Victory Lap

Joey Dille's


Quarter Midget #67


Racing Log 2001



These are installments 16 - 20 of a week by week log of our experience in the 2001 season in the Sr. 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.

Racing Log #16

Keystone Invitational

Last week I worked hard to make the car faster. I had Nick watch Joey practice and had little Nick drive the car with no appreciable improvement to lap times. I am still frustrated. If it is not the chassis and it is not the driver, then it must be the engine...

I had purchased a new engine from Ziggy's a couple of months ago with the expectation to have a competitive engine like all the other cars. Early in the week I gave Tom Zickenfoose (a.k.a. Ziggy of Ziggy's motor works) a call and told him my woes. I explained all the steps I had taken to get the gar going including my work with Nick. Tom was disappointed that I was not getting the expected results from the engine and told me to bring the engine up to his shop and he would put it on the dyno to see what was going on. I told Tom I wanted to race this weekend and he said no problem, he would turn it around in a day.

Tom called the next day and left a message that said he had found the problem and the engine is ready. I went up to retrieve the engine and he explained the engine was down on power. He put the engine up on the dyno and found the engine was way off from the normal. After he went over the usual suspects like valve adjustment he swapped carburetors with a new engine. Bingo! The engine came up to normal power. He disassembled the carburetor and found the main jet was slightly obstructed. He could not see the problem, but the "go" gage would not pass through the jet. After some work the obstruction was cleared and he put the old carb back on and ran it on the dyno. The power was back. The obstruction was too small to see and did not make the engine run noticeably rough, but it did drop the power down. I asked Tom for the bill and he said "no charge". He just wanted me to be happy with his engine. Cool.

I e-mailed Nick Schlauch and told him about the chassis set up I planned for the Honeybrook track. He told me I was on track and gave me a couple other things to change. I changed tires, springs, Panhard, track width and weight distribution to optimize it for the Honeybrook track.

Practice 8/16/01

Joey and I had limited experience at the Honeybrook track had never run it as a senior Honda so I wanted Joey to get a substantial amount of practice at the track. I took a half-day off work and we headed down to Honeybrook. It was important to practice in the daytime since the track changes a lot from day to night. Joey and I discussed the racing line at Honeybrook and it sounded like he remembered. The track was fairly busy when we got there with 2-3 cars on the track.

At Oaklane the racing line is pretty much a circle. The only variation is how close you get to the wall on the straights and exactly where you hit the concrete/asphalt transitions to minimize the bump. The Honeybrook track requires a different technique since it is flatter and the straights are narrower. The proper line is to run along the wall and enter the turn a bit late turning hard and starting a slide and getting the car turned around toward the next straight. The car keeps sliding as it drifts out to the wall then gradually hooks up at the wall about midway down the straight. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

If the driver turns early the beginning of the corner the car will enter the turn just fine, but will run out of room on the exit as Mr. Wall is staring them in the face. In this case the driver turns the wheel hard and the car will push, scrubbing off speed. The other mistake is not letting the car drift smoothly to the wall. If the driver tries to hold the car off the wall exiting the turn the car will fishtail and loose speed. This also leaves the driver away from the wall setting him up for an early entrance.

I put Joey on the track and he put down a few tentative laps then started to pour on the coal. Joey was holding the proper line and his times were coming down. After about 25 laps he found the groove and got into the rhythm of the track. Joey's times were 6.60 to 6.67s. This was great since the track record was 6.59s! I pulled Joey on and off the track a few times and he said he was doing well and the car felt good. I put on the harder tires (these are the soft tires for Oaklane) and put him back out. He did as well with these tires. Joey had a chance to practice passing on the Honeybrook track, which he needed. After about 120 laps on the track I pulled Joey off. He liked the car and said "don't change anything".

Joey wanted to get a few more laps in so I put him back out. His times stayed in the 6.6s range and he passed several cars on the track. All totaled he put in more than 200 laps and was still looking good. I had not even touched the spring settings in all those laps. Looks like Nick's suggestions were right on the mark. More importantly Ziggy had fixed the engine since we were at the lap record. It's a good thing.

I signed in and had the car safety inspected before leaving the track. One of the perks of racing at Honeybrook is Joey and I would stay at a hotel. Joey had a blast swimming in the hotel's pool with his friends while I soaked in the hot tub and talked racing with the other parents. I also got to introduce Joey to the cable channel SpeedVision. Life is good.

Racing 8/25/01

The Keystone Invitational is a Monza format series of 3 races. The cars are put into the first set of heats in random order. Points are awarded for the finish, 20 for first, 18 for second, 17 for third, 16 for forth and so on. The line up for the second set of heats is determined by the point's standings where the cars are lined up according to their points earned. Cars are grouped into heats according to their points. The line up in the heat is inverted with the lowest point car in the front. Cars earn points for their finish in the second heat and this determines their line-ups for the third race on Sunday. The driver with the most points at the end of three races wins.

Joey's class was broken into 2 heats of 8 cars. Joey drew the 5th starting spot in the first heat. It was in the back, but on the inside. Joey felt good about the starting spot. During the warm up Joey was running the wrong line. He was turning in too soon and scrubbing off speed on the exit. I gave him the hand signals to go deeper into the turns, but I had no effect. Oh well. He usually tends to find the right line as he turns laps. We will see.

During the line up for the race one of the drivers was having a hard time forming up and was put to the back. This moved Joey into the #4 spot, which was on the outside. On the start Joey got clothes lined and moved all the way back. He passed the last car quickly and started to move up. After 5-6 laps he passed the 6th car and had a clear track in front of him. I watched as he ran around the track about 2 feet from the proper racing line. His times were in the 6.7's. He was not slow, but he was not going to catch the leaders. I wanted to signal so badly, but that is against the rules. Stood there, hands in my pockets as the race went on. Joey finished on the lead lap, but in 6th. 14 points.

Our second race would be just before dinner so I gave Joey a snack and some Gatorade. I took the opportunity to talk to Joey about his line. I told him to go deeper into the turns and slide smoothly on the way out. I kept reminding him to go deeper until I was a pest.

Once again Joey pulled the #5 starting spot, but this time Joey was matched up with the low points racers. I figured he would have a better chance in this group. During warm ups Joey was running a slightly better line, but not as good as on Friday's practice. I gave Joey the "go deeper" hand signal, but I got no improvement. With 22 seconds left in practice I thought about pulling him in to talk to him, but changed my mind.

Joey lost a little on the start. I could see he lifted his foot off the gas in the first turn. After a lap he was in it all the way and racing full speed. Unfortunately, his line was still off and he was not catching up on the other drivers. There was one girl that was turning laps that were about 2 seconds off the pace. This meant that all of the other cars would have to pass here every 3.5-4 laps. This caused the two cars in front of Joey to slow at one point and Joey capitalized on the situation and passed one of them for 6th place. Joeys line improved a bit and he started to make progress on the 5th place car. He got up to the other cars bumper, but the race ended before he could pull off another pass. Another 6th and 14 more points.

During dinner Joey mentioned that he was not fast enough to catch up to the leaders. I told him his line was off and he needed to go deeper into the corners. He said he was. I told him he had to get closer to the wall. "Oh That's what you want me to do." Joey got it. Unfortunately, the race was over a half hour ago.

One thing I remember my dad saying is that when you are teaching don't repeat yourself. Say the same thing a different way and it is likely to sink in. Today I forgot that lesson :-(

Joey did tell me that it is difficult starting on this track because he was unsure about hitting the first corner fast. He is used to the first turn at Oaklane, not at Honeybrook. No easy way to gain this experience.

After judging my race we headed back to the hotel for more splashing and soaking at the pool. Joey and I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out for a couple hours. Once Joey had his fill of the pool we retired to the room and SpeedVision. Life is still good.

Sunday 8/26/01

After a leisurely breakfast Joey and I headed to the track for the festivities and more racing. At 11:00 three skydivers landed in the parking field. I stood about 20 feet away from the landing spot as all three put it down within 15 feet with a stand up landing. I am amazed at the control that they have with a sport parachute. I spoke with one of the skydivers as she packed her chute. The latest equipment is small and foolproof.

I decided to put a new tire on the left rear. This tire was about a year old and a bit hard. It does little at the Oaklane track, but here it helps keep the rear from coming around here at Honeybrook.

Around noon a biplane and an ultra-lite made 4 passes over the track to drop candy for the kids. It was fun to watch them scramble to pick it up. Enough with the frivolity, it was time to race.

I sat in the stands with Joey to watch the Jr. Honda races. One of the kids was running a great line and I had Joey watch it closely and I pointed out the reference points on the track associated with the proper line. I am confident he knows what to do.

Warm ups went well and Joey was turning laps in the 6.6's and running a good line. Joey's poor finishes put him starting 3rd in the low points race. This should have a good shot here, but it did not turn out that way. When the green flag fell Joey was right behind the #1 car, where he should have been. Unfortunately, the pole car did not go when the flag dropped and Joey was trapped behind her as the outside cars passed him going into turn 1. He managed to pass her on the back straight and started to gain speed.

Joey drove and raced well, moving up to third and gaining on the leaders. The one car was still circulating well off the pace. This posed a challenge as every few laps Joey (and all the other cars) had to pass her. Timing was critical. If you delayed passing for 1/2 lap you had to slow down and it would take 2-3 laps to get up to speed. Joey managed to get up to the bumper of the #2 car when he tried to make his move he lost some momentum and the #4 and #5 car snuck under him. Drat and double drat.

Joey was the fastest car on the track, but he was only able to get one position back and finished 4th. His best finish for the week and his best race by far. We finished 11th overall with 44 points. Joey's inexperience at the track really showed. On the positive side the car was competitive and Joey did show good judgment. He did not spin once and did not cause or get into any accidents. We finished on the lead lap in every race. Joey and I had a good time hanging out with our friends too. Not bad.

I am fairly confident that the unplugged carburetor will make a big difference at the Oaklane track. I hope we can put it all together on our home turf.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #17

Fast Again

Practice 8/30/01

Joey and I were quite excited to run the repaired engine at the Oaklane track. For the last few weeks I have had the car set up as loose as possible to try to get a little more speed out of it. I was a little concerned about running with more power and the loose set up so I lowered the Panhard rod to the middle position and adjusted the weight distribution for a 10 pound differential between the left and right rear tire. Both of these adjustments tighten the car up and are easy to undo at the track.

I set Joey out on the track and he starts doing laps. Normally he starts off in the 6.4's now he is in the 6.3's. This is a good sign. Joey gets up to speed and starts to turn laps in the high 6.2's. I bring Joey in and raise one side of the Panhard rod and he gets a small improvement. I bring him in again and raise the other side of the Panhard rod. This nets a little more improvement and he appears to be having no problems handling the car. Finally, I adjust the rear for a 20-pound differential and the car turns a 6.19! This is our best lap ever and I feel Joey is finally competitive.

Racing 9/1/01

Tonight's racing was special since it was a sponsor cup for Sr. Honda. The A-main is a special event where the drivers get lined up on the track and get introduced before the race. The winner of the race gets a 6' trophy and their picture taken on the track with their parents and the sponsor. It would be a special night to make the A-main. Unfortunately, I was not the only one with that that idea. 44 cars had signed up for the Sr. Honda class. They divided them into 5 heats, which meant that only the top two finishers would transfer to the A-main.

Things were started off well as Joey pulled the pole position for the 4th heat. I noticed some fast kids in his heat, which could be a problem. Joey had a good attitude and wanted to get into the sponsor cup race. During warm ups Joey looked good compared to the rest of the field. I thought optimistic thoughts as the drivers lined up for the start with Joey in the lead.

The start went well and Joey held the lead for the first few laps. One driver got a good start and got into second place. After a few laps he managed to pass Joey, but Joey stayed on his tail. Third place was back about 5 car lengths. The race stayed this way until the last lap where the third place car caught Joey on the back straight and passed him. Joey whipped behind him to try for the pass back and pulled alongside him, but missed by about 3 feet. Bummer. It would have meant so much for Joey to make the A-main on Sponsor cup night. Oh well.

Still, this was our best race for Sr. Honda. Joey was running right at the front of the race the whole time.

B-main

They spit the main races into 4 races of 11 cars. One lucky 3rd place finisher was transferred into the A-main. It was not Joey :-( Joey was to start 9th out of the 11 cars. At least he was starting on the inside.

The show was dragging on tonight and it was not until 9:45 when Joey went out to race. As usual I was concerned that Joey was going out to race after his bedtime. I gave him a snack of a Coke and a bag of Oreo cookies. The other problem is that it was a clear night and the temperature dropped like a rock. The track and air temperature were both 58. It has been a long time since we have raced this cold. I put the soft tires on to give Joey a little more grip.

Joey was in good spirits when I pushed him off to warm up. On the second lap Joey pushed a bit too hard and did a spectacular spin in turn 2 coming around 360 and stopping on the back straight. Just then one of the other kids smacked him in the rear effectively bump starting Joey. Cool. Joey had no problem warming up from this point on and looked very good against the rest of the field.

Getting the race started was a challenge. Just before the green flag fell there was a wreck in turn 4. Joey did a god job driving around the pile of cars. The resulting line up took a long time and I am sure all of the tires had cooled. In the restart there was another mess and once again Joey drove around the stopped cars. This time one of the cars was resting on its side so they red flagged the race and stopped all the cars on the track. I felt Joey's tires and any heat that they had was gone into the night sky. Another restart and another cold tire accident. Once again Joey drove around the stopped cars.

All of the wrecks were in front of Joey and he had managed to move into 4th place just from attrition. Finally the green flag fell and it seemed like all of the cars made the critical first lap on cold tires. The lap counter in the tower started to count down the laps. Just when I thought we were going to race a car spun coming out of turn 2 and Joey hit him dead square. Bam!

I could see from the pits that the axle was bent and the tie rod broken. Joey was OK and the corner worker dragged the car off the track. That was that for team Dille.

Joey was in good spirits considering he just DNFed. I praised Joey for a good job racing and pointed out how he and moved up during the race. Despite the wrinkled front end I was very pleased with our performance. We were finally competitive in the Sr. Honda class.

Race Safe,

Joe

P.S. The guy who won the A-main was the same guy that passed Joey on the last lap of the heat. Oh well.

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Racing Log #18

We were the Windshield

Practice 9/6/01

Joey was fast, but his head was only 90% into it practicing. 6.22s was our best time. He spent about 20 laps following a slower car, but could not pull off a pass. It just looked like he was not into "it". On the up side the car was running spot on. I called it off at 80 laps since more laps were not going to improve Joey's focus.

Racing 9/8/01

Beautiful day, the sun was out the air was 80F and the track 130F, just right for racing. It was out annual "Race Against Drugs" night with a special presentation during the intermission and T-shirts and goodie bags for all drivers.

During the handlers meeting they announced that we would run the "B" race order. This puts the Sr. Honda class second to last in the race order. It's going to be a late night.

Lady luck was not kind when the lineups came out. Joey was in the first heat with 3 of the fastest kids in the class. There were 4 heats so he would need a 1st or 2nd finish to make the A-main for sure. Two of the 3rd place finishers would also make the A-main. To make matters worse Joey would be starting in 6th, which is on the outside.

The air and track were still warm when the heat race went off so I left the hard tires on the car. Joey got a fair start and lost one place going into turn one. From that point on he raced well staying with the lead pack and working his way into 5th place. There was a spin behind him, which brought out the yellow with 10 laps to go. On the restart Joey pulled away with the lead pack of 5 cars bumper to bumper. This was particularly heartening since two weeks ago I would be watching the first 4 cars pull away from Joey.

Joey was faster than the #4 car for sure, but not by much. Joey started several passes, but backed off when he could not get the job done in time. Joey finished a strong 5th. This would put us in the B-main.

B-main

With the clear skies and late race the air and track had cooled down to 60F. I fitted the soft tires for the main race. Lady luck shined on us as Joey got the #3 starting spot in the B-main. More importantly, the fastest drivers had landed in the other mains and Joey had a chance against the kids in the line up. I fed him a Coke in the staging area to perk him up a bit since it was his normal bedtime. Joey's attitude was good while we were waiting for our race to start. I was optimistic.

Being as cold as it was I was concerned about the car hooking up. The car looked good as Joey warmed up. Joey was throwing it into corners with a fair amount of authority and looking good. I was working turn 3 and gave Joey the high sign as he lined up under yellow. It looked good at the start and Joey held third coming out of the first turn. Then the wrecks started...

The first one was no big deal as Joey missed it completely. The single file restart was no problem as Joey held third. Then there was another wreck in turn 2 and Joey got caught up in the end of it hitting his front end and coming to rest on the bumper of another car. I pulled the cars apart and Joey's car looked OK. Joey held third on the restart and then started to fall back.

His line had lost its smoothness and he developed a hitch coming out of 2 and 4. This slowed him down and allowed the other cars past. I watched as he lost position after position. Something was wrong either with Joey or his car. Then on lap 14 there was a wreck on the back straight and Joey did not steer quick enough to miss the stopped car. He hit his right front wheel and came to a stop on the track. I looked at the front end and both radius rods were bent back against the body. Oh great, another DNF.

I pull Joey into the pits and one of the other handlers came over with radius rod straightening tools. He went to work and I tried to help. We tried and tried as the cars were lined up again but he could not get purchase on the bars as they were bent pretty badly. I looked over as the starter had a line up and gave the one to go. We gave up.

This guy from the other side of the fence asked if he could try. I told him that it did not matter as the race had restarted. He pointed to the track and said that there was another wreck and the yellow flag had come back out before a lap had been scored. This guy hopped over the fence with his buddy and they went to work. They could not move the top bar either. Finally, the two of them pulled on the tools and I stood on the bar and it gave. Once the bar started to move they could position the tools better and it they were getting it straighter. Once the top one was straight-ish they focused on the bottom one. This one was much easier and bent straight in on fluid motion. I looked over and saw they were getting the line up together. I told Joey he was good to go and he gave me a BIG smile.

I pushed Joey off and he joined up with the back of the pack as the flagger gave the one to go. The car was handling OK, but not great. There was another spin and I pulled Joey back off the track to try and get his radius rods straighter. Joey was reluctant to come off the track and asked me why he was getting pulled off. I told him to get his radius rods straighter. Big smile again. We straightened the front end a bit more and I pushed him back out. Joey got a good start and gained 3 positions. Then there was another spin. Joey stared well again and moved up to 4th. All the spins and wrecks had caused the race to go over the time limit with 10 of the 30 laps to go. So they restarted the race with 2 laps to go. Joey got a good start and finished in 3rd. Our second podium finish in Sr. Honda!

That was some race. Only 4 of the original 10 cars finished. I felt very lucky that we finished and the car had only minor damage. Still it was a good finish and it was the first time we had come back from being in the pits. I owe it all to two guys that decided to help and Joey's good spirit.

Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. Tonight we were the windshield.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #19

We were the bug

Last week Joey had an accident that bent the right side radius rods. This Good Samaritan hopped over the fence while the race was under yellow and straightened the rods well enough to finish the race. The following picture shows a bent radius rod on the left, the two "straightened" rods and a new one on the right.

Bent and straightened Radius Rods

The repair would be straight forward since only the radius rods were bent. I thought Joey would be interested in how the front end is aligned so I invited him out to the garage to align his axle. I replaced the rods and got them close. I then had Joey do the front-end alignment. He thought this was interesting, but not too interesting. I guess he is more of a driver than a mechanic.

Practice 9/12/01

Joey was into practicing more than normal. The car was handing well and he was turning low 6.2's. Life was good. There were 4-5 other Sr. Honda drivers at the track. Passed them all at one time or another. Since there were so many Sr. Honda cars at the track I suggested that I do some practice line-ups with the cars. This would give the drivers a chance to practice line-ups and me a chance to practice flagging. Joey and the other kids seemed to enjoy the practice. Joey put in 120 laps and looked ready for more.

Racing 9/15/01

We had a strong rain on Thursday and I was sure the track was a bit different. I wanted to make sure that I had the correct tires on the car for track conditions so I got to the track a bit early to get a few laps in. This was a good thing since the track was noticeably slicker than just two days before. It was also a bit cooler than when we practiced which made the track slicker. Joey did a bit better with the softer tires so I decided to try them for the heat race.

The whole track was a bit on edge due to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The flag flew at half-staff and many cars had flags or other US symbols. I had a small flag on the roll bar of Joey's car. The club decided to make this week's event optional as some people had stayed away. The Oaklane club also decided to have the drivers donate the proceeds of the entry fees, snack bar and 50-50 to the relief effort. This turned out to be over $2700.

Heat Race

Joey pulled a relatively easy heat race as he had finished ahead of almost all of the other drivers at one time or another. He also drew the #2 starting spot. The heat race went off well enough and Joey finished 3rd. I was expecting better, but this was good enough to put him in the A-main. Our second A-main start this year!

A-Main

The good news is that Joey's heat finish put him in the #3 starting spot in the A-main. The bad news is the A-main had all of the very fastest drivers in it. The race program dragged on and Joey's race did not start until 9:30. He looked awake and alert, ready to race.

The warm up went well and it was apparent that Joey was in with the best of the best. When the green flag fell he got a good start and held his spot for a few laps. Once things got up to speed he started to loose positions, as the other drivers were just a bit faster. Joey looked a bit off in this crowd. There were a few cautions during the race and Joey got fair starts where his competition got great starts. All of this resulted in a 9th place finish out of 10 cars. I had hoped for better, but we were racing the best of the best. Joey made the A-main!

Practice 9/21/01

Since there was no crash damage or other repairs to make on the car I decided to do a little maintenance on the car. I also wanted to replace a few of the rod ends in the front end with the stronger version. While I was at it I noticed that the king pins were a bit tight, which made the steering tight. This may have been a result of the crash two weeks ago since I did not look at the kingpins when I changed the radius rods. I know from experience that tight steering messed up Joey's line. After adjusting the king pins and replacing the rod ends the steering was smooth as silk. It's a good thing.

The track was almost empty when we got there and there were no senior Hondas. Joey was focused on the task at hand and he went out and turned some good laps. I tweaked the weights a bit and swapped tires and we got down to the low 6.2's. After 50 laps I pulled Joey off. There was nothing to be gained by putting in more laps.

Racing 22/01

Joey drew a really difficult heat that had about 1/2 the drivers regularly made the A-main, the rest always made the B. Joey started 5th and finished 4th. During the race I timed some of Joeys laps and he was in the 6.21-6.25s range. He was flying. He raced great and was right on the bumper of the 3rd place car at the finish. I was very happy with Joey's driving and told him so. He was smooth, fast and made some really great passes.

The first three cars in each heat went on to the A-main, which put Joey in the back of the B-main grid, starting 8th. The Sr. Honda race was the 6th from last race in the evening and it was very cool. I was sure it was going to be another spin fest. I took 2 pounds of air out of the outside tires and 6 pounds out of the inside rear to give the car more bite. My tweaks must have worked as Joey looked good in warm ups. I believe he passed all but one driver in the warm ups. There was a bad crash in warm ups just as they were about to end. Three cars tangled in front of Joey; he had nowhere to go and t-boned the center car. The driver of the other car was shook up a bit since it was a hard hit and it was his first race in the senior division. Joey and the car were OK but the clock ticked down as we waited to see if the other driver wanted to race or stop for the evening.

When the race finally started Joey got a bit of a brake as one of the drivers did not get out on the track quick enough and had to start in the back. This moved Joey up the #7 starting spot, which is on the inside. Joey got a great start passing 2 cars on the front straight. Joey passed his way up to 4th when he bumped a car from the rear. The other car spun and Joey kept going. This brought out the yellow. I was sure Joey was going to get the call on this one. Joey was sure too and lined up on in the rear. I spoke with the other handler and he thought his son got loose which slowed him down, causing the bump. The judges must have seen it the same way and put the other car to the back. Joey started 3rd on the restart and passed his way up the 2nd. He was flying around the track. There were a few other restarts as cars kept spinning. Luckily Joey was able to stay clear of trouble.

With 9 laps to go the 3rd place kid hit Joey's rear coming out of turn 2 and spun both cars. It was clear to me from the way he hooked the bumper under Joey's and pushed the rear around that it was the other kid's fault. I was shocked when the judges put Joey to the back for the restart. The other kid's dad thought it was a bad call too. Joey could not believe when the flagger put him to the back. I shrugged my shoulders to indicate to Joey that I did not understand why he was put to the back.

To add insult to injury the race had reached the 20-minute time limit due to all the spins and the lap counter was set to 2 laps to go. In two laps Joey managed to work his way up to 5th for the checkered flag. I was hoping for a podium finish as I am sure he had 2nd locked up when he was spun.

All in all I was very happy with our performance this week. Joey raced very well, the engine ran well and the car handled well for the heat and feature.

We have two more weeks of racing at Oaklane. September 29th is a regular show. October 4 - 5 is the Pumpkin races. There are only 2 more weeks to come out the Oaklane races if you want to see some really good racing. Admission is free and the food is cheap :-)

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #20

Practice 9/27/01

I tried different gears (slightly higher) to give me a bit more RPM. This had no effect on the RPM and the lap times went up. I tried new valve springs thinking they might be a bit knackered, but still no change. Wrong gears, glad this was just practice. There was no competition at the track so we cut the practice short at 70 laps total.

Existing tires are getting hard from all the races and practice on them. I decided to buy a new set of right side tires for the 5 remaining races. I figure it is a good investment since Joey is doing so well and the remaining races would be during cool to cold conditions.

Racing 9/29/01

Cool and cloudy, about 70F in the air and 80F on the track. I installed the fresh tires for the heat race. Joey pulls the #9 starting spot in a really tough heat. Joey looked great on the fresh tires. Driving a really good line and he is able to put the car where he wants it. Raced his way up to 6th place out of 10 cars. He finished 5/8 of a lap behind the leader. It was a good run. I think he may have moved up another position if the race was longer.

B-Main

Things had cooled off and I dropped the tire pressure 2 psi and added a little weight to the right rear by adjusting the springs to tighten up the car. Joey's heat finish put him in the #3 starting spot. The competition looked modest, as I have seen Joey pass all of the other drivers in the race at one time or another. Joey looked goon in warm ups he was pulling up on the other cars once he got a clear track. The car took a while to come in due to the temperature. I was glad I added weight to the right rear.

The #2 car did not line up in time so Joey was moved up to his spot for the start. Joey got a fantastic start and took the lead coming out of turn 1. Unfortunately, there was a spin and they recalled the start. They relined up single file and Joey got another fantastic start and took the lead again. Another spin. Another great start and Joey gets the lead again. Another spin. The race clock was ticking away during all these restarts. Another great start and Joey takes the lead for the 4th time. This time the whole field makes it around for a lap before the next spin. Joey gets the lead for the restart. Finally the race was underway.

He was racing well, increasing his lead on the pack when he started to slow coming into turn 3 on his third lap. He was bumped in the rear by another car and continued around until he stopped dead coming out of turn 2. The corner men pushed Joey's car into the pits and I removed the rear cover. The spark plug wire was off! I pressed the wire back on and pushed Joey off to join the pack in the back.

The race clock was winding down and there were numerous spins on the restarts. Joey moved up one spot with each start since the offending driver was put to the back each time. To complicate things and waste more time, some of the drivers had brain fade and could not line up correctly. The lap card indicated 28 laps to go during all of this. Finally, the race director saw the clock run out and called for the race to be shortened. Per procedure, the lap card gets turned to 2 for the restart. On one of the restarts Joey passed a car and tried to go for a second pass, which caused him to spin. This put him in the back again. The racers finally got a good start and they drivers managed to turn two laps in a row. Joey managed to move up one to finish 9th.

This was a pitiful race. There were at least 8 restarts and numerous delays. Joey and I were each responsible for one restart. I caused one with the plug wire and Joey with the spin. Everything seemed to be out of sync: the tower, flagger and drivers. All in all we got 4 laps scored out of the 30 laps that were scheduled. Pitiful.

A post mortem on the car showed the problem. Almost all spark plugs have a little adapter nut on the top to allow the plug to be used with older engines that connect to the threaded top of the plug. (Like older BMW bikes.) The little adapter nut on the top of the plug had backed off while remaining inside of the plug cap. This must have been going on for a while as I rarely take the plug wire off.

I race with an NGK plug, which has a free spinning adapter nut. I checked out a Bosch plug and found that they dimpled the nut to cause interference on the threads. I replaced the nut on my NGK plug with one from the Bosch plug and tightened the bugger down real tight. Problem solved.

I feel real bad about taking a probable win away from Joey and told him so. Oh well, all we can do is try again next week.

Speaking of next week. It will be the annual Pumpkin races at Oaklane. There will be racing action pretty much all day on Saturday and Sunday. The track will be decorated and it will be a festive atmosphere. Saturday night several of the teams put on a haunted trailer display. Sunday morning there is a costume contest and a tricycle race for the 4 and under crowd. I had Matt out on the track for first time and he did well on a borrowed tricycle. Joey has a costume that makes him an AA battery. Team Dille hopes to do well in both contests.

Race Safe,

Joe Return to index.


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