Joey Dille's


Quarter Midget #67


Racing Log



This the final installment of a week by week log of our experience in the 2000 racing season. The racing logs are taken from e-mails that I have sent to my friends. The logs are arranged in order with #1 being our first experience.

Racing Log #16

Daytona Day at Honeybrook

The Doylestown Quarter Midget Racing Club in Honeybrook Pennsylvania has a fun end of the season event called Daytona day where they run the racing like Nascar. There is only one feature, the A main. They start by qualifying all of the cars against the clock. Track records are also open. The top two qualifiers start 1 and 2 in the feature race. The rest of the cars are placed in heats by their qualifying times. Third fastest car starts on the pole in heat 1. Forth-fastest car starts on the pole in heat 2. The fifth fastest car starts in position 2 in the first heat and so on.

The finishers of the heat races are then placed in the feature race according to the heat finish. First in heat 1 starts third. First in heat 2 starts 4th. Second in heat 1 starts 5th and so on. The faster you race the better your starting position. Kids in the back of the heat do not transfer to the feature. Just like in big car racing. This is a departure from the standard inverted start and where there are A, B and C mains.

I wanted to run this weekend for two reasons. To get some experience qualifying against the clock and to extend our season one more weekend.

At the last Oaklane race I told Nick Schlauch we would be running Honeybrook and asked how I should change the set up. Nick races his kids at Honeybrook so he knew just what to do. I had to make changes to the gearing, tires, right rear, offset and the spring preload. It took two evenings to make the adjustments since there were a few extra details to attend to.

Once I tucked the right rear all the way in I found that the nerf bar extended beyond the outside of the rear tire. This was technically illegal so I pulled off the nerf bar and shortened it a bit. The soft right rear Firestone tire was a slightly different size than the Dunlops I usually run, which made the circumference 3/4" smaller. The smaller circumference changed the overall gearing, which I did not want. To compensate for this I made the rim 1/2" narrower to increase the circumference.

I swapped the throttle cable end for end so the cable stop was on the engine end. This allowed me to remove the engine without touching the throttle linkage. The engine is now about as easy as possible to remove and replace.

Practice 10/13/00

All week I watched the weather like a hawk. The forecast was for 75F on Friday and Saturday. The track temperature would probably be a little cool due to the low autumn sun, but at least it would not be cold. One little possible rub was that we needed a club member present at the track to practice. I could not find anyone that would be there for sure, but I gambled that there would be at least one member. The Honeybrook track is about 70 minutes away so I had to hustle to get there before the sun went away on Friday night.

His classmates thought his car was cool when I picked Joey up right from school to gain a little time. Like road warriors we ate a bag dinner while we rolled down the turnpike. . We were in luck as there was one trailer in the lot when we pulled in.

I had both the soft Dunlops and the softer Firestone tires. I decided to start off with the Firestones. Joey and I wasted no time and he got into his gear while I set the tire pressures and warmed the engine. Joey got out on the track and slid and fumbled around for about 15 laps then he started to get heat in the tires and find the line. I watched as Joey figured things out and his times dropped. After 30 laps or so he was down around the lap record. It was apparent that Nick’s setup was right on the money as the car was hooked up. I watched as he ran the car deep into the turn, initiating a slide then smoothly coming out of the turn letting the car come up to the wall. I was really proud of his driving skill and his concentration. I let Joey out for about 20 more laps and he stayed consistent.

I tried the Dunlop tires. Joey took forever to get them warm, but he did get them to come in and he was turning times that were slightly lower. I tried the spring adjustment suggested by Nick and that made the car a little better, but it was hard to tell.

The procedure for timing in quarter midgets is to run 10 laps to warm up, and then the best of the next three laps is timed. I simulated this by putting the now almost cold Firestone tires back on the car and having Joey pretend he was qualifying. Joey did great, managing to get one lap under 7 seconds.

Daylight was fading and we had done what we had come there for. We packed up and headed home. It was a successful practice.

Daytona Day 10/14/00

Joey and I got up early so we could get to the track before sign in and get a bit of practice. This worked out well and we were able to put a few laps on the cold tires and track. I could not do our mock qualifying since there were other cars on the track. Still, Joey looked good and found his line quickly. He drove around spins and other trouble on the track well. I did not want to get Joey too tired so I let him have 30 laps and ended practice.

After Joey and I scaled the car he went off to play and explore the fields behind the track. I had the car safety inspected and signed us in. Since the track records were open we were required to run track fuel. I emptied the gas out of the car into our gas can and I stood in line for gas. One of the club members went along and doled out gas, 1/2 gallon at a time. A second sealed the tank with tape and a bit of paint. We were ready.

It was about 70F and the track was just warming up. I had the soft Firestone tires on the car due to the coolness and that we needed the tires to come in quickly. Joey was #6 to qualify so our turn came quickly, about 12:30. I wished Joey luck and pushed him off. Joey was focused and slid the car in the turns as the tires warmed up. After 7 laps he started to find the line and put down some good laps. He was looking good. His best lap was 7.066 seconds. The best time was about 6.989. This gave him the third best qualifying time! This was a huge improvement over our qualifying effort at Oaklane where we were in the back third of the pack. I was proud of our work.

Heat Race

The top two qualifiers got a straight transfer to start 1 and 2 in the A-main. Our third place qualifying time required us to run a heat race to transfer into the main. The good news is we start on the pole with slower kids behind us. The temperature for the heat race was about 75F and there was a bit of heat in the track. I took a chance and put on the Dunlop tires that would give us a bit better gearing. It turns out this was a mistake on my part.

Joey was having trouble with the car in warm ups. The tires were not coming in and he had quite the push. I should have pulled him off the track and taken a turn or two off the left front, but I was the corner worker in turn #1 and I was on the opposite side of the track. Mistake two for me.

Joey got a good start, but the push slowed him down and one kid got in front of him. Joey worked for 20 laps and gradually found a better line. He managed to hold onto second for the finish, but it was close.

Joey mentioned that he was bored and had nothing to do. (He completed reading the last bit of Harry Potter #4 on the drive here.) We took a walk along the road and we looked at the soybeans in the fields. They were ready for harvest and I opened a pod and bit the seed. Yuck! They are very bitter with a taste that lingers. We looked at the dead critters on the road and the leaves on the trees. Some of the houses in the neighborhood were decorated for Halloween and we critiqued them. Grasshoppers flew into the field as we walked by. It was a nice walk, but after 45 minutes Joey had enough quality time with dad. Oh well.

A Main

The whole purpose of the qualifying and heats was to put the fastest kids in the front and the slower ones in the back of the A-main. This is opposite of the normal inverted start where the faster kids are in the back. Joey’s finish in the heat put him starting 5 out of 9 cars. Five of the 16 cars that showed up to race Jr. Honda were sent home early since they did not qualify for the A-main and there was to be no B-main today.

I learned my lesson in the heat and put the softer Firestone tires back on the right side. I also put the set up right back where I had it for qualifying. Joey looked OK during warm ups, but not great. He took a while to get his line and he was not going as fast as he could. A little deeper in the turns and a little closer to the wall would have improved his times. I tried to signal Joey to drive deeper in the turns, but he did not respond.

Joey got a good start but tangled with a kid on the second lap. The call was on the other kid, so Joey held his position and the other kid went to the back. The restart went OK and Joey held 4th into turn 1. Joey started to speed up and run laps. His line was still not optimum. The #5 car was right behind Joey and the lead pack was inching away.

Joey was not running 100%. I could hear he was lifting off the gas for a split second at the apex of the corner. Joey held onto 4th this way for about 18 laps then Joey’s line improved and he stopped lifting. Now he was moving. For the last 10 laps of the race he pulled away from the #5 car and gained on the leaders. When the checkered flag flew he was almost in striking distance of the #4 car. Oh well, no trophy today.

As we packed up I saw that Joey was tired. Last night after practice he was wound up more then normal and did not get a particularly good night of sleep. It was a long day, which followed a long day. Perhaps I could have managed his activity or nutrition a little better during the day. After watching him after the race I was convinced he could have raced better if he was fresh. I had the car setup right, but the driver was off. Too bad since I think we had a chance for a trophy today.

Summary

This was the last scheduled race for Team Dille in the 2000 season. It was our also last race in the Jr. Honda class. Joey turns 9 at the beginning of the 2001 season and will race in the Sr. Honda class. We will loose the restrictor plate and gain about 1 horsepower. We also need to add about 35 pounds to the driver/car weight. Joey has driven the car without the restrictor in practice and does well with the extra power.

The racing will be much tougher next year, as the drivers are 9 to 15 years old. You know what they say about old age and treachery... Many kids move up to the 160 Honda class when they get older, but the Sr. Honda class is still quite full. The typical Oaklane Saturday night field for Jr. Honda is 20 cars. Now the typical field in Sr. Honda will be about 35 cars. Perhaps more with the 2001 Eastern Grands at Oaklane. There are also up to 10 cars in a senior race where the limit for juniors is 8. I have a feeling that Joey has a lot to learn next year.

I am very proud of Joey’s performance this year. He worked hard at practice and improved as the season progressed. Joey became a better racer. He has developed a keen awareness of what is going on in the race and makes good decisions out on the track. His performance on the start improved significantly. I hope I can work with Joey to continue his improvement.

Looking back, Joey did great with the antique Rice car and placed well. He learned a lot and the old car did not tolerate any mistakes. Joey did eek out good finishes with the Rice car and beat kids with new cars. On the other hand, I wish I got the Schlauch car about 2 months earlier in the season. I think he would have moved up in the class and finished on the podium in the A-main. The Rice car is safely stored in a friend’s barn waiting for Joey’s younger brother and the 2002 season.

I have a number of things planed in the off-season for the new Schlauch car. The first will be to paint the body. Joey really wants it painted the same red with flames that we had on the other car. We have had many compliments on the look of the car in white, but I think it will look sharp bright red. I will also apply Joey’s name and number to the car. Who knows, maybe I can pick up a sponsor and put their name on the car too.

I am concerned about the legality of the engine as the bore may be worn beyond the legal limits. The legal limits for racing is much less than the service limit established by Honda. The penalty is also severe, one-month suspension from racing in any Honda class. The engine has also developed an oil leak and I am sure there are other things that need attention.

Mid-season I put a tachometer on the engine, which doubles as an hour meter. We now have 11 hours on the engine. I estimate we but about 25 hours on the engine this season. We raced the engine for two seasons and I think it was two seasons old when we got it so perhaps it has 100 racing hours on it. All but 1-2 of the hours have been with the Novice (3/8") or Jr. Honda (7/16") restrictor. 100 hours is nothing for a Honda industrial engine, perhaps a month’s service as the power source for a compressor or power washer. Heck, this engine could well be under warranty.

On the other hand, racing is at full throttle at 5000+ rpm instead of intermittent duty governed to 3400 rpm. I estimate about 2/3 of the hours on the engine have been without the benefit of an air cleaner with the intake located 8 inches off the ground and 2 inches away from the rear tire. Perhaps a wee bit of grit could have entered the engine! I have never looked into the engine in two years. It is anybody’s guess what the condition of the engine is.

I also have a few tweaks to make to the balance of the car. I have a few spots to touch up the paint where the power coating did not cover. I want to put winged type Dzus fasteners on the front hood and add a fastener where the hood and cowl meet. The engine mounting plate needs a tweak to facilitate the oil change process. I also want to mount the engine straighter in the frame. I want to rework the left rear wheel bearing so the wheel runs true and I need a different assortment of spacers to facilitate right rear wheel adjustment. Lots to do.

Thank you race fans for following Joey’s racing 2000 season. I will try and continue the racing log next year.

Race Safe,

Joe

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