Our latest adventure brought us to back to Concept Haulers Motor Speedway for Race 11, a heat race at night, Jason’s favorite. We had been working all week to get the kart ready. Much needed to be done to switch the kart from road race mode back to sprint race mode. Change the clutch, gears, carb, and tires then clean and inspect everything. We also planned to make some adjustment to the steering geometry, adjust the clutch, and some carburetor adjustments. Normally, would not make all these changes at once but it has been almost 6 week since Jason’s last sprint race and we have not have any time for testing. So, we were taking a chance.
Since this was a night race we could get to the track in the morning and get some extra practice and testing in. We needed to make sure that we didn’t make the kart worse and have time to fix any problems. After a few warm up laps, Jason said the kart was working well. So he ran a few more sessions to settle in and work on his time. His lap times were about the same as the last race 1:04-1:08. Reports and past experience said the other drivers were going to be faster than that. However, Jason is usually faster when he has someone to hunt down. So, there may be more in the boy and kart yet.
After testing the rest of the racers started to arrive. It was shaping up to be a good night of racing with 6 kids in the class. It seemed that fastest driver in our class Brandon was moving up to seniors. This left Dylan, Tommy, Kyle, Logan, Chad, and Jason. When they last raced Jason was about 3rd fastest. Dylan was already fast, Chad and Tommy were fast and had been practicing and expected to be closer to 60 second laps. So, our expectations were muted due to our lack real race condition testing and the other drivers past record. That said, Jason’s race practice times were very good, in fact better then the mornings testing but still only 1:03-04 range. His is going need to be closer to a minute to get a top 3 finish.
Jason started in the 6th and last position for the first heat. The line up was Kyle, Dylan, Tommy, Logan, Chad and Jason. His sprints starts have been pretty weak he been having a hard time finding the right technique to jump at the flag and pick up a spot. In this case he was not able to get by anyone. Dylan nailed the start and beat Kyle to turn one and everyone else bunched up behind Kyle. Chad got round Tommy and Logan in short order in the first lap but got hung up behind Kyle. Jason and Tommy swapped places and back again over the next two laps. Jason passed Tommy again on the way to turn 4 and Logan spun in the hairpin putting Jason in 4th place. Jason starts to pick up the lost distance on Kyle, with two laps to go it is going tough to catch him. In the last lap Jason is starting to close on Kyle on the exit of the monza, when Tommy made a run and pulls back before the kink before the hairpin, at the hairpin tried to cut the inside and drives right into Jason’s side. Thankfully, Jason is able to recover quickly and does not lose a place an finishes fourth.
Heat 2 to starts the reverse of the first, so Jason is on the poll. Since I did not get the GoPro started I don’t have details. Jason had a good start but some managed to get into 4th and then worked his way back up to 2nd. I do remember it was pretty exciting and really wanted to watch the video. There were lots of highs and lows as he worked his way back up the field.
With his excellent finish in the second heat Jason started in the 3rd spot. Dylan is on the pole, Chad in the #2 spot, followed by Jason, Kyle, Logan, and Tommy. It was now dark and the temperature had dropped. These were ideal conditions for our motor setup, rich with cool dense air. I also upped the tire pressure a bit to try to get some more grip. When the flag dropped Dylan was off and speeding away, followed by Chad and then Jason hot into the first corner. Chad has been running some fast laps all day long. I was concerned that Jason was not going to be able to keep up. But to everyone’s surprise, Jason was hot on Chad’s heels and showing signs that he could even pass him. They ran that way for the next 9 laps while Jason worked to keep up and find away around. At the very end of the 11 lap Jason gets the last corner just right and pulls up on the inside of Chad and get the lead at the first corner. He holds on for the rest of the lap and earns 2nd place with the second fastest lap of the night and his fastest lap ever: 1:01.73!!!
Jason’s next race is this weekend at Blackhawk Farms. There have been lots of folks registered and we have high expectations now that we have figured out the setup for road racing. It should be a great weekend of racing.
Thanks this week to Alesia, Jason, and their crew for putting on a great races and managing the track this summer. To my wife who is going to run a 5K this weekend at Blackhawk.