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

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