Monday, August 25, 2003

Conor's Karting Adventures - Part 5 (2003)

Originally sent: Monday, August 25, 2003 2:00 PM

Conor had a near-perfect day at the race track yesterday during MSOKC Race No. 10, the fifth race of his short career. The day didn't start out that way, though. During the first lap of the first practice session, he rolled to a stop between Turns 7 and 8 - engine running but no drive. Upon closer examination back in the pits, it became apparent that he had lost the bolt and the key that keep the centrifugal clutch in place and from spinning on the crankshaft. By the time I returned from scouring the pits for some replacement parts, the dad of Conor's main rival had already found the parts and had begun making the necessary repairs. How's that for camaraderie? I was able to complete the repairs in time for the remainder of Conor's practice sessions. Starting from the third position in the first heat race, he managed to keep his position through the first lap. He then made two well-timed passes and took the checkered flag while pulling away from the field, recording a 0:58.34 in the process. Starting from the fifth position (of seven starters) in the second heat race, he dropped one position at the start. A bobble by the kart in fourth position on the exit of Turn 5 allowed Conor to make two passes on the back straight-away on the first lap. During the next two laps or so, he worked his way into second position, again with some well-timed passes. He spent the final two laps chasing down his main rival, who was in the lead. In the process, he recorded an amazing lap of 0:57.91. Time ran out, however, and he had to settle for second. A first and a second place finish in the heat races earned him the pole position for the feature (his main rival had finished third in the first heat race). Conor lead the pack under the green flag and managed to hold his position at the front. His main rival tucked in behind him, and the two quickly began distancing themselves from the field. The separation was never more than a couple of kart lengths between the first two. Conor was not rattled however, and drove a near-perfect race (every lap except the first two in the mid to low 0:58 range) to claim his third win if five starts. Way to go Conor! While unloading the kart after we returned home, I noticed that the chain was making a strange noise on the rear sprocket. Upon closer examination, I realized that he had lost the clutch bolt again and had finished the race with only the key holding the clutch in place. Sometimes, you get the bear. Sometimes, the bear gets you. I guess we got the bear yesterday.

Conor's next race is Saturday, September 6, at Circleville Raceway Park. Racing gets underway at 3:00 PM. Sometime between now and then, I'm going to look up the recommended torque setting for that clutch bolt...


Tuesday, August 19, 2003

MSOKC Race No. 9 - Sunday, August 17, 2003

Originally sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 7:34 PM

First let me say that, if you would like to discontinue receiving these emails, please let me know. If you would like to know how the race went on Sunday, read on...

It was another exciting day of racing for the MSOKC Rookie Box class at Circleville Raceway Park on Sunday. The random draw had Conor starting from the third position (out of six) in the first heat race. The fourth place starter got by Conor in the first turn and the three in front of him appeared to be headed for a three-wide battle through Turn 2. Anticipating trouble, Conor wisely backed off. The three made it through somehow, but backing off cost Conor another two places. He patiently began picking his competitors off at about one per lap (including his main rival who finished fourth), which left him third at the finish. Starting fourth in the second heat race, Conor made it safely through Turns 1 and 2 without dropping a spot, but between Turns 3 and 4, the winner of the first heat race ran up over the back of Conor, shredding part of the bodywork in the process. Little time was lost however, and Conor quickly set off for the three in front of him. He dispensed with the first two without too much trouble, which put him into second place. By that time, the leader (Conor's main rival) had amassed a healthy lead. Conor was able to close the gap (turning another personal best lap in the process - a 0:58.82), but ran out of time and had to settle for second. With a 3rd and a 2nd place finish, Conor found himself tied with three others (a 2nd-3rd, a 1st-4th, and a 4th-1st) for the top starting spot for the feature. In such cases, they let the computer decide, which gave Conor the second starting position. Starting from third, Conor's main rival got the best of him at the start. He lost another position when he put a wheel in the grass on the exit of Turn 5. After working his way back into third, Conor reeled off a series of fast laps that included another personal best of 0:58.43, which caught him up to the first two. While applying pressure to the leader, Conor's main rival dropped a wheel onto the grass on the exit of Turn 6, which allowed Conor to get past between Turns 7 and 8. The job of applying pressure to the leader (and the winner of the first heat race) now fell to Conor. He was able to pull up along side going into Turn 5 on the next lap, but couldn't get by. By this time, Conor's main rival had caught up and was applying pressure to Conor. The next three laps or so were a nose-to-tail affair for the first three. On the white flag lap, Conor got a run on the leader in Turn 9 and made a dive to the inside coming out of Turn 10. This time it was Conor's turn to come up short by less than a kart length. I suppose that three wins in a row out of four starts was asking for a bit too much...

We have some bodywork repair to do, after which Conor's next race will be next Sunday, August 24, 2003 (MSOKC Race No. 10 at CRP).


Friday, August 8, 2003

MSOKC Race No. 8 (2003)

Originally sent: Friday, August 08, 2003 2:50 PM

For those of you who were not able to make it to the race, here's a synopsis:

Conor's third race was Sunday, July 27, at Circleville Raceway Park - Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club (MOSKC) Race No. 8. Laura and the other boys had already headed for California for our summer vacation, but Conor wanted to delay our departure so that he could participate (frequent flyer tickets - no penalties for changes!). Conor drew the fourth starting position for the first of his two heat races. He dropped a position at the start, then patiently began picking off the competition. By the fourth lap, he had worked his way up to second, but by that time the eventual winner had developed a substantial lead. Conor was able to close the gap a bit, but had to settle for second. Starting second in the second heat race, Conor and the pole sitter were both passed in the first turn by the winner of the first heat race, who got a 'flyer' of a start. Conor found himself in second by the end of the first lap and set out in pursuit of the leader. He was able to apply a substantial amount of pressure - even puling up along side on the entry to Turn 5 at one point - but again had to settle for second. This heat race was a big confidence boost for Conor, as he was able to prove to himself that he can keep pace with the run-away series leader in his class. Starting from the second position again in the feature race, it was Conor's turn to get a flyer of a start. He was able to take the third place starter with him around the pole sitter (the winner of the first two heat races). His rival was able to make his way into second place by the second lap, however, and he caught up with Conor on the third lap. The next five laps were the longest in the history of motorsports - at least it seemed that way to me! Conor was the recipient of the same medicine he was able to dish out in the second heat race, with his rival applying a substantial amount of pressure and getting a nose under him going into Turn 1 on the final lap. Conor closed the door and led the majority of the final lap comfortably. His rival was able to close the gap again in the last few corners and dove to the inside on the Start/Finish straight, but came up a few feet short. Conor earned his second win in three events by less than a kart-length! Way to go Conor!

Conor's next race is Sunday, August 17, at Circleville Raceway Park. We hope to see you there...


p.s., Many thanks to Tim Kellogg for taking Conor and me to the airport at 4:45 AM(!) on Monday for our 6:00 AM departure.

p.p.s., There are some pictures of Conor on the MOSKC website from Race No. 7. Go to, click on 'Action!', then click on 'Pics from July 13, 2003'. Conor is in the No. 7 kart, which is black with the red stripe around the bottom.