September, 18 – Shimek Speedway
Hot laps – 7 karts – rained out after hot laps
Because of the rain, all we were able to run was hot laps. In the Animal class, Matt won. That was only because he cheated. He passed Carl and me under the yellow while we were warming up. We were very fortunate since Matt usually leaves marks all over your kart in the process of passing. Carl was second. I was third only because I gave the first two a chance by leaving 30 pounds in my left front and 24 in the left rear. I usually run 5.5 on that side. Handling was a little iffy. But I needed to handicap myself so I didn’t go flying by Carl and Matt and embarrass them. Jim finished last because he thought it would be cool driving a tripod. Someone, it could have even been Jim, forgot to tighten the lug nuts on the left rear. Soon he was singing, “You picked a fine time to leave me, Loose Wheel.” I’m not sure what order the others finished. I was busy dodging Jim’s wheel. I’m looking forward to coming back next year to do some real racing. The Animal class at Shimek has nice guys in it who make it enjoyable. The guys from Spoon (or where ever we are going to be racing) will be back. We always have fun with each other and love to race.
September, 12 – Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 3 karts – started 3rd, finished 1st
Heat 2 – 3 karts – started 1st, finished 1st
Feature – 3 karts – started 1st, finished 1st
I made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Shimek Sunday. It’s near Fort Madison, IA. There were only three Animals, but the other two were 1st and 2nd in points at Shimek. In hot laps I went on the track third and laid back and was letting off about the middle of the straight because I kept coming up on them and didn’t want them to know I was faster. I lead every lap of both heats and the feature. Had about a six kart lead in both heats but the feature was closer. I felt a tap on my bumper about half way through. The two karts behind me finished side by side. Everyone said it was a great race to watch. Glad I didn’t have to. I didn’t make any changes all day. I could have taken about 5 pounds off but was afraid to mess with it. I also probably should have dropped a couple teeth on the rear because I was turning 7600-7800. I was so fast I didn’t want to fool with anything. My lap times were very consistent – within hundredths in the feature. I amazed myself. It was fun. I’m going back for the last race of the year Saturday.
August, 22 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 5 karts – started 3rd, finished 1st
Heat 2 – 5 karts – started 2nd, finished 1st
Feature – 5 karts – started 1st, finished 1st
I definitely had the fastest kart this week. It was flying. After rebuilding the steering during the week, it was handling fantastically. I think I led all the laps in the heats and feature. That’s my story. Prove me wrong! We had a light kart count this week. I don’t know why. It was a nice day. Our Animal class was combined with two others because they didn’t have enough karts. We had our usual three karts plus a Stock Medium flathead and a Jr. 3 restricted Animal. In the feature I lapped everyone except for Matt. I had a good lead on him until a late caution bunched us up. I passed the three slower karts without a problem then Matt got tangled with one when he tried to pass. Unfortunately, the light kart count meant no payout for winning. We only have one more regular race next Sunday then our Season Championship race on September 19th. If anyone wants to drive my kart after the races next week, bring a helmet, jacket, gloves and long pants. Oh, and I’m still in first place in points. I don’t think Matt can catch me, especially since I’m the one keeping score for the track! Hope to see people next week and on the 19th.
August, 15 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 3 karts – started 3rd, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 3 karts – started 1st, finished 1st
Feature – 3 karts – started 2nd, finished 2nd
I had the fastest kart, but Matt had the widest kart. I couldn’t get around him for anything. I pushed. I shoved. I bumped. I did everything possible without trying to spin him out. I got under him a couple times but didn’t want to make a mess so I backed off. It was fun anyway. Besides, I found five wire ties, a small washer and a nice gray rock. I kept the ties and washer but left the rock for someone else to enjoy. My new Hoosiers were working very well. We only have three more races at Spoon River. The new track at Expo Gardens should be ready near the middle of September. Should get a couple races on that this year.
July, 31 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 3 karts – started 2nd, finished 3rd
Heat 2 – 3 karts – started 2nd, finished 3rd
Feature – 3 karts – started 3rd, finished 3rd
Very consistent this week. The results look worse than the feature race ended up. Even though I started third, I lead the first several laps. Then Matt passed me. Then the snot-nosed kid passed me and then Matt. We were all nose to tail pushing each other for the rest of the race. I’m still first in points. We have a week off then race again on August 15th.
July, 25 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 4 karts – started 1st, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – only one heat this week
Feature – 4 karts – started 1st, finished 1st
This week the kart handled much better. I still have a little tweaking to do, but I’m a lot closer. Also, I have new Hoosier tires which helps a lot. I missed winning the heat because I made a bobble on the second to last lap and let a kart get by me. It was Mid-Season Championships so we started the heat and feature by points. The heat was only a tuneup for the feature and the finish didn’t matter. In the feature I was ahead with about a 1/4 lap lead when there was a caution. That put second place right on my tail for the rest of the race. I felt him bump me a couple times but I held on and won it. I lead all the laps in the feature. This old guy was worn out after that one.
July, 18 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 6 karts – started 1st, finished 4th
Heat 2 – 6 karts – started 6th, finished 4th
Feature – 6 karts – started 4th, finished 4th
I changed setups a lot trying to figure out my handling problem. During the first hot laps I playing with a different setup with poor results. Second set of hot laps I changed it more with even worse results and a trip off the back of the track into areas of the property you don’t normally want to see. So I changed radically for the first heat with it handling much better but still not good. Second heat I changed it even more in the same direction and it improved again. For the feature I adjusted only slightly and put on new Hoosiers. The handling improved greatly. Starting fourth, I got shuffled to the back until I could get lower on the track. I picked off the fifth and fourth place karts. Matt was in third about a quarter lap ahead. I finally caught him and got under him going into turn three. We got hung up on each other and before I pulled away, the kart behind us got by. I only had two laps left and not enough time pass him again. My lap times were the same as the leaders. I just spent too much time fooling around in the back. Heading to Springfield this week to buy more new Hoosier tires.
July, 11 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 2 karts – started 1st, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 2 karts – started 2nd, finished 1st
Feature – 2 karts – started 1st, finished 1st
Kind of a boring race day, other than the rain and my kart being as slippery as an avocado stone. Matt’s engine broke in hot laps so that left Jim and I to duke it out. I spun leading the first heat giving Jim his first heat win. We ran Heat 2 in the rain. That was pretty wild and slick. The feature was the same way without the rain. The handling on my kart went on vacation. I hope it comes back soon. I made some major changes this week to try to tighten it up so it isn’t sliding all over. Big money race this Sunday.
June, 27 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 5 karts – started 4th, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 5 karts – started 2nd, finished 3rd
Feature – 5 karts – started 2nd, finished 2nd
I lead most of the second heat but Matt got under me in turn 4. I didn’t want to give up the spot and ended up spinning out after getting in the loose stuff. Went to the back and still ended third. Matt had the fastest kart all day. He started on the pole and I was outside. Luke got by me on the start before I could get down. Luke and Matt had a great race. I was enjoying watching them (sort of) while I raced right behind them. They had a lot of back and forth passing then got together with Luke spinning. Matt was sent to the back with only a couple laps to go. I finished second right behind Luke. The Animals (engine type) have a great class this year. We’re all friends before and after the races no matter what beating and banging we do on the track. That’s pretty special.
June, 20 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 4 karts – started 2nd, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 4 karts – started 3rd, finished 1st
Feature – 4 karts – started 2nd, finished 1st
There weren’t many karts, the weather was super hot and the track was dusty. It was still more fun than anyone should be allowed to have. My Hoosiers were working great. Had several people stop by and talk about them. Love those tires! In the feature I was wondering how I was going to get by the guy on the pole. On the start the kart in third came flying by while I was trying to get in line behind the leader. Third place pushed first up out of the way then went high himself. That made it easy to get by. I think I won by about a half lap. I’m excited about the new promoter. He has a lot of good ideas. He is the same person building the track at Expo Gardens. To help out, I took over the web page for the track http://spoonriver.webs.com/. I’m first in points … oh yeah.
May, 22 – Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 7 karts – started 3rd, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 7 karts – started 5th, finished 4th
Feature – 7 karts – started 3rd, finished 3rd
I went to Shimek Speedway near Ft. Madison, IA on Saturday because Spoon River canceled. Since I wasn’t running for points I experimented with tire preps during the heats and feature. First heat I used my normal prep, started third and finished second. Second heat I used nothing, started fifth and finished fourth. For the feature I used a different version of my normal prep, started third and finished third. The first kart was about a kart length ahead of second and me. Going into the last lap I passed second but got a little wide coming out of turn 2. He got back by me going into three. That was my best finish at Shimek. According to everyone I spoke with I was the first one to run Hoosier tires there. There was a constant stream of people coming to my trailer all night asking about my Hoosiers. The best one was a little kid who looked my kart over carefully and read the Hoosier logo on the side. He came over to me and said, “Are you from Indiana?”
May, 9 – Spoon River Speedway
Heat 1 – 5 karts – started 2nd, finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 5 karts – started 4th, finished 2nd
Feature – 5 karts – started 2nd, finished 1st
This was the first time I ever raced my Animal engine unrestricted. It is so fast! It is 15 horsepower instead of 10 with the restricter plate. What a blast. You actually have to drive it instead of merely holding the gas pedal down. My new Hoosier RD35 tires worked great. They are way better tires than the older model I used last year. Most racers were on a different brand. Too bad for them. I love my Hoosiers. It took about three laps for them to really get a grip, then they took off. It was very noticeable. Looks to be a fun year.