Wednesday, May 3, 2006

MSOKC Race No. 2 - April 23, 2006

Originally sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 3:46 AM

NEWS – Race No. 2 of the 2006 MSOKC season was another good event for Bruce Brothers Racing a week ago this past Sunday. Conor and Henry both recorded personal best lap times and Peter continued to acclimate to his new chassis. We had a few minor problems, but were able to overcome these without too much difficulty.

PRACTICE – Peter and Conor were both a bit tentative in their first practice session, as the track was a bit ‘green’ as the result of an overnight rain shower. Henry was not, however, and spun entering Turn 5 on his first lap out when the group of karts in front of him checked up more that he anticipated. Turn 5 is about as far away as you can get from the grid area and still be on the property. By the time I got there on one of the tracks painfully-slow golf carts and gave him a push start, the session was just about over. This loss of practice time was particularly disappointing as this was only Henry’s third time out in his new kart. We made a small front end adjustment Peter’s kart and changed carburetor jets and gear ratios on Conor’s kart, all of which seemed to help in the subsequent practice sessions. Henry also managed to run well in his second session, knocking his personal best lap time down from a 47.18 to a 46.60.

PETER - ROOKIE BOX – Peter had one additional competitor in his class for Race No. 2, bringing the total to six. In his first heat, starting from the pole position, he maintained his position at the start and led the first lap. He and the second place kart had opened up a bit of a gap on the rest of the field, but on the entry to Turn 5, the trailing kart was able to make a move on the inside. As was the case last year, Peter seemed to pick up the pace when he had someone to follow. He tucked in behind the leader and was easily able to hold the others at bay, but the leader began to creep away and he finished second. In the second heat, starting from the fourth position, he got caught out going into Turn 3 and lost a position. The slower karts in the group in front of him were dicing among themselves at about four seconds a lap slower than Peter had run in the previous heat. Because of this dicing, he was unable pass and finished a frustrating fifth. In the feature, starting from third, he held his position at the start and ran there to the finish without any drama. For the next race, we are going to make a few changes that we hope will make Peter even more competitive.

CONOR - JR. UNRESTRICTED - Conor’s class also had one additional competitor for a total of five. At the start of the first heat, from the second position, Conor had to settle for third in Turn 3 when the two karts on the inside were able hook up nose-to-tail. The leader pulled away, but Conor was all over the back of the second place kart. At about mid-distance, he was able to pull along side on the approach to Turn 5, but couldn’t make it stick. On the next lap, he began setting up a pass in Turn 9. He built his momentum through Turns 10 and 1, and was able to shoot by in Turn 2 – it was a real thing of beauty. He quickly pulled away and finished second. Conor got a better start in the second heat, going from fourth to second by Turn 3. Both he and the leader were passed by the eventual winner on Lap 2. Conor was obviously being held up by the kart in front of him, and just past mid-distance, was able to make the pass. He again pulled away and finished second. From the outside of the front row in the feature, he maintained his position at the start and finished second. He was able to pull away from the next fastest kart by about a second a lap, but also lost about the same amount each lap to the leader and eventual winner. In the process, however, he did record a personal best lap time of 49.33, which is just about a half a second slower than Henry’s best lap time in that class from last year.

HENRY - 80cc SHIFTER – There were once again a good number of participants in Henry’s class – 11. As was the case for race No. 1, we decided that the rear of the grid was the place for Henry to the heat races because of his inexperience with standing starts. This proved to be a good decision, as at the drop of the green flag, he got away relatively slowly. He was able to make one pass on Lap 2 and another on Lap 4, and finished ninth. In his second heat, again starting from the rear, he made a much better start. He worked his way past several karts with a bit more urgency this time. On lap 3, with clear track in front of him, he lowered his personal best lap time to an amazing 45.46 – almost two seconds faster than the previous race. In the closing stages, he had closed in on a group of karts in front of him, but decided not to risk any late race heroics. The kart immediately in front of him was the previous owner of Henry’s kart, and as we are still seeking his advice occasionally, I was glad to see Henry practice that discretion. Since he had done so well in the heat races, we decided that it would be appropriate the let him take his earned starting position – seventh – for the feature. He made a great start and was up to sixthby Turn 3. A kart two in front of Henry – the previous owner – went wide in Turn 7 on the first lap and both Henry and the kart in front were able to get by. Henry was able to stay close to the kart in front of him, who wasn’t too far from the leaders, and finished fifth, recording a 45.50 along the way. This was an excellent result considering our objective during the previous race was to avoid being lapped.I have nothing but hope for further improvement, and some changes that we have planned, including a gear ratio change and repair of a broken seat that we discovered just before the feature, should help.

NEXT RACE – Race No. 2 was rewarding in a number of ways, but seeing the improvements made by Henry was particularly rewarding. The next race is Saturday, May 6, 2006, at Circleville Raceway Park, which is the first of four under-the-lights night races of the season. Gates open at 2:00 and racing gets underway at 5:00.