Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 10 (Rain Make-Up) - October 14, 2007

Originally sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:18 AM

NEWS – The 2007 Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club racing season came to a close with a make-up for rained-out Race No. 10 a week ago on Sunday. The turn-out was light in some of the classes for which the championship had already been decided, and because of a conflict with the 2007 Mazda RoboPong 200 Presented by Bridgestone, a 200 lap endurance race at Newcastle Motorsports Park near Indianapolis. We played 'musical tires' again to make use of the last bit of rubber we have. We used the fronts off of Peter's kart for Henry's fronts and mixed-and-matched the best left-overs that we could find for Henry's rears and Peter's fronts. The weather was warm again on Sunday for an October race, but not as warm as the previous Sunday.

PRACTICE – Race No. 10 was designated as a 'backwards' race, so the make-up race was run in the opposite direction (clockwise) at Circleville Raceway Park. There was moisture on the track initially, so both Peter and Henry took it easy in their first practice sessions while they re-acclimated to the opposite direction. One of Henry's rears didn't look like it was going to last the entire day, so we replaced it with a spare that we had brought along. We obviously did something right, because Henry recorded a personal best lap time ( 44.08) in his second practice session. We had also elected to leave the gear ratio on that Henry runs in the regular direction for this backwards race, which may have accounted for the majority of this improvement. Peter got down into the mid-52 second range in his second session.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – One of the karts in the class that Peter ran last year made the transition to Peter's class for the last race of the year. Four other 'regulars' showed up, so there were five in all. He started his first heat from the third position and held it through the first few corners, which are Turns 10, 9, 8, etc., for a backwards race. He was able to run deeper into the turn at the end of the long straightaway than the kart in front of him on Lap 1 and moved up to the second position. He was able to repeat the out-braking maneuver on Lap 3 to move into the lead, which he was able to hold to the end. In Heat 2, starting from outside the front row, Peter didn't waste much time moving to the front. He made an excellent move to the inside on the approach to Turn 9 (the second corner) and motored away to another heat race win. He made an excellent start from pole position in the feature and pulled away initially before backing off a bit. The newcomer in the class, who had started from the rear all day, made his way through the field and began to catch Peter. Peter responded and was able to keep the gap constant from about the midway point on. Peter capped off his season with another perfect 1-1-1 finish, his fourth this year.

80cc SHIFTER – I always prefer when Henry starts one heat race towards the rear and the other towards the front (as opposed to both from mid-pack). Such was the case on Sunday where Henry lined up for his first heat in the seventh position (of eight). He got a great start and moved up one position in Turn 9 and another in Turn 6 on the first lap. On lap 3, he was right on the tail of the kart in fourth place going into Turn 10. He was able to get underneath going into Turn 9 and made the pass stick. He had to downshift mid corner to maintain his momentum, and this turned out to be a key to quicker lap times throughout the rest of the day. He caught up with the leaders at the end, further improving his personal best to a 44.04 along the way. Henry made another great start from the pole position in Heat 2. With clear track in front of him, Henry reeled off a series of laps in the low 44 second range while those behind him scrapped for position. Henry amassed enough of a lead, further improving his personal best to a 43.97 in the process, to hold on for his first 80cc Shifter class heat race win. A fourth and a first were good enough for the second starting position for the feature. He made another great start while the pole-sitter hesitated momentarily, and once again found clear track in front of him. The pole-sitter recovered quickly, but he and the next few karts had nothing on Henry, who continued to lower his personal best lap times, the best of which was a 43.89. On Lap 7, the third place kart (the eventual season champion in this class) passed the second place kart and set out after Henry. Henry seemed to be able to hold him off everywhere except the braking zone at the end of the long straightway, where the lack of front disk brakes (everyone except Henry and one other kart in his class has them) was a detriment. Henry would pull away slightly through Turn 9, but get reeled back in at the end of the straightaway. On the last lap, the eventual class champion got a good run through the turn leading up to the long straightway and was able to muscle his way inside at the end. Henry could have taken a defensive line and held him off, but chose not to do so. Ten laps on a ten turn circuit is a total of 100 turns. Henry led through 96 of them. A second place feature race finish was another personal best for Henry in this class, however.

NEXT RACE – That's it for the 2007 MSOKC season. Peter is the 2007 MSOKC Junior Sportsman 2 class champion and Henry finished a solid third place in the highly competitive 80cc Shifter class, improving one position from last year. The MSOKC season-ending banquet is November 16, where trophies and prizes will be awarded. Henry will continue in the 80cc Shifter class next year, although his participation in the latter part of the season will depend on what college he decides to attend. Laura and I are still trying to come to grips with that and other similar realizations. Peter can contest the same class next year, but we are considering some alternative classes for him. And then there's Conor. He has been incredibly patient with having to sit out this season. While he has enjoyed his timing and scoring responsibilities, I'm sure he's chomping at the bit to back into action. With the help of a generous benefactor, we purchased a highly competitive Yamaha Super Can kart for him at the end of the 2006 season. It has been waiting patiently in our basement since then. Conor's return to action will depend on what the doctors have to say, however. Conor has a check-up in Iowa City scheduled for November 9, after which we hope to know more.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Subject: MSOKC Race No. 12 - October 7, 2007

Originally sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 5:07 PM

NEWS – Tomorrow is the final race of the 2007 MSOKC season – a make-up for Race No. 10 which was rained out. Race No. 12, the last regularly-scheduled race of the season, was last Sunday, October 7. The only special preparation kart-wise was playing 'musical tires' to make use of what we have as opposed to buying new ones. The other special preparation for Race No. 12 was packing an unusually large quantity of Gatorade for an October race, as temperatures were predicted to be in the 90s.

PRACTICE – Henry continues to turn some of his fastest laps of the day during practice. He was obviously pushing hard however, as he spun in Turn 6 in both of his sessions. 'Borrowing' two of Peter's tires to use on the front of Henry's kart didn't seem to have too much of an adverse effect on Peter's performance, as his lap time were as good as ever.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class had a season-high of seven karts, including two from other local clubs whose seasons have concluded and the former club member who has joined us for several races late in the season. The two from other clubs were on non-spec tires for our club and would be disqualified at the end of the day. Peter lined up last for the start of his first heat. He went from seventh to fifth at the start and then from fifth to fourth to third in the first three laps. He dropped position on Lap 4 but made it back up on Lap 6 to finish third. Peter started from pole position in the second heat and pulled out a lead over the next few laps. The faster karts that started towards the rear made their way forward, but could not catch Peter, who went on to record another heat race win. A third and a first was good enough for the pole position for the feature. Peter made a good start and went side by side with the former club member through Turns 1 and 2. Peter's engine is in bad need of a rebuild, and he didn't have enough to hold on to the lead going into Turn 3. He settled into second but pushed the leader hard throughout the first lap. It became apparent that the former club member was in need of a new set of tires as badly as Peter is in need of an engine rebuild. He went wide in Turn 10 and Peter dove to the inside for the pass. But so did the kart behind Peter. These two got together and the other kart actually rode up on the side of Peter's kart, pushing him into the infield. Peter dropped all the way to last place. Only minor damage was sustained and Peter was able to regroup and continue, however. He made his way past one kart on Lap 2 and two karts on Lap 3. He then reeled off several laps in the 51 second range, which brought him to the tail of the leading group. The leader was still struggling with tire trouble and was holding up the three karts behind him. Turn 10 of the last lap was a repeat of the first lap. The leader went wide and the second place kart dove underneath. Peter crossed the line fourth but was promoted to second when the former club member elected not to go to post-race tech inspection and one of the other karts in front of him was disqualified for tires.

80cc SHIFTER – There was some confusion during the grid formation for Henry's first heat, in which he was supposed to start fifth (of 10). Another kart had lined up in Henry's position, and Henry was directed to the sixth grid position. He got away well and ran in sixth for the first few laps. He was being held up by a group in front of him when a kart behind made an aggressive move in Turn 4, which put Henry in the grass. He fell to ninth. He made up one position and finished eighth. Henry was supposed to start Heat 2 in sixth, but tried to return the favor by lining up fifth. The starter was a bit more diligent this time and made Henry go around again and line up sixth. He must have been seething, because he made an aggressive start and muscled his way to fourth in the first few turns. He ran in fourth, in sight of the leaders, to the finish. We were hoping that an eighth and a fourth might be good enough for a better starting position than sixth, but that is where Henry started the feature. He got away well, making up one position at the start. He ran in fifth for seven laps in close contact with the group in front of him. Sunday must have been the day for returning the favor, because the kart in front of Henry did just that to the kart that had pushed Henry off in Heat 1. Henry was able to get by, too, and finished fourth.

NEXT RACE – Peter had enough points to claim the Junior Sportsman 2 championship as of the previous race. Henry's results last Sunday were good enough for him to claim third place in the highly competitive 80cc Shifter class. With only the best nine of 12 races counting towards the championship, we don't even need to show up tomorrow. The weather is finally starting to feel like fall, it's supposed to be nice tomorrow, and we have just enough rubber left, so that's what we're going to do.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 11 - September 23, 2007

Originally sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 12:36 AM

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 10, which had been scheduled for September 9, 2007, was rained out, so Race No. 11 on Sunday, September 23, was our first event in almost a month. The club only scheduled one 'rain date' for the 2007 season, so we were glad to be greeted by sunny skies on Sunday. All of the preparation work had been done prior to the race that was rained out, so the 'getting ready' part for Race No. 11 was fairly simple for once. The regular head of timing and scoring had a commitment at a Great Lakes Sprint Series race in Newcastle, Indiana, so Conor was asked to assume those duties for Race No. 11.

PRACTICE – Practice was fairly uneventful. We made a minor gear change for Peter, which seemed to help. In his second practice session, he improved his personal best lap time from a 51.48 set on June 9 to a 51.30. Unless my stopwatch finger is letting me down, Henry actually set a faster lap time on year-old practice tires in his first session (44.30) than he did on one-race-old tires in his second (44.91). He had found a video clip on YouTube the night before of Gilles Villeneuve and RenĂ© Arnoux battling it out at the French Grand Prix in 1979. Maybe whatever he got from that was only good for one session…

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class had six karts, including one newcomer and the former club member who had joined us for Race No. 8. Peter lined up in third for the start of both of his heat races. He maintained his position at the start of the first and ran in third to the finish. The former club member ran away from the field, as he had done in Race No. 8, and one of the regulars in Peter's class ran better than he has all season to a well-deserved second place finish. Peter even lowered his personal best lap time to a 51.23 on Lap 4 but could do nothing more than keep up. The inverted order in Heat 2 resulted in much more action than in Heat 1. On the first lap, Peter made his way past one kart and then was passed by the eventual winner. He was then being held up by a slower kart in front of him for several laps. While trying to find a way around, he left the door open and was passed on Lap 4. The two in front of him battled hard for the next two laps. On the last turn of the last lap, an aggressive move resulted in these two tangling just long enough for Peter to slip by both on the inside to take second place. An action-packed heat indeed! A third and a second earned Peter the second starting position for the feature. Peter made a good start and followed the pole sitter through Turn 1. He was able to keep the leader in his sights for the first half of the race while pulling away from the rest. His lap time crept up a bit after that as he consigned himself to a second place finish.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry's class had 10 karts for Race No. 11 – eight regulars and two newcomers. Henry drew the eighth and third starting positions for his heat races. His standing starts have been getting better and better throughout the season, and he made a great one in Heat 1, passing two karts in the process. He made another pass in Turn 9 on Lap 2 and ran in fifth, while nipping at the heels of the kart in front of him, to the finish. He made another great start in Heat 2 and ran in third, with lap times consistently in the low 44 second range, to the finish. A fifth and a third place finish earned him the fourth starting position for the feature. Oops! I spoke too soon about his great starts, because when the green flag flew, he sat there for what seemed like an eternity (which I'm sure was milliseconds). He lost three places but made one up on the first lap and settled in to seventh for several laps. At the beginning of Lap 4, there was a scary accident involving two karts in front of Henry. The fourth place kart spun in the very fast Turn 1 and found himself pointing the wrong way on the track, rolling backwards slightly, at the exit point. Indecision on the part of the fifth place kart resulted in him going to the inside, and then the outside, of the backwards kart. The backwards kart was still moving towards the outside, however, and was clipped in the left rear wheel by the left front wheel of the fifth place kart. A kart with a deranged front wheel does not stop quickly on the grass, and he made his way all the way to the fence before coming to a stop. The impact with the fence was not hard, but the driver sat there for what seemed like a long time before getting out – shaken up but not hurt. Henry and the kart in front of him made it through the mess okay. Henry was able to make a pass later in that lap and ran in fourth to the finish.

NEXT RACE – The next two races are on back-to-back weekends and will conclude the season. Race No. 12 is Sunday, October 7, 2007, and the make-up for Race No. 10 is the following Sunday (October 14). Baring some unforeseen circumstance, Peter now has enough points to claim the championship in his class, equaling the feat that Conor accomplished in 2005. Henry's consistency has earned him a fairly solid third place standing in the championship in his class, but he will need to maintain that consistency to stay there.

We were joined at Race No. 11 by the newest member of the Bruce Brothers Racing team – Weston – who is a four-month-old chocolate Lab/Pointer mix.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at

p.p.s., Gilles Villeneuve and René Arnoux video can be found at

Sunday, September 2, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 9 - August 26, 2007

Originally sent: Sunday, September 02, 2007 11:35 AM

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 9 was a qualifying format event in the regular direction this past Sunday at Circleville Raceway Park . Preparations for this event included new bodywork and tires for Henry and a clutch rebuild and new tires for Peter. The race itself was followed by the annual MSOKC 'Hog Roast', which involved plenty of food and a variety of games. It had been stormy in Central Ohio during the preceding week, so we were glad to be greeted by sunny skies, moderate temperatures, and a rising barometer on Sunday morning. Conor assumed his usual duties in the scoring tower.

PRACTICE – Peter spent his first practice session breaking in his clutch and his new tires. We did some fine tuning between sessions, and in his second session, Peter got down into the mid 51 second range. Henry also spent his first practice session breaking in new tires. He got into the 44 second range toward the end, but reported that his kart felt 'twitchy'. This twitchiness seemed to fully manifest itself in his second practice session, where he could only manage laps in the 45 second range. Back at our pit area, we discovered that his left front tire was nearly flat. It turned out that the front tires we had be given for Henry were 'seconds' – each of them had a blister in the sidewall which was the apparent cause of the leak. We traded these for two new tires, which we were able to mount up in plenty of time, but Henry would have to start his qualifying session on front tires that had not been broken in.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class consisted of five karts. He lined up first for the qualifying session, which involved a warm up lap plus three timed laps. I had told Peter to get a good lap 'in the bag' on his first timed lap and then to go for it on the last two. His first lap was good. On his second, Peter chose an excellent time to nearly equal his personal best (51.33 compared to a 51.30), which earned him the pole position for the heat race by about half a second. Some people call qualifying format races boring because there is not a lot of passing action. This was indeed the case for Peter's class on Sunday, which was fine by me. Following a pair of great starts, Peter led every lap of both his heat race and his feature. The feature was a bit closer than the heat race, however, and towards the end it got uncomfortably close. Peter later reported that a drop of sweat had gotten into his eye early in the race and that he had run most of the laps with one eye closed! Peter recorded his third perfect 1-1-1 finish of the season and his fifth feature race win overall. He also extended his lead in the championship standings.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry's class, which had 10 karts on Sunday, was split into two groups for qualifying. The replacement front tires, and the few chassis adjustments we made, must have done the trick as his first timed lap was a new personal best for Henry (44.51). His second lap was even better (44.42). He might have improved again on Lap 3, but overcooked it a bit going into Turn 3. His best time was third quickest in his session, and no one in the second session could better that time, so third is where he would start his heat race. The 'boring' nature of qualifying format races comes to mind again, which is again fine with me. Henry got great starts in both his heat race and his feature and ran in third to the finish. In both, he was pulling away from those behind him, some of whom Henry has seldom beaten, while drawing closer the leaders at the finish. In his heat race, Henry recorded the second fastest lap time, which also further lowered his personal best to 44.20. Henry's 3-3-3 finish resulted in the most championship points he has ever earned in this class. It also brought him from fifth (where he finished last year) to third in the championship standings. He'll have to maintain this momentum if he expects to keep this position, however.

NEXT RACE – There are three races remaining in the MSOKC season, all of which involve bonus points for participation. The next race is a reverse direction event on Sunday, September 9, 2007. Conor will have sole responsibilities for timing and scoring at this event.

It is with a heavy, heavy heart that I must report that Leo, our beloved English Bull Terrier and faithful companion, passed away unexpectedly yesterday afternoon at the young age of seven years. About two months ago, he began having 'episodes' that were later diagnosed to be the result of a heart problem. In spite of the medication that he was on, he succumbed peacefully on a beautiful day beneath the pine trees in our back yard. Fortunately, everyone was home so that we could grieve together. We are all still overwhelmed with sadness – he was such a good and loving dog. Godspeed Leo…


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Commercial Point Grand Prix and MSOKC Race No. 8 (2007)

Originally sent: Saturday, August 18, 2007 2:32 PM

NEWS – Bruce Brothers Racing has had two race weekends in a row but only one participant in each. Henry participated in the Commercial Point Grand Prix on August 4 and 5. There was no class for Peter, so Henry was our lone participant. Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 8 was last Saturday (August 11), but Henry had decided to attend a camping/kayaking trip with his high school cross country team instead, so Peter was our lone participant. Conor had the weekend of the CPGP off, but was back in the timing and scoring tower for MSOKC Race No. 8, where he helped commission a new laptop computer for the system.

COMMERCIAL POINT GRAND PRIX – The CPGP – a street race through the town of Commercial Point, Ohio, that benefits the Jackson Township Fireman's Association – was the highlight of the season for us last year. Qualifying and merchandise races were on Saturday and trophy and 'pro' races were on Sunday. The track layout was shortened from last year to avoid a very narrow, bumpy section known as the 'bowling alley'. The track went from a 0.6 mile nine turn circuit to a very fast 0.5 mile six-turn circuit. To make up for the loss of the bowling alley, the front straightaway was extended to 900 ft (from 600 ft). Before we even arrived, we had decided that a big gear change was in order. In practice under sunny skies on Saturday, Henry was pushing 75 mph before breaking for Turn 1.

CPGP Qualifying – Lap times from the second timed practice would set the grid for the 15 lap merchandise races on Saturday. Henry adapted quickly to the new course layout and ended up fourth fastest of the 12 karts in his class.

CPGP Merchandise Race – Henry got away well from the standing start in his lone Saturday race and ran in fourth place for the first 10 laps or so. He was nipping at heels at the kart in front of him while the kart behind was nipping at his heels. On Lap 11 (of 15), he tried to gain an advantage by taking a different line through the final corner leading onto the front straightaway. Unfortunately, he clipped a hay bale on the exit and did a quick spin. He ended up pointed in the right direction and was able to continue while only loosing one position. He went on to finish fifth, but there were repairs to do (bent tie rod) overnight.

CPGP Trophy Race – Sunday dawned mostly cloudy with a distinct chance of rain. The repairs must have been effective, because Henrys practice times on Sunday were impressive. Finishing positions from Saturday set the grid for the 15 lap Trophy races on Sunday. Before those got underway, the skies opened up. Our normal club races are postponed in the event of rain, but that is not the case with the CPGP. Fortunately, we have an older set of rain tires that I had thought to mount on spare rims in the event of rain. We bolted these on and made what we thought were the necessary chassis adjustments. Henry had never raced in the rain before, so we were all a bit apprehensive as we headed for the grid. Henry's class was the last out, and there had been plenty of action in the preceding races. Many of the competitors had elected not to start in the rain. Eight showed up on the grid for Henry's race. He got away well again and gained a position on lap one when a kart in front of him went into the hay bales. He settled into fourth position and began to get the hang of the wet weather business. Even so, lap times were about seven seconds slower than in dry conditions (38 second laps as opposed to 31). He was obviously being held up by two karts in front of him. On lap 7, he pushed too hard going into Turn 2, twitched, tried to catch it, and ended up hard into the hay bales. From where we were positioned, our only indication of this was that he did not come around for Lap 8. As worry began to settle in, Laura's cell phone rang. Henry had borrowed a spectator's cell phone so that he could let us know he was all right!

CPGP Pro Race – Henry's pro race was third in the order on Sunday afternoon. This gave us little time for repairs. We scrambled to replace a bent tie rod (again!), realign the front end, repair body work, and clean up an incredible amount of hay. To make things worse, the rain had subsided, so there was some doubt that rain tires and the rain setup were the right choice. The first two pro races were run under what were declared 'wet conditions', but just before Henry was called to the grid, the conditions were declared 'dry' again. The entire Bruce Brothers Racing team sprung into action – the rain tires came off and the chassis adjustments were made in plenty of time. Finishing positions from the Trophy races set the grid for the 20 lap Pro races. Henry was running sixth when he had his incident in the rain, so that's where he started. He made a great start and went around the outside of two karts on the approach to Turn 1. He made his way around another kart on Lap 2 and ran in third before being passed on Lap 4 by a faster kart that had not done well in the rain. Henry again found himself between a kart he could not get around and a kart that wanted to get around him. On Lap 7, the kart behind ran out of patience and tried a bold move up the inside in Turn 1. Both Henry and the kart ahead let him go, but the move was too aggressive and the overtaking kart ended up in the hay bales. Henry received a glancing blow from the rebound but was able to continue without delay. On Lap 13, the faster kart that had passed on Lap 4 came to a stop, which promoted Henry back to third. Henry continued to pressure the second place kart to the end, even pulling along side several times, but could not find a way around. His third place finish earned him a cool $125 in prize money.

MSOKC RACE NO. 8 – MSOKC Race No. 8 last Saturday was the second night race of the season. Preparations were fairly straightforward with only one kart to worry about again. The gap between Peter and the second fastest kart in his class has grown smaller over the last few races, so we did decide to make some chassis adjustments. In Peter's second practice session, he nearly equaled his personal best lap time at Circleville Raceway Park (51.50 seconds compared to a personal best of 51.30). His lap times usually improve throughout the day, so we were encouraged by the changes. The Junior Sportsman 2 class had a season-high of six karts, including a former club member who has been running regional and national events for the past year or so, and would be disqualified at the end of the day for running on non-club-spec tires. Peter drew mid-field starting positions for both of his heat races (fourth in the first heat and third in the second). When the green flag dropped in the first heat, Peter was held up by the kart in front of him and dropped to last. He made up two positions on the first lap, another one on the third, and then made a well timed pass in Turn 5 on the last lap. He finished second behind the kart who would be disqualified, but with no clear laps, he was unable to improve on his personal best lap time. The second heat and the feature were frustrating for Peter. In the second heat race, he started in third and ran there to the finish. If he could have gotten around the regular club member in front of him, I'm sure he could have given the former club member a run for his money. His finishing positions in the heat races put him on the outside of the front row for the feature 'under the lights'. The regular club member was able to follow the pole sitter through to second at the start. Peter spent 10 long laps trying to find a way past while running lap times over a second slower that his practice times. He finished third in the feature and was promoted to second after the disqualification, so the day wasn't a disaster by any means, but it was certainly frustrating to have no clear laps following the practice sessions. We have decided on a clutch rebuild for Peter prior to the next race to help him with his starts and we will also replace the set of tires he has been running on since the beginning of the season. Peter has a healthy lead in the championship, but these improvements should allow him to show what he's capable of. Peter has his eye on Conor's fastest lap at CRP in this class, which is a 49.62 set on September 18, 2005. This is a lofty goal, but it's nice to have something to shoot for.

NEXT RACE – MSOKC Race No. 9 – a qualifying format race in the regular direction – is August 26, 2006. In the mean time the boys will start back to school – Henry in his last year at high school, and Conor and Peter in their first years of high school and middle school, respectively.


Friday, July 27, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 7 – July 22, 2007 – Three in a Row

Originally sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 11:46 AM

NEWS – Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 7 last Sunday was just two days after we returned from a whirlwind trip to Iowa City and Kansas City . Conor had a check-up at the hospital in Iowa City, where he received an encouraging report from his doctor, and we were able to spend some quality time with family in Kansas City. After very hot weather in Kansas City, we were relieved by the unseasonably cool weather in central Ohio. Henry got new tires and brake pads for Race No. 7 and we once again left well enough alone for Peter. Race No. 7 was the second 'backwards' race of the season and the first of two races this season that will use a timed qualifying session in place of the first heat race.

PRACTICE – Henry took it easy for the first few laps of his first practice session to break in his new tires and brake pads. Something was not quite right with his engine, as it was noticeably off-song coming around the final turn (the normal Turn 1). We checked electrical connections and cleaned the spark plug between practice sessions but this did not alleviate the problem. We installed a new spark plug that we were able to scrounge from one of his competitors and hoped this would do the trick for the qualifying session. We know from experience that it is easy to get behind the eight ball during a race day with a qualifying format (I forgot to install Henry's transponder during a qualifying race last year and he had to start from the rear). Once again, Peter's practice times seemed to be about a second faster than the rest of the field.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class had five karts again on Sunday. For the qualifying session, all five karts were on the track at once, but spaced out at even intervals. Qualifying consists of a warm-up lap, two flying laps, and a cool down lap. Peter's best time was good enough for the pole position by about 3/4 of a second. In the heat race, Peter brought the field around a bit faster than he normally does, and the outside pole sitter got the best of him going into the first turn (the normal Turn 10). It can be difficult to pass at Circleville Raceway Park unless you're aggressive or a lot faster. Peter does not tend to be aggressive enough on the race track, and 3/4 of a second is not a big difference. Peter had several runs at the lead kart during the first few laps. On the last lap, he got a good run through the turn leading to the back straightaway and was able to pull along the inside into the following turn. Peter held his position but the other kart did not concede and the two banged wheels. Both lost momentum but the other kart was now on the inside for the following turn, which foiled Peter's attempt. Peter hung on to finish second. Because of his recent success, we had become a bit complacent with the preparation of Peter kart. For one, he has been 15 lbs over the minimum-required weight for his class. We decided to remove some ballast and make some minor chassis adjustment for the feature. Starting positions for the feature are determined by an aggregate score of qualifying and the heat race, which put Peter on the outside of the front row. At the start, he was able to return the favor from the heat race and slid into the lead going into the first turn. He quickly opened up a lead. His third lap was a 51.30, which is a personal best for Peter in either direction at CRP (previous best was 51.46 in the normal direction). He backed off a bit after that but continued to build his lead to the end. Although it was not another perfect day for Peter, it was his third feature race win in a row.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry's class had 10 karts on Sunday, which is a relatively light turnout for this class. To avoid any chance of congestion on the track, the class was split into two groups for the qualifying session. I was relieved to hear Henry's engine singing its normal song as he came around to start his first flying lap. He must have known that this lap was a good one, because he pushed a bit too hard on the second one. He came to a stop in the grass after dropping two wheels off the edge of the track about half way through. One lap is all it takes in qualifying however and Henry's was good enough to start the heat race from the front half of the grid (fifth). There is usually a lot of action in normal heat races, as the starting positions are determined by a random draw. The faster guys sometimes start from the rear and the slower guys sometimes start at the front. There wasn't a lot of action in Henry's heat race (which is fine by me). Henry got a great start and completed the first lap where he started – in fifth. He benefited from one retirement and finished fourth while pressuring the third place kart. Starting from the fourth position in the feature, he got away well and settled into fourth. A faster kart who had not qualified well nipped at Henry's heals for several laps before parking it with mechanical problems at about mid distance. Henry was right on the tail of the third place kart until the last lap or so when he backed off a bit. Driving a shifter kart is a very physical activity, particularly in the reverse direction at CRP where there is a nasty bump in the normal Turn 1 which is taken wide open at about 60 mph. Henry went on the finish fourth, but complained of aching neck muscle afterwards. His results for the day were encouraging enough (reasonable finishes and lap times in the mid 44 second range all day), but we later learned that the third place kart was disqualified during technical inspection for using non-spec fuel. This promoted Henry one place in each of the three sessions. A third place feature race finish equals Henry's personal best in a shifter kart.

NEXT RACE – The next event for Bruce Brothers Racing is a Henry-only affair on August 4 and 5. The Commercial point Grand Prix is a street race through the town of Commercial Point, Ohio, which benefits the Jackson Township Fireman's Association. Unfortunately, there is no class for Peter again this year. Qualifying races are on Saturday beginning at 3:30 PM. The results set the starting order for the feature races on Sunday, which get underway at 1:00 PM. 'Pro' races follow the trophy races on Sunday. Henry will compete in both again this year. This was the highlight of the season for us last year where Conor won easily and Henry finished third on both Saturday and Sunday and collected a paycheck for his fourth place finish in the pro race. After that, it's back to CRP for MSOKC Race No. 8 on Saturday, August 11, which is the second night race of the season. In the mean time, we're all in the San Francisco Bay area where we are getting to spend more quality time with family and visiting a few potential universities for Henry.


Monday, July 16, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 6 - July 8, 2007

Originally sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 9:24 PM

NEWS – We're in Kansas City visiting family after an encouraging check-up for Conor in Iowa City last week, so I'll make this brief. The dog days of summer arrived for MSOKC Race No. 6 a week ago Sunday. Peter added to his string of impressive performances while Henry struggled a bit with brake and tire problems.

PRACTICE – Henry has only been getting two race weekends out of a set of tires, which is a bit rich for our race budget, so we decided to mix and match a set together to a third race out of his first two sets. This particular Sunday was probably not the best day to do this since grip was at a premium because of the hot weather. We have also been struggling a bit with Henry's dual caliper brake system, but made some changes that we hoped would help. Henry began practice on an old set of tires to save the set we put together for the race and did reasonably well. Peter, as usual, had no problem setting the pace in his class in practice.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – For the first time since Race No. 2, there were finally five karts in Peter's class on Sunday. Peter started on the tail for his first heat. His lap chart for this heat looks like stair steps – one pass on the first lap, another on the second, another on the third, etc. By the end of Lap 4 he was in the lead and pulling away to a well deserved win. He timed the start perfectly from the pole position in the second heat and once again motored away. The feature was much the same – Peter led easily from the green flag for his second perfect 1-1-1 finish of the season. His fastest laps of the day were after taking the lead in Heat 1. I think he was holding back thereafter, which is an ominous sign for his competition.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry started his first heat from outside the fourth row. He made up a couple of places on the first lap and ran in sixth to the finish. He got away well from the second position in Heat 2 and ran there for three laps. While he was able to keep the leader in his sights, it became apparent on Lap 4 that he was holding up several karts behind him who were getting deeper into the heavy braking corners. When one kart got by, this opened the door for two others. Henry was able to hold on for a fifth place finish. Henry started the feature from the fifth position. He got away well and ran there for four laps. With tires that were just about spent, he conceded a position on Lap 5 and another on Lap 8. While he had some decent lap times throughout the day, his fastest was nearly a second slower than his personal best. This race for Henry is one that can best be described as being unremarkable, which is not bad considering the circumstances.

NEXT RACE – Henry will have new tires for Race No. 7, which is Sunday, July 22, 2007. This will be the second race in the opposite direction at Circleville Raceway Park this season. It will also be the first race of the season to use a timed qualifying format. Both Peter and Henry enjoy 'backwards' races, and as such, should benefit from the qualifying format.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at

Friday, June 29, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 5 - June 24, 2007

Originally sent: Friday, June 29, 2007 4:08 PM

NEWS – Bruce Brothers Racing came away from MSOKC Race No. 5 with a boatload of championship points this past Sunday. Peter had another near-perfect day and Henry nearly equaled his best-ever finish in a shifter kart. Conor had increased responsibility in the timing and scoring tower, as the normal head of this activity was absent that day.

PRACTICE – Sunday morning arrived with a distinct chance of showers during the day. It had rained overnight and the track was damp when we arrived. Practice got underway after a slight delay. In addition to the track being damp, Race No. 5 was the first of three 'backwards' races (run in the opposite – clockwise – direction) this season. The boys had enjoyed and done quite well in the single backwards race last season, so we had high hopes on Sunday – if the rain would hold off. Peter spent the first practice session acclimating to the track and coping with the damp conditions but dropped his lap times significantly in the second session. Henry got down to competitive lap times late in the first session but was bottled up in traffic in the second. This was disappointing as we were trying a different gear ratio and did not have a chance to sufficiently judge the benefits. In the end, we decided to give it a try.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – The turnout for Peter's class continues to be light – just four karts on Sunday. There have been six different competitors in this class this year, but we have yet to get all of them together at the same event. Peter started the first heat from the pole position, made a great start, and motored off into the distance. He had everyone covered on Sunday by at least a second per lap. This was not enough in the second heat, however. Starting from the rear, he made one pass on Lap 1 and another on Lap 3. He reeled in the leader on Lap 4 but was unable to make a pass, in part due to some very defensive driving by the leader in the closing laps. His fastest lap in Heat 2 was over a second and a half slower than in Heat 1. A first and a second was good enough for the pole position in the feature, however. After some side-by-side action in the first few corners, he claimed the lead and once again motored off for the feature race win – his second in a row. His best lap (52.01 seconds) was just over a half a second slower than his fastest lap in the regular direction (51.46), which he reset three times two weeks ago during Race No. 4. This is shaping up to be a great season for Peter.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry's class had another great turnout – 13 on Sunday. Heat race starting positions are very significant in a class of this size. Henry prefers mid-pack starting positions for the heat races. I prefer to see him start up front in one, although that requires a start from the rear in the other. When he starts up front, he tends to do well if he gets a good start. He can usually make up a few positions from the rear, which results in a reasonable starting position for the feature. My preferred scenario is pretty much how things went for Henry on Sunday. In the first heat, Henry started from the third position and got a great start, passing one kart in the process. There was a melee in the second turn (the normal Turn 9) on the first lap, which happened after Henry had gotten through. He ran second until losing a position on Lap 3. He lost another position on lap 4 but made it back up on the same lap when the over-taker developed electrical problems, which resulted in a third place finish. There was action immediately after the green flag dropped in the second heat, which had Henry starting from the 11th position. He took evasive action through the grass as he approached the start/finish line and just about took out the flagman! Two karts were sidelined, which left Henry where he started – in 11th. There were two more retirements on Lap 3. On Lap 5, Henry managed to make two passes and finished seventh. This earned him a fifth place starting position for the feature. He once again got away well to maintain his position. Henry took advantage of a mistake by the kart in front of him on Lap 3, which put him into fourth, and set out for the leaders. Because of the impending rain, the feature races were shortened to eight laps (from the usual 10). Henry caught up to the second and third place karts on Lap 8 but ran out of time to do anything about it.

NEXT RACE – Both Peter and Henry earned a healthy sum of championship points on Sunday. Only the best nine of 12 finishes count toward the championship. Not counting the race we missed, which will be dropped from the points total, Peter leads the championship in his class, and because of his consistency, Henry is firmly in contention for one of the top spots in his class. Conor did another excellent job in the timing and scoring tower. The next race is MSOKC Race No. 6 on Sunday, July 8, 2007, at Circleville Raceway Park.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at

Monday, June 18, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 4 - June 9, 2007

Originally sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 11:45 PM

NEWS – After a long five week break, Bruce Brother Racing was back in action last weekend for Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 4, which was the first night race of the season. These night races are intended to provide some relief to the summer heat, but after a hot spell during the preceding week, last Saturday ended up being a beautiful day. We had done absolutely nothing with our equipment since our last race – hadn't even taken it out of the trailer – as our weekends recently have been filled with road trips to Iowa City. Conor and Laura's return not only enabled Henry and Peter to participate on Saturday, it meant that Conor could return to his duties as a member of the MSOKC timing and scoring crew. That Conor was willing to give this a go just one day after his return home from a month-long hospital stay is a testament to how well his recovery is going. All of the MSOKC community, who have been very supportive throughout his ordeal, were glad to have Conor back in their midst.

PRACTICE – Five weeks is a long time. Fortunately, we only missed one MSOKC race during this time. I scoured my notes for where we left off after Race No. 2 and decided not to make too many changes since both Henry and Peter had run well, Henry in particular. Henry's tires were on the verge of needing to be replaced, and instead of discovering this after practice with little time to change them, we replaced them straight away. Peter was on the pace right away in practice while Henry took it easy at first to break in his new tires.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – There were only three karts in Peter's class on Saturday. Peter lined up at the rear for the start of the first heat but was promoted to the outside of the front row when one of the karts in front of him sputtered to a stop on the formation lap. Peter timed the start perfectly, led into Turn 1, and won handily. Heat 2 was much like Heat 1 except that Peter got started from pole position and all three made the start. Peter lined up on the pole for the feature but did not get the green flag the first time around because the other two were lagging behind. The next time around, it was Peter who was being too conservative, and as the green flag flew, the other two went around him. He made up one position in Turn 4 on the first lap and was on the tail of the leader by the end of the first lap. He followed the leader for another lap and set up a pass beginning in Turn 2. He backed off a bit and then got a head of steam going through Turns 3 and 4. This allowed him to draw along side down the long back straightaway and make the pass in Turn 5. He motored on to the checkered flag for his first-ever perfect 1-1-1 finish.

80cc SHIFTER – In contrast to Peter's class, there were 14 karts in Henry's class. He drew mid-pack starting positions for both of his heat races. In the first, he got away well but dropped a position at the start. He lost another position while trying to pass on Lap 3 and another on Lap 5 when he dropped two wheels into the dirt between Turns 6 and 7, eventually finishing 9th. Henry got a great start in the second heat when the pole sitter got away slowly. From mid-pack, Henry was challenging for second in Turn 2. One of the karts starting towards the rear got pushed into the grass between Turns 2 and 3 and took a shortcut right into Henry's path as he rounded Turn 3. Several karts were immobilized temporarily, including Henry. He had to get out and push to get going again, loosing more than half a lap in the process. He soldiered around with the nose of his kart dragging the ground to a 12th place finish. Henry was not looking forward to his 11th place starting position for the feature. Lots can go wrong starting from that far back. He got another great start, however, and made up two positions right away. He dispatched another kart on Lap 3 and another on Lap 5. On Lap 7, he made another excellent pass on the entry of Turn 10 bringing him up to 6th place. With a bit of clear track in front of him, his lap times dropped into the 44 second range and he began to reel in the next group who were scraping amongst themselves. He closed the gap to within a few kart lengths as the checkered flag flew.

NEXT RACE – Peter had his first perfect day but it was a day with a disappointing turnout for his class. Henry struggled during his heat races but redeemed himself in the feature. Most significantly, Conor is BACK! He seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself on Saturday. The next race is Sunday, June 24, 2007, which is the first of three races that will be run in the clock-wise direction at Circleville Raceway Park this season.


p.s., Lap times and results can be found at

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 2 - May 6, 2007

Originally sent: May 8, 2007 11:49 PM

NEWS – Bruce Brother Racing had another great outing last weekend for MSOKC Race No. 2. It was a bit windy and cool in the morning, but it turned out to be another beautiful day. Peter got a new clutch disk and a new drive gear during the two week break. Henry ran well in Race No. 1, but we decided to make a slight gear change to his kart to make better use of the increased horsepower from his engine rebuild. Conor again had duty in the tower, this time as a full member of the timing and scoring crew.

PRACTICE – Peter started tentatively in his first practice session, but got down to a reasonable lap time. His gear ratio seemed to be a bit low, which I attributed to the strong tail wind down the back straightaway. I made a fairly drastic change for his second practice session, which he didn't get to sufficiently test because we forgot to top up his tank with methanol. He pulled off early complaining about his engine cutting out in the right hand corners. Henry also complained of engine problems in his practice sessions. We tried a few things and eventually traced it to an electrical short with an un-used kill switch connection, which we were able to easily rectify. After having made gear ratio changes to both karts, we had still not determined the effectiveness by the end of practice for either.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – There were five karts in Peter's class on Sunday. One was a fellow graduate from the Rookie Box class from last year, whose kart wasn't ready in time for Race No. 1. Peter started fourth in the first heat, and because of several relative new-comers in front of him, took it easy at the start. He dropped a position, but made it up on the first lap. He found himself behind one of the new-comers who was running laps several seconds slower than Peter is capable of, but he could not get by and finished fourth. His new gear ratio seemed a bit high, but I didn't know whether to attribute this to the need for a change or being stuck behind a much slower kart. He started the second heat from the second position and ran there to the finish. It was apparent that he was faster than the leader, but again could not get past. We did make a gear change back to where we started from for the feature. A fourth and a second resulted in a third place starting position. He was able the follow the pole-sitter through into second in the first few corners. He again ran right on the tail of the leader for 10 laps, obviously faster but unable to get past. His gear ratio was again a bit high. Had we remembered to put fuel in his tank for the second practice session, we may have figured this out in time to make the necessary changes for the feature.

80cc SHIFTER – Unlike Peter's problems, Henry's problems seemed to sort themselves out for the races themselves. There were 13 karts in his class on Sunday. He started the first heat towards the front in the third position. Concerned about his mediocre starts, I thought to put it into terms he could relate to. I told him that it was not all about getting a perfect launch from a dead stop, but rather it was a mater of accumulating as much distance as possible in the least amount of time possible. In other words, it was better to get moving as early as possible, albeit slowly, than to stand still while attempting to execute a perfect launch. I even put into math terms by explaining it was a mater of accumulating area under the time-distance curve. This seemed to help as he got off of the line as well as he ever has in Heat 1. He did drop a position in the run to Turn 3, however. After that, he seemed to be having trouble getting through Turn 4, as he lost another position on Lap 1 and another on Lap 2. He benefited from several off-course excursions later in the race and ended up finishing second, recording a near-best lap of 44.51 in the process. Starting towards the rear in the second heat, he got bounced around like a ping pong ball most of the race while being held up by slower karts. He eventually finished seventh. A second and a seventh resulted in a fifth place starting position for the feature. I'm hoping that my words of wisdom are the trick, because Henry got the best start he has ever had in the feature. He moved as soon as the flag dropped and followed the two karts in front of him past the two karts on the outside. The leader began to develop a gap fairly quickly, but Henry was right on the kart in font of him. In fact, it became apparent fairly quickly that the kart in font of him was holding Henry up. The fourth place kart nipped at Henry's heels for a few laps, but then fell off a bit. Henry followed the second place kart to the finish. At the end, they were separated by less than a kart-length. A third place feature race finish is a personal best for Henry in MSOKC 80 cc Shifter class competition.

NEXT RACE – I'm not sure we're going to make it to the next race, which is Saturday, May 26. In fact, we're probably going to miss it. Conor and Laura will leave for Iowa City the day after tomorrow (Thursday, May 10). Conor has a full day of testing and various apparatus fittings on Friday. I'm going to meet them there on Sunday, May 13, as Conor begins his treatment (starting with several days of traction) on Monday, May 14. Henry and Peter will fly to Iowa City to be there for the surgery on Thursday, May 17th. Henry and Peter will return to Columbus on Sunday, May 20 (they have school until June 7). Depending on how thing go, I will most likely return on Sunday, May 20, as well. After that, Henry, Peter, and I are planning to commute to Iowa City on the weekends. Laura and Conor are prepared to be there for about a month. We'll see how thing go for Race No. 4, which is Saturday, June 9. In the mean time, Conor has finished his school work and will have his last day of middle school tomorrow (a month early). He also had his hair buzzed off this afternoon in preparation for next week. When I got home this afternoon, I had a hard time figuring out who that short-haired kid was sitting on the living room floor. Weird...


p.s., Lap times and results can be found at

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MSOKC Race No. 1 – April 22, 2007

Originally sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 12:41 AM

NEWS – The 2007 Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club season got off to an excellent start for Bruce Brother Racing last weekend despite only a minimal about of preparation. Peter and I were able to get in one short practice session about a month ago following the reconfiguration of his kart for the Junior Sportsman 2 class he will contest this season. Henry and I also had a short practice session two weekends ago to break in his engine following a freshening up and the addition of a few bits and pieces by his engine builder. Both got new tires for the start of the season. The club had been looking for a helper for the timing and scoring staff on race days, and this ended up being an excellent opportunity for Conor.

PRACTICE – It sure was nice to see all of our racing friends on Sunday after a long winter. We also had excellent weather on Sunday, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the upper 70s. The first race of the season is the first real chance to see how many competitors will be in each class. The overall turnout was good, and Henry's class was as strong as ever with 11 even though several regulars were absent. Peter's class consisted of only four, but we know of several others who will compete but were not ready in time for the season opener. Peter practiced first and it became immediately apparent that we had done something right with the reconfiguration of his kart, as he was at least a second a lap faster than everyone else. We have a lot of data from when Conor won the championship in this class in 2005, which helped immensely. Peter also adapted quickly to almost twice the amount of horsepower he had last year. Henry was also on the pace immediately and seemed to be extremely pleased with the increased horsepower as the result of his engine work.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN 2 – Peter's class consisted of him, the Rookie Box class champion from last year, and two relative newcomers, one of whom ran several races last year. The newcomers started from the rear all day and Peter started the first heat from outside the front row. He fell in behind the pole sitter in Turn 1 and was tight on his tail for the first few laps. Knowing he was faster, he bided his time until the leader made a mistake, which came on Lap 3. Peter tucked underneath in Turn 4 and had the lead by Turn 5. He pulled away and, in spite of having to cope with lapped traffic, won by a comfortable margin. Starting from the pole in Heat 2, Peter made an excellent start and just edged his primary competitor going into Turn 1. There was a bit of contact between Peter's right rear wheel and the other kart's left front wheel between Turns 1 and 2, but both continued without delay. Peter was able to disappear into the distance for another heat race win. Peter also started the feature from the pole position. He got a good start, but so did his primary competitor. They went side-by-side through Turns 1 and 2, which put the other kart on the inside for Turn 3. I was confident that if Peter could not hold the lead, he could certainly challenge from second. Unfortunately, the kart behind clobbered Peter from the rear and sent him into the grass. He became high-centered on the curbing and had to get out and push to get going again. By the time he was underway, he was 35 seconds or so behind the leader. Once he had a clear track ahead of him, he lowered his lap times into the low 52 second range. His best was a 51.93, which compares to a best of 56.49 from the Rookie Box class last year. At about mid distance, I realized that he was catching the leader at quite a pace – like 2 or 3 seconds a lap. At the end of the 10 lap event, he was still second but was able to cut the deficit to about 7 seconds. Peter was fortunate to finish at all, as the Turn 3 incident on Lap 1 resulted in a significant methanol leak from his fuel tank. Because of a broken chain mishap in the second heat by his primary competitor, Peter came away from the day leading the championship in his class.

80cc SHIFTER – Henry was not in the best of shape on Sunday. The night before had been his Junior/Senior prom, and he had been out (by special permission) until about 3:30 AM. I got him up at about 6:45 AM on Sunday. He started his first heat from fifth position. He got away from the standing start well, but dropped a position in the process. He ran in sixth position for a few laps with traffic in front and behind. On Lap 4, the kart behind was able to dive underneath going into in Turn 5, but Henry was able to repay the favor on the exit of Turn 5 when the other kart went in a little too deep (he called it a 'Lewis Hamilton move' in reference to a similar bold move by Formula 1's hottest rookie in the season opener). Henry finally had to concede the position on the next lap and finished seventh. He also started the second heat from the fifth position. He timed the dropping of the flag well, but at the last second, bogged the engine allowing several karts to pass. It was fortunate that he did, because there was a melee in Turn 1. Henry used a strategy that I told him about a while back, which I learned from watching too much racing on television. I once heard an ESPN pit reporter say that, when someone spins in front of you, you should aim right for them, because by the time you get there, they'll be gone. That's just what Henry said he did and it worked like a charm. He came through the mess right where he started – in fourth position. He benefited from the misfortune of several others and ended up in second position by about mid distance. He cruised there to the end and recorded his best ever finish in the 80cc Shifter class. Henry's heat race finishes earned him the fourth starting position for the feature. He got away reasonably well, but dropped two positions in the process. On Lap 3, he benefited from a mechanical failure, which promoted him to fifth. The leader had gotten away at that point, but the next four were nose-to-tail. I was happy to see Henry holding onto the tail of this group. On Lap 4, one of the karts in from of Henry seemed to have made a clean pass on the inside going into Turn 5, but the door was closed on him which sent him briefly into the grass. This promoted Henry to fourth. He ran there for three laps before having to re-concede the position. He finished the feature in fifth, but recorded the fourth fastest lap time of 44.76. Another 1/10 off of that would have given him the second fastest lap time. Overall it was an excellent result for a bleary-eyed boy.

NEXT RACE – Peter and Henry both had excellent days on the track, and Conor enjoyed himself in the scoring tower as well. He even got paid for his efforts, which he thought was pretty cool for mostly sitting in the air conditioning all day. Everyone seemed to be glad to see him and many took time out to wish him a speedy recovery from what the next month or so holds in store. The next race is Sunday, May 6, 2007. Peter and Henry will do there best to even better their performances from this past Sunday, and Conor will have even increased responsibilities in the tower. After that, it will be off to Iowa City for Conor's surgery, which is scheduled for May 17.


p.s., Lap times and results can be found at

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

2007 MSOKC Season Preview

Originally sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 1:36 AM

Well, unfortunately, Conor will not be able to use the new kart we acquired for him this season. We went to see the neurosurgeon we had been referred to at University of Iowa's Children's Hospital in Iowa City over Spring Break. He was able to give us a more complete description of Conor's condition. Surgery is scheduled for May 17. Conor is expected to be in the hospital for two to three weeks and in a neck brace for an additional six months. He is in reasonably good spirits but is obviously very disappointed about being out for the season. At this point, missing the season seems insignificant compared to having him in good health again.

We're going to try to do as many races as we can with Henry and Peter in 2007. Henry's engine is off being freshened up by his engine builder and Peter's kart has been totally reconfigured for the Junior Sportsman II class he will contest this season. The track has been open for practice for several weeks now, but we haven't been able to get there yet. We hope to do be able to do this at least a couple of times prior to the start of the season. The 2007 MSOKC race schedule is as follows:

Race No. 1 - Sunday, April 22
Race No. 2 - Sunday, May 6
Race No. 3 - Saturday, May 26
Race No. 4 - Saturday, June 9
Race No. 5 - Sunday, June 24
Race No. 6 - Sunday, July 8
Race No. 7 - Sunday, July 22
Race No. 8 - Saturday, August 11
Race No. 9 - Sunday, August 26
Race No. 10 - Sunday, September 9
Race No. 11 - Sunday, September 23
Race No. 12 - Sunday, October 7
Rain Date - Sunday, October 14


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bruce Brothers Racing - Mid-Winter Update

Originally sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 11:42 PM

If you were paying attention last year, you know that the Commercial Point Grand Prix was the highlight of the season for Henry and Conor (Peter's class wasn't offered). The December issue of National Kart News, the premier karting publication in North America, included a nice article on the CPGP, which featured plenty of pictures of both Henry and Conor. An Adobe Acrobat version of the article is attached. Henry is the yellow No. 27 with a blue suit (big picture on the opening page) and Conor is the black and red No. 7 with a red suit (several pictures beginning with the bottom left on the second page). Both are mentioned in the text.

In addition to the new kart that we acquired for Conor just before Christmas, we now have a place to store it and all the rest of our equipment. Construction was completed recently on our new four-car garage! It's two cars wide and two cars deep with lots of storage space in the 'loft'. The loft even has a hatch and an electric winch for moving things up and down.

Conor has a new kart, but at this time, we are unsure as to how much he is going to be able to use it. His season, if he gets to have one, will most likely be interrupted by a hospital stay this summer. He began to have headaches and reduced mobility in his neck late last year. He has since been diagnosed with a rare congenital spinal cord disorder that will require surgery. The orthopedic specialist that he had been seeing, who just happens to be the team doctor for Team Rahal, referred us to a neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital in Columbus after he discovered a cyst in Conor's spinal cavity. Conor recently completed a series of diagnostic tests (MRIs, x-rays, etc.) of his head and neck area and the neurosurgeon has referred us to a specialist in the Neurosurgery Department at University of Iowa's Children's Hospital of Iowa in Iowa City. Conor's test results have been forwarded to the specialist and we are currently waiting to hear what comes next. The good news is that his condition does not appear to be getting worse and he continues to be a happy, mostly healthy 14 year old. I'm not very good at this, but if you are so inclined, please keep Conor in your thoughts and prayers. We will let you know when we know more.