Wednesday, October 15, 2003

MSOKC Race No. 3 (Rescheduled) - Six for Nine (2003)

Originally sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 4:42 PM

The final MSOKC race of the season was last Sunday, October 12, 2003. The morning weather was crisp again, but Conor kept everything under control in his practice sessions. Conor's main rival, Ryan Fox, had earned enough points in the previous race to clinch the championship, so his dad had made the modifications necessary for him to run this race in the class in which he will have to run (by virtue of having won the championship) next year - Junior Sportsman II. Conor's other rival in the Rookie Box class, Kurt Rollins, provided plenty of competition for him in the heat races, however. From the fourth starting position, Conor made a good start in the first heat race and was up to second place behind Kurt, who had started on the pole, by the end of the first lap. Conor was able to provide plenty of pressure - the expression 'stuck together like glue' comes to mind - but could not find a way to pass. Starting from the pole position in the second heat race, Conor found himself decelerating to keep the grid together as the green flag flew. By the time he was back up to speed, he was in third place. He quickly dispensed with the second place kart and set out after Kurt again. This time he was able to pull up alongside several times, including twice on the last lap. They came through Turns 8 and 9 side-by-side. Conor had to take the long way around Turn 9, but that put him on the inside for Turn 10. Coming out of Turn 10 toward the finish line, Conor dove to the inside but came up about six inches short for what had to be the closest finish of the day. Two second place finishes in the heat races did earn him his favorite starting position for the feature, however - outside front row. He made the best of it, too, timing the start perfectly. He passed Kurt going into Turn 1 and steadily began to pull away, turning laps in the mid to low 0:58 range. At the end of Lap 8, he found himself taking the checkered flag first in his third consecutive feature race and his sixth in nine starts. I couldn't help but smile when I saw Kurt and Conor shake hands from their karts while sitting in the cut-off area waiting for slower traffic to clear after the race. In the off-season, we are going to have to decide whether we want Conor to compete in the same class again or have him move to the Junior Sportsman II class with Ryan. At this point, we're leaning toward moving him up, which I am sure will be fine with the remaining competitors in the Rookie Box class...

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and kind words of support.


Wednesday, October 8, 2003

MSOKC Race No. 13 - Five for Eight (2003)

Originally sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 9:58 AM

Conor had another near-perfect outing last Sunday. The morning weather (cloudy and 45F) provided him with an opportunity to learn about coefficient of adhesion for racing slicks as a function of temperature. On the first lap of the first practice session, he spun twice -- in consecutive corners! During sign-up, we learned that there would be two new competitors in the Rookie Box class, who would start at the back of the grid. Conor drew the fifth starting position (of eight competitors) for the first heat race. He lost one position at the start, in spite of the changes we made (including a lighter disk brake rotor) that were intended to help him out with his starts. He did seem to have a bit more speed coming out of the corners, as he was able to work his way up to second place, just behind his main rival who had started on pole, by lap four (of six). He pulled along side the leader twice on the final lap, but couldn't get past. Starting from the second position in the second heat race, Conor held his position through the first few corners and passed the pole sitter on the back straight-away on the first lap. He then held on for a comfortable win. Starting on the pole for the feature, he dropped a position to his main rival at the start, but was once again able to pass on the back straight-away on the first lap. He must have had the bit between his teeth, because he began pulling away by about a second a lap. He recorded a best lap of 0:58.41 - his fastest since Race No. 10 on August 24 - in route to his fifth feature win in eight starts. The feature also provided Conor with an opportunity to experience something else that was new -- lapping traffic! I'm sure that the two new guys will be up to speed in no time, however.

The season championship is decided based on the best 10 finishes of the 13 race season. To qualify for the championship, a competitor must complete at least 9 races out of the 13. Conor got a late start to the season, so he missed the first four races. This makes him eligible for the championship, but one race short of the full complement. He easily has the highest number of points per race in his class, but having to include a "zero" in the total for the one race he is short (there are 160 points available per race), kills his chance for this year. Conor's main competitor (Ryan Fox) has the championship all but locked up with one race remaining -- the rescheduled Race No. 3, which is next Sunday, October 12.

Happy trails!