Friday, June 24, 2011

MSOKC Race No. 4 – June 18, 2011 – Under the Lights

NEWS – Mid State of Ohio Kart Club (MSOKC) Race No. 4 last Sunday was our first night race of the season. We arrived a bit early to break in the engine we had to have rebuilt for Peter after it experienced a broken cylinder head during Race No. 2. We also needed to try out the new axle we put in Conor’s kart after the one he had been using was slightly bent during an altercation during Race No. 1. Soon after we arrived at Circleville Raceway Park (CRP), in began to rain. We managed to get both boys out for one session prior to this, so our early start was not a complete loss. It would continue to rain on and off right up to the 5:00 PM start time.

PRACTICE – The track began to dry after a few brave souls went out for open practice on rain tires. To make up time, regular class practices were limited to one session. Peter’s engine ran flawlessly and Conor’s new axle has no adverse effect. After practice, it was announced that the format would be shortened to six-lap heat races and an eight-lap feature (as opposed to eight and ten respectively) to beat the rain that was expected later in the day.

SPEC 100 PIPE – The random draw had Peter starting from pole position in his first heat race. He timed the rolling start perfectly and led easily through the first few corners. He extended his lead over the next few laps, recorded the fastest lap of the race in the process (46.80 seconds), and won by a comfortable margin. Starting last (fifth) in his second heat race, Peter took it easy through the first few corners, but was able to make a pass for fourth in Turn 4 on the first lap. He gained another position when the kart in front of him made a mistake in Turn 4 on Lap 3. He pushed the second place kart to the finish, but finished third. A first and a third earned Peter the pole position for his feature, which got underway just after dark. He got away well again and led easily for the first two laps. While pulling away, it was his turn to make a mistake in Turn 4. The time he spent in the grass dropped him to fourth place with quite a bit of distance to make up. By Lap 6, Peter had caught the leading group. He made well timed move for third in Turn 5 on Lap 7, but couldn’t make it stick, and finished fourth.

80cc SHIFTER – There were seven karts in Conor’s class on Sunday. Conor timed the standing starts in his class perfectly all day, starting with his first heat race in which he started fifth. He was up to third by the Turn 1. He made another pass for second in Turn 3 on the first lap. He was obviously faster than the leader and was all over his back bumper for the first few laps. He went side-by-side with the leader through Turn 4 on Lap 3. These two had a drag race down the back straightaway with Conor on the inside for Turn 5. He left his braking a bit late, locked his rears, and ended up in the grass with a stalled engine, which is where he stayed to the finish. In his second heat race, Conor got another great start from third to maintain his position. He made a pass for second in Turn 5 on the first lap and set out for the leader. The leader had put on new tires for this race, so Conor could not quite track him down and finished second. A seventh and a second had Conor starting fourth for his feature. Another great start had him up to second by Turn 1. He was able to close the gap to the leader by the end, but finished second.

NEXT RACE – Mistakes cost both boys better finishes on Sunday, but both were pleased to have the pace to run up front, particularly Peter in his relatively new class. It was also fun to have some of Peter’s friends in attendance on Sunday. Our next race is MSOKC Race No. 5, which is another night race on Saturday, June 25, 2011, at CRP. Peter is in Italy until mid-July, so Conor may try his hand in both his kart and Peter’s kart.


p.s., The electronic timing system was a causality of the weather on Sunday, so there are no lap times and lap charts posted on

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Video of Henry from MSOKC Race No. 2

There is a nice on-board video of Henry's second heat race from MSOKC Race No. 2 posted on YouTube:

He's in the No. 2 kart just in front of the camera man. There's a lot more action than the write-up below would have you believe. The three-wide passing attempt going into Turn 5 on Lap 3 is impressive. Too bad he couldn't make it stick...


Thursday, June 2, 2011

MSOKC Race No. 2 – May 22, 2011 – Conor Gets a Win and Henry Fills In

NEWS – For Mid State of Ohio Kart Club (MSOKC) Race No. 2 at Circleville Raceway Park (CRP), Peter was out of town competing with his crew team at the Midwest Scholastics Rowing Championships in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Henry is home from Providence for few weeks prior to returning for a summer internship in the Biology department at Brown University, so he filled in for Peter. Conor made room for Race No. 2 among all of his high school graduation activities. Race No. 2 was scheduled to feature a combined feature race for the 80cc, TaG, and Spec 100 Pipe classes with a rolling start for everyone and 20 laps instead of 10. While the feature race did get under way, it was cut short by a late afternoon rain shower.

PRACTICE – We thought that having Henry fill in for Peter would provide us with some extra time to experiment with tuning our Spec 100 Pipe kart. It certainly did, but we went the wrong way during Henry’s second practice session. We ran the engine way too lean and ended up sticking the piston and potentially ending the day for Henry. Fortunately, one of the local engine builders came to our rescue and loaned us an engine for the remainder of the day. We tried a new part in the carburetor of our 80cc Shifter kart and Conor was fast right out of the trailer, so we made few additional changes except for bolting on a set of gently used tires after his practice sessions.

SPEC 100 PIPE – We finished the engine change just after the driver’s meeting concluded. Henry started his first heat race from the fourth position (of eight). He made a great start and ended up second after the first few corners. He struggled with handling a bit and lost a position on Lap 3 and another on Lap 5. While pushing to maintain his position, he had a half spin in Turn 3 on Lap 6 and dropped to eighth. He inherited a position on Lap 8 to finish seventh. In his second heat, Henry started and finished fifth. He lost a position on Lap 6 but gained it back on the same lap. The combined feature race featured 17 karts, which was quite a sight to see at the start. The six 80cc Shifter karts led the way, followed by three TaGs, and then the eight Spec 100 karts. Henry started fifth among the Spec 100 karts. It had started to sprinkle just prior to these karts taking to the track, and while the track was damp, the green flag flew anyway. While the front of the field got through the first few corners unscathed, there was a mid-field melee in Turn 3 on Lap 1. Henry managed to avoid the trouble and found himself first-in-class at the end of Lap 1. The rain intensified over the next laps or so and the red flag flew bringing an end to the day. Results were awarded based on starting positions, which negated the improvement Henry had made on the opening lap.

80cc SHIFTER – We were optimistic about Conor’s chances based on his practice times on old tires. Conor started his first heat race from the fourth position (of six). He gained two positions at the start and ran in second to the finish. His lap times on new-ish tires were about half a second slower than his practice times, which had us scratching our heads. We made a few chassis adjustment for Conor’s second heat race, in which he started third. Conor made an excellent start. When the pole sitter got away a bit slowly, Conor dove to the inside and he found himself in the lead going into Turn 3. He couldn’t quite pull away from the second place kart, but managed to lead comfortably to the end for a heat race win. A second and a first earned Conor the pole position for the combined feature. Rolling starts are a new thing for the 80cc Shifter kart class and Conor timed it perfectly. He led easily through the first few turns. The second place kart over-cooked it going into Turn 5 and went into the grass after running into the back of Conor. Conor extended his lead over the next lap or so while the rain intensified. After the red flag flew, Conor was awarded the feature race win based on his starting position.

NEXT RACE – Peter’s crew team’s performance in Oak Ridge qualified them for the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championship Regatta in Camden, New Jersey, this past weekend. In Camden, they advanced out of their heat race into the semi-final (top 12 teams in the nation), but couldn’t manage to qualify for the final. They were on pace to advance when one of the boys hit a goose with his oar! It was fortunate that Henry had the engine problem in our Spec 100 kart, because if it had not been him, it would have been Peter in the next race. Speaking of which, the next race is MSOKC Race No. 3 on Sunday, June 5, 2011, but the Bruce Brothers Racing team will be previously occupied. That is the day Conor will be graduating from Upper Arlington High School. He will graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma, which is a two-year educational program for high school students that provides an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education and is recognized by universities worldwide. Conor had decided to attend The Ohio State University in the fall, which suits me just fine. That makes our next race MSOKC Race No. 4 on Saturday, June 18, 2011, and our first night race of the season.


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