September 19, Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 5 karts – Started 2nd – Finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 5 karts – Started 2nd – Finished 2nd
Feature – 5 karts – Started 2nd – Finished 3rd
For my last race of the year, it could have been worsebut it wasn’t. I changed gearing at the beginning of the evening. It was supposed to help on the starts but it worked the opposite. I was a little slow off the line, plus I started on the outside on every start. When the line is inside, those on the outside usually get punted to the rear. That’s a concise explanation of what happened in both heats and the feature. I’ll start next year on the gearing from last week.
Brian Huff bounced off the hay bales twice in the second heat which made dodging him part of the fun. Ron Taylor bounced off the hay in the feature and spun right in front of me. I swerved, clipped him with the rear of my kart and took a wild ride across the infield.
The feature was the best of the night. Four of us were nose to tail, literally bumping and pushing each other around the track for the whole race. One bobble by anyone would have resulted in a nasty ending for all of us. It’s the closest racing I’ve been involved in. Brian won the feature and the track championship. Ronnie Taylor was second and second in points with me third and Ron fourth and third in points.
I ended the year fourth in points after only running six races. It was a fun year racing in the Animal class, a really good group of guys. Next year I plan to race about the same amount.
September 12, Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 6 karts – Started 3rd – Finished 1st
Heat 2 – 6 karts – Started 3rd – Finished 1st
Feature – 6 karts – Started 1st – DNF (6th)
I was having a fantastic night until my wheel fell off. More about that later. Because of the draw before the races, I started third in both heats. I finished first in both heats and started the feature on the pole. My kart was so fast all night. It was really sticking in the corners and pulling down the straights. It has been so good this summer, I haven’t made a single adjustment, except for a gear change, since the middle of July.
The feature was supposed to be 15 laps. I held the lead for 46 laps, which was filled with umpteen cautions. It was quite eventful. We would run one lap then five or more caution laps. My friend Ron Tayloyr was the cause of a couple of them. He took out some brand new hay bales, which wasn’t surprising. He has a tendency to hit them every week. That’s why they were new this week. Then he flew off the other side of the track, down a hill and hit a tree but managed to keep going. Unbelievably, he was the eventual winner.
As I was leading on one of our rare green flag laps nearing of what I hoped to be was the end of the race, Ronnie Taylor, Ron’s son, was behind me. The next part was a blur to me, but Ronnie said the nose of my kart clipped one of the disks on the edge of the track. It spun me sideways and Ronnie hit me full throttle in the side. There is so much adrenaline flowing, I only noticed a bump, but my kart wouldn’t roll. I thought it was stuck on the disk so I motioned for the corner worker to give me a push. It was then that several people ran up and asked if I was okay. I said, “Of course. I just need a push.” I had no idea he hit me that hard and bent the side of my kart in towards the frame. Then they pointed to my wheel, which I mentioned earlier. It was laying on the ground next to me. There were only three laps left and I spent them in the pits. It’s a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.
August 22, Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 6 karts – Started 2th – Finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 6 karts – Started 5th – Finished 1st
Feature –6 karts – Started 1st – Finished 4th
After a couple minor gear changes, my kart was a rocket! It came out of the corners fast and pulled down the straights. It went where I wanted it to go and long as I drove within my limits…which ended up being my downfall. Well, that and karma.
With six karts in the Animal Class, in the first heat I started in second on the outside. That usually doesn’t work well for me and it didn’t again. I was rudely shoved, pushed and bumped to the back by the third corner of the first lap. When sanity settled in, I worked my way back to second. First place wasn’t pulling away, but I couldn’t catch him by the time the race ended.
In the second heat I started fifth. What a wild start! We were three wide in the middle of turn one. I don’t know how I got there, but I was on the inside and was shortly in the lead. I worried the whole race that the second place kart was right behind me. However, I won that one by a straightaway.
I started on the pole in the feature. I spent the first part of the race worrying about that second place kart again. After leading eight laps, I exceeded my driving ability and drove into turn three too hard and went wide into turn four. That gave the second kart an opening which he took. He lead the next lap then coming out of turn four, for some reason he turned his head to see where I was. That gave me the opportunity to dive under him and retake the lead. Going into turn four on lap 10, he got under me rather forcefully. The result was me getting spun. This is where karma stepped in. I made a similar move on Ron Taylor a few weeks ago. Unfortunately for me, the flagman didn’t see the hit that made me spin, nor did the corner worker. If they had, I wouldn’t have been sent to the rear of the pack, but I was. With only five laps left, I didn’t have enough time to work my way forward and finished fourth.
Having one of the fastest karts every week is a great feeling. It’s so darn fast and handling so well, I haven’t made any changes for about a month. Thanks to Jim Frantz, my engine builder at Faster Motors, and Dustin Westercamp, my adviser at the track, my setup job on the kart is easy. Now if I could only eliminate the irregular driving…
August 8, Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 7 karts – Started 4th – Finished 2nd
Heat 2 – 6 karts – Started 2nd – Finished 2nd
Feature –6 karts – Started 2nd – Finished 2nd
My kart was pretty darn fast all night. The only thing I adjusted was air pressure because I was afraid to mess with something so good. In fact, I haven’t changed a thing since the last feature. Starting all the races on the outside is never good. I ended up at the rear of the pack most of the time just trying to get to the inside line. But once I got there, passing wasn’t a problem. Catching the kart in first wasn’t too bad. But passing the kart in first was a problem I couldn’t solve. Given a few more laps in each race, I might have a different result to report. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
I’m fourth in points, just 70 behind third, even with just three races, and the other guys have six races in. I don’t see moving up any spots since I’m going to miss several more races. It’s a lot easier not racing for points but it’s fun to keep track.
It was a good night of racing with all the competition. As always, getting together with the other racers after it’s all done is the best part of the night. We spend a lot of time kidding and laughing at each other. The racing part is a bonus that gives us something to joke about. The Animal class at Shimek is the best group of guys I’ve ever raced with.
July 18, Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 4 karts – Started 2nd – Finished 4th
Heat 2 – 4 karts – Started 3rd – Finished 2nd
Feature – 4 karts – Started 3rd – Finished 1st
Hot laps and Heat 1 were terrible. My kart didn’t push and it wasn’t loose, it just wouldn’t turn going through the corners. A couple friends gave me some chassis tuning advice after Heat 1. It made all the difference. A little tuning after Heat 2 was all I needed.
It was my least favorite win in the 10 years I’ve been racing. In the feature, Ron Taylor and I went into Turn 3 side by side and I drifted up like I had all night coming out of Turn 4. Unfortunately, that put my friend Ron into the hay bales. It’s a terrible way to win. The odd thing, I didn’t even know it was the last lap. I was so focused on catching Ron, who led the whole race, I wasn’t even watching the flagman. There was no joy in winning that night.
May 31, Shimek Speedway
Heat 1 – 1 kart – Started 1st – Finished 1st
Heat 2 – 2 karts – Started 1st – Finished 1st
Feature – 2 karts – Started 1st – Finished 1st
Here are the race results from the Animal Class at Shimek Speedway Sunday: I won both heats and the feature!. Ta-Da!
Not to minimize my efforts, but I was the only kart in the first heat. In Heat 2, I had lots of competition from one other kart. But with my massively fast Animal engine, I won handily.
For the feature the other kart switched drivers in an effort to thwart my domination. I started on the pole and led a whole lap when the other kart darted to the inside and got under me. We ran nose to tail (my nose to his tail) for many laps. I was thinking of passing him, which was just something to occupy my time while running right behind him. Suddenly, with two laps to go, he slowed and I bumped him out of the way. I thought, “That will teach him to pass me.” I went on the get the checkered flag while he pondered why he ran out of fuel.
Now that the first race of the year is over, I’m first in points. What a dominating performance. I am so proud.