Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Rock!

One more day until the fun begins...

And Tim doing his best Ricky Bobby impression last weekend:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gas it up!

Alright, bout time for a quick recap of the last month. I went through and raced the engine twice after it up-chucked all the oil at Dousman. That was Races #10 & 13 at 61 Kartway July 9th and 30th. So far so good! Except I forgot to charge my transponder after Dousman so I didn’t get a qualifying time and then I threw the chain in the final after the 2nd lap at the first race. Came back and won that second race though. Otherwise I’ve actually been doing work at work. We’ve been freaking slammed and I just couldn’t get away to go race Route 66 at Norway July 15-17th. At first I was pretty bummed out but it is what it is. Other than that, I went camping and canoeing, went to the Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway (did you see that freaking finish!) and finally went to the Knoxville Nationals this last weekend. Which meant I missed the Route 66 race at Badger August 12-14th. Oh well, it rained Saturday up there anyway, that really would have been a kick in the ass and a punch in the face! So now prep and practice starts for the Rock Island Grand Prix, Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Race Report: Route 66 Sprint Series @ Badger

Been slackin getting this up...last month the Route 66 Sprint Series went up to Badger Kart Club in Dousman, WI. I had never been there, so Friday would be the first time ever seeing the track.
Dave was hitching a ride with me so Friday morn I picked him up in Dubuque before blasting on to WI. We were impressed when we first saw the track. It really is fun and everything was going great until mid-late afternoon. And then, my Rotax engine started puking oil out of the oil fill/breather cap. What the 3 years I’ve never seen this happen. Practice was done for me; I spent the next couple of hours on the phone calling everyone I knew who had any experience with Rotax’s.
One bad thing about racing the Rotax: I’m usually only 1 of 2 or 3 guys in the entire class using this engine. There just isn’t any track side support when you have problems. The diagnosis by phone? Either I filled the crankcase with too much oil (I didn’t) or the crank seal was blown. No one had really seen or heard of this problem. Fuck, here we go again. I tore the motor off the chassis in preparation to have Jim look at it Saturday morning.
Saturday we were back at the track by 7:30 and I waited to have my motor looked at. We tore the motor apart and seeing nothing obviously wrong made plans to put it back on the kart to go out for practice. We decided not to replace the crank seal. Nobody at the track had any oil so I had to run around BFE Wisconsin looking for some. By the time I got back I absolutely thrashed putting everything back together but ended up missing all of the practice sessions. After blowing up last year’s engine I was hesitant to put an untested, don’t really know what’s wrong with the freaking thing, out on track for balls out qualifying. So I didn’t. Day done, no racing. Sweet. I invited everyone to my pity party. Instead, I was Dave’s pit bitch, helping him start his Yamaha for his races and pushing his kart stand around. I was glad when the day finally came to an end.
Sunday we woke up to dark skies. As we pulled into the track it started raining. Are you kidding me? I planned to go out for the only practice session. If everything looked ok I would much for that plan. The track was wet requiring rain tires. So again I missed practice. They ended up running a couple more practice sessions trying to dry the track. Pissed off, I about said F it, what’s the point. But the rain stopped and the sun came out. We drove all the way up there, I might as well get some more track time right? Screw it, I’ll just take it easy for qualifying and go from there.
Qualified 13th out of 19. I put a hose on the breather leading to a catch can before going out and it was empty when I came in from qualifying. Game on! I got a horrible start in the heat race and was getting trucked going down the straightaway. With hardly any practice time, the chassis tune wasn’t where it should have been. Finished the heat race in 15th. Made some changes for the feature race and got a better start. Being in the back of the pack sucks, it’s the kill zone. People make desperate moves to advance positions and I was ready for it. Sure enough, the 3rd corner 2 or 3 karts got together and spun out. Suckers! And then in the next corner more drivers ahead of me created an even bigger pile up. Top 10 here I come! But at the last second the door closed on me. I had nowhere to go and to avoid the douche nozzle in front me, who caused it all, I had to spin myself out. We were just backmarkers at that point as the leaders had really checked out. Came across the finish line in 13th position. 
So another weekend with no luck and the racing gods laughing at me. Just paying my dues in a new series. The entire 61 Kartway crew struggled but Dave did bring home some hardware. We’re still not sure what exactly is wrong with the motor, if anything. Hopefully it doesn’t keep barfing oil.

Sorry dudes, no helmet cam video. Totally forgot about it in all the chaos. The wreck in front of me would have been pretty epic to see!

Your friend and my favorite,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Race Report: 61 Kartway Race #6

6.4.11 was Race #6 at 61 Kartway. I skipped Race #5 because it was raining all day and nothing sucks worse than watching rain from the garage at the track. They did race, though not very many peeps showed up.

For this race we ran the track in reverse. The “Toilet Bowl” corner really beats the hell out of you but I think reverse is way more fun than the regular direction. Theme of the early year: only 1 other TAG kart showed up, so again we raced with the Formula Yamaha group. Not sure how many more club races I’ll run if this keeps up. Oh wells, at least I won’t be burning money every weekend, just 1 or 2 per month. Ha!

This time they gave the Formula Yahama’s a huge head start so I wouldn’t catch them as fast. I think I caught Dave and Doc battling for 3rd with 2 or 3 laps left. I didn’t want to mess up their race so I put-putted behind them watching the action. Qualified 1st, won the final, and watched some racing up close, cool!

Vid action!
And more helmet cam video from Carter of the previous race:
And I finally got new graphics for this year...ah hell yeah! If I’m not fast at least I’ll look cool going slow. Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.
Still coming off the let down that was the Route 66 Sprint Series race at Badger Kart Club in Dousman, WI last weekend. I’ll get a report up sometime...

Your friend and my favorite,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Race Report: 61 Kartway Race #4

Howdy fellers! So 5.21.11 was Race #4 at 61 Kartway. No doubt we’ve been having super crazy weather the last few weeks. But Saturday came around and it turned out to be an epic blue bird day to race. The fun meter was pegged wide open!

Instead of qualifying we drew for starting positions which was pointless anyway. Only 1 other TAG kart showed up so we ended up racing with the Formula Yamaha group. Starting from the back I won both heat races and the final. Not much to brag about since there wasn’t much competition and TAG’s are 1.5-2 seconds quicker per lap than the Formula Yamaha’s.

Finally some video from the feature race:
Keep on keepin on.

Your friend and my favorite,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Race Report: Route 66 Sprint Series @ Norway

May 13th I made the pull over to Jet Karting in Norway, Illinois for the Route 66 Sprint Series, for my first race this year.
The plan was to practice all day Friday. Didn’t happen. The first practice session I went out to bed in new brake pads, feel the engine out, and tried to pick up the line. This was only my second time ever racing at this track. Basically I wasn’t pushing it anyway near the limit. Success! Nothing fell off and the kart sounded good after firing in anger for the first time. The second practice session I picked up the pace feeling the kart and track out. And then it started dumping rain. It was only 1 o’clock but the day was over. It kept raining on and off the rest of the afternoon and the track never really dried out. After cleaning and putting everything away I grabbed some supper and retreated to my hotel room.
I woke up Saturday morning to dark skies, rain, wind, and it was freaking cold. Hey I like racing, but I’m not hardcore enough to put up with this crap. Total buzz kill. Reluctantly I went to the track to hang out and stare at the radar all morning. At least I was surrounded by familiar faces; misery loves company right? People put on rain tires and practice went on without me and many others. Screw that, racing in the rain sucks! Conditions at the track were just sloppy. Our final practice session came up and by this time the rain had stopped so I went out on the damp track. No grip and it was a pretty useless exercise.
Back in the pits I threw on new tires for qualifying. I wasn’t expecting much after being on track for only 3 sessions of which only 1 I was really driving at 10/10ths. And then to add insult to injury it started pissing rain during our qualifying session. Fuck. Qualified 14th out of 18. For the pre-final I moved it up to 12th. And for the final I finished in 10th place. 4 or 5 of us had a pretty good mid-pack battle going on throughout the race. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...not bad all things considered I guess, I was just glad the weekend was over.
Trying to race during those days where the track changes from wet to dry is just frustrating. Part of me wishes it had just rained all weekend. Chasing the track searching for the setup is tough. Tracks change enough through the day without adding rain into the mix...
The new HD Go Pro camera worked great. Except I mounted it on the radiator cap. And the radiator is mounted to the engine. looks like I’m doing my best impression of Bubba Stewart flying over woops on a motocross track. Video sucks thanks to so much vibration, back to the drawing board...

The next Route 66 race is a month away. In the meantime I’ll do some club racing at 61 Kartway if the weather doesn’t suck.

Your friend and my favorite,

Friday, April 15, 2011