fast out of the gate, picking up an early 206 Cup win.  As the season progressed Jason received some coaching and I got the karts really dialed in, leading to a podium almost every race. At a race at Concept Haulers Jason dominated the track(Heat 1) to the point of breaking_MG_7430 the track record for the year by nearly a second. Our lowest point was at MKA with the 206 Cup where Jason was driving very well but the karts where bedeviled by broken chains and the animal motor problems.  The high point was at USA International Raceway with this Animal win and his first LO206 Junior podium.

Here are some of the honors from Jason’s 2015 season

  • 206 Cup/CES Challenge All Class Champion
  • Briggs and Stratton 206 Cup LO206 Sportsman Champion
  • Championship Enduro Series Novice Jr Champion
  • Briggs and Stratton 206 Cup Animal Sportsman 2nd Place
  • Mid-American Sprint Series LO206 Sportsman 3rd Place
  • 61 Challenge LO206 Sportsman 30 Lap Race 2nd Place

Some statistics.  Because a good race team is about numbers.

  • 2 karts
  • 3 racing series, 3 local track series
  • 20 weekends of racing, 28 racing days, 4 full practice days, 39 races
  • 40 gallons of racing methanol
  • 11 sets of tires
  • 3 motors
  • 11 tracks
  • 1 driver and 1 mechanic
  • Miles and miles of track time and truck time.
  • Fun Fact: Jason has driven approximately 400 miles on BlackHawk Farms Raceway since 2013.

In other news, it seems the TV show that Jason was interviewed for has been put on the shelf.  Hopefully,Adventure Aaron and the producers will find a way to get it out there.

On a more positive note Jason was recently mentioned in a press release from Coyote Motorsports, the manufacturer of his chassis.  The press release highlighted his Championship in the LO206 Cup and featured his first Junior LO206 race and subsequent 2nd place finish.

Lastly, our friend Christian Lantry has taken some end of season pictures of Jason, kart, and trophies. Christian is a professional photographer with deep experience in the professional sports, entertainment, and advertising industries._MG_7331

Looking forward to next year,  Jason is hoping to start racing in the Senior League at K1 Speed now that he is tall enough.  Over the winter, time will be spent in the garage tearing down the karts for inspection and rebuilding to prepare them for racing in Junior classes.

Thanks to our 2015 Sponsors for their continuing support.
GoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

206 Cup/CES Challenge Champion

Thanks to Dave Larsen and the Championship Enduro Series team, and Greg Jasperson, Steven Vermeer and the Briggs 206 Cup Team.  Without these guys and their supporting groups this would not have been possible.  Thanks to Regan Verhing at 4 Cycle Central for all his support and giving us a motor that runs fast.

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Thanks to our 2015 Sponsors for their continuing support.
GoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross, Christian Lantry Photographer, Jennings Chevrolet, Worx Industrial Solutions

206 Cup Race, Just want to Race

IMG_5710Its has been a pretty good summer of racing so far.  Though, I would have like to see more entries in Jason’s classes.  All three where very light in Jason’s classes.  The best turn out was a club race at Concept Haulers a few weeks ago with 12 drivers in his class, Jason really liked that and wanted to go back just for the on track traffic.  This last 206 Cup race at Concept Haulers was disappointing with only one other driver in each class.  When we plan our season work to keeping our commitments and then having nearly a no-show at Jason’s home track is really frustrating.  We were expecting to have a great time racing with the 206 Cup in both Animal and LO206 classes with good drivers near by.  To make it worse, the LO206 Senior and and Junior classes both had good if not great turnout and were well worth watching.   Jason really wants to race and hone his skills, just putting in laps by himself is not enough.

Enough with the rant, on with the race report:

Jason’s LO206 kart was very well dialed and his only competition was a very green driver in his 7th and 8th race ever.  Jason pulled away at the start and ended all races many seconds ahead.  He did set some very good lap times.

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We thought we had the Animal kart had tuned up, but we unfortunately missed something and it was about a second slower than the other driver.  We never really quite figured it out, though I do have some theories and will be looking to try them out at US Air for the last race of the series.IMG_5695

Jason’s next race will be at South Haven, Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway on September 12 and 13th.  This is the last race of the Championship Enduro Series this season and the 2014 Awards Banquet, were Jason will receive his 2014 Championship Trophy.

Thanks Karen looking forward to the Walworth County Fair and good luck Katie in the show, Mike and his son for coming out to visit, we will get you guys in a kart this summer.

Thanks to our 2015 Sponsors for their continuing support.
GoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross.

Club Night Race at Concept Haulers

In preparation for the third installment of the Briggs and Stratton LO206 Cup, Jason and I visited Concept Haulers Motor Speedway for a some testing and a practice race with the local club.  This track was the first one he put his very own kart on, and he ran his first season of LO206 Sportsman there.  His first race this season was here and he did okay, taking second, but it was not spectacular, fast but not real fast.  After working hard this season he has been reaching for the “real fast”  and the potential for Jason to do well was there.  The hope was that we would be able to at least keep up with the locals and give them a challenge.

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Getting Air while tuning the animal kart

We arrived for an early in the day open practice and tuned up his animal kart until we ran out of gas.  Once official race practice started, he was already warmed up and ready, so,  I put him in the back of the field, first to see what he would do and second to give him some practice passing.   His instructions were to be patient and smart and drive clean.  For the first two practice sessions he was very clean and passed the entire field both sessions.  In the second lap of the third practice, he exited from turn 1 a little hot and spun off the track in turn 2, then rest of practice watching the other drivers.  So much for being patient.

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The field this week consisted of 12 karts.  We have not seen a field this size since his kid kart days.  We knew most of the drivers and understood what they would do, but there were also a couple of unknowns.  Jason started the first heat in the middle of the pack in 8th, and the second in 5th(bumped up to 3rd, due to new drive moving to the back).  Being in the middle give him a better chance of finishing high in the heats and then starting near the front for the feature which makes winning easier with fewer karts to battle with in front of him.

Let’s watch, now, and see how he did.

Race Heat 1, starting 8th
 

Race Heat 2, starting 3rd
 

Feature Race, starting on the pole
I am hoping that you watched the video.  If you look back at the first race of the season he is actually a completely different driver.  At the IMG_5591beginning of the season he was letting off on the gas into corners and over breaking, now he stays on the gas through most corners, using the breaks to adjust speed and and direction to navigate the corner.  Not only did Jason win the heats 1 and 2, and the feature (by 17 seconds) but he also set the new 2015 track record with a 58.967, 1.271 seconds faster than the previous record and only 1.1 seconds away from the over all record.  We will see if it still stands at the end of the season.

Jason’s next race is August 21-22 at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway.  This will be the third race weekend of the Briggs and Stratton 206 Cup.

IMG_5523_cropThanks to both my parents and my wife for letting me muck with cars, motorcycles, and motors.  Without the skills I learned there I would not be able to keep Jason’s kart right.  Thanks to my Dad for hanging out with us this last weekend.  Your company was much appreciated.

Thanks to our 2015 Sponsors for their continuing support.
GoPro, Slick Products, Shorai, AmsoilEVS, Stardust Memorials, The Greenwood Restaurant, C&M Auto Service, Atomic Decals, Danrr Autobody, T.J. Ross.