WKA Road Racing Grand Nationals

Drivers Meeting

The weekend of November 9th was the final race of the 2018 Season for the team. The WKA/KART-MARRS Road Racing Grand Nationals was held at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, KY. This was a first race at this track and with the World Karting Association and with this years success in road racing our confidence was high.  However, we still needed to keep honest with ourselves. we still have a load to pull for more wins and anything could happen.  On the upside, we did not have any pressure from a series stand point, so really the plan for the weekend was to have fun. 

Part of the fun was leaving Wednesday night with the plan to arrive Thursday and visit the corvette museum.   Before that the first stopping point was Indianapolis and spend some time with some of the Xona Software team, providers of automation software and sponsor for some personal thanks for supporting the team.  Thanks!  Dave and Mike.  Then off to Walmart for a cold night.  The weather for the weekend was expected to be very cold, below freezing over night and low 40 for most of the day, in the 50s by Sunday.  The worst weather looks to be on Friday with some morning rain, at least snow was not expected. 

After a stop for some extra propane to heat the trailer, Thursday morning, we drove on to Bowling Green, KY to the National Corvette Museum.  We last visited the museum a few weeks after the sinkhole had opened up and swallowed a few of the rarest cars the museum had.  Jason was very excited to see the all of the Corvettes but now with the eye that appreciated a finely crafted racing machine.  The new exhibit for the sinkhole story was great but also really sad because they could only restore 3 of the cars the rest were too badly damaged or were so unique that the parts are unavailable and it was better to retain the cars history.  Jason even got a turn in the race corvette simulator, which he of coursed grinned through.

Friday morning brought the first of the weather tests for the weekend, it was raining.  Thankfully,  it let up around noon and we were able to take to the track for a few hours and learn and tune.  Jason started around a 1:55 and by the end of the night was down to a low 1:53.  The day was not with out challenge, we had to replace the motor due another blown gasket, the good news is the new motor was fresh and strong.  We did do some scoping out of the other drivers and Jason seemed faster but race day can be another animal when it comes to speed.  After practice we went out to dinner with some other drivers including Mid-Life Karting Crisis host and Wild Duck Racing supporter T.J. Hollingsworth.  This was great change of pace for us and had a blast swapping stories. 

The weekend was cold.  Cold is good for the motor give us a little more horse power but hard to use that power because the tires and track are hard and slippy.  We adjusted the kart and Jason put painters tape on his gloves in an attempt to block the icy wind.  The feels like temperature at 70 mph is always colder just like a blustery day.  The days schedule was compressed because of the cold and Jason’s race was moved to the second of the day.  He started on the pole for his class and would be taking the 4th of 5 starting flags to add to stress of the start.   At the drop of the flag he was off and #110 managed to pull in front but Jason was ready and took the lead in the first corner.   #110 dropped back and Jason was pursed by #71 who was a few seconds behind.   Jason pushed on for the 25 minute race and didn’t give any ground running fast and clean.  Still in the lead he in the closing laps he extended his gap and sealed the win at the checked flag.  We wrapped up the day with some quality time in the trailer keeping warm and discussing possible kart changes for Sundays race. 

Sunday started cold but warmed nicely by race time.  We decided to change the rear gearing for a bit more power on exits and adjust the front end to find some more grip.  Since is was so cold during practice his lap times were low but did show improvement with the changes.  His race was moved to the first of the day and he started on the 2nd flag.   Again on the poll, he had a great start but the #110 kart jumped to the lead and pulled away until the 5th corner where Jason made up ground thought the technical part of the track eventually making the pass a few corners into the lap.   As they came down the front straight, #110 caught and passed Jason just before turn one but well past the start finish line, this was a good omen for a win.  This repeated until Jason made a single move to block the #110 pass, but the next lap #110 passed on the other side.  Jason remained behind for 2 laps but close until he passed #110 as their kart succumbed to mechanical issues.   At that point Jason was able to continue on completing the final two laps cleanly winning again.   See Speed Hive Results for lap times other interesting statistics. 

Stay tuned for the karitng silly season and we wait for the 2019 schedules to come out.  Thanks, to my Dad who would have loved this trip so we took extra enjoyment in his memory.   Dave and Mike at Xona Software for a great product and supporting us.  T.J. at Mid Life Karting Crisis for the videos, Amsoil, and Hoosier Tires.  Reagan at 4 Cycle Central for some powerful and consistent Briggs Animal motors. 

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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

Road America Endurance Race: Story Time

My dad told me a story about a turbine power race car in the Indy 500.  Legend has it that the car was amazingly fast.  The day of the race the weather was just right for it to perform at the maximum horsepower The team was expected to dominate the race.  It led most of the race until the last few laps when a $6 dollar bearing in the engine failed and the car retired just short of the goal.  I heard this story more than 20 years ago and it was a setup for my son and I learning this lesson first hand.  You can put in all the time and prep for a race and even be the fasted car out there but there are going to be things you can’t control that are going to spoil your plans. 

Check out the story of the Lotus 56 in the 1968 Indy 500. 

October 13th Jason, myself, and Holtz Racing(Crew Chris and Driver Will) met at Road America kart track for their annual 2 hour endurance race.   I had spent the last week in the garage with Jason getting the sprint kart configured for sprint racing with the animal.   We had high expectations of getting the over all win with a fast kart and a sound pit stop strategy.  Jason took the kart out first for a 10 lap shake down.  The gearing was off but the kart looked good.  I did see what looked like dirt coming from back of the kart and might have spied a line getting put down on the track as he drove through a corner.  He pulled off and we readied to switch drivers.  Jason hopped out and started to look at the motor and pointed at the very slick rear tire, there was an oil leak.  Chris and I pulled the motor off looked for leaks, drained the oil(looked OK) put it back on, refilled it, changed the gear and put Will in.   He put two laps in and came off because the fuel tank cap came off and was spilling methanol on him.  As he stepped out the motor was pouring oil and that was that for the day.  Further investigation revealed that the side cover gasket let go.  We packed up and the Team Holtz left on the way to celebrate a birthday(Happy 14th Birthday Will).   Jason and I headed home for him to suit up for some Hockey practice and team pictures.  

The sprint season is definitely over now, there is still the WKA Road Racing Grand Nationals at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in just few weeks.  In the meantime we are working on 2019 season plans, seeking new partnerships, and will be working out and practicing at local indoor tracks and simulation. 

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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

2018 CKNA Grand Nationals

We capped the 2018 sprint kart racing season with a national level race the weekend of September 28th 2018 at New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle Indiana for the Cup Karts Of North America Grand Nationals.  The CNKA Grand Nationals brought dedicated and skilled drivers from all over the US and Canada.  New Castle Motorsports Park is a world renowned track that challenges any driver with long fast straights and technical corners.  Precision and focus from both driver and crew is required reach peak performance at the end of three days in the final race.  At most races by the Sunday final we had things in some sort of order to race the top 5, however, for this race we are aiming for top 10 due to field size, competition, and the need to learn a new track.  We still wanted to focus on having a relaxed and fun weekend of determined racing. 

Jason has never been to New Castle before and he needed to be a quick study to hit his marks.   We spent Thursday night at a local Walmart sleeping on the trailer floor, we missed the 7pm arrival dead line, sigh.  Friday morning we unpacked the trailer for 5 rounds practice.  Jason’s day started with just walking the track to get a feel for the racing line and and track conditions.  The first session was primarily focused on learning the track and getting some initial validation of the work in the garage setting up the kart.  As it turned out we had setup nearly right and as the day progressed we only made minor adjustments.  Jason got faster every session as he acquired a better track sense and we both scouted the competition.  At the end of the day he was just a bit off pace from the lead pack but a top 10 finish seemed in sight.  

Unlike most race weekends where Saturday is a two to three practice rounds, qualifying, two short heats and a feature, the day would be one pre-qualifying warm up, a qualifying session, followed by three 8 lap heats.  The total points from the heats(link to scoring) would set the grid for Sunday’s pre-final.  In the pre-qualifying warm up Jason got stuck behind some slower traffic and was not able to get any open laps and his qualifying start position behind much slower karts which he quickly caught.  They were supposed to yield position to faster karts with a tap from behind but this driver instead ‘raced for position’, Jason was able to eventually make the pass but did not have enough remaining laps to get up to full speed.  Despite this he still managed to qualify 11th and knew he could make short work of a couple of karts in front of him in each of the three heats.   He was crashed out of the first heat on the first lap when another driver went wide and the group scrambled to clear, finished 28th.  The second heat went much better,  Jason made quick work of 10th and then 9th in the first lap and held them off for the rest of the race.  In heat 3 Jason put on a great display of his driving prowess starting 11th and jumped up to 8th in the first lap but as he moved for 7th and was forced wide and shuffled back to 10th in the second lap.  Over the next six laps Jason battled back up to 8th but fell to 9th in the closing lap.  His hard work and recovery put him on the grid at 13th for the pre-final on Sunday despite the poor first heat.  

Throughout the day Jason said the kart was OK but was handling weird, we did find a crack and had that welded back up, but it really wasn’t an issue.  It was in a spot that was previously cracked and my not have been new.  We consulted with Jim from Coyote about the handling and suggestions.  After Jason and I careful went over the kart we found a setup error in the front caster.  It was set to 9 degrees on the left and 15 degrees on the right.  It should have been 15 on both sides.   We worked together to replace some  washers and reset the caster correctly before dinner and had a quiet evening before heading to the trailer for the night with racing dreams

The Sunday morning warm up Jason put the kart though it paces and found it was better than Saturday.  Most of the days setup discussion was about what tire pressure to run in the longer races and as the day warmed.  The kart tends to get really tight after about 7 laps and we have been working on finding the right pressure to go fast for the 12 pre-final and 16 lap final.  Lower tire pressure makes the kart loose and the tires are slower to warm up.  At higher pressures the kart comes in faster but becomes tight sticky as the continue to heat.  

Jason started the pre-final in 13th and at the end of the first lap was up to 12th then picked up 2 sports for 10th by the end of the second lap.  Over the next couple of laps fell down to 12th then 13th.   He pushed hard and through moving for the openings and some luck he moved up to 10th and was battling with 8th and 9th.  As the lap closed he changed focus to defending his position and finished 10th.

The final race of the weekend started with the pomp and circumstance of a professional race.  First there was a parade lap followed by driver introductions and mini interviews.  Of course Jason, having been with the series for sometime and a character was giving a loud “Number 59 ‘Racin’ Jason Pribyl” introduction.  The race got off to a rough start with a kart in the back field getting hooked up and rolling over as they exited turn one bringing out the red flag.  The driver was OK but his day was over and the field was reset for another attempt.   This time they got off with out issue and Jason again picked up a spot for 9th in turn one and then two more up to 7th in the second lap.  As they battled Jason again was shuffled down to 12th and started to work his way back up again.  Lap 4, back to 11th, lap 7 to 10, lap 8 to 9th.  Then in lap 9 while moving up to 8th the rear right wheel studs broke and the rear wheel flopped around as he slid off the track into the grass ending the race for him.  He enjoyed a great seat as the last 7 laps ticked down without him.   In the end he finished 24th of 29, despite that we both had a great time working together.  We even had a good laugh on the way back from the tech barn about him driving the kart until it broke.  

I really want to thank our family for support this silly think called kart racing.   To the folks thank make our karts go Jim Lipari at Coyote Motorsports ,  Rob at Kart City Performance , Brian Jacobson at Viking Kart Products. None of this would have been possible with out your support and assistance.  

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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

 

Gingerman: CES Finale

We missed posting on the last Dart Kart Club race for our season. In a quick,  Saturday was nearly rained out but the thanks to everyone working together to adjust the schedule was 2 rounds of practice and everyone got to race.   Jason finished first in both his classes, though he only drove one kart, with two transponders, he finished .001 behind himself.  Sunday was nice and dry.  Jason, put the road kart through its paces and kept it up front for the win.  The racing highlight of the weekend was the 4 Cycle Junior race on Sunday.  While he was the only one in his class but he had a great race with some Animal 380 drivers.  They were faster on the straights but he would catch them in the in field.  He made a good run at running up front a few time but their straight away speed was too much.  The other high light was my mom came with and got to enjoy the unique experience of a NASCAR track including a track walk on the road course, something most race fans never get to do. 

The weekend of September 8th and 9th we returned to Gingerman Raceway for the last race of the 2018 Championship Enduro Series season.  It was also the 2017 CES banquet,  Jason received his 2017 championship trophies for Sprint Jr and Animal Junior.  Congratulations Jason!

The sprint kart was fast all weekend and gave us no trouble, so not much to tell there. 

Saturday the road kart started off poorly, it was once again struck by carburetor trouble and would not start.  We never tested the motor after putting the CES rule carburetor.  After replacing the fuel system, took the carburetor apart and cleaned it.  The kart was ready for the the first practice session with no time to spare.   During practice, Jason reported that the kart was running and handling great.  Saturday race one went well but once again we were off pace because of gearing and he finished 10th.  For race 7 we moved up a tooth and he was able to run with the front pack again and finished 7th. 

Racing on Sunday was more challenging, the road kart started handling poorly.  A seat mounting nut fell off and after it was fixed the kart was never the same.  It was still fast but was not cornering without sliding around more then he liked.   Race 1 was OK he was still able to hang with the front make and took 6th trailing 4th by a few thousandths.  I made some handling adjustments for race 7 but ended up made things worse.   He ran fast but off from the front pack.  During the last lap he pushed too hard and the kart refused to turn driving off into the grass.  Others had worse trouble so he still finished 10th.  In hind sight I wonder if the loose bolt on the seat was good for setup.  I think I can find a way to mount the seat with some more freedom of movement but not so much Jason is loose in the kart.

This was the last race of the  season and Jason was the Championship Enduro Series 2018 Animal Junior and Sprint Junior Champion.  I don’t know where he would fall if he was ranked with the Senior class he raced with all season but I would guess somewhere between 7 and 9th.  Next year we hope he can run for points with the Senior class. 

The next race it the Cup Karts of North America Nationals at New Castle Motorsports Park.  This will be our first visit to one of the most popular and important tracks in the country.  Entries are expected from all over the country and there will also be a contingent from Canada making for international competition. 

Thanks to the folks in what has been recently named Animal Nation for allowing Jason to race with you.  He has learned so much from you all both on and off the track.  Dave Larson, congratulations on 30 years of the Championship Enduro Series.  Thanks to Regan Vehering at 4 Cycle Central for the great motors, good luck with sled season. 

 

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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

Badger: Cup Karts Regular Season Finale

We returned to Badger Kart Club for the first time in two years August 10-12 for the last race of the Cup Karts of North America Northern Series.   The track was old and new since we last raced there.  The old section had some surface improvements and the new section was, well, new to us.  Both Jason and crew were very exited to get back and hang out with friends that we had not seen since the beginning of the season at Concept Haulers Motor Speedway.  We also hoped to take what we had learned over the last season and make a final mark on the regular sprint season.

Friday practice was good, Jason started off slow remembering the old track and learning the new track.  He ended loving the new section and was able to fly through it.  It has one banked hairpin followed by a tighter flat hairpin.   This combination is tricky as the first one is fast and the second one is slower.  He also learned that he can control the kart on two wheels when he needs to.  At the end of the day we were on the mark, last years top laps where in the 53 second mark and Jason was just on the cusp of breaking in to that time range. 

The season has brought good Friday practices follow by crappy Saturdays.  This is no exception all though we are better able to roll with it now.   The Jason was off pace and complaining of inexplicable issues, kart was tight then loose all in the same lap.  He kept looking at his kart saying it was cracked, and I kept saying it was fine.  We did get the kart the kart into shape but were still battling weirdness.  Eventually, I saw the crack and found the welder in Conner Lund’s pit.  He tacked it up quick for the feature.  After the race we stripped the motor so he could do a full weld.  Conner was off racing so I went and did some other things.  Later that evening, I was asked if I knew my kart was on fire.  Apparently, they had started to work on it with out me and managed to ignite the gas that had leaked from the carburetor in into the seat.  Thankfully, they put it out quickly with no real damage.  Jason was quick thinking and smothered the grass fire with our pit carpet.  The days results where: qualified 3, heat one 4th, heat two 3rd, and feature had a great battle were he finished 3rd. 

Over night I made changes to the kart setup drastically.  Saturday was good but we could do better.  Normally,  would not make multiple changes but we really did not have anything to lose since we were already light for northern series points.  I copied the setup from on of the fastest senior karts, which was the same year and brand as ours.  The one practice session almost did not happen as we found yet another frame crack.  That was welded up, with out a fire this time, but missed our practice session and went out with another class ruining our great pre-qualifying session.  He qualified 4th and finished heat one in 4th but set the fastest lap.  In heat 2 he battled for third but came up short with 4th.  He started the feature in 4th and had a great partner in 2nd to push with.  Jason and the 2nd position had a stupendous start and Jason moved to 2nd and stayed there for the first 7 laps hot on the heals of first.  At the 7 lap mark his kart started to tighten up and 3rd place made a great pass and 4th followed him shuffling Jason back to 4th.  He tried to retake third but there was not time or opportunity to make the move.  Overall a great cap to the regular season. 

The race completes the Cup Karts regular season  Jason finished 4th in the central division and 5th in the northern division.  The final race will be the national race in New Castle, in a few weeks, The next Race is Michigan International Speedway Fall Classic last race we will make with Dart Kart Club in 2018.

Thanks for Kart City Performance for the motor that ran great this weekend and will allow Jason to show his potential at the up coming cup Nationals.  Thanks to Don and Randy Westie for their coaching and setup help. Conner Lund for some great welding except for the fire part.  To Cup Kart Track side team for their understanding and assistance in troubled times.  Last but not least thanks to Brian at Viking Karting Products for supporting the Junior class this season. 

Follow a long with Wild Duck Racing on Social Media:
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http://www.hookit.com/members/jasonpribyl​

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

Blackhawk Farms 2018, Oh that was fun

The worst thing that happened to us at Championship Enduro Series Blackhawk Farms II weekend was we forget to pack the folding chairs and a table.  August 11-12 had to lay on the carpet or sit on the trailer steps if we wanted to be outdoors.  The carpet was made comfortable some pillows but trailer steps were inconvenient when someone wanted to get in trailer.  Despite these horrendous troubles, we had beautiful weather, great company, and some great racing.   

We have been working on the road kart for two years.  Jason got off to a bad start a Gateway in 2017, crashing it on Sunday while pushing too hard on bad tires.  Since then he has been learning to drive the kart and I have been learning to tune it, each time out he got a little faster and a little closer to up front. 

Coming into the weekend we had a couple of goals, my goal was for the kart finish all four races,  Jason’s goal was to finish in the top 5 in Animal 370.  The season started at Gateway and he looked fast with room to grow.  The last time at Blackhawk Jason was working pretty solid in the top 10 and at Grattan he was held back by a failing motor and chassis issues.  This weekend we put new wider wheels to help loosen the kart up a bit and keep it on all 4 wheels and slide a little more.  This should help him have faster smoother, and more controlled cornering and generally more relaxed kart..

To add to the challenges, but in a good way,  there number of drivers was up to 23 on Saturday and Jason being a junior was still required to start in the back.  Though the fast karts always start in the back.  Both Saturday races he made great progress and was able to get to the front of the second pack and then start to pull away.  The front pack was still a couple of seconds away but he finished 7th and 8th.  Overnight, I found that the seat had again shifted due to the strut failing.  This led to a bit of trackside engineering to build a new strut put together a magic combination of a rear and front struts to get exactly what was needed.  I also was able to talk to some folks about tuning and Jason’s driving.  After much consideration and dialog kart was pretty good and Jason was also pretty good they just need some more quality time together to build that special relationship. 

Sundays practice went off without any adjustments just putting some more laps in.  Jason did have an opportunity to drive another kart during one session.  He sorta liked it but it was hard to steer, he still put in some very fast laps.  Thanks Michelle.

The first race on Sunday he was just a little off pace, the gearing was not right and he was not able to make the required speed down the straight.  He finished 11th. out of the hunt but showing promise. 

 At the drop of the green flag for the second Sunday race, he was off and quickly picked up a couple of spots.  Each lap few more karts, he moved up through the second pack by picking drafting partners and pushing past slower karts.  Once he was though he pulled up to the front pack and again started picking them off with new and faster partners.   As the final lap rolled he had moved up to fifth place and staged a final push for the finish line.  The karts roared toward the finish line he pick one last draft  and pushed them to third and himself to 4th by a few 100th of second.  Achievement Unlocked!!

The next race will be at Badger Kart Club with the Cup Karts of North America central series.  We are very excited to be back at badger after a two year absence are looking forward to seeing some old friends. 

Thanks Jack Reall for the call out and finally getting me into a kart.  Hope to do it again someday.  Regan at 4 Cycle Central has been working hard to build a great group of races this season and we hope we can carry it over to next year building bigger and better.   

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

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