Joey Dille's


Quarter Midget #67


Racing Log



These are installments 11-15 of a week by week log of our 2000 season experience in the Jr. Honda class. They are taken from e-mails that I have sent to my friends. The logs are arranged in order with #1 being our first experience. Enjoy.

Racing Log #11

Labor Day Weekend at Oaklane

After our Honeybrook outing I needed to reconfigure the car for our home track. I changed the gears and tires on the car back to the Oaklane set up and bent the nerf bar back to its original shape. Everything looked good for practice. The weather radar showed thundershowers all around, but God must be a race fan since they mostly missed the track. When Joey and I got there it was hot and humid and the track was damp in spots.

Joey was very focused for our practice. Joey just got out and went to work. We did about 80 laps with the Jr. Honda restrictor in and Joey looked good. The car was a tad slow, but that may have been due to the 90-degree weather and the 90% humidity. One of Joey’s competitors came out on the track and Joey looked good in comparison, gaining a few feet every lap. After some practice with the flags Joey asked to take the plate out of the engine. I was happy to oblige. Joey ran a bunch of laps w/o the restrictor. Our times and rpm were a little off. Everyone saying the track was slow, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. We did about 130 laps of practice all totaled and Joey was still fresh when I got him out of the car, ready for more. I was happy.

Racing 9/2/00

I drove to the track expecting a light turn out due to the holiday weekend and all. Wrong again! The place was packed. When they put up the Jr. Honda line-ups there was 4 heats, 2 with 6 cars and 2 with 7. There were 26 cars in Joey’s class, many of them from other tracks. It seems that many families decided to travel to Trumbaurersville for Labor Day. Joey drew the #6 spot in the 2nd heat. Normally he does not like to start on the outside, but he seemed OK with it. Joey needed to race to a 2nd place finish to make the A-main. He seemed ready to meet the challenge.

During the warm ups one of the other cars ahead of Joey failed to start and this put Joey in the #5 spot, on the inside, for the start. The green flag dropped and Joey passed 2 cars coming into the first turn. Cool. I watched as Joey set his sights on the #2 car. Lap by lap he caught up and with 15 laps to go was within striking distance.

Joey’s came out of turn 4 low and started to pass the car, but did not have position going into turn 1 and Joey backed off, which showed good judgment. This first attempt to pass failed as he scrubbed off too much speed getting into position. This was going to be a difficult pass as the two cars were very closely matched. After 2-3 laps Joey was back in position and tried again.

Joey pulled it down low for the pass, but the same thing happened and he had to back off before completing the pass. I watched as this happened 3 more times with the same results. We have discussed the passing strategy of going deep into the corner to keep your speed up and allow a low exit. Joey was missing the critical first step. The laps were counting down and he was running out time. Finally on the last lap Joey drove deep into 3 and had good speed coming out of 4 to make the pass as the white flag flew. Joey pulled away after the pass and finished 2nd. Picture perfect! This put him in the first 4 cars in the A-main.

After the race I looked at the tach and the rpm was a couple hundred low. I think the problem was the high humidity and temperature. I was not sure what to do. I could put a slightly smaller tire on to reduce the overall gearing. On the other hand the temperature for the mains would be lower and the smaller tire was softer. I decided to leave well enough alone and keep things the same.

A-Main

Joey drew the pole position for the 30 lap A-main. Way cool. Joey looked good in warm ups and the moment of truth was upon us. Joey got a good start and came into lap 2 in the lead. Unfortunately, there was a spin in the back of the pack and they had to restart. Joey did not do as well the second time around and he was in second after the start. Joey raced well, but he was down on power. The other drivers started to pass him. Twice as he came out of turn 2 he got real loose and the car got sideways on him. Joey made good saves both times, but he lost lots of momentum. A few more cars made it past him :-( The car seemed down a bit on power as other cars could catch up to him easily even though he was holding a good line.

Joey raced well, but finished 7th. When we got back to the pits I had a peek at the tach and saw he was down 1000 rpm from the goal. This is way off. The only thing I could figure is the air was so heavy with humidity that the engine could not develop nearly the power it did in dry air. I should have put on the smaller tire that would have been good for 3% more rpm. I needed more like 20%, but this would have put the car in a better point on the power curve. I made sure to tell Joey he drove well and that I was a big part of the reason he did not do well in the race.

Farewell to Rice

I spoke with the car builder and the chassis is back from the powder coater and he has started to assemble the car. The plan is for me to give him the engine tonight and to pick the car up at the club meeting on Thursday. After the car cooled off I set to work pulling the engine. I thought how efficiently I could take the engine out compared to how I used to fumble. It was sad taking the engine out for the last time.

Joey is excited about the new car. I am concerned that he will take a while to adapt to it. The steering geometry is different and this car should be easier to turn. I hope he does not over control it too much. With any luck we will see on Friday when we practice.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #12

Hello Schaluch...

Pickup 9/7/00

My plan from the beginning was to get the car in time to get four races in this season. I discussed this up front with Nick Schlauch (pronounced Schlau) before I purchased the car. The plan was to give the motor to Nick on 9/2, pick up the car 9/7 at the club meeting, practice 9/8 and race 9/9. I worried all week that there would be some problem that would keep the car from getting delivered. All my worrying was for nothing as Nick was true to his word and he showed up at the track with the car, extra parts I ordered and a set up sheet. I love it when a plan comes together.

I brought Joey to the meeting so he could see the new car and sit in it for size. Joey was excited when we took it out of Nick’s truck. Joey jumped in it and the pedals were in the right place and everything was fine. Joey immediately started leaning and looking like he was racing. He asked me to push him around the lot. Joey had me push and push and push some more. I finally said enough is enough and he got out and pushed the car around himself. He was excited :-)

The frame came back from the powder coater’s on Friday and Nick had worked hard to put the car together and set it up for Thursday’s meeting. I gave the car an initial look over and it looked fine. The details on how everything went together looked good. Everything was new. Nothing was bent, buggered or broken. Cool.

I had asked for a car that was ready to race and it looked like Nick had delivered. Nick asked me to go over the fasteners to make sure everything was tight and told me snug the retaining nuts on the splined axle before running the car. Nick reviewed the initial set up of weights and adjustment with me. His set up instructions were simple and easy to understand.

I went to put the car into the truck and I ran into a little rub. It did not fit. The car was about 1" longer than the bed. I guess I will have to run with the tailgate down. No big deal, but I did like having the tailgate closed. Oh well.

Practice 9/8/00

I installed and adjusted the seat belts, added gas, aired the tires to the recommended pressures and put Joey in the car. I gave the axle nuts a slight snuging per nick’s warning. I did not know what would happen when Joey drove the car so I waited until he could have some time alone on the track. I reminded Joey that this car would steer easier and he would have to be smooth. I told him to have fun and pushed him down the starting lane...

Joey’s first two laps were slow then he started to push for speed. I was glad to see he was holding a good line and after a couple more laps he had his foot flat on the floor. I tried to restrain the urge take times, but I could not help myself. His times were about the same as his best in the Rice car and he was still gaining speed. After about 10 laps total Joey spun coming out of turn 4.

People had warned me that the easier steering would make the car easier to spin until Joey got used to it. I asked Joey how he was doing and he said good and wanted me to push him off. Joey went out and continued to improve his lap times. They kept dropping and dropping. His times were about 0.15s faster than his best in the Rice car.

Joey came in for a break after 50 laps. Just as he left the track I remembered I had not had him test the brakes in the pits. Oops. I feared they would not be bleed or the new pads would be glazed or something. The brakes worked just fine and he rolled to a stop in the pit space. Joey liked the way the car handled but the seat belts were digging into his neck. I showed him the times on the watch and he was impressed. BIG smile.

Joey had a Gatorade break and ran around with his friends while I rearranged the seat belts so they would not pinch his neck. I called Joey back and put him in the car. I pushed him off and he got right to business. I watched as Joey’s line evolved and the times dropped. I wanted to give him some hand signals to improve his line, but he was doing it all by himself. His times continued to drop until they were 0.20s lower than his best in the Rice car. They were also more consistent!

We had the same driver, same engine and the same gears. It must be the car that was making us go faster. My only explanation is that the Schlauch car handles better and does not waste power scrubbing the tires on the track. Whatever the reason we were going substantially faster.

A few cars from faster classes came out on the track and Joey proved that he could handle the car off the racing line as he was passed. At one point a faster car passed him and Joey went and passed him back. The guy passed Joey right back, but it was impressive considering the other car was an unrestricted 160cc Honda and Joey has a restricted 120cc Honda. It was clear to me that Joey was confident driving the new car.

I watched as the car went around the track looking for a handling problem. The car neither pushed, nor was too loose. I had to do nothing. OK, I reduced the left rear tire pressure a bit, but this did not affect the handling.

After practice I rolled the car over the scales and found it was 263 pounds. This was about 10 pounds over where I wanted to be. I had room to adjust since the car came with a 30-pound weight plate under the seat. I had also ordered a 10-pound plate with the car and I could possibly make the rest up with lead plates I had from the Rice car.

Joey and I were both very happy with the way things went. We did not get a chance to run head to head with other Jr. Hondas, but Mr. Stopwatch was telling a good story. Joey was ready to race.

Racing 9/9/00

I have started to ask Joey if he wanted to practice on race day. Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t. He was a bit nervous about racing the car for the first time and asked to get about 50 laps in.

Before we came to the track I emptied the gas tank to find out how much weight we carried in fuel. Two of Joey’s racing friends came over to ogle the new car. They helped me get it out of the truck as I gathered up Joey’s equipment to go to the scales. Joey’s friends insisted on pushing Joey in his car down to the scales. I carried the gas can and made sure youthful enthusiasm did not run anyone over.

At the scales we were 253 without gas and 257 with a full tank. Note: this car holds about twice the gas of the Rice car. The class minimum is 250 pounds. We were still about 2 pounds higher than I wanted to be. I could adjust the weight during the sign up period.

I put Joey out on the track for practice and he looked good from the start. After a few laps his times came down to where they were the night before. I looked over and saw Nick Schlauch walking over to the track with his stopwatch clicking. This was his final QC and he had a big smile. (OK, I had a bigger smile.) Nick asked me if I was happy and I said yes.

Joey put about 45 laps in looking good in traffic and putting on a few passes in the process. Joey was in control of the car. The car was handling well. We were as ready as we would get.

A lot of people were watching how Joey was doing, as the Schlauch car was a new entity at the track and still needed to be proven fast. I got a lot of comments about the car and how well Joey was driving it.

Heat Race

There were 3 heats in the Jr. Honda class and Joey would need to finish 1st or 2nd to make the A-main. I looked at the line up for the heat race and he was starting 5th in the 3rd heat. Joey likes starting on the inside. I looked at the other cars in the heat and we were spared having to race the fastest in the class. Joey and I were both excited and nervous as I got him ready to race. I pushed him off and watched as he went down the starting lane. This was it.

Warm ups went well and Joey looked fast compared to the other cars. Joey got a good start and passed two cars right away. Joey caught up to the leaders in a lap or two. The leaders were trading places when Joey saw an opportunity and passed them both. We win were leading on the 5th lap! I waited and watched as he raced another 15 laps to the checkered flag successfully keeping the #2 car at bay.

Joey was pumped as he carried the checkered flag around for the victory lap.

People came up to Joey to congratulate him as he came off the track. Nick Schlauch stopped us as we pushed back to the truck to congratulate Joey and ask him how he liked the car.

A-Main

The temperature was in the low 80’s for the heat race and I had a medium tire on the right rear. The tire wear pattern indicated it was running a bit cool. I was concerned about the track temperature for the feature as the sun went down and the moon came up. The clear skies made it cool down quickly and dew was starting to form. I was concerned. With the Rice car I would have put on a soft tire. I had no spare tire for the new car.

Nick was concerned too. He sent his wife out to find me and have me come back to his trailer for a consult. What customer service! He asked if I had a soft tire for the rear and I said no. He told me to move the right rear in 1/2" to improve the grip. I did as he suggested.

The air temperature was about 70 when we went out for the main race. Joey looked a little loose in warm ups but the tire did finally come in. Joey started from the #6 position and got one position on the start. Joey was catching up on the #4 car when he bumped him from behind, which caused Joey to spin with 8 laps to go. The car did a complete loop and ended up backing into the infield.

I watched in amazement as Joey started to go forward and motored out onto the track. I guess Joey had his foot on the gas as it slid into the infield and the tire kept spinning on the wet grass. (Joey later told me he heard a noise when he was sitting in the grass and then realized it was his motor.) Since they threw the yellow flag they put Joey in the back of the pack for the restart.

The wet grass and caution laps cooled Joey’s tires. Joey spun the car on the restart. One more spin and he would be disqualified.

Joey did a better job on the second start. He passed one kid on the first lap then had a good slide coming out of turn #4 on the second lap which he caught before spinning. The tire was warm now. Joey went on to pass two more cars and finish in 5th. He was still gaining on the other cars when the checkered fell. Not bad for starting in the back with 8 laps to go.

It was a great first outing. I was psyched and Joey was psyched. Can’t wait for next week.

I will be posting pictures of the new car on my web site shortly.

In the meen time check out Schlauch Race Cars.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #13

We Win!

Practice 9/14

Saturday was forecast to be cool and I was hoping that our weather for practice would be similar so I could see how to set the car up for the cool track conditions we would encounter in the feature races. No such luck. The air temperature was mid 70's, but the track was warm. I kept the hard tires on and the set up as it has been.

Joey went out and turned some fast laps and I decided to try and improve things. I looked at the tires and they looked like they were really getting hot as the rubber was coming off the inside in large worms. I moved the right rear tire out 1/4" I raised the tire pressures on the outside. Everything I did made the car worse. Back to the original set up.

Some of Joey's classmates were at the track and I was hoping to get Joey out on the track with them to see where we stood. It never happened. Joey did about 120 laps and Mr. Stopwatch was happy.

Heat Race

I came to the track with high hopes. They were dashed when I saw the line ups for Joey's heat race. It was a tough crew, a national champion, the track lap record holder and two other really fast kids. Joey was in the #3 spot for the start and got a good jump, but he spun coming out of turn 2 on the second lap. He almost saved it, but it got away from him. Back of the pack...

Joey raced well on the restart and moved up to finish 5th out of 7 cars. I thought he could have done a bit better. The car was hooked up well to the track and our RPM were just right. The car lacked the snap I was expecting to see, but I could not put my finger on it.

B-main

Joey's 5th place finish just managed to get him a place in the B-main. His relatively poor performance put him on the pole. I was getting the car ready for the race when the rain came. We had about a 45 minute rain delay in the show. The temperature dropped like a rock. The air temperature went from the mid 70's to 50F.

The track was even cooler due to the rain. Nick Schlauch came over to our pit and told me how to set the car up for cool temperatures. I put on the soft tires and moved the right rear in 1/2". I would have done more, but that was all I knew.

Warm ups were a real spin-fest. I think everyone spun at least once including Joey. The tires were not coming in and the drivers were having a hard time. Of course, every time a car spun the yellow came out and the whole pack had to slow, loosing what little heat they had in the tires. At one point they red flagged warm ups to clear a few cars and I got a chance to feel Joey's tires. Luke warm. It was a slow process, but Joey turned a few good practice laps. Nick came over to watch in turn 1 where I was a corner worker. (Customer service.) He said this is about as bad as he has seen.

When the green flag dropped I prayed to the gods of traction that Joey would not spin in the first laps. My prayers were answered and Joey made it through the first laps with a few slides coming out of the corner, but no spins. As the tires came in and Joey warmed up he was maintaining a smooth drift out of the corner and pulling away from the pack. Finally, the tires came all the way in and Joey was leading and in the groove. Unfortunately, there were 15 more laps to go.

Joey continued to run well and just kept pulling away from the field. When he lapped cars he did it smoothly with little risk. All was well and Joey won the race in fine style! Nick and I were pumped.

Next thing we saw was Joey bumping into another car in turn 3 and they both went into the wall hard. Bam. I couldn't believe it, the race was over and Joey crashed.

I rushed over from my post in turn and track nurse was already there. Joey was crying and really upset. He said he was OK, but upset he did not finish the race. I figured he did not see the checkered flag since he was in traffic. It took me at least three times to finally get through to him that he won. At last he understood that he had won and he agreed to take the victory lap. I pushed him off and he did the victory lap. His eyes were still red from the tears when we got our picture taken. He was happy.

Joey was a bit shook from his crash, but he was OK. The bumper on the car was bent, so I picked up a new one. This sure beats waiting for one COD from California.

Sunday 9/17 Epilog

I had to remove the front cowl to replace the bumper. While I was replacing the bumper I noticed the gas pedal was sitting funny. A closer examination showed that the cable stop for the throttle cable has slid on the cable about 2.5 inches. The gas pedal needed to be pressed almost flat to the floor to get full throttle. Joey must have been on his tiptoe all through the race.

My guess is the cable was slipping during the heat race. Joey later told me that he noticed that he was not catching up on a car that he usually faster than. He pressed on the gas harder and started to catch up. I will make a few tweaks on the throttle linkage so this can't happen again.

I have taken a few pictures of the Schlauch car and they are posted on:

Schlauch Pictures

Next week is the big Sponsor Cup race for Joey's class. Joey is looking forward to it.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #14

Practice 9/22

Tweaked the throttle linkage a bit. Original set up had two cable stops one that set the cable length and one that set the pedal travel, a common set up. This meant the cable was under full foot tension at full throttle. Not a very robust arrangement. I believe this caused the cable stop to slide during last weeks race.

I reworked things by adding a throttle stop on the pedal and adding a spring in the cable. Now when the throttle goes full open the spring compresses to make up the difference between the throttle travel and the pedal travel. The new system works like a champ. Joey can stand on the pedal and there is no chance of the cable slipping.

Joey’s times at practice are not as good as before, perhaps 0.05s. The car appeared to handle well. He seemed to have problems giving way to other cars on the track. He also had several bumps that were not typical of his driving. One of the other handlers pointed out that Joey was looking down not looking ahead. Indeed this made sense as I watched Joey drive. It also explained Joey not seeing the checkered flag at the end of last week’s feature race.

I looked at Joey’s position in the car and it appeared the Jersey bar was pushing his head down. A closer examination showed the angle of the seat caused his shoulders to move back and tilt his head down. I decided to correct this by adding 1” of padding to the seat back.

Saturday 9/32 was supposed to be a big race day with a sponsor cup in Jr. Honda and the race against drugs. Alas, the weather did not cooperate and we were rained out

The traditional gear chart is laid out like a multiplication table with axle gear across and engine gear up and down. I made an alternate gear chart using Excel to examine the possible gear ratios. Using the sort feature I could organize the traditional chart in different formats, by overall ratio, axle gear and engine gear. I also calculated the effect on RPM and tire diameter. This helped me select gearing that was a little better and to see the effect of tire diameter on engine RPM. A worthwhile exercise.

I had a long talk with Joey on head position and the importance of looking down the track. Joey insisted that he was looking up. When he said that he was looking up I countered with the examples where he did not see things he should have. I hope I made my point. Adjustments to the car are easy and there are manuals to help. Adjusting the driver is much tougher.

Practice 9/29

My biggest concern was Joey’s head position. I tested him by giving him hand signals and seeing his response. I was pleased to see he was looking down the track better. His line looked smooth and his times were good. I could see my little talk and the extra seat padding had helped his head position.

Joey asked to take the restrictor out after about 50 laps. This showed me that he was feeling confident in the new car. Joey took a few tentative laps and put the hammer down. His line took a while to develop, but he eventually found his groove and his times dropped down to 6.19s. He was flying and enjoying it. There was a big smile when I showed him the times on the watch. We got about 120 laps in.

Race Against Drugs & Junior Honda Sponsor Cup 9/30

Heat

The heat race was a thing of beauty. Joey started 5th and got two positions on the start. He worked his way up to the other cars and passed them one at a time. Both passes were smooth and calculated. Joey was leading after 6 laps and held it to the finish.

Main

This week’s Jr. Honda race was a sponsor cup race. This is a special race that has a bit more ceremony than usual. They start by walking all of the cars onto the track and reading the driver’s bio over the PA. The drivers then get into the cars as their names are called. After the race the winner receives a 6-foot tall trophy on the track. The sponsor usually presents the trophy. Joey’s first place finish in the heat race put him in the sponsor cup race. Unfortunately, they eliminated the on-track line up due to time constraints. Bummer.

It was cold for the main race and the tires were having a hard time warming up. Lots of cars were spinning. I had soft tires on the outside of Joey’s car and he looked hooked up even in the cold. There was a bad wreck in warm ups and Joey steered around the mess. Good head position. The spins and wreck delayed the race and did nothing to help warm up the tires. I was concerned that Joey would not get good grip on the start.

Joey’s first place finish in the heat put him in the back of the A main, starting 7th. Joey got a good jump on the green and passed a couple of cars on the start as they went 3 wide into turn 1 :-o Joey was on the outside when the kid in the middle came up on him causing a spin. The judges ruled this a racing incident and put all three cars to the back for the restart. Joey was all the way at the back and the restart is single file. This put him way behind the leader on the green flag. Joey got a poor start and had to work his way up.

There was a three-car accident in front of Joey coming out of turn 2 and Joey drove right around it. Head position still good! Unfortunately, Joey only gained one position on this accident since a call was given to one of the drivers and the other two held their position. The rest of the race went well and Joey finished 5th.

After the race Joey mentioned that the spin on the start of the race was not his fault. I said that the judges did not see it and this is the way it happens some times. (Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.) We watched a video of the race and Joey was indeed spun at the beginning. Oh well... That’s racing.

I commended Joey on his good head position and pointed out the accidents that missed. He agreed and said he was looking down the track better.

Next week, pumpkin races.

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Racing Log #15

Pumpkin Racing

The Pumpkin races are the traditional last race of the Oaklane season. The event consists of three races, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The track infield is filled with three piles of pumpkins, large, medium and small. The top three finishers in each race get a pumpkin. First place is large, second place is medium and third place is small. Besides the racing there is a fun atmosphere since the track is decorated and there are Halloween activities. This year was the wizard of OZ.

The infield had all the characters from the movie and the yellow brick road. The best was the tin man. Someone spent some serious time making this dude. He had a 35-gallon drum for a body and stovepipe arms and legs. His head was a full-face helmet painted silver.

Practice 10/5/00

I was still concerned that Joey was not seeing the track the way he should. I learned from a fellow handler that he raised his driver with plywood spacers. This sounded good to me so I raised the seat 1.5” with plywood. Joey noticed the spacers right away when he sat in the car and liked the way he was sitting.

At practice Joey did well. His times were good and his line had a little more smoothness to it. He also seemed to see me better on the side of the track when I gave him signals. This was another good sign that he was looking up and seeing down the track.

Sign In 10/6/00

The track was closed for practice all day Friday to facilitate decorating the track and get some of the sign-ins started. Joey and I got to the track at 7:00 to sign in and get the car safety checked. WOW, we arrived to see more trailers on a Friday night than for a normal Saturday and they kept coming.

Joey and I signed in and had the car inspected. Then we walked around the track and inspected the decorations. Then Joey went over to get in line for the hayride, which is a pumpkin race tradition. This was an honest hayride in real hay wagons pulled by a genuine 2-cylinder John Deere.

While Joey was on the hayride I chatted with some handlers from Connecticut. This one lady was a single mom who cleans rich people’s houses so she could spend her last dime to let her kid race. My sacrifices to race are indeed small.

The trailers kept pulling in. The most impressive was a real tractor-trailer from Connecticut. It was a short trailer with a big sleeper type tractor. I heard they had 8 cars in the back. A real big bucks operation.

When the hayride returned I found Joey and headed over to the snack bar for soft drinks and snacks. The ladies did a fine job with all sorts of Halloween cakes and treats. After Joey and I had our fill I put the car in a friend’s trailer for the night and we headed home. Tomorrow would be a big day.

10/6/00 Pumpkin Racing Day 1

Joey and I arrived at 9:00 to attend the driver and handler meeting at 9:30. When we arrived the place was a zoo. The trailers were everywhere. I am glad we had signed in the day before. Our normal Saturday night show draws about 110 cars. We had 275 for the Pumpkin Races! (I later learned that this was the biggest non-sanctioned quarter midget event ever.)

Some of the large turn out could be attributed to the good reputation the races have gained over the years as a good time. Part of good turn out was due to fact that Oaklane was hosting the 2001 Eastern Grand National races and people wanted to practice racing on the track. Nobody came for the weather since it was forecast to be 40-50 degrees with the possibility of rain.

The Jim Fiser, president of the Quarter Midgets of America and other officers attended the event to check out the track and club prior to the Grands. Jim addressed the group at the drivers and handlers meeting telling us how impressed he was with the track and the way we were set up. It is nice to know that our club is the cream of the crop.

Heat Race

They divided Joey’s class into 5 heats since there were 33 cars. We would be racing against a lot of kids from out of town. Joey drew starting position 6 of 6 in heat 4 and got a good drive off the start. In the second lap Joey came up on a much slower car in turn 4 and they hit. It was hard to determine what happened, but it looked like the other kid slowed down just as he was exiting the corner. It appeared that the judges saw it that way too. Joey restarted in third place and the other kid went to the back. Sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. It’s nice to be the windshield every once in a while.

Joey did well on the restart and worked his way into the lead after about 6 laps. His passes were smooth and well calculated. He held the lead for 4-5 laps and the other kid got it back. Joey stayed right on the bumper of the leader until the last lap when lapped traffic broke his line causing him to fall back a few car lengths. Joey finished second.

The typical pumpkin race format is for two races on Saturday and a third on Sunday. Due to the tremendous turn out it was about 6:30 when the last heat race was finished. It was obvious that there was no way to get all the races in. The executive board decided to cut the program back to 2 races for each class. They would run the two sponsor cup races, the novice classes then Jr. Honda. The rest of the classes would run their second race on Sunday.

After the announcements they had a bit of an intermission to give out the trophies for the heat races. They called the first three finishers for each race to come up and get their pumpkins. Joey clamored over the wall and picked a fine pumpkin out of the second place pile. He could just barely pick it up and carry it out of the track.

Some of the teams really got into the Halloween theme with haunted trailers. One had a smoke machine inside and purple lights to give it an eerie glow. They placed a decorated racecar in the entrance with a monster for the driver. The purple smoke poured out of the trailer and around the car. It was an impressive display.

Another team made a haunted trailer that the kids could tour. The outside of the trailer was decorated with pumpkins and hay bales and they had a black sheet covering the entrance. Joey got in line and went through the display. He said it was quite spooky.

A-Main, cold and late

Just as the weatherman said, it was cccccold only about 48 degrees. I was prepared with soft tires and a little more weight on the right rear. I figure my set up is as good as it could get and as good of any of the other cars. I warned Joey that the tires would be slick and pushed him off.

Normally a second place finish in the heat race would put Joey in the front of the A main for the start. Unfortunately, since there were 5 heat races the first place finishers get the first 5 places and 4 of the 5 second place finishers got the back spots. (One of the 2nd place finishers gets put in the B main.) Joey was starting 8 out of 9. Warm ups were a spinfest. Cars were spinning right and left. Joey got spun as a kid spun into him. Joey was looking out of the car well as he missed all of the accidents by driving around them. All in all Joey warmed up well and looked good.

Joey got a fair start and moved up a bit then he spun on lap 2 coming out of turn 2. This put him in the back for the restart. This is not a good deal since there are 8 cars in front of him, single file, when the green flag falls. Joey got an abysmal restart falling back about 1/2 of a lap. Luckily, one of the front-runners spun on the next lap. This put Joey 8 of 9 on the restart. Joey got a good jump on the green and was back in the race :-)

From that point on Joey raced great. His line was smooth and he was passing cars as he moved up in the pack. The race stayed green until the end and Joey finished 4th.

Joey was happy with his finish since he knew he was racing the normal hot shoes and some fast out of town kids. Joey was also quite tired since it was 9:15 and he normally goes to bed at 8:00. This would be Joey’s last race at Oaklane as a Jr. Honda.

Sunday 10/7/00 Pumpkin Festivities

Part of the fun of the Pumpkin races is the non-racing activities so the whole Dille clan went up to the track to participate in the Halloween activities. The first part was the big wheel race for kids 4 and under. This was great fun as they line up all the kids on the starting line and have a one-lap race. This one little girl ran away with the show putting about 1/4 lap on the rest of the field. At the finish she just kept going and took an extra lap. Then she took the checkered flag and made a one-handed victory lap. Cool.

Next up was the costume parade. Matt went out in the 0-4 group dressed as a robot and won 2nd place. A girl with dressed as a bunch of grapes won. Her costume was made of about purple 20 balloons. Joey was out next in the 5-8 group dressed as a scientist and won 4th place. The winner was dressed as a Nintendo controller. My sister even won something for parading he dog around as a devil. A Dille sweep!

I stayed the rest of the day to watch the higher classes race and work the snack bar. The highlight was the heavy B-modified race. One of the drivers was Ashley Bates, a girl that was retiring as a quarter midget racer and had a sponsored sprint car ride for next year. She had her V8 powered sprint car on display by the grandstand. The race was exciting with 11 great drivers racing fast cars. Ashley raced her way up from the back to wup all of the boys. It was her last quarter midget race and what a way to go out. There were a lot of tears at the end when she got out of the car.

I had a good time at the track even though we did not race. It was impressive to see the size of the event and know that the Oaklane club had pulled off the biggest non-sanctioned quarter midget event ever. Next year we will host the Eastern Grand National race and we are expecting 2-3 times the number of cars for a full week of racing. It looks like the facility and the members are up for the challenge.

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