July 1999-October 1999
Summary of the 1999 Summer/Fall
 KRC Cup Kart Racing Series

"Our Rookie Season"

KRC's tag line:  "World Fastest Karting School"

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After our last KRC Cup Race (which was our first race ever in a Tony Kart), we were starting to get an understanding how difficult this sport can be.   Racing karts is pretty tough.  It is one of those things that looks easy, but is extremely difficult to be among the fastest karters.  And humbling.  You think you are fast and a good racer?  Then get your ass in a good karting series, and then you will quickly learn how much more you need to learn.  And how weak and worthless your body has become racing cars.  Meaning that karting is extremely hard on your body, and you will quickly learn that you are way out of shape.  And how slow you are driving a six speed shifter kart  

Wayne and I missed the first race of the Summer/Fall KRC Championship, which was held at the Amago Kart Track.  We were in Europe at the time.  So the next event for Karting was the Irvine Spectrum Momo Grand Prix.  The promoters of the event setup a big, probably ½ mile long, karting track in the parking lot using hay bales.  This was a big event.  We run in the KRC Cup Series, and we were just one of about 9 groups of karters that were racing at this event.  It kinda looked like the size of the pits in the Long Beach Grand Prix, as there were probably 200+ karters that were here for the race, and easily a couple of thousand fans.  Wayne, Jeff, and I are going to see who can get the most points for the season, to determine who is the best driver among the three of us.  

My Tony kart - red, six speed, #55, just like the Flamemobile

Wayne thought that by karting, he would reduce his expenditures on racing.  In reality, we just added to the racing expenses, since we still race our cars.  For example, we get really tired and sweaty in a kart race, and it is because we are wearing our three layer, fire proof Nomex road racing suits.  So we decided to get the lightweight, breathable karting suits.  There goes another $200 bucks.  And we need karting gloves.  And a cool karting stopwatch that allows you to time four people at the same time.  Thank God we can’t soup up the karts as it is a spec series, and everyone drives the same type of kart, with everyone weighing in at 385 lbs including the kart.   Otherwise we would really be throwing out more money on this racing habit.

There are some other things to watch out for in karting.  There is a big problem with ribs.  Meaning severely bruised ribs, separated ribs, and even broken ribs from the impact of the kart seat (karts have no springs or shocks) pounding into your ribs on the high-g turns and bumps.  It seems that 40% of the people who kart have problems with their ribs hurting after their first race, and 10% of the people have their ribs hurting so much that makes it so they miss the next race.   I was having problems with my seat, in that I felt that it wasn’t snug enough, which means that my body was moving way too much in high-g turns.  The karting instructors kept telling me not to have so much body motion in the kart, but I found it impossible to get comfortable.   Wayne was having a similar problem.  Most of us wear some type of vest to protect the ribs, Wayne and I were just borrowing some loaners from KRC.   

Wayne's Kart.  Fly Yellow, like his F355

The Momo Grand Prix at the Irvine Spectrum - Race #2 in the Series - August 27-29, 1999
All the karting vendors were there.  Some women were selling the Ribtec vest, which they claimed to be the most comfortable vest for karting.  Wayne was chatting with them, and asked how much the vest was.  They wanted $225, and Wayne almost fainted.  He told them they were crazy if he was going to pay that much for a stupid vest.   Then one of the girls there said, “Here, try it for free in your next practice session, and we guarantee it will make you faster”.  Wayne borrows a vest, and then promptly runs two seconds faster!  He credits the vest for faster time, ignoring the fact that maybe it was because this was his second time out on the track, and maybe he is just going faster.  In any event he forks over $225, and is a happy customer.  I tell him he is an idiot for paying that much for a vest.  However, my ribs are starting to hurt more and more, to the point where is it kinda painful to sit in the kart.  I have this hard seat with some foam rubber taped into the seat to try to make it fit my body.  And this ain’t working.  I ordered a Tillet seat from KRC, but it still hasn’t come in yet.  I break down, and head over to the Ribtec tent, and ask if I can also borrow a vest for the next practice session.  The vest is pretty stiff, it kinda forces you to sit up straight.  It does make the kart more comfortable, and it does make me a little faster.  I fork over $225.

Thousands of people at the Momo Grand Prix of Karting in Irvine

The Momo Grand Prix is one of the bigger events for karting in the area.  A temporary course is setup in the parking lot with hay bales, and probably 200+ karters showed up to race in one of the 11+ classes.  A lot of these people had their own EZ-UP tent, so the pit area was huge.  Probably about 2000+ people were in the stands to watch the various races.  They ranged from little 6 year old kids in their single speed karts, up to professionals with their highly modified, six speed 125cc karts.  The KRC folks got our race to be one of the 11 races on the card for Saturday's activities.

This is the first race for us out of the five race Cup Series, of which you can drop the results of one race.  So everyone counts their points for just four races to see who is king.  Prior to this race, Jeff takes a private karting lesson from Ryan, who works for KRC and is a former karting champion.  Jeff says that the lesson helped him tremendously, and says that he recommends it.  Wayne and I figure we can try to wing it without the private lesson.  Jeff DNFs in his kart race at the race at Amago, so he gets no points.  Since Wayne and I skipped the Amago race, we all are forced to drop the first race, and all our points count for the next four races.  

Course is lined with cones and hay bales

It turns out in qualifying for this race, Wayne and I suck.  Out of 18 people entered in our race, I qualify 16th, and Wayne qualifies 15th. Maybe we do need a private lesson.  Or maybe we just suck.  Jeff qualifies 11th.  True, we are rookies, and this is only our 2nd karting race ever, but still…..we are not used to being at the back of the pack.

Green flag drops for the main event, and Wayne gets a good start.  Everyone is barreling into turn 1 at the end of the straight.  There is contact, and I see Wayne flying into the hay bales.  See ya Wayne!  He has to be pushed to be restarted, as he was terribly unskilled and stalled the kart after he crashed. I make it through turn 1 without any incident, and start to try to dial in my pace.  At least I will kick Wayne’s ass in this race.  Jeff is pretty far out front, and I don’t think I can catch him.  This is an extra long race, it is 30 laps.  After 10 laps, I am exhausted, but I know I can still beat Wayne, as he is as out of shape as I am.

20 laps down, 10 to go.  I come ripping into turn 1, and bonehead and I brake too late and spin the cart.   Ooops.  Stalled the engine.  Damn.   What an amateur. I get push started by someone on the side of the track.  Wayne zips by me as I am gathering my senses.  I am just not sure if I passed Wayne once, or if I passed Wayne twice.  Official final results have me gridded in front of Wayne.  Wayne is furious.  I tell him that the only thing that counts is the official printout, not what he “thinks” the final results was.  I end up coming in 12th place out of 18, and Wayne is 13th.  Jeff does pretty good, and comes in 6th place.  Points are awarded by giving first place 25 points, 2nd place 24 points, 3rd place 23 points, etc.  If you DNF, you get 0 points.

What I learned after this race:  Make sure you properly adjust your front/rear braking bias.  And do it for every session.  I set it to what I thought it should be in the morning session, but I am told that how it was in the morning ain’t how it will be in the afternoon.  From now on, I will set the bias to put almost all the braking to the front of the car, which in theory, should make it so I don’t have a nasty spin when braking deep into the turn.  The fast guys in our KRC Cup series also entered their karts to run against some of the pro kart drivers, who have modified engines and better tires.  And the KRC guys did very well, running in 3rd or 4th position for much of the race.  Which adds credence to KRC's motto, "World's Fastest Karting School".

Standings after two of the five races is:
Jeff – 20 points
Doug – 14 points
Wayne – 13 points

Willow Springs Kart Track – KRC Race #3 in the Series - September 20, 1999
We are supposed to meet at 7:30 a.m. at the track. However, Jeff is also racing in his SCCA Sports 2000 regional race at Buttonwillow Raceway.  Jeff’s plan is that he is going to run his Sports 2000 car in the races at Buttonwillow in the morning, and when the final S2000 race is done, drive a couple hours down to Willow Springs and enter the kart race.  He will miss the karting qualifying, so he will have to start at the back of the pack, but  he figures he can still do some damage and pass a lot of people, and he is planning on passing me and Wayne, as we still suck at this sport.  And if Jeff is successful at doing well at the S2000 race and he also kicks our ass from the back of the pack in karts, he will be gloating about it big time.  

Wayne is late as usual.  Apparently he had a hot date in Lancaster, and didn’t get to bed late.  He woke up late, missed the early morning practice session, but figures he is a “Professional”, and he doesn’t need a lot of practice.

During qualifying, I run my fastest lap ever, at 44.81 or so.  Considering that I started out running 46’s and 47’s, I feel like I am making some progress.  However, I am only gridded 9th out of 17 or so.  But at least instead of being at the back of the pack, I have now worked my way up to mid pack.  The fast guys are running low 43’s.  Ouch.  And they run low 43 lap times within tenths of a second time after time.  My average times are probably in the mid 45’s.  Damn.  I suck.  But at least I am gridded in front of Wayne. He sucks more.  

Jeff with his Prancing Horse Helmet.

For the sprint qual race, green flag drops, and I make it through the first turn without wiping out.  I am following Mark and Steve, and I try to hang with them.  Only problem is that everytime I make a mistake, like I shift incorrectly or I get out of shape around a turn, they get another 8 feet in front of me.  Multiply this by 10, and suddenly they are now unreachable unless they spin.   I pickup a spot or so in this qualifying race, so now I am gridded 8th for the big race.   

Giacamo's cool looking Ferrari-esque Kart

Wayne, on the other hand, had a little problem in the qualifying race.  He was fighting it out with Giacamo, who is the owner of Ferrari of Beverly Hills.  Giacamo has what looks like a brand new kart,  and he also got these cool Ferrari-esque sidepods that make his kart look more Italian than our karts.  It is of course painted red, and immaculate, just like all the Ferraris that he sells out of his shop.  I mean this kart is in perfect condition.  Think of it like a brand new 360 Modena that was just delivered off the show room floor.  Wayne was trying to make a pass on Giacamo.  Giacamo went wide into a turn, and Wayne came underneath on the inside.  But in karting, it is extremely difficult to see what is behind you.  Someone can literally be six inches off your bumper for many laps, and you will NEVER see him as the karts don’t have side view mirrors (illegal), and most of us can’t do a Linda Blair and turn our head around 180 degrees.  Giacamo didn’t see Wayne making his move on the inside, and Giacamo dove towards the apex.  Wayne saw what was happening, and tried to give him as much room as possible, but Wayne’s kart hit the candy stripped curbing, launched up in the air, and landed….you guessed it, on the rear half of Giacamo’s pristine kart, damaging the sidepods and totaling the radiator.  Both of them DNF in the race.

Now Wayne is my friend.  But I have to get my F355 serviced, maintained, and repaired at Giacamo’s shop.  During the break between this race and the main race, I maintain my distance from Wayne…..after all, I don’t want MY repair bill jacked up 100% because I know the guy who wrecked the Owner of Ferrari of Beverly Hills' kart.

Jeff shows up late, and is in a bad mood as he didn’t have a good race in the Sports 2000.  He starts off by complaining that Wayne and I had to be push started at the Momo Grand Prix after we wrecked/spun out, and he thought that was illegal, and we should not be awarded points.  He said that when he stalled at Amago in the first race of the season, they would not let him push start the kart, and as a result, he received no points.  Ryan of KRC says he did not see us getting push started, so he didn’t penalize us for it, and plus there was lots of room and plenty of people to safely push start us, unlike the conditions at Willow Springs or Amago.  I tell Jeff that any protests on points much be submitted to scoring within 24 hours of the incident, not three weeks later.  Jeff feels that Wayne and I cheated to get points, as he is determined to win the series.  A ruling is made, and Wayne and I get points for the Momo race.  Tough luck Jeff, we are still contenders!

The KRC guys manage to get some parts and fix Giacamo’s kart so he can run the final race.  Both he and Wayne will be starting from the back of the pack, with Giacamo 12th, Wayne 13th, and Jeff 14th, since he showed up late and didn’t run the qual race.  I am gridded 8th.  I check out the field, and am determined not to let Jeff pass me, or the humiliation will be unbearable…..

The boys hanging out right before the race in the KRC support trailer.

Green flag drops, and we are off.  This race turns out to be a pretty clean race, and there is no real contact on the track between any karts.   Coming around one of the turns halfway through the race, I see Wayne spun off again, with his kart stalled.  So he is now a DNF, with zero points for the weekend.  I see Jeff trying to make his way from the back of the pack, but it ain’t gonna happen today.   I end up finishing 8th, maintaining my qualifying position, and Jeff finishes 10th. 

What I learned this race:  I suck at this.  I need to get a private lesson(s). 

Total points standings after race 3:
Jeff - 36
Doug – 32
Wayne - 13

Practice at the Streets of Willow Springs - Somewhere around early October 1999 on a weekday
Race four is at a new track for most of us.  At Willow Springs, there are three tracks,  a karting track, the Streets of Willow Springs, and the Big Track.  The Streets of Willow Springs is used for a lot of driving training classes and racing classes for newbies in their cars.  It is about 1.2 miles long or so.  It is really hard on cars, as there are lots of tight turns, lots of braking, and a first gear turn (at least in my car).  But we get to race our karts on this track!  This is a much more high speed track, as compared to the “technical” karting track at Willow Springs. 

Jeff and I get there for practice with about four other guys.  Most of the people in the series practice at least a couple days a month, and it is always on a weekday.  Which means they are telling their employers, their customers, their wives, etc, "Hey, tomorrow I have morning meeting that won't be done until 1:00 p.m. or so".  In other words, everyone is ditching work to get some extra practice in on the other guys.  

Now all these guys are pretty much kicking my ass on the technical track.  But the Streets of Willow Springs is more like a “road racing track”, so I feel pretty comfortable here.  I am throwing the kart into the sweeper turns, doing suicide braking at the last minute, and powering up the hill.  In other words, here I can drive the kart like my NSX, instead of driving it like a stupid little 125cc kart.  I mean, real men race cars, right?  We run about six practice sessions, and between the six of us, I run the fastest lap there (despite what Jeff may try to say on his website, I clearly remember running a 58.45, which is faster than his best time in practice) until Scott beats it in the very last session.  My confidence is restored.  I CAN be a contender.  Wayne is unable to go to this practice session. Wayne has been missing 1-2 days of work each week due to karting or car racing events, and his employees are starting to get pissed that he gets to take off so much time during the week.

The Streets of Willow Springs – Race #4 in the Series - October 16, 1999 - IKF Gearbox Nationals
For this race, we have eleven guys show up for the race, the smallest field ever.  Not sure why this happened, but my guess is that some of them wimped out because at this track, you hit about 87 MPH halfway down the main straightaway, which is a LOT faster than at the other karting tracks.  The gearing is changed for all the karts to compete on this track, and 87 MPH is the max we can go.  In qualifying, I choke a bit, and only qualify 7th out of 11, but I think if a lot more people would have been there, maybe I would have been 7th out of 20.  (Yeah right).  Jeff qualifies 5th, Wayne qualifies last, in 11th place, right behind Giacamo.  Now I am feeling pretty good about this race, as I feel I have a chance to do well.

Green flag drops, and I blow the start.  In karting, you have to power brake, give it some gas, slowly release the clutch until it grabs, power on the gas, until you get max adhesion for a good start.  I let out the clutch too quickly, the kart bogs down, and two people blow by me.  DAMN!  In karting, qualifying is EVERYTHING, as it is difficult to pass people, since everyone has the same power to weight ratio.  I pass one of the guys in front of me.  There is an incident and two of the front runners are out of the race.  I do a quick calculation, and I think I am in fifth place, and I can see Jeff is ahead of me, but at least he ain’t pulling on me like he does at the other track.  For laps 11-18(out of 20 laps), Greg is right on my butt.  I see him coming out of the turn right behind me before the straightaway for an instant, but then I lose sight of him as he is a couple of feet off my bumper, doing 87 mph up the straight into the braking zone.  I pull on him a big in the uphill sweeper turn, as I am using to being on the power and throwing a car in to the turn, but he catches up on the more technical turns.  On lap 19, I botch a shift coming out the turn right before the straight, and Greg capitalizes on it and passes me.  So now I am right on his ass for one more lap, fighting for 5th place.  I am almost on top of him, desperately trying to find a way around him and get my rightful position back.  Through the technical portion, I am right on his bumper, but coming out the last turn, I can’t take him down.  Greg finishes 5th, and I finish 6th.   Wayne was fighting it out with Giacamo again.  Giacamo was right on his butt for a good portion of the race.  Wayne was trying to run as fast as possible on the ragged edge to keep Giacamo behind him.  Giacamo ends up spinning off and DNFing, but Wayne still thought Giacamo was right on his butt, pressuring him to go faster.  Wayne succumbs to the pressure of the Ghost of Giacamo, and ends up spinning and DNFing, and then he realizes that there was no one behind him pressuring him to go faster.  He could have cruised it home and picked up some points.  Jeff has his best race of the karting season, and takes 3rd place, so he makes it to the podium for a champagne bath, just like they do in Formula 1.  

Jeff gets a podium finish.  I am still trying to crack the top 5, Wayne is still trying to crack  the top 10

What I learned at this race:
I need to get better at starts, and I need to get better with the technical, slower turns, and figuring out how to master adhesion.  You don’t want the kart to scrub off speed in a turn, yet you also need to carry lots of speed at the same time.  If you can execute a quick four wheel drift in and out of some of the quicker, tight turns, so the tires slightly "chirp", you are probably doing it right.  If you are constantly sawing at the wheel trying to maintain grip, you are losing time.  If you get the back end out of shape, you are losing time.  If you aren’t trail braking at the last minute, you are losing time.  If you aren't' immediately on the gas PRIOR to the apex, your are probably losing time.

Points after race 4 of 5:
Jeff - 59
Doug - 52
Wayne - 13

Wednesday Night, October 27th.
A friend calls from northern California.  He says that he can get me a backstage pass and one good ticket to the Springsteen concert in Oakland.  Shit.  I already reserved my first private go-kart lesson for tomorrow morning, which means I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get to the track.  If I get up that early (which means about 2-3 hours of sleep), drive two hours out to the track, practice four hours, drive two hours back, get on a plane, fly up to Oakland/SF, rent a car, hookup and get the ticket, and make it to the arena, I will be so exhausted I won't enjoy the show.  I could try to cancel the lesson, but if the KRC guys don't the message, and they drive out to Willow, they will be pissed.  If I don't get the private lesson, Jeff will for sure kick my ass this weekend.  Damn.  I have to decline the backstage pass.....hopefully that once in a lifetime opportunity will come up again

Practicing for the final race - Thursday, October 28th.
Okay, the last race of the season is at Willow Springs on the technical go-kart track.  In looking at the standings, I am crushing Wayne.  Jeff and I are running neck and neck.  I say that, because Jeff is only six points ahead of me, which means six places in this next race.  I decide that now is time that I take a private lesson with Rudy, another karting champ, who runs the KRC program.  Now all karts have to be the same, you can’t modify them.  But this is practice.  The difficult thing about karting is that it is hard to get feedback.  There are no two-seater karts, so you really can’t ride as a passenger to see and feel how a "Professional" drives a kart like you can do in regular race car like my NSX.  So how do you accelerate the learning curve of karts?

I decide that I will wire up my kart with the two-way radios that we use in the NSX for the car races, and I will give Henry, another KRC employee,  a radio and headset.  This way, after every turn, Henry can say, “No, you are too slow, no you got the wrong line, no you are sawing at the wheel too much, etc.”.  Dave is also supposed to be at the track, but he cancels, so I actually have two instructors at the track with me, Henry and Rudy.  Pretty cool, double the instruction at the same time.  I give Rudy another radio and our second headset, and now we are ready for some reason lessons.  As we are about to start, Rudy says that Jeff heard that I am getting a full private lesson with two instructors, as Dave cancelled.  When Jeff found out about this, he immediately came up with some excuses for his employer, and CANCELLED his morning meetings so he could attend the "private" training.  Jeff is intensely competitive, and he doesn’t want anyone getting an edge on him, just like me and Wayne.  So instead of me getting a full on double instructor private lesson, I share the time with Jeff.  But this now means that Jeff pretty much has taken TWO private lessons for the season compared to my one private lesson.  Cheating bastard.  Wayne, on the other hand, hasn't taken a private lesson yet.

Anyways, I bring out all this high tech equipment, radios, headsets, push to talk switches, and then I realize that I left the good radio earplugs for my helmet in the glove box of the NSX, and instead I have these crummy plugs with static that allow me to hear only every other word that Rudy and Henry are saying to me.  Oh well, so much for a technological edge…

The private lesson works well for me.  I drop another half second off my fastest time, so now I am running 44.26 as my fastest laptime.  The fast guys are running low to mid 43’s depending on track conditions, so I am slowly getting there.  At least I won’t have to worry about them lapping me in a 20 lap race.

I get home at 2:00 p.m. from karting.  And promptly fall asleep for four hours.  I would have never made it to the Springsteen concert.  

Willow Springs Karting Track - Race #5, The Final Race for the KRC CUP World Championship - October 30, 1999
So here we are for the world championship, at least in our minds.  In the points race, Jeff is tied for sixth place with 58 points in his first season of karting.  I am in eighth place with 52 points.  Wayne, due to all the DNFs (which mean no points are awarded),  is in 17th place with 13 points.  So I have Wayne crushed, plus officially he hasn’t beaten me in a kart race yet.  Jeff, I am 1-2 against him in the series.   Jeff has a chance at moving up maybe a couple of spots, but the real fast karters have 100, 96, and 73 points (they still have to drop a race), so it is highly unlike he can get third place in the series. With a couple of breaks (people DNFing, etc), I could end up as high as sixth place or so in my first season.  Not bad for a rookie.  But more importantly,  I still have a shot at beating Jeff.

In the practice session right before qualifying, I run my fastest time ever, a 44.24, which is a couple of hundredths faster than Jeff ran in his practice session.  So I start thinking in my head…..hummm…if I can keep Jeff behind me in qualifying, there is a chance that in his efforts to catch me, he could crash in traffic and DNF, and then I would be the points king over him and Wayne.  Then I will be the World Champion between the three of us.  Feeling cocky that my private lesson has helped me get a lot faster, I bet Jeff 20 bucks that I qualify ahead of him.  I would bet Wayne, but I would probably have to spot him two seconds or so to make it fair.  Jeff takes the bet, and off to qualifying.

I qualified at 44.27. I was hoping for even faster, as I am running on new tires, but I am pretty happy with that time, which is a good .75 seconds off or so off of my previous times in qualifying sessions before the private lesson. I qualify 7th out of 15.  Wayne, not taking a private lesson, ends up qualifying last in 15th position, with a 46.07.  Unfortunately for me, Jeff somehow runs his first lap almost .50 seconds faster than he ever has, running an incredible 43.54.   I felt like protesting that it was a scoring error on Jeff’s timer, as it was an abnormally fast time even for Jeff.  Especially since he took the pole position from the guys who are leading the series.  Anyhow, I end up losing 20 bucks to Jeff……and he is the first of us to get on the pole for a race. Jeff also reminds me that in qualifying, he also ran a 43.98, so he had "two" laps that were faster than my 44.27.  DAMN!

Qualifying Times for the Qualifying Racing.

1. Jeff Littrell - 43.54
2. Vince Castell - 43.57
3. Bob Faieta - 43.76
4. Steve Bennett - 43.93
5. Dave DeGraw - 44.01
6. Matt Smith - 44.05
7. Doug Hayashi - 44.27
8. Oscar Benedetti - 44.29
9.  Greg Smith - 44.44
10. Bryant Kreadon - 44.45
11. Mark Volen - 44.75
12. Chris Len - 45.34
13. Andre Cavin - 45.49
14. Brad Smith - 45.69
15. Wayne Mello - 46.07

Okay, so off to the qual race.  How we finish in the qual race determines how we grid for the final race.  It is all up to the start again.  Green flag drops, and Oscar and Bryant, who are usually front runners, blow by me on the start.  Damn!  Bob and Vince, also front runners, blow by Jeff by the end of the first lap and he is running  in 3rd place.  For five laps or so, We have Oscar-Steve-Dave-Matt-Bryant-Me-Mark all in a big train, jockeying for position.  Remember, everyone has the same power to weight ratio, so it is a really close battle, and we are all about 12 inches off of each other’s bumper, looking for a spot to try to make a pass.  Steve and Oscar are neck and neck into a turn, and touch wheels.  They spin.  Dave, right behind them, spins out trying to avoid a collision. Bryant sees all this happening right in front of him, and jukes out of the way at the last second.  Me, I am right on Bryant’s bumper, trying to get around him, and as soon as Bryant dodges the spins, I suddenly realize that everyone else is stopped on the track. I crash into Dave’s kart exiting the turn.  Mark sees all the confusion, and gets around all of us.  I try to keep my kart from stalling, but it dies on me.  Then I also realize that I don’t have a right front wheel anymore, the entire rim cracked off and broke apart.  

The rim is uh...destroyed from the crash

My steering column is also bent, and the steering arms are also bent.  Bummer.  Oscar is out of the race, Dave is out of the race, and I am out of the race.  DAMN!  

You know things are bad when a hacksaw is used on your kart to remove steering column.

So Oscar, Dave, and I start at the back of the pack for the final race, providing that KRC can repair my kart in time.  About three KRC employees start wrenching on my car, replacing the hub, steering arms, steering columns.  It takes about 40 minutes.  After everything is put back together in record time, they seem to have a problem aligning the kart.  Rudy and Ryan take a look at it, and they come to the conclusion that the frame is bent, but they figure they can at least get it so I can run the final points race of the season.  


Wayne rubbing in my second crash ever in 7 years of track events.  Wayne has crashed four times this year.

During the two warm-up laps before the race, I notice that the kart is pulling to one side, especially under braking and that the steering wheel isn’t straight.  Oh well….I still figure I can pick up some points, and my new goal in the last race is to pass Wayne.  I pass one person, to make it to 14th position. Dave makes a mistake and I get by him for 13th.  I dive on the inside on Brad for 12th, but I botch the exit by missing a shift, and Dave and Brad get right back by me, so I am in 14th.   Damn.  I start chasing Brad down again, and am getting close, and I get more aggressive.  After all, I have to pass Wayne in this race, and I can see Wayne, and I still have a good chance of passing him.  Time to start making my move on Brad…..but I brake a little too deep in the chicane, and since the steering and braking are a little off and pull the kart to one side……I spin and stall the kart.  What an amateur!  Oh well….the season is now over, and NO POINTS for this race.  So I probably made a stupid, rash decision, in trying to chase Wayne down and humiliate him.  Jeff makes it to yet ANOTHER 3rd place finish, and is tasting champagne for the 2nd race in a row.  I should have just completed the race, picked up some points, and I woulda coulda shoulda have had a shot at finishing around 7th or so in the series, instead of finishing 10th.  Jeff finishes 4th, and Wayne finishes 16th.  The new season doesn't start until January, so there is plenty of time for you to go out and buy a Tony Kart from Rudy ($7500 or so), and start doing some practice before the new season.  We are expecting a bunch of newcomers, as Karting seems to be taking off across the country....especially here in Southern California.  Wayne and I plan to be doing MUCH better next season, and we will be practicing hard in the off season.  For all you new karters coming into the series, at least Wayne and I know we can kick your rookie ass, as we now have a season of racing under our belts......

The Final Standings are listed below.

Fall 1999 KRC Cup Final Championship Standings
      Amago Irvine Willow Streets of Willow Willow
  DriverKart # Qual/FinishPoints Qual/FinishPoints Qual/FinishPoints Qual/FinishPoints Qual/FinishPoints
1 Bob Faieta# 2 2nd/1st25 3rd/1st50 1st/1st76 2nd/2nd *76 3rd/1st101
2 Vince Castell#77 1st/3rd24 1st/2nd49 2nd/2nd73 DNE/DNE *73 2nd/2nd97
3 Oscar Bendetti#11 4th/2nd24 4th/3rd47 3rd/3rd70 1st/1st96 8th/DNS *96
4 Jeff Littrell#95 14th/DNF *0 11th/6th20 DNQ/10th36 5th/3rd59 1st/3rd83
5 David DeGraw# 3 5th/5th21 10th/5th42 5th/DNS *42 6th/4th64 5th/8th82
6 Steve Bennett# 7 9th/9th17 7th/7th36 7th/6th56 DNE/DNE *56 4th/7th75
7 Andre Cavin#50 13th/12th *0 DNQ/11th15 9th/9th32 8th/7th51 13th/9th68
8 Scott Brink# 1 9th/8th17 9th/4th40 5th/5th60 DNE/DNE60 DNE/DNE *60
9 Mark Volen# 9 7th/7th19 12th/DNF19 6th/7th38 DNE/DNE *38 11th/7th57
10 Doug Hayashi#55 DNE/DNE0 16th/12th14 8th/8th32 7th/6th52 7th/DNF *52
11 Bryant Kreadon# 5 6th/4th22 5th/DNF22 4th/4th44 4th/DNF44 10th/DNF *44
12 Greg Smith# 39 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE *0 9th/5th21 9th/5th42
13 Jim Wilkey#14 8th/6th20 13th/8th38 DNE/DNE38 DNE/DNE38 DNE/DNE *38
14 Joey Giambra#41 10th/10th16 8th/10th32 DNE/DNE32 DNE/DNE32 DNE/DNE *32
15 Giacamo Mattioli#51 10th/11th15 DNE/DNE15 12th/11th30 10th/DNF30 DNE/DNE *30
16 Wayne Mello#54 DNE/DNE *0 15th/13th13 13th/DNF13 11th/DNF13 15th/11th28
17 Dan Miller#98 11th/1313 14th/DNF13 10th/12th27 DNE/DNE27 DNE/DNE *27
18 Matt Smith#19 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE *0 6th/4th22
19 Philip Conte# 4 4th/DNF0 3rd/9th17 DNE/DNE17 DNE/DNE17 DNE/DNE *17
20 Chris Len#62 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE *0 12th/10th16
21 Brad Smith#64 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 14th/12th14
22 Vernon Wnek#99 DNE/DNE0 17th/14th12 11th/DNF12 DNE/DNE12 DNE/DNE *12
23 Chris Kiteliner#26 12th/DNF0 6th/DNF0 DNE/DNE0 3rd/DNF0 DNE/DNE0
23 Antonio ?#81 DNE/DNE0 18th/DNF0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0
23 Bruce Guthrie#31 14th/DNS0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0 DNE/DNE0

* Indicates the one race thrown away (allowed by Fall 99 Series Rules)