September 1st, Barberton Night Show


I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Labor Day week-end! Our's wasn't too bad as we headed back to Barberton for their night race on Sunday. We pulled into the track about noon, and had loads of practice to get prepared for the heats. In the first heat, we started 8th out of 10. Most of the karts were pretty evenly matched, and the start was just nuts. There were karts everywhere. But, everyone ran close, fast, and clean. I ended up tagging on to the tail of the line just waiting for the kart to come-in, and some of the traffic to calm down a bit. After a couple of laps, everything had thinned out, and I started to move forward. At the 2-to-go signal, I was gaining rapidly on the 6th and 7th place karts who were battling with each other. I tried to pass both of them down the back-stretch, but couldn't get the run that I needed. So, coming down for the white I decided I had to get by them. I got a good run through 1 and 2, and I was able to pull to the outside of them down the back-stretch. I went on the outside of them through 3 and 4, but unfortunately had to squeeze the guy in the middle a little down so I wouldn't hit the wall. I was able to keep my momentum to the line though and finished 6th. For the 2nd heat, we started 3rd. We had a pretty good start, but the kart wasn't there right away. I got locked into a battle for 5th fairly early on. We didn't have enough gear to get off the corners, so it was hard to pass coming out. Also, the kart had a very slight push off as well which made it a little tougher. I was able to pull up right behind him, even bump him a litte down the straights, and I knew someone was right behind me because I could feel him doing the same thing. Finally, I got a great run down the back-stretch and was able to pull under the 5th place kart. Down the front, I got a little tap from the kart that was behind me which was just enough for me to get by the 5th place kart. After that, I pulled away, but didn't have enough laps to catch 4th. So, this put us 7th for the start of the feature. The track wanted all the features under the lights, so we had to wait a little bit between the heats and features. We finally we ready to go onto the track about 9:30, but just before we went out they asked if we wanted to go 30 laps. I guess the vote was for it, so we paused a little for everyone to make sure they had fuel and hit the track. I found out very soon, about 3 laps in, that the adjustments I made to the front end of the kart were probably a bad idea. The steering was very tight, and it would make 30 laps even longer. Anyway, about the 2nd lap we were all still pretty bunched up in 3 and 4. I was going to follow the kart ahead of me through, but he broke loose a little and I bumped him. He also brushed the kart that was above him on the track. The two karts that were hit, pretty much stopped, but we were able to get going, forced to catch-up. We were able to run down the pack, and about lap 12 the kart really started to come-in. We were really gaining on the leaders, but there were plenty of karts in between. I battle with one for about a lap before I got by cleanly. He thought he could get me back on the inside going into 3, but ended up break-in loose, bouncing off of me, and then spinning himself out. I kept going, trying to get to the leaders. I was running out of laps, but we were gaining. BUT, with about lap 20 the engine started doing some funny things down the front stretch. About the flag stand, it would cut-out a little bit. I was thinking, "Great low on fuel, hopefully I can make it." Well, the condition got a little worse every lap, and on 23, I lost a position because of it. A few laps later, I recieved the the 5 to go signal, and as I came off the 2nd turn to accelerate down the stretch, the motor just died. I pulled off thinking it was out of fuel. When we got everything situated back in the pits, we found out there was about 1/3 of a tank left. So no fuel wasn't the case. We think it's something ignition-wise, but still haven't figured it out. Oh well, that was our first DNF in pretty much 2 seasons. Hopefully, we'll get it figured out before next week-end because we'll be heading back to Barberton on Sunday.
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