Chonda Endurace RaceOctober 13th, 2012
The big race weekend is here.
Racing results, updates, and information for Squirrels!
The Texas Pro Kart Challenge rounds 3 and 4 at Grandsport Speedway took place over the June 1st weekend. On Thursday Andre and I did some initial setup on our karts and loaded up Chris’s trailer for the long drive to Houston. We ended up leaving Plano around 5:30 pm and slowly made our way down. Just south of Ennis we met up with Mathew Souza and carpooled the rest of the trip to Houston. Mat is a veteran racer who is our competition in the Local Option Yamaha KT100 class for this weekends activities and who would prove to a valued friend and competitor!
After spending a night at a friend of Andre’s place, we completed our journey to Grandsport Speedway and setup our pit spot. Everything got underway pretty fast with us finishing up our registration, unloading and getting ready for our practice sessions. The TPKC organizers had setup multiple sessions so everyone was getting lots of track time! Friday practice was going well with my kart setup seemingly perfect and getting use to the track layout.
There was quite a bit of action the whole weekend and I plan to upload a video at some point, but for now I leave you with a few pictures and a quick synopsis:
Due to a problem with my starter nut, I destroyed my crank and that would have been the end to the weekend for me except Mat graciously allowed me to use his spare engine. With that ordeal sorted out, the rest of the heats were basically Mat and I battling for position. We would pass each other in the draft (which was very fun by the way!) and dive up the inside on certain turns. At one point in lapped traffic (the Chondas were on the track with us) I didn’t expect Mat to break as early as he did and I ran up the back of his kart! Luckily nothing broke and we continued on. For the final race of the weekend we got caught out in lapped traffic again and I unfortunately was forced off the track with 1 lap to go which meant Mat would get the win and I finished second place.
NTK’s Spring Race 2 was a great success for me! While there were only 5 of us in the Super Sportsman class, I was able to qualify first, finish the pre-race in first, and hold off everyone in the 12 lap final race to claim victory! Watch the racing action below!
Better late than never! I’ve been pretty busy since the LSGP race and apologize for taking so long to update. Here’s the recap of the whole ordeal as best as I can remember, enjoy!
The Texas Lone Star Grand Prix was an exciting and amazing race put on by Rob Miller and his team. Although I didn’t finish too high in the standings, my team had a great race weekend!
Our adventure started Wednesday when Andre and took a half day from work and went out to run our errands. We had to pick up our new graphics and parts for the LSGP and around 5 pm, we finally made it to NTK to start working on our karts. I’d like to thank Lori Richardson at Polar Graphics for getting my graphics printed out and Mike Engstrom at Kam Karting and DJ Ortiz at Kart Racing Solutions for providing a lot of our spare parts. Around 8pm on Wednesday, the NTK president showed up so we could load up all of NTK’s safety equipment since we were loaning them to the LSGP. Let’s just say it takes quite a while to load up all of those blue pillows, haha. After laoding all of those pillows, Andre and I cleaned up and called it a day. I think I made it home by about 3 am.
Thursday, 10 am: Andre and I arrive at Fair Park to help setup all those pillows we loaded the night before. The LSGP staff have quite a bit of help themselves with crews setting out the 1800 hay bales around the streets that will make up the course. After we setup all the NTK safety equipment and help put out a hundred or so hay bales, Andre and I left the excitement in Dallas to return to NTK to finish our prep work on our karts–this of course included a trip our to Polar Graphics and Kam Karting again for other parts we learned we needed Wednesday night! After another long night of working on the karts, we loaded everything up into the trailer for transportation to the LSGP track Friday morning. I think I made it home by 2 am this time.
Friday, 9 am: Once again Andre and I arrive at Fair Park and wait in line to sign-in and pick up our fuel and oil passes. We find our pit spot and wait for Chris to arrive with the trailer and our karts. While waiting for Chris, we jump on our bicycles and take a quick tour around the track again. They were still in the process of setting up a few sections of the track and cleaning up some messes, but it was definitely coming together. After browsing around the pit area and chatting with other NTK members attending the race, Chris arrives! We quickly unload everything and setup our pit spot which is now home to 6 karts! The rest of the day before the drivers meeting was spent working on the karts, getting them setup, and running errands to buy last minutes supplies. At the drivers meeting, we met the rest of the LSGP crew and organizers and heard from our race director. Everything was pretty straight forward and they answered everyone’s questions. We were all getting antsy at this point and ready to start racing! After the drivers meeting, me head back to our pit spot, pack-up, and call it a night.
Saturday, 7:30 am: The start to the first day of actually racing has begun! We arrive and get everything setup. Since we were the third group, we had a little bit of time to relax before our first session and did our last minute checks to make sure we were ready to go. As the first group was making it back from the track, we started hearing some “things.” Apparently some racers, after having walked the track the day before, decided it was too dangerous for them at backed out. Then after the first practice session, some racers came back and said they weren’t doing it either and backed out. So here we stand, hearing all of this, getting ready to go out ourselves. We’d b lying if we didn’t’ say we were a bit worried, but we came here to race, so we will go out there at least once to try it for ourselves!
Free Practice 1
Well, here we go! Of our team, Chris heads out first with me behind him and Andre right behind me. First lap out is quite an experience but not anywhere as bad as we thought it would be with the way it was described by those who backed out. It was also pretty evident that I was lagging behind Chris and holding Andre up, haha. Well, coming around the first turn again on the second lap there had been chaos before and the hail bales were all messed up. I lost sight of the track and left of the gas. By the time I figured out where I was going, I had let the engine die and that was the end of my session :(. I had great views of watching Chris, Andre, and all the other competitors drive by though!
After Free Practice 1 ended, we all gathered again in our pit to talk it over. Yes, the track was bumpy, yes the track was fast, but yes, we are racing! We talked about how these pipes have a power boost at around 11k rpms and how much different they feel as compared to our RLV3 pipes. We talked about the bumps and lines, how I let my engine die, and how Andre set a faster time than Chris! Aside from my lack of running, our first outing was a big success and much fun! Time to get to work on the rest of the day.
Free Practice 2 and Free Practice 3
Free Practice 2 was much better for me. For starters I was able to complete the whole session of running! We started in the same order with Chris going out ahead of me and Andre, and again I was the slowest of the three. Andre passed me early in the session and then I lost sight of him. I think I need to stop being so conservative! Free Practice 3 went off much the same way with all three of us finishing and constantly improving our times. Sadly I was still the slowest of the three of us and to Chris’s surprise, Andre kept being the fastest!
It’s time to show everyone what you’re made of and go set your fastest one lap time possible! Qualifying was a fun session and I ended up mid-pack. I was able to improve my time a bit, but still off the pace of Andre and Chris.
Sunday, 7:30 am:
Another wonderful morning and we’re off preparing to race already! Morning Warm-up was a bad session for me as I let my engine stall again and had to sit the session out.
So here’s where all the action happened! On our first flying lap for the pre-final race, Andre goes into turn 7 too hot and clips the outside barrier which causes a huge chain reaction pile up behind him. Watch the onboard video of the chaos below! Because this wreck involved almost the entire field, they restarted the race after they were able to gather everyone up at the start. Luckily no one was hurt and only a few karts had damage. Technically Andre’s kart had damage, but he was able to continue the race. I, on the other hand, and and destroyed clutch. I tried to restart the race, but the clutch wouldn’t grab and I had no way to continue. Hurray for starting the final race back in 22nd!
So starting at the back of this huge field was quite the experience. I had a pretty decent start and jumped up a position by turn 1 and was on the back of group most of the race. Around lap 2 I was passing on the back straight and the guy I was passing caught some air, landed sideways, and speared right towards me. Luckily he only hit my rear wheel and back bumper and I was able to continue the race. As I closed in on the group of three in front of me, I was suddenly upon them and that took me by surprise. Getting along side one of them in the slick section wasn’t what I had wanted and decided to lay off to get a run on them down into turn 1–that was my mistake. In order to “back-off” I applied too much brake and put myself into a little spin. This spin lost me a position and my opportunity to pass these three. I was able to reclaim my one lost position, but at this point I’d have to keep my 12th place position until the end. (enjoy the action below!)
Overall, the weekend was awesome and a blast! I hope they do it again every year and I can’t wait to race on more road courses!
My buddy Kin has did it again and here is his latest creation, a video of our team at the Lone Star Grand Prix.
Second practice session went well, but my GoPro mount broke and it was thought lost. I would like to thank the corner workers at the LSGP for recovering it and thanks to GoPro for making a camera that survived and still works! (even though the lens is scratched)
[pictures to be added later]