Tuesday, August 19, 2008

CSC Races #5 & #6

The weekend started off with cold and rainy conditions for more than 2 days! That is really odd for august in Denver, but a lot of racers still showed up at The Track at Centennial on Friday morning ready to practice. I was driving AJ Noud's kart again with the hopes of learning as much or more than last month. My Tuner, Kirk Deason was in attendance all weekend. We have been working really well together and learning a ton. It's one of the cooler teamings I've experienced by chance or just dumb luck.

The weather looked the same for Friday and Saturday, so we decided that we'd need to practice in the wet on Friday to be ready for Saturday. 50 degrees f and constant rain... awesome. I'd never driven or raced a kart in the rain. After spinning off ~15 times, I kind of got the hang of it. Stay the hell away from the normal racing line is what it boiled down to. The long way around had a lot more grip.

Saturday morning was still cold and wet. I decided to not go out for warm up. It was hammering rain as the first 2 groups were qualifying. We were the 3rd group, but the track activities were red flagged just before we rolled to the grid. A few spots on the track were basically flooded all the way across and the drainage just couldn't handle the constant rain. We are used to 15 minute storms around here. So the event was on hold for an hour. After that hour, there was no relief in sight, so they decided to call it a day and try to fit in both main events on Sunday, no heat races.

So, it cleared up on Sunday. Peak temps in the 70s, but the track was still soaked in the morning. The plan was to do a warm up, qualify, then run both 15 lap races (1 each direction). I went out on rain tires in the warm up and smoked everyone else trying to pull off slicks on the wet (but no puddles) track. That was good for confidence. Qualifying would be dry and I did 3 hot laps. The 3rd lap being a 55.3, not bad for such a cool and green track, but only good for 2nd place.

The first race was clock wise. I got a crappy start and faded to 5th for the early few laps and then started picking off positions. By the end of lap 5 I was back in 2nd place chasing down the leader and home track favorite Jack Bradley. I followed him for several laps. I wasn't pushing super hard to keep up, but he was pretty consistent and not leaving the door open for me anywhere. Finally, at the end of lap 10 he touched a curb under braking and got a little out of shape. I took advantage and moved through for the lead. I think Jeff Welch followed me through into P2. Welch wasn't far off me, but I did some consistent quick laps to bring home the 2nd win of our season. It felt great. Fair fights and no lucky breaks needed. Just good racing and lots of smiles and thumbs up.

Several hours later and a short rain shower (then dried up again) was the counter clockwise race. This was my weak direction and wet practice on Friday didn't really help me at all. This start was a bit better and I held 3rd after 1 lap. Some chaos on lap 2 saw me slip to 5th. We settled in to a really fun 5 kart train for 5 laps. It must have been really exciting to watch as we were all nose to tail on this technical track. Snider spun off on lap 7 moving me to 4th. I could hold the pace but I was being gapped in the wrong place and I had little hope of advancing. I was pushing to find a bit more time when I drop some wheels off the track on lap 12. That was it, the top 3 had a gap on me so I just brought it home in 4th.

1st and 4th was our best weekend of the 6 race series. 2 wins in the regional series with only 1 year of experience was quite a bit above my expectations. Not too shabby. I think we ended up 3rd in the championship. We'll take it and try to improve on it next year. Big thanks to Kirk, AJ, and Rocky Mountain Kartworks.

With the weather, I never broke out either camera. Sadly, I would've got some good video. Oh well.

Results link

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