ProKart Challenge Race 4 - California Speedway- March 31, 2007
Momentary Flashes of Brilliance
We Need Some Consistency And A Little Luck
Once in a while, we look like we know what we are doing on the kart track
Okay, so we go to Race #4, which is held in the parking lot of California Speedway. This writeup will be shorter than usual, as I'm getting behind with the chapters. This year, the PKC races are about 3 weeks apart. Last year, they were four weeks apart, which made it easier to finish up the story/video before the next race. Next chapter will have more of the usual random rants and raves, and better pictures. I'm aiming to have the next update done in 8 days.....but I said that about this update also.
Monday, March 12, 2007
The kart track at Cal Speedway is only open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays for practice, unless of course there is a race on the weekend. Kinda sucks, as we can't get as much practice as we normally would like to have before a race. Wednesdays are bad for us because of we have our Wednesday night softball league. So I get about 13 PKC drivers together that want to throw in $100 each to practice on a Monday, from 8-5. Gary Westerfield says that he has a mechanic friend that he would like to bring if some people want to split the cost. Hummmm.....I haven't been able to get my old Tony/Vorex ICC kart up and running in about four months. Maybe I'll pay for someone to help make it stop sputtering and dying on the track. It's one of those things that you can't really diagnose at the shop on a kart stand, you have to be at the track buzzing around to figure out the problem.
Cal Speedway hot pit area
Frank Doran from KartTech comes out the track. Frank has a shop by Moran Raceway, and he does trackside support, driver coaching, race prep, etc. You can contact him at 951-897-0550. So Frank comes out, looks at my old kart, sees a number of things wrong. Fuel pulse line was pinched, fuel filter pointing the wrong way, but most importantly he inspects the the carburetor, and sees that the needle type is the wrong size (K16 vs K22), and that there is some pitting/wear-and-tear on the needle. I give him a different needle to use, he re-jets the kart, and Zoom-Zoom, hey the kart works again. So prior to me pinching the fuel line and fuel filter on wrong, it appears that the reason why I couldn't get the kart to run strong and crisp the past 12 months was because of the ffing needle. Anyways, thanks to Frank to fixing my damn Tony/Vortex kart, so now I have a kart I can use as a practice kart for myself or a friend. We have a decent practice, and re-familiarize ourselves with the track. Wayne snaps the bolt that holds the rear brake pads in place, so he's done for the day. Something is weird on his kart, as that is the third bolt he's snapped in the past month on the rear brakes. We can't figure out what is wrong. We've put new pads in, the caliper looks straight, etc. Luckily we have Dave "The Machine Shop Guy" who works 100 feet from the shop who can fix anything to get that snapped bolt out of the caliper. We are in pretty good karting shape, and we do about 80 laps of practice.
Jason with the karts
Sunday, March 25.
Wayne and I were planning on going out and getting one more practice day today. There was a race the day before, so the track would be pretty gripped up from all the rubber laid down, so it would simulate a race day. Except Wayne catches a cold, and I hurt my back changing kart tires on our karting machine. I had the tire changing machine on a bench table that was too high, and when forcing a tire off the rim, I got a sharp pain in my back. I figure I let it rest a for a few days before the race instead of getting this extra practice in. Cal Speedway can be a brutal track on the ribs after it grips up.
Friday, March 30.
Official PKC Practice day. I'm lined up in pole position (meaning my truck and trailer first in line, sitting outside of Cal Speedway at 5:30 a.m., trying to fanagle my way past the guard gate to no avail). I always try to get there early to get a spot in the pit area that is both close to the track, and easy to get out of the pit area after our race. It's not the easiest thing in the world moving the 48 foot trailer out of the pit area. If I can get home in time to help put the kids to bed, I get less heat from the wife for being gone for two days. I practice all day today without breaking anything, or having any fall off my kart. It's gonna be a good race day! Perhaps I've solved all the mechanical problems that I've been having all season long.
Ready to do some racing
Saturday, March 31
First practice session, I go out for my warmup, and I do two laps, and then the kart dies on the track. I look around the kart, and the damn carburetor pops off the motor! ARRGH! I guess when I changed my main carb jet this morning I didn't put the hose clamp on correctly. Idiot. Anyways, I got a lot of practice in already yesterday and two weeks ago, so I guess that doesn't hurt me much.
Halen isn't running in our class today. He's focusing on the S1/ICC/Built Moto class instead. Looks like he is continue to run with the PCH Motorsports guys, and they are gearing up for the Stars of Karting season opener at Oklahoma in a couple of weeks. Bummer for us, as he adds a little prestige to the Stock Honda class, and we can measure our performance against him. But then again, hey now, we all move up a spot on the grid.
I line up behind Bobby Legate and Jeff, and we go out on the track for qualifying. I'm kinda keeping them in my sights. My first hot lap in a 47.1 and I think I got more in me. Heh! Coming down the straightaway on my second hot lap which feels like a real good one, hoping to get into the 46.x's, the bolt that holds my gas pedal to the frame of the kart snaps in half, thus rendering the gas pedal inoperable. Unbelievable! Kart dies on the track again, and I have to be towed in on the emergency truck for the second time in 40 minutes. It is a decent size bolt that doesn't seem like it should snap. Wayne and I have snapped about four of these the past year or so. Rhod from 2Wild says he's never had a customer snap that bolt in half. Tony Kart should pay us to be their quality control inspectors. We can break anything. Multiple times. When it counts the most.
Luckily for me, my 47.1 holds takes 7th on the grid out of 24 drivers in our run group. (Yeah, I include the Fat Bastards in my kart count). Wayne and Jeff make it to row 2 of the grid! Connor scorches the earth with a 46.2 for pole position.
|Class: S3 Light|
|1||00x||Connor De Phillippi||46.219||2||58.418||2||-|
|Class: S3 Heavy|
Heat Race 1
We have a new starting light setup, much like Formula One. The sequence is that when the starter signals you to put down your facemask, then look at the stop lights. There are three lights on it. First one light will turn on, the then 2nd red light will turn on, then the 3rd red light will turn on. WHEN ALL THREE LIGHTS GO OFF, then you drop the clutch and haul ass. So the starting sequence is similar to Formula One. Because when we are sitting in our 40 hp karts, we are all fantasizing that we are are sitting on an F1 starting grid in an 800 hp race car.
"Don't be an idiot and jump the start. Wait until all 3 red lights turn off. Just like an F1 race"
All the lights go off, and Connor bogs the start! Legate and I jet around Connor. Wayne was behind Connor, thus screwing up his start. Going out of turn 1, I'm in 4th place. Ha ha! That's the best position in a race I've been in a year. After another lap, the race gets red flagged due to Justin Krueger being ejected from his kart after hitting the tire wall and then getting hit from behind. He's a little shaken up, but he's okay. His dad was behind him when he saw the kart go flying in another Cirque De Soleil move.
The restart of our race will be a single file rolling start. Bonnier Moulton is in the lead, and he startles some people by accelerating before the last turn onto the main straight. I think most people thought he was going to go slow and line us up on the restart down the main straight like they do in car racing, but instead he guns it before anyone else makes the turn. Nice Cheating Bastard move, I gotta remember that one!
I got a train of people behind me, but I'm able to hold them off for about 12 laps, and then I botch the hairpin onto the straight, and Wayne dive bombs in and makes a clean pass. Damn! I end up 5th for the race. Wayne takes 4th. Jeff takes 3rd. Hey now, Team Pulp Racing is holding down 3 of the top 5 spots. We are dialed in and looking good for a possible podium finish. Bonnier takes 1st, and Legate takes 2nd. Connor seems to have a problem with his fuel pump, and is a DNF.
|Class: S3 Light|
|DNF||89x||Paul Russell||1||53.366||11 Laps||51.754||1||52.170||-|
|DNF||00x||Connor De Phillippi||1||1:07.831||14.465||1:07.234||1||40.158||-|
|Class: S3 Heavy|
|DNF||91c||Ron Barcimo||2||1:44.790||10 Laps||48.982||2||55.122||-|
Lining up for Heat Race 2. Bonnier P1, Legate P2, Jeff P3, Wayne P4, me P5
Heat Race 2
Okay, sitting pretty here in my 3rd row, inside position going into heat race 2. I gotta hold my P5 position or improve on it in this heat race to have a good shot at a podium in the main race. Red lights go off, I get another good start, but I almost run up on Bonnier who seems to have bogged the start. I hit the brakes and jack the wheel to the right to avoid hitting him. Jeff is behind Bonnier, and screws up his start also. About four people blast around me into Turn 1. DAMN! Back down to 7th or 8th place now. Wayne, by virtue of being on the left side of the grid in P4 behind Legate, leaps into 2nd place and holds the position. Jeff spins, Bonnier spins, so they are stuck in the midpack with me. Connor has yet another problem with the fuel pump, and DNFs for the second time in a row. I'm sure his dad (a very good mechanic) is losing his mind over that. Wayne holds on to finish 2nd! He's showing enough speed to possibly podium for the first time this year if he can hold off the rest of the pack in the next race.
|Class: S3 Light|
|DNF||89x||Paul Russell||7||5:51.625||5 Laps||47.385||2||56.980||-|
|DNF||00x||Connor De Phillippi||1||55.420||11 Laps||51.376||1||52.554||-|
|Class: S3 Heavy|
The Main Event:
Wayne is holding down Row 1 with his second place finish in the last race, so he's feeling pretty good, except that he is pretty tired from the cold he is trying to shake. He keeps saying he knows he's going to fade (a la George on Seinfeld) in the race, and we keep trying to pump him up saying he can hold those guys off, they gotta figure out how to get around him. I tell him to just follow Legate around the track, stay in rhythm, and let everyone else force a pass on him. I'm in P7, but I haven't got tired in any of the races, so I figure I'm in good physical condition to hopefully move up in the 20 lap main event after some people get tired from the beating on the ribs that this track does to a person.
Wayne is gridded P2 for the main race!
Red lights go out, and I get my first bad start of the day. Two people jump in front of me. Damn. Going into turn 2, I'm on the left passenger side bumper of Gary Kozuma, and it appears he has to move a bit to the right and slow down to avoid someone on the left side of him. I'm trying to get around Gary, and my stupid ass self runs over Gary's right rear tire, launching me off the track. 14 karts pass me, so I'm now last in the pack. %$#@!*. There goes any possible hope of a podium finish. &^%$#@! I try to make up ground, and I try to pass Mike G. coming out of the infield, but in an effort to avoid hitting HIS passenger rear tire, I hit the tire wall with my right front tire. DOH! That's three dumbass mistakes in four laps. I spin out, and end up backwards in to the tire wall on the other side of the track. I try to restart the kart, but the impact bumped the exhaust pipe off the motor, which is held on tightly by springs. I try to line up the pipe and put it back on while the springs are still holding tension, but as soon as I touch it, my gloves start going up in smoke since the pipe is hot. Ouch! Four mistakes in four laps. That's the end of the race for me, another DNF. Wayne fades, ends up 7th. Jeff battles back to 5th. Connor goes from last to 2nd! Clinton Schoombee, takes a bow at the podium for 3rd place today. Clinton was in the Stock Honda S2 rookie class last year, and moved up to our advanced class this year, and is doing pretty good. He also said that this is only the second year that he's been racing something with a motor in it. He's 24 years old, so the average age on the podium is uhhhh...20 years old in our class. Bobby Legate takes his first win in the main of a S3 Stock Honda light race!
Bobby Legate takes 1st, Connor 2nd, Clinton Schoombee 3rd
Fernando Diaz takes 1st in the Stock Honda S3 Heavy class, and even more impressive, is 3rd overall in our class today, so he beat all but two stock Honda Light drivers despite having 30 more pounds on his kart. This is gonna be a problem for the Pulp guys come November, when we all duke it out at the SuperNationals in Vegas, if we all decide to run the Stock Honda Heavy class.
The "kids" with their hardware. Clinton is the old guy on the podium, at 24 years old
|Class: S3 Light|
|2||00x||Connor De Phillippi||20||15:50.343||2.981||46.837||8||57.647||-|
|9||14x||Tom Auay-Fuay||19||16:03.737||1 Lap||48.178||13||56.042||-|
|11||14c||Justin Krueger||15||12:26.210||5 Laps||48.792||2||55.337||-|
|DNF||2c||Randy McKee||10||8:05.476||10 Laps||47.669||8||56.641||-|
|DNF||41c||Gary Kozuma||6||4:53.682||14 Laps||47.878||2||56.393||-|
|DNF||55c||Doug Hayashi||4||3:25.413||16 Laps||48.934||2||55.176||-|
|DNF||75c||Travis Whitehead||3||2:31.510||17 Laps||48.438||2||55.741||-|
|Class: S3 Heavy|
|5||70||Brian Pauter||19||15:51.544||1 Lap||48.175||7||56.046||-|
|6||86x||Mike Goebel||17||16:14.960||3 Laps||49.194||2||54.885||-|
Clinton scores his first podium in Spec 3 light.
So Jeff, Wayne and I had some momentary flashes of brilliance today at the track. We just need to keep it together through qualifying, two heat races, and then the main to make it to the damn podium. The competition is so tough in Spec 3 Light that any little mistake (mental/physical/mechanical) pretty much makes it impossible to get the podium. You can't get on the podium via a fluke stroke of luck, as there are too many good competitors that are waiting to pounce on your every mistake, and laugh with glee as they pass you.
Monday after the race, Wayne goes to the doctor, and Dr. Barrett says he has asthmatic bronchitis and gives him a nebulizor, steroids, and an inhaler. So that's his excuse for falling behind from 2nd to 7th in the main.
Legate savors his first taste of victory in the main race for Spec 3 Light
Helmet Camera Footage:
It's about 10 minutes long, 157 meg, Windows Media file with music from the H*i*v*e*s in the background. Lyrics are here, here, and here. Corresponding music videos here, here, and here. Support them, buy their CDs and their songs!
The helmet cam video takes about 2 minutes to download on my
Verizon FIOS connection. I figure if you make a video, might as well do it
at a good resolution, otherwise, what's the point of it? Do a "right click
save target as" to download it:
I'll get off my ass and start working on the Grange race that took place last weekend.
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