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