Thursday, May 20, 2004

MSOKC Race No. 3 – Sunday, May 16, 2004

Originally sent: Thursday, May 20, 2004 9:40 AM

Bruce Brothers Racing had a bit of a rough day at Circleville Raceway park on Sunday, although there were some highlights. Conor and Henry both practiced well and there was a good turn-out for both of their classes.

Conor started on pole for his first heat race with most of his main competition starting from the rear. He timed his start well, went through the first two corners side-by-side with his fellow front-row-starter, and claimed the lead in Turn 3. He then began to pull away at quite a rate while the remainder of his competitors were bottled up behind his fellow front-row-starter, who is strong on the straights but less so in the corners. By lap 3, Conor had amassed a huge lead – so much so that Henry and I tried to give him the ‘ease up’ signal from the observation tower. Our signals went unheeded, however, and in Turn 8 on the fourth lap (out of six), he got two wheels up on the curb and spun into the grass. His lead was such that he had plenty of time to get back on track and headed in the right direction without loosing the lead, but his engine sputtered and died. He sat there for quite some time with his head in his steering wheel, obviously feeling dejected. It was heartbreaking… Starting on pole in his first heat race meant that he would start from the rear in Heat 2 with most of his main competition starting up front. He managed to work his way through the pack, but by the time he had done so, his two main competitors had amassed a healthy lead and he had to settle for third. His heat race finishes earned him the fourth starting position (out of seven) for the feature. He quickly dispensed with the third place starter and latched on to the tail end of his two main competitors. The trio circulated nose-to-tail for lap after lap. Conor lost several kart lengths at one point trying a different line through Turn 4, but recorded a new personal best lap time (50.75 seconds) catching back up. He got along side the second place kart in Turn 9 on the final lap and tried his now-familiar dive-to-the-inside move out of Turn 10, but missed second place by about two feet. After an inauspicious start to the day, Conor maintained his record of never having finished outside of the top three in a feature.

Henry’s class was quite a bit bigger than it had been the week before – eight karts as opposed to four. Two of his competitors on Sunday were ‘big guns’ (if you can say that about 12 to 15 year-olds) who travel the country on the World Karting Association ‘National’ circuit. We had a peek in one of their trailers between heats – this kid had two kart chassis and eight engines to choose from! Henry started on the outside of the front row in the first heat and was able to maintain his position for the first lap or so. One of the big guns worked his way up to the back of Henry and gave him a bump as he approached his turn-in point for Turn 2. This caused him to miss his apex and the big gun got by along with Henry’s main competition from the week before. He then began to try a bit too hard, had a small spin in Turn 6, and eventually finished sixth. Starting from the seventh position in Heat 2, Henry worked his way to fourth at the finish while recording several laps in the mid 49 second range. His heat race finishes earned him the fifth starting position for the feature. We had made a tire pressure change for the feature, and this combined with another dose of trying too hard resulted in two small spins. He did manage to record several low 49 second laps (including a personal best of 49.19), but ended up finishing sixth. The two big guns were both running on non-club-spec tires, so they were both excluded from the results, which moved Henry up two positions in each of his races. Henry has been running on an old set of last season’s club-spec tire (Dunlop SL4). This race was the last for which that tire will be allowed, so we have a brand new set of the new club-spec tire (Vega SL5) that we will be installing this week. When we changed Conor over to Vega tires before the beginning of this season, he immediately improved his lap times by about a second.

Conor learned an important lesson about when to push hard and when not to, and Henry learned a bit about how the big guns play. We are hoping that Conor will soon have another opportunity to put his lesson into practice. We are also hoping that the Vega tires will have the same effect on Henry's kart as they did on Conor's. The next race is Sunday, May 30, 2004.


Sunday, May 9, 2004

MSOKC Race No. 2 - Saturday, May 8, 2004

Originally sent: Sunday, May 09, 2004 4:00 PM

In contrast to two weeks ago, the weather for MSOKC Race No. 2 was perfect – crystal clear and 65F in the morning and 80F or so by the afternoon. We couldn’t have asked for much more in terms of results either, which were nearly identical for both boys. In the practice sessions, both Henry and Conor recorded personal-best lap times (49.27 and 51.04 seconds, respectively) and both seemed to be as fast (if not faster) than their respective competition. The random draw for starting positions in the heat races had them both starting last (fourth of four for Henry and eighth of eight for Conor) in the first heat race. Both finished a close second after working their way through the field. In the second heat race, starting from pole position, both won handily while distancing themselves from the field. Both started on the front row for the feature, got passed in the first corner, and finished second (Conor by about 12 inches, Henry by a bit more after having ‘pulled out the stops’ in the penultimate corner trying to gain an advantage). Henry ended up tied in Championship points with what appears to be his main rival (who finished last in the second heat race after having spin twice trying to catch Henry) and Conor is a mere four points behind what appears to be his main rival (who won the championship in this class last year). Both boys appear to have the necessary speed to win, but we’re going to have to work on those rolling starts. The next race is Sunday, May 16, 2004.


Tuesday, May 4, 2004

MSOKC Race No. 1 - Sunday, April 25, 2004

Originally sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 2:37 PM

The 2004 Mid State of Ohio Kart Club season got off to a soggy start two Sundays ago. After a long off-season of preparation, Race No. 1 was postponed because of rain, which started during the first practice session of the day. The make-up date is Sunday, September 19.

During the off-season, we have had to come to grips with a new class for Conor (Junior Sportsman II - 9 to 12 year olds, modified engine with a turquoise restrictor plate running on alcohol, 265 lb minimum-required total weight) and had to get Henry prepared for his first season of competition (Junior Unrestricted - 12 to 15 year olds, modified engine with no restrictor plate running on alcohol, 305 lb minimum-required total weight). We had the engine that came on Henry's kart rebuilt for Conor and we purchased a 'new' rebuilt engine for Henry. In the half dozen or so practice sessions we've attended at Circleville Raceway Park this spring, both boys have worked their way down to what we hope will be competitive lap times (and Conor is nipping at Henry's heels!). Only time will tell, however. The next race is this Saturday, May 8. Racing gets underway at about noon. The full season schedule is as follows:

Race 1 April 25 - Sunday (postponed)
Race 2 May 8 - Saturday
Race 3 May 16 - Sunday
Race 4 May 30 - Sunday
Race 5 June 13 - Sunday
Race 6 June 20 - Sunday
Race 7 July 10 - Saturday
Race 8 July 24 - Saturday
Race 9 August 7 - Saturday
Race 10 August 15 - Sunday
Race 11 August 28 - Saturday
Race 12 September 11 - Saturday
RAIN DATE September 19 - Sunday
Race 13 September 26 - Sunday
RAIN DATE October 3 - Sunday

We hope to see you at the race track sometime this season. Circleville Raceway Park is on U.S. Route 23 just North of Circleville (across from and a bit south of 84 Lumber).