Tuesday, October 12, 2004

MSOKC Race No. 13 - September 26, 2004

Originally sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 2:05 PM

The MSOKC season finale several weeks ago was a good one for Bruce Brothers Racing – personal-best lap times, secured championship positions, and more beautiful weather.

Peter again started all of his races from the back of the grid in his class, which consisted of seven karts. In the first heat, he worked his way to fourth by the end, taking advantage of mostly off-course excursions by his competitors. This result seemed to really charge him up, and at the drop of the green flag for the second heat, he had the bit between his teeth. He made a couple of well timed passes and finished fourth again, recording a personal-best lap time of 59.85 seconds in the process. With the psychological one minute barrier broken, he had high expectations for the feature. There were a few first lap tangles, but by using good sense and his quickened pace, Peter made his way to fourth by the end of the first lap. He was doing everything he could to hold on to his position, but one of his competitors was impatient and clobbered him in the rear in Turn 7 on the second lap. This sent him and several others into the grass. Quite a bit of time was lost, but this did not appear to discourage Peter, as he again lowered his personal-best lap time twice in the remaining laps (59.37 and 59.29). When approached after the race (in a friendly way), the dad of the clobberer denied the whole thing. The clobberer was quick to admit his mistake and apologized, however, while the dad remained in denial. Apparently, maturity does not always come with age…

We un-did several changes that we had made to Conor’s kart prior to the feature of the previous race, and his practice times showed a significant improvement. Conor started the first heat from the sixth position (of seven). He spent the first few laps working his way through the field. By mid distance, he was up to third. With open track in front of him, he too lowered his personal-best lap time to 50.68. The leaders were too far out in front to catch however, and he settled for third. Conor started the second heat from the pole. He made a less than spectacular start, however and was passed in Turn 1. Conor was able to pressure the leader while the front three distanced themselves from the field. He could not get by, but was able to keep his primary competition from the previous race behind him to the checkered flag. His heat races finishes earned him the second starting position for the feature. He made a good start and was able to pressure the leader in the first few laps. Her new-found pace kicked in by about mid-distance, however, and Conor ran an uneventful second to the checkered flag. Conor’s third place position in the championship had been sealed during the previous race (too far back from second but sufficiently ahead of fourth), but it was encouraging to see him lower his personal-best lap time in the season finale.

Henry’s primary goal for the day was to maintain his second place position in the championship battle - he started the day with just a slim 10 point advantage over the third place kart. He started the first heat from the fourth position (of seven) with his rival in third. The fastest kart in the class from the previous week (Adam Roberts) started at the rear, and I told Henry to let him pass when he came up from behind so that he would have sufficient time to pass his rival, too. The first part of this happened as planned but not until about mid-distance. Several laps went by without the second part happening, however. On the last turn of the last lap, Adam was finally able to get by, allowing Henry to finish immediately behind his rival - only 2 championship points lost as opposed to 4. In the second heat, Henry started third with his rival in fourth. Adam started on pole and checked out. Henry and his rival spent the entire heat bottled up behind the notoriously difficult to pass kart in this class. The important thing is that they finished this way, with Henry immediately ahead of his rival - 2 championship points re-gained. During the intermission, we did the math for all of the possible scenarios. We figured that, for his rival to overtake Henry in the championship, he would have to win the feature and have Henry finish fourth or worse. His rival started the feature from the second position with Henry in third. At the start, Adam again checked out (good ol' Adam!). Henry maintained his position, but began to loose ground to his rival. Henry's lap times had begun to creep up in the last two races and it appears that it's now his turn to need a motor re-build. Henry had enough to maintain his position, however, and the first three ran the way they started to the finish. This result sealed second place in the championship for Henry with a 6 point margin over his rival.

So, the second season of racing comes to a close for Bruce Brothers Racing. Conor did an excellent job in his first year in the Junior Sportsman II class, securing third place in the championship in the face of some stiff competition. Henry's second place the in Junior Unrestricted championship, which included several heat race wins and a feature race win, is an awesome result for a true rookie (prior to this year, Henry had only taken practice laps in Conor's kart). Peter also got his first taste of competition in the Rookie Box class and appears to have what it takes to be a serious competitor. All three boys are eligible to compete in the same classes again next year, which is our plan at this point. In the mean time, we're looking forward to the off-season. Thanks again to everyone for all the help throughout the season and for all of the kind words of encouragement and support.