Race 4, I missed Race 3 due to vacation, did not go so well for me. I did not have the same kind of adversity that I faced in Race 2 but I ended up finishing last this time. It was the same position that I finished Race 2 in but there were only 6 guys there this time.
I got there nice and early and was able to run all the practice laps, I had no issues with the battery or starting the kart or anything like that. I was able to get out there and run laps around the track. I did not go pro any of the practice because I find it quite boring, but my races are quite boring as well since I just fall to the back of the pack.
My main focus this week was to play with tire pressure and see where I like them to be, and also to get my engine temperature up to where the motor makes the most power. That would be around 130-140 degrees.
I started with staggered tire pressure for my first practice with 10psi in the front and 11psi in the rears. My engine temp was good, right at 140, and this setup gave me a lap time of 46.8. This is way, way, off the pace to be competitive. I ended the session weighing in at 388 pounds.
For the next practice, I lowered the rear tire pressure to 10psi to keep them the same as the front. With my engine temp the same at 140 this netted me more than a second quicker lap. The lap was 45.3 seconds. At the end of this session I was also 4 pound lighter at 383. I don’t know what that was due to but that’s a lot of weight to be losing without doing anything.
For the next session, I increased the tire pressure all around to 11psi. This gave me another increase of almost a full second, 44.5. Now I’m getting closer to at least being able to keep up with the pack in the front. Again my engine temp was 140 and my weight went up to 385. I must have added fuel to get that weight.
One more practice and one more test. This time I increased it again, to 12psi all around. This time I lost a little bit of time and the lap times were 44.8. This could have been driver error or just other people on the track not allowing me to get a perfect lap (at least perfect for me) but I decided to run the races at 11psi all around.
Due to the way Raceway Park does their heats, I started on the pole for the first race. I figured I might as well since maybe they’ll get tangled up behind me and I could possibly get in front of them a little. That did not happen! I believe the entire field, minus one car, passed me on the first lap. I did not give them too much of a fight, but jeez I wasn’t even competitive. I did manage to stay in front of the 4 car (this car has been in other races and is problematic – I’m sure the driver is good that kart just sucks) and finish the first heat race in 5th.
For the second heat race I started in the rear, last place. No one passed me this time and I was able to once again stay in front of the 4 car. Not a great feat but it makes you feel good when you at least finish ahead of someone else. My lap times were not so great on this race either, overcast skies led to my motor running a little cool not allowing it to make enough power to even have a shot. It seems I lost tire pressure as well; all tires were at 10psi when I checked them after this heat.
For the main, I was starting 5th. Out of 6 karts that is the rear of the pack. This time I made sure my tire pressures were at 11psi all around and I added a piece of tape to get the motor to run at a higher temperature. All of that was for nothing since before I was even through the first turn I was in last and just playing catch up. I think I panic and start driving too hard and making mistakes since even that 4 car was ahead of me and pulling away. I think whatever was wrong with that kart is now resolved. I finished this race all the way in the back but I ran in the low 44 second range for almost the entire race so the field did not pull too far away from me and I was able to see them battling from my kart.
I was bummed that I finished last but I still had a lot of fun. I talked to a lot of the guys there and they have been doing this for years. They know the track and how to make their karts run good. I’m still learning and I should probably just be happy I’m out there. I can run in the back and still have fun. For now that is what I’m going to do until I figure out how to run up front .