ProKart Challenge Race 5 - Grange - April 21, 2007
Can We Stop the Ass Whupping?
The Pulp Guys have been taking a beating lately
Lots of stuff to talk about for this chapter. Let's start at the beginning........
Early April 2007
A fellow racer takes sympathy on me for all my mechanical problems/DNFs that I have so far this year. He proposes to take my kart to his garage, take most of it apart, recheck every nut and bolt, and put it back together for free. I'm not sure if I trust his mechanical aptitude, but I'm sure it is a hell of a lot better than mine. This guys proceeds to do stuff like:
1. Take floor pan off the kart. Re-bang it out with a hammer so it is straight and true, and make sure all nuts and bolts are tight
2. Take apart entire front end (steering wheel, tie rods, king pin bolts, etc), recheck nut and bolts, safety wire and re-align, re-adjust, etc.
3. Take apart pipes/carbs/hoses and make sure everything is clean and ready to go
4. Take apart side bumpers, clean motor, check all cables and fuel lines, etc.
Someone had a big crash at Grange
While doing this, he calls me an idiot to my face, as it appears that I am missing the five inch long bolt that holds the front of the motor to the motor mount. Hummm....I think it must have fallen off due to vibration. He thinks that I forgot to put it on when I put my rebuilt motor on a couple of months ago. I tell him that's ridiculous, I'm sure I put that bolt on. He says no wonder parts fall off my kart and I DNF so much, it is because I'm missing ffing bolts on the kart. Can you guess who this good Samaritan is that worked on my kart for 10 hours? I didn't think you could guess. Here's his picture.
April 6, 2007
Superkarts USA announces the dates for the SuperNationals in Las Vegas. Host hotel is Hooters again! We reserve our rooms immediately before they sell out at the SKUSA discount rate. Starting getting your kart and your driving skills ready to win a national championship on November 14-18.
Wayne focusing on what he is going to do on the track
Wayne fires his nanny as I guess it wasn't working out. But he fires her before he gets a new one, so now he's stuck watching both kids 4 days a week when Amy is at work. She works four 10 hour shifts at the Department of Homeland Security. Wayne also says that he's gonna cut down on karting, and probably skip the next race, as he isn't making as much money with the Phoneguys as he used to. Might be something to do that he's only there about 8 hours a week.
Legate, Jeff, Connor
We thought we had our commercial building sold. The scumbag commercial realtor told Wayne back in November that he could sell it for about $210 a square foot. Teddy, our left fielder, was renting the building for his SureShine stone polishing business, but said that he need a smaller building with more office space, rather than our large building with small office space. So we decided to clean up the building and put it on the market. Teddy moved out January 1 to a smaller building.
Crossed up again. Damn!
We bought it two years ago for $131 a square foot, put about $25 a square foot in improvements to get it ready for sale. And now the realtor is trying to convince us to sell it for $178 a square foot. Uhhh...no you dork, you said you could easily get $200+. None of this bait and switch bullshit. In retrospect, we should have cut Teddy a deal to stay in the building while we try to sell it, instead of having no renters for the last four months. Realtors seem to be less reputable than used car salesmen, auto mechanics, and fortune tellers. Wayne, Bobby (Wayne's brother) and I were thinking that we would clear about $400k in profits on the sale of the building, but the stupid ass home mortgage fiasco appears to be reducing the number of potential buyers for commercial properties. People can't just dip into their Home Equity ATM machines to come up with a down payment for a commercial building like they were doing six months ago. So Wayne decides that he'll cut down on his karting expenses, and will be my mechanic/tuner for the next race.
I refuse to paint my helmet. It won't make me faster!
I tell him I'm going to Grange for practice. Wayne's "retirement" from karting lasts about two days. He says, "Ah, screw it, I'll just borrow more money from my home equity line of credit." I knew he couldn't resist the pull of the Go-Fast Crackpipe. Luckily for him, he bought his house about six years ago back when prices were reasonable.
Wayne, Fernando, and me
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Wayne and I go out to Grange for practice. In order to get to Grange, you exit the freeway on the second Stoddard Wells exit, and it leads to a dirt road you have to take for about five miles. It is the dirt road from hell, as it will shake your teeth out of your mouth. We take Rhod's son, Ryon Beachner, with us. Jason, the tuner/mechanic from 2Wild, drives up with us. Wayne said that my camber is off by a good six degrees due to my crash into the tire wall at the last race. After a short practice session, the right side tire is wearing abnormally fast on the inside edge of the tire. Jason says, "No problem, I can fix that". He puts the kart on a level part of the hot pit area, looks at the kart, turns it fully to the left, then turns it fully to the right, and compares the distance that the opposite side tire lifts up off the ground. It is lifting up more on one side than the other. He puts a block of wood under the right side spindle to jack the frame up on that side, and tells me to start on the rear bar of the chassis, while he "jumps" on the front end to bend it back. He gives it a quick jump, then tells me to sit in the kart. He then tries to lift up the right side tire with one hand, then tries to lift the left side tire. It appears that he is trying to corner weight the front of the kart with by lifting up each wheel, and "guesstimating" the difference. Interesting. He then says it is still off, we have to jump it a little more. He jumps its again, then has me sit in the kart again, "corner weights" the front end by lifting up each tire again, and says that should be good. I pull out the Sniper Laser Alignment Tool, and I'll be damned, he got the camber back so each side was one degree off center, which is how it was when it came from the factory. That's a pretty neat trick...
Friday, April 13, 2007
Wayne can't go to this practice day, as his newly hired nanny fired him. Bummer. Jeff makes it to this practice, and I pick Ryon up so he can get some practice in. We get there, and Ryon makes the observation that our driving lines around the track are not optimal. He suggests that we follow him around the infield. After all, he is the 17th fastest TAG driver in the world according to EKartingnews.com. Jeff gives him that incredulous look like, "You think you are faster than me in your TAG kart in the infield section?"
Paul Taylor in S4
We follow Ryon around the infield sections. After that session, Jeff does grudgingly remark that, "Yeah, uh...you are pretty fast in the infield". Jeff only practices for a few hours, as he says his neck is starting to hurt, and he's about half a second faster than me right now. He bails around 1:30 p.m. I'm still struggling, making changes to the kart suspension, brake bias, etc, and I'm getting slower.
I hate behind behind Wayne
I tell Ryon to drive my kart. He drives it for a lap, comes in, and says my kart is all messed up. He switches the brake bias around a lot, and says that I should take the side bar out of the kart. I tell him I took the side bar out last week at Grange, and it didn't help. He then says, "But did you have the rear bar out, and a medium front bar installed at the same time?" I tell him, "Uh....I don't think so". Should I really be taking advice from a 15 year old TAG driver? Hummm....he is the 17th fastest in the world. I start calling him "Young Luke", and I tell him I'll take his advice and see if it works. So I do the changes that he requests, and I have him drive the first few laps like that. He comes in, and says it feels good. I get in the kart, go out, and I'll be damn, it does feel real good. Then he says, "Now put that 1.56 gear in instead of the 1.58, and try it". I tell him that I can't pull the 1.56 gear in the slow turns, the kart bogs. He says that it is bogging because my suspension was too tight, now it should be fine. Alright Young Luke, so I spend another 40 minutes screwing around with a gear change, putting a new chain to work with the new size sprockets, etc. And then magically, now I'm 2/100ths off of Jeff's time. Heh. That worked out good.
April 14, 2007
Stars of Karting first race in Norman, Oklahoma. Nick Halen is running a CRG chassis out of the PCH Motorsports tent, and qualifies 6th out of 47 in the ICC race. Holy shit, if he can qualify 6th at a race against all the factory ICC drivers/teams, no wonder he can walk through us when he runs in the PKC Spec 3 class with his Stock Honda. He finishes 3rd and 4th in his heat races against the big boys. He ends up taking 3rd in the Final A main race. In the Final B race, another competitor runs up Halen's back, taking both of them out, potentially damaging Halen's knee. Rumor has it that the competitor ran away from the incident and jumped the fence to get off the track. Halen might have to have ACL surgery during the off season. Mylaps.com results here. Commentary on the race here. Halen's teammate Gary Carlton wins both main races, so it could be argued that Carlton is the fastest shifter kart driver in the USA. If Halen finishes 3rd behind Carlton in the Final A main race, kinda makes you go hummmm....how high up should Halen be rated? Will he be the sleeper guy that comes out of nowhere and makes his mark on Karting this year?
Connor and Jeff. Ooops
Rumor has it that Halen won't be at our next PKC race. Also it sounds like McKee is going to use this race as his drop race, as it seems like he doesn't want to punish his ribs at Grange. Jeff says that he's probably going to skip the Friday PKC practice before the race, as he doesn't want to hurt his neck anymore, and he thinks he's fast enough. Rumor has it that Bobby Legate is still suffering from rib pain that he got at the last race at Cal Speedway. Wayne and I smell blood in the water, and are detecting a weakness in the Stock Honda S3 Light class for this next race. We think we got a shot at the podium. We did about 90 laps last week at Grange, including a couple of 18 lap sessions, so our conditioning program is working out really well. We feel no pain, we don't get tired. We can probably do a 30 lap race in 100 degree heat without too much of a problem. If Jeff doesn't practice on Friday, we might be able to outqualify him. Heh. We forsee a possible podium finish.
Jeff, Wayne, Fernando, and me bunched up on the starting grid for heat race 1
Friday, April 20, 2007.
Today is the official PKC practice. We are pitted next to one of our main competitors, Bob and Bobby Legate. Bobby is the driver, and Bob is his dad. None of us (Jeff, Wayne, myself) have beaten Bobby in the main race yet this year. We are trying to chase him down, but we are friendly competitors, sharing different setup info back and forth to see if we can figure out something that will work so we can try to chase down guys like Halen and Connor. Bobby is currently leading in the points race this year, due to his consistent top 4 finishes in the heat races and main races. Today in practice, Bobby is struggling, and is about 2-2.5 seconds off pace of Wayne and I. We are running in the 53.9x range, and Bobby is stuck in the high 55's and low 56's. He and his dad are trying different gears, suspension settings, etc. in an effort to cut down the gap and get back to their usual 4/10ths faster than us.
Never buy a 20 foot wide EZ-Up. Buy two 10 footers instead.
Jeff decides to skip practice today. Wayne and I are feeling pretty
good about this race, and are thinking if we should leave practice at 1:30 p.m.
and haul ass to the Nevada Stateline, which is a mere 140 miles away. We
could be there by 3:10 p.m. Hummmm......instead, we decide to kick back
and take it easy, clean the karts, clean the trailer, etc.
Connor, Cooksey, Bonnier, Wright
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Race day. I only had a couple of hose clamps that secure the silencer fall off my kart yesterday. No crashes, no spins, no drama. Our first warmup session is at 7:40 a.m. I line up early so I can be the first one out on the track. The track worker signals that she wants two laps with no passing, as a lot of people start hauling ass early on cold tires and a cold track, and end up spinning or crashing into something before their kart gets warmed up. I go slowly for 3/4ths of the track, and I feel like my tires are heating up pretty good, so I hammer the kart down the main straightaway. I'm in 6th gear, doing probably 74 mph, and then suddenly the promoter jumps into the middle of the straightaway, wildly throwing his yellow flag. He startles the crap out of me, so I hit the brakes and slow down. Little did I know that Connor was right behind me, and the promoter was trying to get Connor to not pass people for the first two laps. (Apparently Connor blew by some people on the first warmup lap). Connor's right behind me, he can't really see Tom in the middle of track waving the flag, and rams into me pretty hard. I feel a big bump. WTF? Can't I get ONE lap completed on race day without something falling off my kart or a big crash? Tom jumps out of the way so Connor doesn't take him out. I had the helmet camera and equipment on me so I could scale the kart after the practice session, but I didn't turn the camera on, as hey, nothing ever happens in the first morning practice, right? So much for that.
My kart is still steering straight and feels okay, so I still
keep on driving. Connor is black flagged, and apparently has damaged the
front end of his kart pretty hard when he hit me. He ran up the back of my
kart bending my radiator bracket and rear crash bar, but I think his front end
took the worst of it. Meanwhile, Connor's dad (Craig) is furious about
this outcome, and he and the promoter look like they are about to square off like De La Hoya
My little incident on the track almost caused this
As far as I'm concerned, I'm the innocent bystander in this fiasco. True, I should have raised my hand to indicate that a yellow flag was waving, but it happened so fast I had no time to get my hand up. Plus it isn't good to jam on the brakes at 74+mph with only one hand on the steering wheel, as the kart could jack quickly to the left or right. I had to hit the brakes so I wouldn't hit Tom. I couldn't just zip to the left or right of him, what if I had guessed wrong and Tom jumped the same way? Or if the guys behind me didn't see Tom, and if I zagged left and they went straight, they woulda bowled Tom over. Connor probably didn't see the signal from the starter in the hot pit area that there were 2 laps of no passing, which is why he was on my bumper ready to blow by me like he usually does. Anyways, Craig has a ton of work to do on his son's kart to make it functional again. I go over to talk to Connor and his dad about the incident, but Craig is in "Kill mode", and starts cussing me out. Jeez, I didn't do anything! Wayne walks over by their big area, and tries to make a joke about, "Hey, you gotta look out for that Hayashi guy on the track", and Craig starts cussing Wayne out to get outta here as he's trying to fix the badly damaged kart. Normally Craig is a pretty nice guy, and works on our karts at 2Wild. But I guess he goes into "Kill Mode" at the race track.
|Best Tm||In Lap||Best Spd (Mph)||Diff||Gap||Laps|
|Class: S3 Light|
|4||00x||Connor De Phillippi||53.149||3||54.187||0.110||0.002||3|
|Class: S3 Heavy|
In qualifying, I run a 53.72, which I thought would be pretty good. I mean, Halen took pole last year with a 53.76. Instead, imagine the look of horror on my face when I see I'm qualified 8th. Jeez, I thought I would at least be in row 3, instead of barely making it in row 4. This seems to be a re-occurring pattern with us Pulp guys. We'll run faster than last year's qualifying time at each track, but the really fast guys are running a half second faster than last year's pole time. I don't know if this means that the drivers are getting faster, if kart technology is getting better, or if the tracks are getting faster. In any event, to be on pole this year, you need to be at least a half second faster than last's year pole. Today, Bonnier Moulton is 7/10ths faster than last year's pole. Ouch! Legate puts on new tires, and he picks up about 3 seconds, beating all the Pulp guys. Damn!
Green flag drops, and we are off. Fernando snakes by me in turn 1. Bonnier blows his pole position by spinning coming into the "table top" section of the track. A few laps later, Wayne spins hot rodding it into turn 1, see ya Wayne! I stay behind Fernando the rest of the race, not able to pass him, so I slow it down the last few laps to save the tires for the next battle.
Cooksey wins the race, and Jonathan Wright makes it to 2nd place. Jeff is 4th, I'm 6th behind Connor (well, 7th if you take into account Fernando's Stock Heavy finish in front of me).
|Laps||Total Tm||Diff||Best Tm||In Lap||Best Spd (Mph)|
|Class: S3 Light|
|5||00x||Connor De Phillippi||10||9:05.840||3.556||53.498||3||53.834|
|Class: S3 Heavy|
Heat Race 2
I get a really crappy start. Clinton, Bonnier, Wayne, Fernando all get me in turn 1. ARRGH! Us mid pack guys more or less stay in these positions the rest of the race. I ease up the last couple of laps to save my tires, as I ain't gonna be able to get a clean pass on Wayne. Cooksey picks up the win in this heat race. He also won heat race 2. Legate gets disqualified for having his rear axle at 55.13 inches, instead of 55.00. His dad checks the axle with his measuring tape, and it measures 55.0. The measuring stencil used by PKC shows that he's 1/8th too wide. Must be those Made In China measuring tapes. Bummer, Bobby Legate goes to the back of the pack.
Main Heat Race
Jeff is gridded 5th, Wayne 8th, and me 9th if you count Fernando. Clinton is 6th, but his kart stalls and dies on the starting grid. That really sucks. Steve tries to restart him, but it ain't firing up. Bummer. That's like laying on the bed with Jessica Alba, with her eyes looking into your eyes, and having premature ejaculation when she unzips her pants. You were almost there!
Clinton signaling that he stalled. The rest of us pointing at Clinton
Red lights go out and we are off. No drama in turn 1. I'm behind Wayne for most of the race, and then it seems like my motor is bogging going out of the hairpin up the hill. Hummm...is that my driving, or my chassis setup, or my jetting? Whatever it is, it sucks, as I can hang behind Wayne until this section of the track, and then he pulls away. Hummm...maybe my fuel pump is, as I had to be push started 3 times in the hot pit before the motor fired up.
Clinton pulled off to the side. Bummer.
With two laps to go, Legate is on my butt, and I figure rather than have my kart bog right in front of him and have us crash out of the race, I'll just wave him by. If my kart wasn't bogging, I'd block his ass for two laps just so I say I beat him once in the main race this year! But hey now, at least I make it through qualifying, two heats, and a main without DNFing, or having parts fall off my kart!
Jeff has a fantastic race, going from 5th to 4th to 3rd to 2nd. And then on the last turn of the last lap, he barrels down the inside and outbrakes Connor, and they go head to head to the checkered flag, with Jeff winning by mere inches! Jeff wins his first race of the year in spectacular fashion. Wayne takes 5th, I take 7th.
In the last four races in Stock Honda Spec 3 Light, we have four different winners in the main race. Connor, Halen, Legate, and Jeff. Halen missed the last two races, but prior to that he dominated the Stock Honda class with 9 wins in his last 11 races. With Halen temporarily out of the picture, there seems to be no dominate force in our class. I think Bonnier Moulton has a shot at being at the top of the mountain if he can avoid any "incidents" on race day. The rest of us are probably fighting to make it to 3rd on the podium, if a couple of the leaders crash out and DNF. Wayne and I think we need to drop our laptimes a couple tenths of a second, and need to be more consistent so we can string a bunch of fast laps together without making any small mistakes. Maybe that way we can get to the podium....otherwise, we are going to continue to get our ass whupped!
Halen, De Phillippi, Legate, Littrell. Four different winners in five events this year
Helmet Camera Video
My helmet camera videos are getting bigger and bigger. This one is 11 minutes long. Pretty soon I'll start having enough footage to create a half hour reality show. I guarantee you it will be better than that drivel they have on TV! I got everything. Comedy. Drama. Crashes. Youngsters growing up and turning pro. Old farts trying to take down the kids. Kids smacking down the old farts on the track. 175 meg or so, best to do a "right click, save as":
Fernando Diaz is crushing people in S3 Heavy
After the race
I'm able to make another quick getaway after our main race. I figure if I can get home in time to put the kids to bed on Saturday nights, I won't catch too much heat from the wife. Wayne and I are using 2-way radios to maneuver the truck and trailer around, and have about 2 inches of clearance to get the trailer onto pit entry/exit road. I look like a cool professional truck driver. Except later on, as I'm cruising along the freeway at a good pace, two Mexicans guys pull up to me and point to the sky over my trailer. Huh? Maybe CHP helicopter? I look around, still see nothing. They keep pointing. I look again, and the 2' x 3' side door to the generator gas is flopping all the way up. Great. That's all I need is that door to break off at 70 mph due to wind shear, and have it take out someone's windshield and cause a 50 car collision on 15 freeway. I can't just pull off anywhere with the big trailer, I have to make sure I don't get on a podunk road where I might have a problem parking the trailer or getting back on the freeway. Apparently the dirt road at Grange is so rough, that it rattled off the backing nut that holds the el cheapo lock on the generator door. The entire lock and hinge fell out somewhere on that dirt road.
Paul Taylor battling in S4
On the long downhill (45 mph max for trailers) ending at the Wrightwood exit, I decide to pull off the freeway and fix the door. Except that as I come to a stop, large clouds of smoke come up from the truck brakes, as they get pretty hot from the long downhill section of the freeway. Crap. I immediately get right back on the freeway to cool off the brakes. After about 10 minutes of cooling, I find another place that I can pull off at. I decide to tape up the updoor with duct tape, and loop a bungie cord through lock hole. I get back on the freeway, relieved that I'm not going to kill anyone with that door.
Jeff, Jason, Fernando, Sunni, and Wayne after the main race
After about 10 minutes, the duct tape comes off, the door opens about 6 inches, and is narrowly held on by the bungie cord. Crap. I pull over for a THIRD time, get some safety wire and pliers, and proceed to tire the door down with the wire.
Can Jeff pull off another win this season? Can Wayne and I beat him? Stay tuned....
=======New Real Estate Rant========
Since mid February, another 30 mortgage lenders big the dust according to the Implode-O-Meter. I'm totally amazed that the stock market is still roaring upwards with the Dow at 13,000+. It's up to 67 companies that have either gone bankrupt or acquired at a low price. I'll admit I'm no financial analyst, especially with the Dow going up despite stuff like:
San Diego housing: REO=Foreclosures. Will April have more foreclosures than sales?
Quantity of houses sold in Las Vegas crashing down like me into a tire wall
1. GM profit plunges 90% after housing finance loss (news.yahoo.com)
2. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Quits. David Lereah, the guy who has been "spinning" the the bad news about real estate so it looks like "good news" to anyone who will quote him in the mainstream press, quit his job. Apparently he couldn't even listen to his own bullshit anymore. He's called the "housing bottom" four times now, and we ain't even close to the bottom yet. He packed his bags and left his job as the "spokesperson" for the NAR.
3. Figures lie. Realtors like to say, "Media Housing Prices going up!", and presenting it as good news. Median Price means that an equal number of houses were sold below the median and above the median. Except people with bad credit can't afford to buy houses any more with the loan standards tightening up, and shylocks like New Century going out of business. So less "cheap" houses are sold. Which brings up the "median price".
4. Figures lie. Unemployment figures released by the government say that unemployment isn't going up. Except they don't include those 600,000 illegal construction workers that suddenly no long have jobs. Whenever they release thoe reports, remember that construction workers, realtors, and mortgage brokers are usually independent contractors and don't get unemployment pay, thus they don't show up in the unemployment data. Linky.
5. Banks are starting to dump properties that they foreclosed on from a few months ago. It's gonna affect the comps.
6. Bloggers are saying that a lot of homes that get foreclosed on do not seem to be appearing in the MLS when they are sold by the banks for lower than the comps in the area. Thus the MLS data appears to be "rosy" since some of these "forced sales" aren't in their database. Cheating Bastards!
I mean, c'mon. Everyone is trying to ignore the housing fiasco like it doesn't exist, or it won't affect them. I'm still convinced that the economic future looks bad.
April 27, 2007
I spend about 10 hours cleaning off the kart, tightening bolts, replacing bent radiator brackets, a new top end, new fuel pump, etc. I'm trying to do the same stuff to my kart that Wayne did prior to this race, so maybe that will minimize my mechanical DNF fiascos for the next race at Willow Springs.
The repair fiasco is now on its fifth month, going on its third mechanic. More on this in the next chapter, after it is hopefully fixed and I get payment issues cleared up with all those involved. Heads will roll....
Pulp Store temporarily down
www.pulpstore.com is temporarily down. Microsoft got rid of their bCentral ecommerce stuff, leaving me at the moment with no webstore presence on the Internet. Bastards! Like I don't have enough stuff to do as it is now!
Jeff and Connor on the podium
Willow Race Report Coming Soon
PKC is having their races every 3 weeks. I can't get enough time to make a video and write up the story in three weeks. Hopefully in another couple of weeks I'll add Chapter 138 about the Willow Springs race. Our next race is June 1, at Cal Speedway, in the reverse direction.
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