Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MSOKC Race No. 3 – May 17, 2009 – We Remembered the Chairs!

NEWS – After a qualifying format event and a reverse direction event to start the 2009 season, Mid-State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 3 was a standard heat race event in the normal direction a week ago Sunday at Circleville Raceway Park. In the mean time, Conor, Peter, and I have been to Indianapolis and back for the Indy 500 and Laura has been to Providence and back to pick up Henry at Brown University. We have never been so prepared for a race weekend. In addition to a clutch rebuild for Peter and a gear change for Conor, we paid extra attention to not leaving anything at home – especially the chairs!

PRACTICE – As has become our normal practice these days, both boys practiced on older tires in their first practice session and then switched to their race tires for the remainder of the day. This has increased the longevity of a set of tires by about one race (to four for Peter and three for Conor). We chased the adjustment on Peter’s clutch all morning, but Conor seemed to like the new gear we had decided to try.

YAMAHA JR. SUPERCAN – Peter should get the “Lucky Dog” award for his performance in his first heat race, where he started from the outside of the front row. He maintained his position through the first few corners, but when he got to Turn 5 at the end on the back straightaway, he overshot the exit and went into the grass. Incredibly, the next five or so karts, who had been battling hard for position, all did the same thing. Four of these did not get going again. An off-course excursion on the first lap, when all of the karts are running together, is usually a recipe for disaster but only one kart got past Peter while he got up to speed again. He went on to finish third, dropping his personal best lap time to 46.972 seconds (53.649 mph average speed) in the process. While his first heat incident was of his own doing, this must have been Peter’s day for getting tangled up. In both his second heat race and his feature, Peter was forced to charge from the rear as the result of first turn incidents. The first was the result of the pole-sitter bringing the field around too quickly on the pace lap. There was contact in Turn 1 and Peter got turned around in the process. The second was the result of someone in the outside row having to check up to avoid going into the grass in Turn 1. Peter recovered to finish sixth in his heat race and fifth in his feature. In his feature, he further lowered his personal best lap time to 46.644 seconds (54.026 mph).

8Occ SHIFTER – Conor’s class had its biggest turnout of the year so far last Sunday – 11 karts – including two visitors from Northern Ohio, one of whose name is Connor! Conor (one “n”) got a good start from the ninth position in the first heat. He made several well-timed passes and finished fifth. While Conor’s standing starts have gotten better, he was not anticipating what happened in his second heat. The procedure is as follows; 1) the flag goes up, 2) after 10 to 15 seconds, the flag goes sideways, 3) after 2 to 5 seconds, the flag drops. In Conor’s second heat, the “2 to 5 seconds” was more like 1 second and Conor was still looking down when the flag dropped. He dropped from third to eight at the start. He gained a position on Lap 3 due to attrition but found himself behind a slower kart he was having trouble getting around. He tried several times, but couldn’t make it stick (the driver of the other kart would later tell Conor he was being way too kind). This caused Conor to slip into the clutches of the kart behind him. On Lap 5, the kart in front of this three-kart train got loose on the exit of Turn 10. Conor went to the inside in Turn 1, but the other kart went to the inside of Conor at the same time. These three went side-by-side through Turn 1. Conor kept his right foot planted and managed to come out in front and went on the finish fifth. A pair of fifth place heat race finishes netted Conor the fourth starting position for the feature. He got away well (see picture sequence below) and ran in fourth for the first few laps. He made a well-timed pass in Turn 3 on Lap 5 to move up to third. He quickly caught the second place kart, but could not find a way to pass. While he did not better his personal best lap time (44.896), he did manage to drop into the 44 second range on three-race-old tires on his way to a third place finish, which is his second podium finish in three starts in this class.

NEXT RACE – Peter improved his position in the championship from sixth to fifth in his class and Conor improved from fourth to third in his. MSOKC Race No. 4 is another regular direction at event at Circleville Raceway Park on Sunday, May 31, 2009. The “twist” for this event is that all classes will have a standing start like the 8Occ Shifter class. It should be interesting.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found at http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=418244