LAKC at Irwindale, August 8th, 2004
Back in the Kart Again
Can We Still Compete After Two Year Layoff?

Number 55 gets back into a race for the first time in two years

I'm behind a couple of months in updates, so let's do a quickie story. 

So I'm over at Messley's and Jeff Jeppsen at Classy Cars is getting his kart ready for a Los Angeles Karting Club race at Irwindale Raceway.  What they do is they take the half mile concrete oval, and create a mini-roval type of road course like California Speedway on a 1/5 scale.  Jeff is saying, "Yeah, come on, there is gonna be 25-30 people in the shifter kart race.  They start early, we should be outta there by 2:30 p.m." Extreme Karting is getting a lot of their customers to get there karts out to the track that day to have some fun.  The gearing is the same as Moran, so all we really have to do is is throw on the K&N airfilter, change the jetting, and we are ready to race.   I call Wayne and Jeff L., and ask them if they are up for it, and they said sure, let's do it.  We have been practicing at Moran Raceway once a week for the past month, so we are in fairly good shape.

After going through the infield, you come up on the bank
Click here for big ass picture

A few days prior to the race, Jeff's kart is acting funky.  He is having some overheating problems on his kart.  Dana (Wayne's nephew) is at my house, helping me swap out the water pump on Jeff's kart, bleeding brakes on the karts, etc.  We put the new water pump on Jeff's kart, and need to run it and check to see if anything is leaking.  We can also check to see if it is overheating this way.  We put the kart on the kart stand, and try to start it by forcing the rear wheels to spin, to jump start it.  We fail to start it.  Hummm....I've seen other people do this.  I guess we are amateurs.  So then we come up with plan B, which is that Dana will push start me while I am in the kart, I'll rev it to keep it running, and as I am jumping out of the kart, I'll blip the throttle to keep it from stalling, and hold the clutch in.  We succeed at this, but now we have to put the rear part of the frame on blocks, to raise the kart tires and allow them to spin while the motor is running, as the water pump runs off a rubber band thingy off the rear axle.  As Dana is holding in the clutch and blipping the throttle while standing in front of the kart, and I am trying to lift the rear onto the blocks.  The clutch starts slipping, and the karts starts moving forward, almost running Dana over.  That woulda been a disaster.

Go through the bank, and then drop back down to the infield
Click here for big ass picture

We finally get it started, on the blocks, but it overheats to 140 degrees in about 30 seconds.  I call Jeff, and tell him to stop by and help us figure out what is wrong.  The next day, Jeff stops by, and it seems like only the head is heating up, but not the rest of the water hose.  We stick the air compressor hose in it, and blow it out, and garbage comes out.  Humm...maybe that fixed it.  We start it up, and it is maintaining a much lower temp than before.  We should be good!

The morning of the event, Wayne calls me and says that Amy is feeling real sick, so he is going to stay home and take care of her.  Bummer.  Now it is me, Jeff L., Jeff from Classy Cars, a bunch of customers of Extreme Karting, and the LAKC drivers.

Infield has some tight sections
Click here for big ass picture

Being a stickler for time, gates open at 7:00 a.m., so I plan on being there at 6:45 a.m. to get a good spot.  First group on the track at 8:00 a.m., and since we haven't been on the track before, we need to make sure we get as many laps as possible during the practice sessions.  Greg Smith is there.  Greg is about 60 years old, and he was kicking our ass at the KRC series, and he's back with a faster kart.  He and his friend Fernando are running GP Racing karts with Pavasi motors.

Tent City.  Extreme Karting had about 10 shifter kart customers at this event

9:00 a.m. - Track still isn't ready.  They are using vans dragging these big plastic barriers to make sure no one hits the concrete wall on the banked oval.

9:30 a.m. - Track still not ready. 

10:00 a.m. - Track still not ready, they are laying cones down for the infield

10:24 a.m. - Finally, first run group out of 9 groups goes on the track for practice.  We are gonna be here all day...

Our pit area

We have a practice session, and Jeff's motor is heating up again.  I tell him it is because he has that homo tiny radiator.  Wayne isn't here today, so we decide to steal his big ass radiator off his kart and put it on Jeff's.  We go out for a four lap qualifier.  I make a couple of mistakes, and end up qualifying around 16th or so out of 32. Still not bad, considering we are using a kart with four year old technology in terms of frame, brakes, crashes, etc.  I'm okay with it.  Jeff qualifies around 12th or so. On pole is Shane, the mechanic at Extreme Karting.  Jeff and I are a good 2.5 seconds behind pole. But if we had faster know the story!

Greg, Fernando, and the babes

Jeff's kart is heating up again, his temps are up to 180 or so.  Anything over 150 is very bad.  He thinks about quitting for the day.  We take apart his hoses, and then takes off the head of the motor.  In the water jacket, there is a marble sized plug of silicone that apparently built up because of the previous guy that rebuilt the motor using silicon as a sealer.  Shit.  We clear this out, and we think we have the problem solved!

Greg's kart with Pavasi motor

In the qualifying race, Jeff attempts an aggressive pass, and crashes with someone else, making him a DNF.  Heh.  I end up about 13th or so, keeping my nose clean.

Shane's Kart.  He took pole with a 50.x.  Using his hopped up motor

In the final race (which doesn't go down until around 4:30 p.m.) Jeff is on a tear, coming from the back of the back.  I move up a couple of spots, and I'm hanging on to about 10th place or so.  I see Jeff moving through the field.  I botch a couple of downshifts, and I can't catch the guy in front of me.  Jeff makes it to about 5 seconds or so behind me, but that is as close as he's gonna get.  I think I end up 10th, and Jeff 12th.  Not bad for our first race in a couple of years.  Shane handily wins the race, and Greg and Fernando are around 5th and 6th. 

Gridded 13th, in the upper half of the pack for the final race. With my slow ass motor

Jeff at the back of the pack for final race due to crash in the heat race

Shane on pole with his own personal umbrella girl.  No one else had an umbrella Girl

After this race, we went back to practicing at Moran.  Wayne has dipped into the 1:05's, I'm still stuck at 1:06.2 or so.  So far, we haven't blown up a motor or done any serious damage, probably because we are doing more of our own jetting work and trying to pay more attention to it. 

September 28th, 2004
We finally close escrow on the house that was a big money pit.  It took about two years to sell.  We made a little bit of profit.  If we would have built a bunch of smaller houses instead of one big house, then we would have made a killing.  Oh long as we didn't lose money, we can't complain.  We figure we will rent for a year or so, betting that the real estate market bubble is going to pop soon, as I think the economy is in bad shape despite the spinning by the current administration.   I'll miss the garage, but I won't miss the payments or upkeep on a big house.  Those of you who dream of having a big house:  Bad idea.  Instead, dream of a normal sized house with a big garage...that would be perfect. 

Avoided foreclosure by selling the house.  I'll miss the garage....but nothing else!

I get a couple emails from people telling me that some idiot in Italy is trying to sell my F355.  Despite the fact that he doesn't own my F355, and the car is sitting in my garage, with the title in my safe deposit box at the bank.  Wayne also said that another scammer was trying to sell my car in the LA Times.  People are taking pictures and text from my ad on the Internet, and claiming it is their car. I call upon the NSX-Files readers to track down these scam artists and give them a proper beat down! 

October 3, 2004
I pull the NSX out to go to the Speed Ventures event.  They had a three day event, and I figure I'll just show up on old tires on Sunday, just to have a little fun with the car.  I ask Wayne if he wants to co-drive my car, as it is running real reliable right now.

We leave his house at 4:00 a.m. for Buttonwillow, and get there at 7:00 a.m.  We pull the NSX out, and I take it in the first run group.  Car runs good, and I run a 1:56 in #13 Clockwise, which is one of the best configs of this track.  I hand the car over to Wayne.  He hasn't driven my car in a long time, and he said it felt great.  Brakes good, suspension grips, power good.  After half a lap, he floors it in 2nd gear, and he thought the tires were spinning.  "Damn....he's got that much horsepower in this this?".  Unfortunately, it appears the the clutch started slipping about five minutes after Mr. Mello gets in my car.  I ran my fastest lap on my last flyer in my session, and it was working fine then.  I hope that my FTD holds up, but later in the Day Marc Futterman in a Radical takes FTD, with me second after running just my warmup session.  I know I had a couple more seconds left in me if the car didn't break.....

October 10, 2004
We head out to Moran, and Wayne, Jeff L, and I are running neck and neck around the karting track.  We decide to have a 15 lap race, with the rules being you can't cut off anyone else practice on the track, since this is an open practice day.  We go 3 abreast into turn 1, and we come out clean.  Wayne spins on lap 4 or so, so he's out.  I'm on Jeff's butt, and he makes a mistake, and I get the lead, but then lose it again.  On lap 11, I can't catch Jeff, so I give up and pull in.  I then discover that my frame is broken where the throttle screws in, so I have to get that welded.  Jeff runs the full 15 laps at full speed. He is running karts with us for conditioning purposes.  He has a shot at winning the S2 Cup Series. 

The S2000 motor has all the parts purchased, and should be running by early November.  Wayne's EVO motor is just about ready for insertion back into the car that has been sitting on the damn rack since April.  With a little luck, by the time the pumpkins start to spoil, we will have all the vehicles and karts up and running again.