Race Report for Viking Racing, Kart #464. Redline Oil Karting Championship, Infineon International Karting Center, CA. Race #7 August 29th 2010
Already a week after the race in Dixon, we were up again in the NorCal Rotax Championship at Infineon International Karting Center in Sonoma. Unfortunately I was still sick with fever after last weekend and although it would mean less preparation I decided to cancel Friday practice and just show up at the track and get a bit of track time Saturday before the race Sunday.
From a preparation point of view it turned out to be one of the worst race weekends we ever had. Not only was I sick and missed Friday's practice in my first session I broke a chain ruining that session. After getting this fixed and getting back on the track my freshly rebuilt engine blew up and I had to return to the pits and started to swap the engine. After that was done I checked in the pits that everything was working and when I finally returned to the track for the last available session of the day the engine would not start. It turned out that the starter had decided to give up between the pits and the track! All of this meant I had to start Sunday's race without a single lap with the spare engine, which again meant I had to tune both chassis and engine during the race.
After a few corrections after Sunday's morning practice I went in to qualifying just focusing on being smooth and not over drive the kart. The engine was definitely not running as I would want but I managed to qualify on pole and I now had two pre finals to get everything dialed in prior to the final. A lot of people had shown up and not only was the Master's field the largest of the day but also the largest ever in the history of the Master's Class at Infineon Reaceway.
Starting from pole in the first pre final I was struggling a bit with the engine and could not get it to rev as much as it should. At one lap it would rev up to 14,200 RPM and at the next lap it would only go to 13,000 RPM meaning I was missing a lot of speed down the long straightaway at the National Track layout and as a consequence I got passed on the start/finish line on the very last lap.
Going in to the second pre final I had made some adjustment to the carburetor and it did run better, but I was still struggling with the rev problem. I managed to open up a small gap and won the second pre final meaning I would start the final from pole. In the final the competition was right at my bumper for the first 8-10 laps. Still fighting the engine problem a competitor went by on the inside at Corner #1 at the end of the straightaway but I kept up my momentum and re passed him going out of the corner, opened up a small gap and was never challenged again and won the race.
Since the DD2 is not a part of a championship for me and as I am still learning I started on worn tires - also to save some money. Furthermore as I spent all Saturday to get the other kart to work I had not had time to tune in neither chassis or engine properly. On top of that I was fighting a brake issue which turned out be that ceramic rotors take a while to break in as well as the brake bias had changed by accident.
I qualified 4th, which was also where I ended both pre finals. It turned out I was running different gears than everybody else so I decided to change that. I also learned that going from the non shifter to the shifter kart required some laps of getting used to. It turned out in all the 3 DD2 races that I would lose some tenths each lap for the first 4-6 laps and then I would be able to keep status quo or even catch up to the leaders. In the DD2 main final it was the same pattern, but the new gearing definitely helped. After the 3 lead guys opened a gap I started to catch them and when I was at the bumper of 3rd place his engine gave up and I took the 3rd place and finished the race there.
After a very challenging start to the weekend as well as tuning problems through all races it was nice to finish off with 2 podiums and one more win in the Championship. Instead of getting frustrated I tried to stay focused on racing rather than technical problems and it paid off in the end.
After 7 rounds of the Championship I am in the lead with 350 points and if my math skills serves me right things are starting to look good with regard to winning the title. As long as there is any mathematical chance of not winning the title I will not take anything for granted nor take it easy. We will get a bit of relief now with next race not coming up until September 19th, where we once again will visit the challenging track in Dixon.
We would like to thank our sponsors for making this season possible!