Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big Changes on the Horizon

Recently, I left my current design engineering job and accepted a position with a large tire manufacturer as a test driver/engineer at their proving grounds in Texas. I will be moving to San Angelo, Texas in January to start my new job. It's been hectic lately planning the move, but I've still had time make racing plans for next year. I will continue to race karts, but my commutes to the race track will be a bit longer. I will be racing the same kart in TAG class in Dallas with the North Texas Karters. This club runs a winter series (it will be nice to be able to race in January), but I will pass on racing this winter to get settled into the new job/city and begin karting in April with NTK's Spring and Summer series.

My New Kart Club: http://www.ntkarters.com/

Working, living, and racing in Texas will be an adventure so wish me luck!

Friday, November 6, 2009

UVa Baja SAE car flip video

I just recently posted this video to YouTube. We built this jump to be part of the UVa Baja SAE test track near our shop in Charlottesville, VA. As you can see, we were a little over aggressive in our ramp design.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009 VIR 13-Hour Recap

The #35 Acura TL-R endured a tough race this year at the VIR 13-Hour. We qualified in P2 behind the beastly 400 horsepower Honda Civic of Mark Hein. In the misting conditions before the race, we chose to start the race the race on dry BFGoodrich tires. The racecars on wet tires rocketed to the front, but as the dry line developed we worked our way back up to P3. For the first 2.5 hours, we fluctuated from P2-P4 due to pit strategy but stayed close to the #39 Bimmerworld team who was leading the race. However, we lost 4th gear in our 3rd stint of the race.

With 4th gear, we were the fastest car in the Top 10. The TL-R was 4 seconds slower after losing 4th gear, but we remained one of the fastest car around VIR and stayed in P3. We stayed in the top 4 until the 9-hour mark when we lost 3rd gear. This ended a challenging race for the THR team. We kept the car competitive despite gearbox trouble, engine ECU problems, and losing a front suspension bolt, but losing 3rd was an issue we could not overcome.

Congrats to the Bimmerworld team for winning two years in a row and the #52 HART team for the P2 finish.

#35 TL-R after some bodywork modification thanks to an RX-7
#52 HART Civic
Pole Qualifying Civic

My Dad took about 200 photos from the race. Here is the link:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

VIR 13-Hour This Weekend

The 2009 "Charge of the Headlight Brigade" SCCA VIR 13-Hour enduro is this Halloween weekend. I am crew chief for the #35 Team Honda Research Acura TL-R that is competing in ITE class. Last year,we were on pole and finished 2nd overall to the Bimmerworld crew. We were on the lead lap and only lost by 30 seconds. With fewer errors, we could have won the race by a few laps.

We learned a lot from last year and are ready to take the overall win. It should be an exciting race this year with a strong class of ITE racers, two Honda of America Racing Team (HART) cars and Bimmerworld. I am making the 8-hour trek to VIR after work tomorrow so wish us luck!

Photos from last year's race: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ogburn/sets/72157608576686571/

MSOKC Points Race #12 In-Kart Video

The MSOKC ran the last points race of the season on October 4th at Circleville Raceway. I qualified 2nd for the feature out of 11 karts but was knocked out on the 1st lap by the P3 kart diving under me in Turn 4. He got under me and I went off in the grass on two wheels. It was disappointing end to my 1st full season of karting, but the 3 races that day were the most fun of the season. Lots of dicing and probably a little too much contact as you will see in the Heat 1.

One of the other TAG karters had in-kart video from the races so I posted his as well. This was my first chance to see one of my races from another kart's perspective. He has the wide-angle GoPro camera.

My In-Kart Video

Chris' Heat 2 Video

Chris' Feature Race Video

Monday, October 26, 2009

Team Rusty Hood Racing: LeMons South Fall

Team Rusty Hood Racing competed in the 24 Hours of LeMons South Fall event on September 13-14th, 2009. I should have gotten info and pictures on our crazy race posted sooner, but better late than never!

We finished 88th out of 112 starters. Our fearless truck ran great for the 1st 8 hours of the 14 hours race until a large oil leak developed. We pulled an all-nighter tearing the motor down to the block in search of the elusive leak. Magically, the motor started after putting it back together as the sun rose on Sunday morning. However, we had fatally damaged the clutch after it had been soaked with leaking engine oil. The clutch completely gave out after two laps on Sunday. Lots of work for two more laps, but it was rewarding just seeing the car back out on track after seeings it's pistons overnight.

We decided that we were never going to run LeMons again with a 1985 Ford Ranger so off to the crusher the car went! I posted event results, tons of photos, and videos from the Ranger crushing below. Enjoy.

Event Results

My Dad posted over 600 photos from the race. Here is set 1:

Here is set 2:

Video of Rusty Hood Racing Ford Ranger getting destroyed in the People's Curse:

Full People's Curse Video:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Track Record Pace in SSB Civic at Mid-Ohio

I ran a two-day track day with PCA this weekend in the #07 Team Honda Research SSB Honda Civic Si. It was a great experience for me as it was my first time at the track with a nationally competitive car and new tires. This car finished 4th at the runoffs this year and 2nd last year, so I'd say "nationally comptitive" is an understatement. It was also my first event in an SSB car and only my second time at Mid-Ohio.

It was cold all weekend and wet for most of the day on Saturday. However, it was never wet enough for rain tires, so I got a lot of experience driving with slicks on a wet track. I had a few close-calls, but brought the car home intact on Sautrday with a fast lap of 1:56.8 on the wet, but drying track.

Sunday was a perfect day. With a high of about 50 and no clouds in the sky, the engine was making tons of power and we were able to get the tires up to temperature without too much troubl. I gained time with each session, but struggled to get clean laps due to traffic. Over the whole weekend, I only got 6 clean laps around Mid-Ohio. I made my last one count though and put together everything I had learned throughout the weekend. I clicked of a lap of 1:46.176 which is 0.025 seconds off of the SSB track record set by Chase Lin in 2007. With my TraqMate display showing me my laps times, I knew I had a flyer going and was pushing realy hard for the track record. I came up just short, but was very pleased with my lap time considering this was my first event in the car.

List of SCCA Mid-Ohio track records (See Chase Lin in SSB): http://www.greatlakes-scca.org/system/files/MidOhio_2.pdf

Traqmate Screenshot

Disappointingly, I don't have any video from the weekend so data will have to suffice.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rusty Hood Racing Update - Prep for LeMons South Fall next weekend

The last two weeks have been busy! We leave Ohio next Thursday for Carolina Motorsports Park for "LeMons South Fall." In the past two weeks, we have finished rebuilding the floor, cut and notched all of the rollcage members, welded in 80% of the rollcage, made a new steel wing mount (much improved over the wooden prototype), mounted our seat, flushed all fluids, and made a new dash after removing the original, and the list goes on.

We will have the car tech-inspection ready for tomorrow afternoon and then have the rest of the day to paint and decorate the racetruck with decals, fake sponsor logs, and driver names. We will make our cost summary, pack, and finish up any minor details on Tuesday and Wednesday before we leave.

For the past two weeks, we have been going into work early, leaving about 4, and then working until midnight or later. It has been frustrating and hectic at times but completely worth it. The idea for building this racetruck for the 24 Hours of LeMons started as a drunk promise between friends and has ended up as working $500 truck with a rollcage, no bed, and a huge wing. We can't wait for next weekend.

I posted all of the latest build photos here and a few of my favorites below.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PCA Track Day at Mid-Ohio in ITA Integra - Video

I ran a PCA DE in an SCCA ITA-prepped Acura Integra at Mid-Ohio. We ran the club course for this event. My fast lap was a 1:52.3 with traffic. This was my first event at Mid-Ohio and in this car. I was running in Group D so traffic was constantly an issue. We had great weather for this event and it was loads of fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting: August 1st and 2nd

I competed in TAG class for the 2009 Commercial Point Grand Prix. It was my first street race and a very challenging weekend, but it was also the most fun I've had racing. The CPGP featured a 6-turn, 0.5 mi. track that was very bumpy and very fast. The TAG karts averaged about 58mph with lap time in the low 30sec. range.

Rain washed out the racing on Saturday, so all three races (Merchandise, Trohpy, and Pro) races were on Sunday August 2nd. I gained confidence with each race and improved one position per race. Out of 9 starting karts, I finished 7th in the Merchandise race, 6th in the Trophy race, and 5th in the 20 lap Pro race.

My parents and brother visited for the weekend, so it was a great chance for them to see great kart racing action. My Dad took several hundred photos throughout the weekend and the link is below. I will try to post several videos from the race soon.

Here are a few of the best photos:

Team Cardiosport at Barber Motorsports Park: Race Day

The Barber race weekend in the Koni Challenge series was a challenging one for Cardiosport Racing. Initially, we were struggling (as everybody else was) with the drastic change in track grip level from the previous year. Throughout the weekend, we made setup changes between each session and gained time steadily. However, it was not enough and we were only able to qualify 15th in the 19 car field.

For the race, we chose a 1-stop fuel strategy because we were 2 seconds off the leader's pace. We wanted to minimize our overall time in the pits and maybe pick up a few positions from team's who opted for 2 pit stops. As it did last year, the race was all green with the driver's doing a great job of avoiding trouble. To make matters worse, we broke our rear anti-roll bar sometime during the first stint. We most likely cracked it by hitting the apex curbing hard in one of the high speed corners. Driver Gary Grigsby started to report developing understeer around lap 20 but we attributed it to tire wear. It easily could have been the ARB breakage though. Our pit stop on lap 42 went smoothly, but we could not recover from our lack of pace. We finished 2 laps down to the winner, #37 JBS Mustang, and in 15th place in the GS field.

Our next and last race of the season, will be at Virginia International Raceway on October 2-4. We will be conducting a test at VIR at the end of August so we hope to have a solid baseline setup dialed in before the race weekend. We need to avoid drastic setup fixes at the track! The race will be a 6-hour endurance race making it the longest race of the season. Fuel strategy will be at a premium, but we have high hopes for this race so wish the team luck.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Team Cardiosport Koni Challenge Race at Barber Day 1

I just got in to the hotel in Birmingham, AL for Cardiosport's 4th race of the year in the Koni Challenge series. Last year, driver Terry Heath qualified on outside pole at Barber, but we were moved to the back of the grid for a FR camber infaction. The Grand-Am stewards measured our LF camber at -3.2 deg. (rules mandate -3deg. max), but our guage registered -3 at the shop so it was a tough break as we were certainly not trying to violate the rules. However, we know we have the pace to compete with our 997 at Barber so with good strategy and improvements in tomorrow morning's practice, we have high hopes for Sunday's race. We have changed team structure since our last race at Mid-Ohio and this will be my first race at Crew Chief so it should be an exciting weekend.

I flew down to Alabama after work today which makes for a long day. We are heading to the track at 7 AM so I need to get sleep. Look for Cardiosport in SPEED's coverage of the race and root on the 07!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rusty Hood Racing is in LeMons South Fall!....and rollcage prep tonight

Team Rusty Hood Racing is officially in the LeMons South Fall race at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina. Our team consists of three of my co-workers from Honda and my Dad. The five of us are campaigning a 1985 Ford Ranger that is fashioned after the Big Rigs that race in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. We bought the car in February and have slowly worked on it for the past few months waiting to spend too much money before we got official word that our entry has been accepted. Here are a few pics of the car so far and our "team concept" that we submitted with our entry. Please note that at the time I wrote this my Dad was his own team that folded so he decided to join up with us.

Rusty Hood Racing Team Concept
"We are four recently gradumacated college students looking to get our LeMon popped. Unfazed by low salaries and lots of overtime, we are looking to get our automotive jollies off in the most fun of ways. All four team members are ex-FSAE/Baja SAE engineers with combined 7 total cars built, currently work for Honda R&D, and are equally obsessed with all automotive and racing debauchery. Our entry is to be a pick-up truck styled after the Pikes Peak hill climb big rigs. LeMons Pikes Peak Replica Essentials: 1) No truck bed 2) Big ass wing fashioned out of street signs (also cockpit adjustable)3) Smoke stacks 4) Rollcage extending from cabin to wing 5) Flat black paint 6) Rusty hood. Upon reading this entry, you may be wondering why 4 Ohioans would not choose to run The Lamest Day event at Nelson Ledges. Simple, Ohio is cold and South Carolina aint. To make this even more fun, team captain Dave Ogburn will (hopefully) get to race his old man in South Carolina. The chance to put your Dad into the wall does not come around often when your name isn’t Andretti (just kidding, we will play nice). Also, we promise to bring attractive women and lots of booze. Hope to see you guys in September."

LeMons Danger Ranger on the day we drove it home

LeMons Ranger after hood rustification and bed removal
LeMons Ranger after Wing Building

Currently, we are prepping the car to the rollcage fabrication. We spent about 4 hours tonight removing the doors, seat, instrument panel, dash, and heater ducting. Next step is to clean the cab and begin laying out the rollcage members. We purchased a "weld-it-yourself" cage from JEGS to make our lives easier. Here are few pictures from today's work (we keep the wing inside to keep it fresh).

Wanna buy a nice bench seat?

We still eat like college kids

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Update...Grand-Am, Karting, etc.

Oh man, it's been a while since my last post. I went on vacation two weeks ago and haven't had an Internet connection all last week since I am moving (not far, I'm still in Columbus). As always, there has still been plenty of time to race.

Team Cardiosport competed in the June 21st Mid-Ohio round of the Koni Sports Car Challenge. With drivers from Lexington, KY and Indianapolis, this is our best track and we had high hopes for out 1st top 10 finish in GS class. We had a disappointing qualifying and only managed to start P14 out of the 21 car field. Driver Terry Heath went out on stickers for qualifying but a miscalculation on tire pressures made the car treacherous to drive after 3-4 laps. We were 1 second of our pace in practice with old tires on the car. The team decided not to gamble and go for a safe 2-stops strategy for Saturday's race especially with the small field taking the grid. The race started out very well as we moved up to 8th place by the 12 lap, but things went south quickly. Terry tagged the right rear of the #52 Mustang in the Carousel which punctured the left front radiator and ended our day. It was a very disappointing end to a promising race, but we will back in action at Barber Motorsports Park on July 21.

Driver Change during Practice

On June 27th, I ran my first Saturday night kart race with the Mid-State Ohio Kart Club. Heat Races started at 5 after two VERY hot and greasy afternoon practice sessions. I started 3rd and finished 3rd in the first heat race. I got hit hard in the rear directly before I was passed by Matt Milless so I had some bumper repair to do between the heats. I started P9 in the 12 kart field in Heat 2, but I had a poor start dropping me back to 10th on the 1st lap. I moved back up to 9th when I dropped a wheel off of the curbing on the exit of the high-speed Turn 5 and, in an instant, I was facing backward looking at the kart behind me. I pulled my kart safely off track and inspected the damage which turned out to only be a bent sprocket. With my 3rd and 12th place finishes, I started 5th for the feature which started at 9:30 under the lights. Only the corners are well-let so it very difficult to judge braking zones, etc. when you are coming in and out of the light. I went the wrong direction with my tire pressure adjustment which resulted in an incredibly tight kart. I had nothing coming out of the corners and it killed my lap times which were 1 sec. slower than in the previous heat. However, a few incidents behind me kept the pressure off and I was able to cruise home in 5th place.

Sorry, no pictures from this race. I was by lonesome for this race which makes it difficult to take picture of me racing and I was having a few technical difficulties with my GoPro. I have a busy couple of weeks ahead with the Koni Challenge race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, followed by an MSOKC kart race and then the Commercial Point Grand Prix which is an annual karting street race about 30 minutes from my house. Go to www.cpgp.com for more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MSOKC Points Race # 5

Sorry, I'm a little tardy in posting this last race report. The Mid-State Ohio Kart Club ran their 5th points race of the year last Sunday (6/14) at Circleville Raceway Park. We ran CRP backwards (clockwise) this weekend for the second time this year. I am undecided on whether I like this configuration. It makes some of the corner combinations a blast to drive, but passing is next to impossible. The only really passing opportunities are at the end of the back straight and coming into Turn 9. The track is also much less tiring to drive CW, but I'm not really sure why. I just know that I have much more energy left for that last lap when we race clockwise.

I started Heat 1 in P5 out of 7 karts. This put me on the inside row. I knew it would be difficult to move up in the field during the race, so the start was extra critical. The field roared into Turn 10 (Turn 1 when you run backwards) clean, and I stayed in 5th coming into Turn 9. I got a good run on the kart in front of me, but misjudged how much slower he was at the apex. I drove over his right rear wheel, did a small wheelie, tracked way right and almost ended up in the grass. So much for my good start. I shuffled back to 7th, and stayed there for the rest of the race. I was quicker than the P6 kart, but I could not get by him. 

For Heat 2, the field inverted so I was set to start in P3 until a kart opted to start in the back which moved me to outside pole. I held my position at the start and built up a healthy lead after the 1st lap. Paul Milleman, the points leader, started in 5th and rapidly moved up through the field. He caught me on the 3rd lap and snuck under me in Turn 9. I tried to follow him the best I could for the next 3 laps and cruised home in 3rd. 

My Heat 1 finish killed my qualifying effort. I started in P5 out of the 7 karts and moved up to 4th with a move to the outside on Turn 9 of the 1st lap.  I could not match the pace of the 3rd pace karts, but was able to build up a gap to the karts battling for 5th place behind me. I cruised without anyone near for the majority of the race until the 5th place kart slammed into the back of coming into Turn 10 at about 60mph. I found out after the race that she was having brake troubles, locked the brakes up coming into Turn 10, got sideways, and hit me in the process which caused her to loop the kart (see picture below). This scattered the karts behind me. I came home safely in 4th place. I still can't quite get to the podium! 

I posted the start of the feature race and helmet cam footage of the feature below. I'm headed to Mid-Ohio this weekend to work for Team Cardiosport in the Koni Challenge Series and my next kart race is the weekend after. 

Feature Race Start

Feature Race Helmet Cam (I'll fix the camera angle for the next race)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lots of New Photos on Flickr

I posted lots of new photos to Flickr over the past few days. Here are a few of the best.


I made the trek to Michigan International Speedway to watch the endurance race of this year's FSAE East Competition last month.
I posted a bunch of photos of 24 Hours of LeMons car I am building with three friends from work. We are building a 1985 Ford Ranger with inspiration from the big rigs that run the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Basically, we removed the bed from the truck and added a huge rear wing which we built last weekend. The wing has been painted flat black since the picture was taken.
Last weekend, I worked for Team Cardiosport at Watkins Glen. Cardiosport run a Porsche 997 in the GS class of the Koni Challenge Series. For the team, I do race/fuel strategy and change front tires during pit stops. Here is a picture from the paddock last weekend.

I have a kart race tomorrow at Circleville Raceway. It is the 5th points race of the year for the MSOKC. I've got the kart ready to go and the weather looks excellent so I'll hopefully have some good video footage to post.

Monday, June 1, 2009

MSOKC Points Race # 4

The MSOKC ran it's 4th points race of the year this past weekend at Circleville Raceway Park. We had 9 karts this weekend in TAG with a slightly different race format than usual. The standard in sprint karting is for the shifter classes to do F1-style standing starts and all the direct-drive karts to do rolling starts. However, the MSOKC broke the norm this weekend and had all classes do standing starts for each heat race and the feature race. After the announcement, we all thought this would end in carnage with clutches grenading on track and karts getting run over at the start, but it all ran smoothly with no major incidents in any of the races.

For Heat 1, I started in P4 out of the 9 kart field behind Paul Milleman of PM Karting who is leading the points championship and is regularly the fastest TAG kart in the field. He had a great start while the pole-sitter running a Sonik engine bogged at the start. I followed Paul to the outside and slid past the pole-sitter in turn 2 of the first lap to take 2nd place. I hung on to 2nd place until lap 5 when Matt Milless got under me in Turn 9. This got me off-line and I left the door wide open for two more karts to slip past me in Turn 10. I finished 5th but moved up to 4th place when a penalty moved one of the top karts to the back of the finishing order.

In Heat 2, I started in 5th right behind Bo Strawser who is in 2nd place in points. He was running the track-owner's Rotax-Tony Kart while waiting on parts for his kart and bogged at the start. I quickly maneuvered to the outside and was followed by Paul Milleman who started 7th and bump-drafted me into 2nd place by Turn 2. Paul is quick so I was only able to hold him off for one lap but stayed in 3rd for the rest of the heat. My kart was handling much better in the 2nd heat after a tire pressure and front track adjustment. This allowed me to hold off the rest of the field and not drop back like in Heat 1. Corner exit oversteer killed me in Heat 1.

My 4th and 3rd place finishes in the heats put me in P2 for the feature race. This is my best feature qualifying effort so I was stoked. On the grid, I almost jumped the start and as I got back on the brake to recover, the green flag dropped which killed my reaction time. Paul Millemean rocketed into 2nd and the P3 kart got past me to the outside but I was able to duck under her in T2 to take 3rd place. I stayed in 3rd until, again, I left the door wide open in Turn 10 on lap 3. Angel Wilkinson dove under me and we made contact coming on the front straight. I thought I could make a run and pass her in T urn 3 so I stayed right on her bumper through Turn 1. As I exited Turn 1 the kart snapped sideways and I put two wheels off as I corrected the slide. In the process, I straddled the curbing outside of Turn 1 and caught the sprocket causing my chain to fly off. This ended a promising day in a frustrating way. I keep improving week in and week out so I need to keep reminding myself that this was only my 8th kart race and I'm racing against guys/girls who've been running karts since they were 10. Either way, I'm ready to take my first podium in two weeks with the MSOKC returns to Circleville for the 2nd clockwise race of the year. I posted a few videos from the weekend below.

Heat 1 Start

Heat 2 Start

Monday, May 18, 2009

MSOKC Point Race # 3

Sunday was a perfect day for racing. It started out a little chilly but by noon it was sunny and 70 with not much of the typical Ohio wind. For the 3rd points race of the season, the MSOKC ran counter-clockwise at Circleville Raceway. 13 TAG karts showed up this weekend to make it the biggest field of the year so far for the MSOKC and the most karts I've race against yet.

Practice went well despite the cold conditions. Grip was sparse but I managed to click off mid 45 second laps which was my goal. My kart and I got warmed up nicely with no mechanical issues. I did, however, pull off early in the 2nd practice because I picked up a big vibration in the rear axle. I was worried I'd bent my axle or blown a bearing but it turned out I picked up a few big rocks with the rear tires. That was a relief!

With the Heat 1 grid randomly set, I started 12th out of the 13 starting karts. Luckily, this put me on the outside of row at the start. Coming into turn 1, the two karts in front of me dove into the inside line causing the classic problem of too many karts and not enough real-estate. While they got jammed up as each of the inside karts had to let off the throttle in a corner that should be flat, I drove to the outside and ducked under the 7th place kart in turn 3. Not bad for the first three corners of the race. I stayed in 7th for three laps but was closing on P6. On lap 4, the P6 kart went wide in turn 3 and I was able to dive underneath over the curbing to take 6th place. I crossed the finish line with a huge 12th to 6th jump. Passing karts is the key to a good starting spot for the feature and I was lucky to be able to take advantage of the traffic jam on lap 1.

Between heats, I made a few key setup changes to the kart with the help of Paul Milleman of PM Karting. In practice and Heat 1, my kart was unstable and difficult to drive. It oversteered on entry and exit so it was clearly time for a setup adjustment. We widened the front and rear tack, toed the front end out by 0.5mm per side and adjusted front camber. This made the kart much more driveable and I dropped about 0.4 seconds on my fastest lap. With the field flipped, I started on outside pole for Heat 2. I dropped to 3rd on the first lap and stayed there for the next two laps. I was not driving well in the track's LH corners and it cost me two more positions on lap 4 and 5. I finished 5th.

The feature race grid is set by your points sum from Heat 1 and Heat 2. With two consistent Heat race finishes, I started 4th for the feature. This is my best start in a field of over 10 karts so I was pumped for the final. I really wanted to pick up my first legitimate podium (finishing 3rd out of 6 karts doesn't count in my book). I got a decent start was was able to move under Angel Wilkinson in Turn 3 to take over 3rd. I put a 2-3 kart gap on Angel and kept it until lap 6 when Mike Under got past her. He was a bit faster than both of us so he caught me and passed me in Turn 9. At this point, I was wiped. I have never gotten this tired in a kart race before and it really effected my lap times. I lost about a half second per lap for the last three laps. On lap 8, Angel dove under me in Turn 10 and we made contact. My LF tire got into her right bumper and RR tire causing me to track out and get passed by the P5 kart who was on her tail. On the last lap, I thought I had a nice gap back to 7th place and I was too far from P5 after the contact on the previous lap, so I put it in cruise control until the checker. I learned a hard lesson in the last corner of the last lap as the P7 kart dove under me to take 6th place away. All I had to do was keep pushing and I would have easily kept 6th. It was a dumb mistake but I learned from it. It was a disappointing end to an exciting race where I was in podium position over half-way through the race.

I posted a video of the feature race below. For now, I need to get into better shape so I'm going to go for a jog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

MSOKC Points Race # 2

Team Yaw Moment Racing had two goals for the weekend: 1) Avoid the rain and 2) Run every lap of the weekend incident free. I did not want a repeat of the first race and come home with 0 championship points after two races. Both goals were achieved this weekend.

We ran Circleville backwards (clockwise) this weekend which basically meant all my practice and testing in the offseason running counter-clockwise went out the window. I have only run this configuration once about 7 months ago so I was a bit rusty. The track was still wet in places for the first practice so it was difficult to put the power down coming out of the corners without a nice powerslide. The 2nd practice was uneventful as I used the 5 laps to re-familiarize myself with the clockwise racing line and braking zones.

The starting order for Heat 1 was randomly assigned and I started in P1. I was a little nervous to be leading the field into Turn 1 with 3 or 4 faster drivers following me, but we all made it through unscathed. On the 2nd lap, Bo Strawser made the pass for 1st place in turn 2 and never looked back. I held the rest of the field off for the next three laps. Racing into the hairpin at 63 mph after the back straight at Circleville, the 3rd place racer bump-drafted me NASCAR-style in the braking zone. It forced me wide in the hairpin but I stayed on track. Three karts passed me in the process though dropping me to 5th place out of 8. I finished 0.2 seconds behind 4th place after rough driving between P3 and P4 caused a near spin for the P4 driver, but I couldn't make the pass before the finish line.

Starting P1 for the 1st heat means starting in the back for Heat 2 when the field is flipped. Heat 2 was a very clean race with mainly single-file racing. I moved up to 6th place after a stuck throttle and black flag sidelined the 6th and 7th place starters. I really started to notice my lack of pace in this heat as I struggled to keep up with the 5th place racer. After a few laps, the kart was really sluggish out of the corners and it felt as if the axle was binding on corner exit. A problem in the braking system is causing my rear caliper to hang on the rotor after the kart heats up. I'm thinking either water/junk in the brake lines is expanding and preloading the caliper pistons or faulty caliper seals are causing the pistons to not return. With this holding me back and a lack of experience in this configuration, I could only muster a 6th place finish in Heat 2.

I started 6th for the Feature Race, but, man, it was a boring race. There was not a single racing pass during the 10-lap race. Each person gapped the surrounding karters and no one made a mistake except for Angel Wilkinson going off track while in 4th place and losing her chain. With her mishap, I came home safely in 5th place out of 8 and survived the weekend with no big parts bills! I posted a helmet cam video of the feature race below. Next time I will take video for the heat races and the feature because the heat races are generally more exciting. I'll post the most entertaining race to watch.

YMR's next race is a week from yesterday at Circleville Raceway Park running CCW. This will be the 3rd points race of the year for the Midstate Ohio Kart Club and an important race for me to pick up the pace and start bringing home better finishes!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Do Your Non-Rain Dance

My 2nd race of the season is tomorrow at Circleville Raceway Park and we are running the track backwards so it should be a challenge. Unfortunately, I had to work today so no practice day before the race so I need to make the most of tomorrow's practice sessions.

The forecast is looks great, 70 and Sunny all day, except for the chance of scattered thunderstorms. The Midstate Ohio Kart Club does not run in the rain so either its safe to drive on slicks or no pack up and go home. I've been itching to get back to the track since the frustrating first race so please do your non-rain dance for central Ohio. I certainly am!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yaw Moment Racing Logo

I made an initial sketch of my team logo and am happy with the way it turned out. It certainly has the dorky engineering flavor I was going for. I made it in powerpoint so it is a little rough. My girlfriend is going to transfer this into Adobe Illustrator to get logos made for my kart and trailer.

It's supposed to rain all weekend in the Columbus area so I am going to use this weekend off to go visit family. All the parts I need to prep for the May 9th race at Circleville have been ordered, and I learned a lot from the mishaps last weekend, so the result should be much better!

Monday, April 27, 2009

MSOKC Points Race # 1

In the Midstate Ohio Kart Club championship, your best 9 out of 12 events count and you must race in at least 9 events. Points Race # 1 will certainly be a drop for Yaw Moment Racing. Sunday was "just one of those days."

In practice, I ran my fastest lap ever at Circleville Raceway (on old tires) at a 44.9 so things were looking up. I mounted new tires and prepped for qualifying. As I'm sitting on the grid, I notice my right rear tire is losing pressure. I hop out to find 5 psi in the tire and my group takes the green flag before I can find the leak. This is a mistake I will certainly learn from.

I get the tire problem fixed for the 6-lap heat race and line up at the back of the 11 kart grid. I make two passes on the first lap and set my sights on catching the pack of 3 karts in front of me. I'm gaining on them in every corner as they are dicing and slowing each other down while I have clear track until my chain pops off and I come to a halt safely off track. Bummer.

Ok, new chain, new sprocket and YMR is ready for the feature race. Now I have 10 laps to try and move up through the field. My friend goes to start me on the grid to no avail. He tries again and again and still nothing from the motor. My class takes the green and a very frustrating day comes to an end. Back in the paddock, we find that my ignition coil failed on my Rok TT. I pulled one off of a competitor's motor to troubleshoot and the motor fired right up.

Next race is in two weeks and YMR will bounce back from a tough season opener. Congrats to Paul Milleman for taking home pole and the win.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Long day at the track

Yaw Moment Racing's first race of the season is tomorrow, so I hit the track for a few practice sessions today. Each session, small improvements to the kart's setup and reliability were made so tomorrow looks promising. We increased radiator angle for improved cooling, tested different tire pressures, put on fresh brake pads, and made a few chassis tweaks. It was 80 degrees and sunny in Ohio which gave the track much more grip than in my previous colder test sessions so setup had to be adjusted accordingly. The kart understeered quite a bit especially in high speed corners, but this has been much improved. Humidity was high so carb tuning may be necessary in tomorrow's pre-race practice.

Here is quick video from today's sessions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prep for this Weekend

This Sunday is my first race of the year. I am racing in TAG class with the Midstate Ohio Kart Club at Circleville Raceway Park in Circleville, Ohio. This is a 12-race series and this weekend's race is qualifying format instead of the usual heat races and is worth 20 bonus points. YMR will be at the track for practice on Saturday and then qualifying and racing on Sunday.

http://www.circlevilleraceway.com/ (The website is in the process of being updated)

After a solid month of practicing, I am ready to take on this weekend with a fresh set of sneakers, new chain, new sprocket, and fresh brake pads. I am going over my AIM data from my last few sessions so I should be able to make a solid game-plan for attacking CRP this Saturday. This will actually be my first time running the kart on fresh rubber so I can't wait for qualifying!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Update for 2009 Season

Since the end of last season, Yaw Moment Racing has gone through a few changes so here is the quick rundown.

I sold the A-mod racecar so I can focus money and time on kart racing.

I bought this 6x12 Haulmark Trailer for my karting team. This sure beats racing out of the back of a pickup truck.

I switched to a Vortex Rok TT TAG engine from the Rotax FR125 so I can run at a higher minimum weight. The Rok revs higher, has more torque, vibrates like crazy, and is all-around a different beast than the Rotax. It should be a big improvement over last season.

That pretty much sums up my off-season improvements. I made it back to the track in late March and have completed 3 test days so far and taken a kart driving school. I've shaken off the winter blues and have made steady improvement over the past few weeks. Here is a video from my first practice at Circleville Raceway Park in 2009.

Welcome to the Yaw Moment Racing Blog

Thank you taking a look at my new blog. This year, I will be racing in TAG class with the Mid-State Ohio Kart Club, Great Lakes Sprint Series, and the Great Lakes Pro Series. I may even attempt a WKA national race at the end of the season to judge my progress. This will be my first full season of kart racing and I am excited for the challenge.