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.
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