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