Joey Dille's


Quarter Midget #67


Racing Log



These are installments 11-15 of a week by week log of our experience as a novice team in 1999 going racing for the first time. 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 #11

It was a good week for team Dille.

We had a short practice on Friday. Joey was turning laps in the low to mid 7’s and I felt we had the car in good order. The chain even stayed on :-) I used a short strait edge to set the engine alignment. This will now be standard procedure. I saw some kid’s parents practicing him with the flags. I got the idea to do the same with Joey to improve his technique on taking the green at the start of the race.

Joey and I practiced going from yellow to green about 10 times. I could see it was a valuable technique. We did not have enough time to practice it to get the full value of the lesson. Still, I think Joey was aware of what I wanted him to do.

Race day started a little early since this was a big tri-track points race. Joey and I got there with just enough time to get in a practice. I learned my lesson the other week about race day practice. Don’t overcook the kid on race day. Keep race day practice short! I let Joey warm up and he got in 20 hot laps. His best time was 7.39. Joey was ready to rock.

Joey pulled the #7 position for the start of the heat race. This week the novice director decided to try and have the Jr. Novices line up under power. After about 8 frustrating laps he stopped the cars and lined them up on the track manually. Joey got a good start and started passing his way up the third. The new gearing is more in tune with Joey’s style during a race. He had what he needed to accelerate for a pass. With about 8 laps to go there was a yellow and the flagger put out a red to stop the cars and re-order them. Joey went by the flagger which is a no-no and stopped about 15 feet away. One of the club officers correctly diagnosed this behavior as a brake problem.

The office came out and pushed Joey and asked him to hit the brake. The car stopped, but did not skid the wheel as normal. They tried several times and it was borderline. Finally the race director had a look and Joey was able to skid the wheel. The disk had cooled just enough. When the race went green Joey got a good start and he was able to move into 2nd where he finished. It was a great race.

After the race Joey was the first to pull off the track. He came off at the normal speed, but failed to stop in the normal spot. He kept going past the weigh scale area, out the gate and half way up to the porta-pottys :-o Luckily there was nobody there and it did not cause a problem. My hat’s off to Joey for having the presence of mind to keep steering instead of hitting something. A guess all those "look where you want to go" lectures paid off. I figured something was way wrong with the brakes.

Back to the truck to have a look at the brakes. Inspection revealed it was a combination of things. A little air in the system, poor alignment of the caliper with the disk, the anti-mechanical slack spring I installed vanished and the pads were a little worn. I had planned to work on the brakes when I installed the new rear axle (on order for 4 weeks) but I guess this just got moved up.

I purchased new pads and fluid from one of the track side vendors and started bleeding the brakes. It was my week to turn lap cards for the Honda classes so I took a break from the brakes and went up to the tower to fulfill my obligation. Turning the lap cards was a snap and I learned a lot about scoring the race. Three ladies work real hard to keep track of 10 small cars wizzing around every 6 seconds. The view from the tower was good. Kinda like a real big screen TV. It was quieter in the tower and air conditioned.

After my stint in the tower I pulled Joey from the stands and we went back to work on the car. I improved the alignment of the caliper, installed a new pad and bled the system. It was nice that I could reach the bleeder and the peddle at the same time. Finally I chased the last bit of air out of the system and the brakes were 100%. Time for dinner.

After dinner Joey and I got a nice surprise as the Dulaney’s showed up. They liked the Oaklane atmosphere and I had a chance to explain some of the action to Mike and Jill as the faster classes finished their heats. Joey had a great time playing with Kevin during the intermission. Patti and Matt showed up at the end of intermission. Patti was happy to see Mike and Jill.

Joey looked well as I belted him into the car for the A-main race. His second place finish put him in the #5 spot for the start. The flagger tried to get the kids to line up under power, but again it did not work and he had to stop them on the track. Joey demonstrated his brakes by locking the tire up and putting a nice black stripe :-) We lined them up and pushed them off. The kid in the #6 spot came down on Joey as they were getting ready for the green and they ground to a halt. We lined them up again and the kid in the #6 position did it again. This time they locked up and headed for the wall. As they slowly headed for the wall when Joey’s tire popped over the other kid’s tire and Joey went over on his side. They were just about stopped at this time and it looked like the guy on the "Laugh In" that rode the tricycle. Nothing was damaged and Joey was OK. The corner worker broke the mood by exclaiming to Joey "Was that fun or what!"

We pushed them off and they finally went green. Joey got a good start and moved up to third. He was inching up on 2nd when the yellow came out. He got a mediocre restart but held onto 3rd. He built up momentum but never got to a position to challenge for 2nd. He finished 3rd. This matched his previous best performance and I was elated. Joey was happy with his performance, but he was quick to point out that he had already done this good. Joey sets high standards for himself.

After the race the announcer wished happy 2nd birthday to Matthew Dille. The family atmosphere is nice at the Oaklane track. I was concerned about how Patti felt about Joey tipping over. Apparently she was fine about it. It happened on the other side of the track and in slow motion which made it less traumatic. Jill and another novice mom were there to share the experience. This also helped.

Patti asked Joey how it was when he tipped over on his side. He said "it was kinda weird."

It was a good week for team Dille. We will be back at it next week.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #12

By just this much...

This week I did a few small tweaks on the car. The output shaft of the Honda engine was shortened by the previous owner to allow it to fit in the car . This left very little room for the gear carrier. Most other cars have a long clamp-on carrier that clamps around the keyed output shaft. This style won't fit on out car so we use a skinny carrier that has a set screw to hold it in place. The screw works loose and the carrier tends to move on the output shaft. I think this may be part of our chain alignment problems. I modified the carrier by slotting it and installing a screw that will clamp it onto the shaft. I also bought a couple of adjustable shelf mounting tracks to use as straight edges for setting the toe. These make it easy to set the toe for 0-1mm at 1 foot.

Patti and Matt came up for practice on Friday. It was nice to not have any major work on the car this week. Just pull it out of the truck, air up the tires and go. Last week Joey and I got a little time to practice taking the green flag at the start of the race. This really helped on race night. Since there were no other cars on the track when we got there we were able to continue this practice this week. I let Joey out to warm up and get in the groove. After about 10 laps he got down to the mid 7's. I let him go another 10 laps or so then I started to do the flag work. I would give him the yellow, wait for a lap or two then throw the green when he was on the back straight. It was interesting watching Joey try and watch me and drive at the same time. This went against his "look where you want to go" training. He never went off the track, but there were a few good weaves. Good thing we were practicing .

I pulled Joey in to give him a break. When I did I saw Joey could move the steering shaft up and down 2-3 inches :-o When he did this the toe on the car would change. This may have explained why his lines were not smooth coming out of turn 2. I tightened the offending collar and pushed him off. I mixed up the flag work with letting him run some flat out laps. His line out of turn 2 improved and he got better with the flags. Maybe the collar was the problem.

I put Joey out one more time for more of the same. He continued to improve. This time when I called him in I let him have a victory lap with the checkered flag. He liked doing it. Mom had a blast watching him. All in all we got in over 100 laps.

Saturday we arrived at the track with just enough time for a short practice before sign ups. Joey got out there and got right to business. He is getting much better at getting into the groove quickly. After about 10 laps another Jr. Novice came out and Joey was quickly on her tail. He should have been able to pass her, but she held a low line on the straights. This prevented Joey from using his normal pass. I could see he was getting frustrated. When he came down to here line he ran much slower (in the low 8's) . This made it take a long time to catch up with her . He would attempt to pass and when it did not work, he would have to take several laps (on her line) to catch up. The girl pulled off the track and Joey resumed his normal line. His times dropped to the mid 7's.

I pulled him off the track after only 30 laps or so to avoid over cooking him on race day. I let Joey scroll through his times on the stop watch. It was easy to see how low and consistent his times were when he was alone, doing his line. His times got high and erratic when he was trying to pass the other girl. His times went back down when we looked at the laps before she came out. Joey could see how running her line made him slow. He understood what I was saying and the fancy stop watch was now worth its weight in gold.

When I was pushing him back to the truck I noticed the right rear bearing carrier was a little tilted. I t was no more than the left, so I decided to look into it after the heat race.

The heat race was a thing of beauty. Joey started 6th and got a good start. He passed a car on the first lap and went to work on the rest of the field. Joey's passes were all well executed he even lapped a car or two. The only problem is things were going a little better for the leader. Joey finished 2nd. The driver in 1st was one of the faster kids at the track and had won several races. Joey had done well.

Joey and I had dinner at the only shady spot at the track, the stands. We watched the other Jr. Novice heat race and a few others. I was able to point out a few good and bad passes while we ate.

Joey is starting to make friends at the track and it was good to be able to let Joey play while I worried about the car. This takes his mind off racing and lets him relax and be a kid. Joey brought a Jr. crossword book to the track and him and this other kid went to work on the book while I went to work on the car. I noticed the bearing carrier was really tilted now. A short investigation showed that the carrier was OK, but the swing arm mount was way loose. This allowed the rear alignment to change and was a generally bad thing. Oh the joys of owning an 18 year old race car.

The fix was easy. All I had to do was tighten up the mount. Unfortunately, I had to take pot luck on the alignment since there was no way to get a level surface to take the measurements on.

Patti and Matt arrived just in time to wish Joey good luck and watch the main race. Joey's 2nd place in the heat gave him 5th starting spot for the A-main. Joey liked this because he was on the inside. Joey got a good start and started to pass. Unfortunately, the kid who won the heat race was able to sneak past Joey after 1-1/2 laps. Joey kept the hammer down and passed his way up to 2nd. Joey must have take our little discussion on taking his own line to heart because he kept a consistent and fast line whenever the track was clear. Joey was making progress on the leader when the leader got slowed by lapped traffic. This brought Joey right to his bumper on the last part of the last lap. Joey pulled it inside for the pass coming out of turn 4, but fell 12-18 inches short of the win. It was a heart breaker for us, but this is still his best finish. Patti and I were especially impressed with his smooth driving and his well thought out passes. Joey was impressed with his trophy.

Next week we won't be able to race because of our annual company picnic. During this off time I will have a larger set of nerf bars fitted. One of the other handlers at the track has fabrication capability and has made them for others. The original nerf bars are quite small and allow others to come in contact with Joey's tires too easily. I will also replace the rear axle. The present one is slightly bent and makes the tires wobble at speed. I will also fiberglass the belly pan as it is worn through in several places.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #13

2 Weeks off

Due to the company picnic at Dorney park and a family wedding we took 2 weeks off from racing. I put the time to use to do some major work on the car. The biggest thing was to have new nerf bars fabricated. The nerf bars are like bumpers on the side of the car. They prevent the wheels of two cars form hitting each other. Over the years nerf bars have generally gotten bigger and bigger. Due to its age the bars on Joey's car were probably the smallest on the track. They just covered only about 1/2 of the side of the car and only went 1/2 way across the front of the rear tires. The new chrome molly bars completely fill the space between the front and rear tires and come all the way out to within an inch of the outside of the tires.

The belly pan had been worn through so much that it was close to becoming a Flintstone mobile. I used Kevlar mat and polyester resin to repair the pan. It came out quite well. Now I don't have to worry about Joey's feet falling through. I also won't have to worry about any land mines on the track. I replaced the rear axle. This was a pain since I had never had the axle out of the car. I also modified the swing arms to accept bushings. This should keep them from loosening up like they did a few weeks ago and make them move easier.

I learned a lot about the car since I had it all apart. The frame is slightly bent. This reduces the ground clearance but does not appear to effect the performance. I noticed the date code on the seat belts, 1968. I thought the car was made in 1981 and was 18 years old. It appears it is 31 years old! Perhaps I should put an antique tag on it. (We only drive it on Saturdays.) The car looks much better since I painted over the braze repairs I made to the engine and shock mounts.

Since we had two weeks off and I had the car all apart I wanted to get in two practices. On Wednesday we got out on the track early in the afternoon and we were the only ones there. It was obvious how quickly rust forms on the skills of a 7 year old. Joey could not find the racing line and was driving a different line each lap. His times showed the lack of consistency and poor form ranging from 7.5 to 8.0 with an average around 7.8. The car also appeared to push in the front on the entrance of turns 1 and 3.

I spent some time working on the flags with Joey. I would put him under yellow, let him have a lap to get organized then gave him the green. He is getting much better at looking over his shoulder for the flag while driving and is taking the flag well After practice I spoke with Joey a little about his line, but he insisted the car had a problem. I decided to be patient and drop the subject.

On Friday we went to the track again. This time there were other cars there. Joey's lines improved, but he was inconsistent. Joey wanted to get out on the track and he did best when he was out with other kids. His times were 7.5 to 7.8 with an average around 7.65. The car was obviously pushing badly. The outside front tire appeared to be too soft and overheating. I figured the poor times were 70% Joey's poor line and 30% the car.

I was about to leave when one of Joey's novice friends, Chris showed up to practice. Joey asked me to let him go out again. They had a ball out there together. Joey was just able to pass him. With his father's permission played flagger for the two kids and staged mock starts. This allowed them to work on holding a relative position while looking for the green. They also let them race a little.

This practice was good for Joey and the other Chris. The last time I threw the green flag when Joey was not looking. This gave the other kid the jump on the start and he pulled ahead. I let them race a few laps then gave the Chris the white and checkered. This had the desired effect on Joey since he was always able to pass this kid. He was now willing to listen to my suggestions on his racing line. I figured the problems with our laps were 30% car and 70% driver.

On Friday night I went through my stack of tires looking for a harder tire for the right front. This is difficult since the marking system is cryptic at best and many of my tires have compounds that are not listed on current charts. I found one that was harder and put it on. It is handy to have the bead breaker.

During Saturday's breakfast Joey and I talked about the proper racing line and I showed him the troubleshooting list for pushing in "Basic Quarter Midget Chassis Setup & Tuning". Item #1 was driver "squaring up the corners". This hit home for Joey and he asked what squaring the corners was all about. I made a track diagram and showed him the right line and the one he was doing. He was really listening.

During practice we have a series of signals that I give him to communicate what I want him to do. We have one for loosen your line, tighten your line, move toward me, move away from me, one more lap and pull off the track. I asked him what signal I should give to tell him he was squaring his corners. He made one up that would work and I should use to tell him he was squaring up the corners.

Before we loaded the car into the truck I decided to have Joey perform a little experiment to show how sliding the front end slows his laps. I put the tie-down strap on the front bumper of his car and asked him pull it sideways. He pulled as hard as he could and he could just move the car an inch sideways. I asked him what the tires were doing on the floor and he said "sliding". I then had him pull it forward and he could move the car easily. I asked what the tires were doing on the floor and he said "rolling". Which is easier rolling or sliding? "Rolling." Which way will make the engine work harder? "Sliding". Which way will give the fastest lap times? "Rolling!"

Saturday was Oaklane's 10th annual race against drugs. This is a special night with tee shirts for the participants and special guest speakers. Sign in was at 1:00 and we got there at 12:30 for a quick practice. As we got out of the truck Joey asked me to go over the track diagram and explain square corners again. He was listening 100%.

There were a lot of cars that wanted to get out for practice and we had to wait for a bunch of super stocks and B-modifieds to get off the track. I put him out with a bunch of Jr. and Sr. Hondas. He warmed up for 5 laps and I told him to go. The difference was astounding. The new tire hooked up perfectly. Joey was carrying the left front wheel in the air for about 1/2 the corner. Having the front wheel in the air is a good sign that the chassis is hooking up. He was taking some time to get used to the new feel, but it was clear he was driving a smooth line. I am now confident that our troubles during the week were 70% car and 30% driver.

Joey tends to drive faster with faster cars on the track and he was turning in very nice times. He was consistently in the 7.5's and I caught one lap at 7.33. This is the fastest I had ever clocked him. His friend Chris came out to practice and Joey was able to pass him. We were back in the game.

I pulled Joey off the track after 30 laps. I learned my lesson a few weeks ago. Don't wear out the racers edge on race day. After weighing the car I showed Joey his times. He was pleased and felt good.

After practice I noticed a thin black line on the exhaust pipe. Closer inspection revealed a crack about 4" long that went along both sides of the pipe. I purchased 3 hose clamps to hold it together. If the pipe falls off during a race we could be disqualified. If somebody thinks it is leaking too much exhaust we would also be disqualified. The hose clamps looked like they would be an effective Band-Aid.

As part of the race against drugs program the police chief from the newly formed Richlandtown police gave a talk to the kids (about 100) about the evils of drugs. He did a good job and the kids got to hear a worthwhile message. They then took a group shot with all of the kids in their special tee shirts. This was a nice touch.

17 kids had signed up for the Jr. Novice class. The maximum in a novice race is 8 so there were 3 heats with 6, 6 and 5 cars. Joey was 3rd in the 3rd heat. The #1 car had pulled out of the class so there were only 4 cars in the race and Joey started 2nd . The Jr. Novice class had just started to line up under power. After the 3 minute warm up Joey and the rest of the class did an outstanding job of lining up.

The green flag dropped and Joey got the jump on the kid in first and was passing him on the outside of turn 2 when the kid came up on Joey and spun him. (The nerf bars made this a non event.) The judges saw it as the other kid's fault (It was) and sent him to the back. Joey had first on the restart. The green flag dropped for the restart and That was all she wrote. Joey got a great start and just pulled away from the other cars. At the end of the race he lapped the field! Joey did a great job taking the checkered flag from the flagger and doing a victory lap.

I had to turn lap cards for the Sr. Honda races. I invited Joey to come up to the tower and he accepted. This was a good experience for him as he learned how the scoring worked. He also realized why he had to circle under the yellow while the scorers agree on a line up.

Since there were only 16 cars in the Jr. Novice class there were only two Jr. Novice mains with 8 cars in each. Joey's finish got him the #6 starting spot behind the two kids that took first in the #1 and #2 heats. The kids did another great job lining up and Joey got a good start. He had raced his way up the 2nd and the leader had just passed a lapped car with 10 laps to go when the race went under caution.

Joey was 3rd for the restart with the lapped car between him and the leader. Joey did not get a good start and it took a few laps to pass the lapped car. Now he started to gain on the leader. Joey was the fastest car on the track. With 3 laps to go Joey started a pass but backed off when he resized he was too far away. Passing always slows you down and this took a little momentum from Joey. He reclosed the gap, but was not able to pass before the checkered flag fell.

I was pumped. It was a great race and Joey. Unfortunately, due to the special event the track schedule was all screwed up and we raced at 6:30 instead of the 7:00-7:30 that we usually do. Consequently, Patti showed up after the race. Mike Dulany also showed up later. So Joey's races were not witnessed by friends and family.

As part of the race against drugs the club had arranged for Winston Cup driver Dave Greens to visit the track and talk with the drivers. He showed up around 7:30 and they gathered everyone out on the track in their commemorative tee shirts. It was an impressive site. Dave spoke to the kids for a while then they had a question and answer session. This was way cool to hear the kids asking questions driver-to-driver.

After I turned lap cards for the Sr. Honda events Joey went down to claim his trophy. For the special night he got a large plaque. He read the inscription and appeared to be pleased with his accomplishment. He enjoyed the day. Joey did everything I could have asked. His performance on and off the track were great. What a great father's day present.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #14

An Exhausting Week

Last week the exhaust pipe cracked on Joey's car. This seemed like an easy fix, since a number of people make exhausts. Just buy a new pipe right? The problem has been anything but easy.

I got a pipe from one of the track side vendors. This pipe was shaped all wrong. This one pointed straight back and went about 6" past the rear of the bumper. No good.

As with many worthy pursuits the quarter midget racers have a mail list. Early Sunday morning I posted the list asking for a source of a pipe for our car. To my amazement I got a reply Sunday afternoon from a guy in California that sold his Rice car to one person, his Honda engine to another and still had the pipe. He sent it UPS blue on Monday.

On Tuesday I went up to the track with one of those wheel and odometer measuring sticks to measure the length of the track. I measured the "novice" line that the slower cars run as 290' and the "senior" line that the most powerful cars run as 310'. I took 3 readings on each line and they repeated to about a foot so I am confident the measurements are good. I also measured the banking as 6 degrees for the turns and straights. Now when somebody asks how fast Joey is going I can say with confidence about 27 miles per hour. The fastest times for the hottest cars equates to about 37 mph.

On Wednesday I got the pipe from the guy in California and it did not fit. The pipe exited above the bumper and 4" past it. No good.

I called the Rice company and spoke with Mr. Rice. He was making batch this type of pipe as we spoke and he would send one out either Blue on Wednesday, or Red on Thursday. In either case I would get it for the weekend.

I made a quick repair on our existing pipe by brazing the crack closed including the hose clamps. This looked UGLY, but sealed the exhaust. It allowed us to practice on Thursday.

Practice went well. There were several kids there, but they were in faster classes. Joey was turning good times, but he was bored since there was no competition. His times were good 7.5-7.6. The hot weather takes it toll on horsepower. I got a good trick off the quarter midget list. You put a stripe of white shoe polish across the tire. Let the car go out for 10 laps and bring the driver back in. If the alignment and tire pressure are OK the strip will be worn off. Our car was OK.

I was thinking of leaving the track when another Jr. novice came up to practice. Joey sparked up and wanted to go out for more. This kid was OK. He was almost as fast as Joey and he had to work to pass. Joey has gotten into the habit of passing as he got into a turn which is OK if the other car is taking a wide line, but leads to a conflict when the other kid stays low. Joey can avoid a problem by going over the rumble strips on the inside. A little is OK in a pinch, too much is bad. Joey started to get carried away. One pass he had all four tires on the infield!

I pulled him off the track for a quick discussion of the event. He was embarrassed and said he would not do it again. True to his word Joey allowed for safe passing for the rest of practice.

Joey has been doing well with looking for the green, but sometimes he leaves many car lengths between him and the car in front on the start. It is important to be in a tight formation to get a good start. With the other kid's handler's permission I put them under caution and staged a mock start. This included lining up single file, double file then giving the green. I only did it 4 times, but this was like two weeks of starts at the races. Both kids benefited from this practice. The other dad appreciated my doing it.

I got the exhaust from Rice on Friday and this one hooked around sharply and hit the rear axle. No good. Now I got $30 in shipping bad exhausts and still nothing.

Saturday morning Joey and I discussed a better passing line. The plan is to start the pass one lap ahead of time. Stay wide on the first turn which allows you to go faster than the other car without hitting the other car. Then tuck in on the exit and pass on the inside coming out of the turn and run up to the normal racing line. Now you are ahead of the other guy coming into the next turn.

Since it was going to be way hot on Saturday I put a harder tire on the outside rear. I am getting fairly good at changing a 6" tire on a 7" wide rim.

We went up to track and waited for another Jr. Novice to practice with. Joey's buddy Chris came up which is a good match for Joey. Joey tried to do the pass we discussed, but there were some cars from faster classes on the track. Each time Joey went high to start the pass the faster car would pass Joey and Chris ruining Joey's pass. Other than not being able to practice his pass our practice went well. Joey's times were good and the car was hooked up. The harder tire was the right thing to do.

Joey drew #4 in the second heat. In warm ups Joey looked good. He was passing just like we discussed. He seemed to get better at it with every attempt. They tried to line up under power and it was going fairly well but the #3 car was going too slow. Joey misinterpreted the flagger's signal and passed the #3 car. Joey tried to get the other kid to pass him back, but this did not work and they red flagged to get the line up correct. This gave me a chance to tell Joey that the new passing technique worked well and I was pleased.

The #3 car got a talking to and the second attempt at a line up went much better. Joey got a good start and passed one car right away. One lap later he passed the other two cars on the back straight. Unfortunately, a yellow flag came out and Joey went back to 3 rd. Joey got a great restart and passed the two cars quickly. 10 laps is a long time to go when your kid is leading. Nobody was threatening from the rear, but Joey had to pass several lapped cars. The new passing line worked like a champ. There were no scary moments and Joey won the heat race. Now we get another picture of Joey with the flag.

One of veteran handlers that also has a Jr. Novice warned me that our car was on the verge of "biking". This is where both inside tires come off the pavement in a turn. The inside front is OK, but both tires is a bad thing. It is somewhat dangerous and you will get disqualified if a judge sees it. I am no chassis expert but I added damping to the rear and moved the right rear out 1/8". I wanted to make the car safe, but we were running well and I did not want to screw it up.

Warm ups for the A-main went well and the car was hooked up better than ever. The front wheel would occasionally come up, but the rear stayed planted. Joey was able to make some good passes in warm ups.

Joey started from #8 for the A-main. He had a lot of work ahead of him. Joey got a fantastic start and passed three cars on the first lap as they all went high and he was able to take it low on the back straight. One of the cars he passed was Josh who has the most wins in Joey's class. The race was going well and Joey was working his way up to the front. His passes were quite good with no problems. Josh was on Joey's bumper.

I think Joey was leading when Josh made an inside pass coming into turn 3. This was the same type of dangerous pass that I told Joey not to do. They collided as Josh pushed him high and they started to skid into the wall. The nerf bars kept them from tangling and they disengaged. Josh passed Joey and they both lost a lot of speed. I think another car snuck by while they were skidding. Joey stayed close to Josh, but he passed the leader when a yellow flag came out.

Josh was in the lead for the restart and Joey was third, but starting 5th due to lapped traffic with only 3 laps to go. Joey got a good start, but there was not enough time for him to take second. He finished third, which was good for a trophy.

All in all it was a good week for team Dille. Joey got a better at starting and passing. He placed in the A-main.

One of the other novice dads has access to a tube bender. He offered to replicate my exhaust at work this week. I think this will work.

The Pennsylvania state championship race it next week at Honeybrook. Team Dille will pass on this and we will race again on the 5th.

Race Safe,

Joe

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Racing Log #15

First Place But…

The troubles with the exhaust continue. After last week's race I gave the old pipe to a fellow competitor who is in the metal working business. He has a friend that was going to bend me a new one. Well, I called on Tuesday and my friend's friend who was going to bend the pipe could not get it done on time. My friend did weld up the crack and I picked it up on Wednesday. I now have a usable pipe. His friend took measurements and will make a pipe soon. I did order and receive a exhaust flange to adapt the pipe to the engine. Perhaps one day I will have a new exhaust.

About 95% of the drivers lean out of the inside of the car while they are racing. This helps weight distribution and relieves the G-forces on the driver. Joey is in the other 5%. I have a nylon web on the outside of the roll cage that is a helmet rest. This works well, but more weight on the inside would be good, especially with our tendency to lift the inside rear (bike). If you bike during a race you can be disqualified.

I discussed leaning with Joey. He seemed willing to try. I moved the right shoulder harness over to the left side for Thursday's practice. Most cars have both shoulder belts over on the right side. It was a little funny putting Joey in the car with both belts on one side.

Joey got out on the track and had a little trouble maintaining a good line. Some of this was his new position and some was the lack of racing for 2 weeks. His times also suffered from the heat. His tires were a little too soft for the weather and the heat saps the power from the engine. Still he was turning times in the 7.6-7.7 range. We worked on his line a little. Unfortunately, he did not get to get out on the track much with other kids. Joey does his best when he has competition. Still we got in 100+ laps of practice.

After the practice I called around to get harder tires for the right side. I discovered that tires are very scarce due to the upcoming Grand's race. This is the world series of the quarter midget world. This year it is held down in Georgia. Evidently, the serious teams have been buying up tires like mad. The latest shipment of tires from Japan is clearing customs and should not get here in time. No new tires for #67.

Friday's practice went fairly well. The track was a tad cooler and Joey was getting his old form back. Joey's times were in the 7.5-7.6 range. He was still having a little trouble with his new driving position. I think his view of the track was quite different.

The Jr. novice class will graduate in a few weeks and will move up to the Jr. Honda class. This class has a 7/16" restrictor up from the 5/16" restrictor in the Jr. Novice cars. I discussed practicing with the bigger plate with Joey. He was willing to try. In the ride up to the track I discussed some of the things that he would feel with more power. I also suggested that he would run a wider line on the straights. He seemed ready to give it a go. I pulled him off the track and swapped restrictors.

Joey went out on the track and hit the gas. Oh baby! His eyes got wide and there was a big smile. After a lap or two he started to turn good laps. He was running a wider line just as we discussed. It was obvious he was challenged by the additional power but he was handling it well. He was flying around the track. The car handled the power well. The inside front was skimming the track around most of the corner. His times were hovering around 7 seconds then he got down into the 6's. His best time was 7.7. The lap record for the class is 7.5 seconds.

He did almost spin it once trying to hold it low on the straight. It came fairly far around and he turned into the skid and managed to save it. This was good to see.

Just when I was about to pull Joey off the track and pack up his friend Chris showed up. Chris is a year younger than Joey. He used to be somewhat slower than Joey, but his skills have been improving and they are well matched. I pulled Joey off the track and asked Chris's dad what restrictor he had in the car. Turns out he had the Jr. Honda restrictor too.

Joey was very excited to get out with his buddy and race. We pushed them off and they went at it. Chris had more experience with the larger restrictor and was handling the car better. Joey was able to stay on his bumper for the most part, but could not pull off a pass. Chris lifted for a turn and Joey did manage to sneak buy. I could see Joey needed more practice with the new restrictor. I could also see Joey was getting tired as it was hot and we were around 100 laps. The new driving position required more effort. I ended practice.

Some teams put the helmet rest web diagonally across the cockpit. This looks silly, but gives the driver some support. I decided to try it for race day.

Joey and I got to the track early and we got out for some practice. He was turned some OK times, but it was clear he was not doing well with the repositioned web. We went back to the truck and I put the belts and web back where they were. We still had time to get back on the track before sign ins.

This was a very good session. There were several other cars on the track. Most of them Jr. Novice. Joey got into his line quickly and was passing the slower drivers. At one point he passed a Jr. Honda driver due to traffic and managed to stay ahead of him for a number of laps. I originally wanted to make this a short practice, but it was clear Joey was having a good time. I let him have 35 laps before pulling him off.

We signed in and were just about to pull up to the staging area when the sky opened up. I covered the car and Joey went off to play with a friend in his trailer. The rain went on for about 30 minutes. The rain stopped and they got a leaf blower out on the track to dry it off. They then called for Senior drivers to go out on the track to dry it off. By the time Joey and I ate dinner the track was good to go.

Joey was in the first heat, which promised to be a tough race. He started #5 and the #6 and #7 cars were the fastest kids in the class. I told this to Joey and he was ready to rise to the challenge. I said the start was going to be very important for this race. Joey's warmed up well. The rain had cooled the track so the car was handling very well.

Joey has gotten quite well with line ups, but some of the Jr. Novice drivers are still having trouble lining up under power. It just takes one driver to get out of line to mess the whole thing up. This was no exception. Joey got bumped from the rear during the line up. The other car got hooked on his tire and Joey dragged him around a bit. The flagger gave up on the rolling line up and red flagged them.

This time they lined up well and they went under the green. Joey got a GREAT start. He went up to 2 nd before they got to the starting line. In a few laps he got into first with about 1/2 lap between him and the second place car. You would not believe how long a race can be when your kid is leading. Now I just sit by the fence and wait. The fast kid that started 6 th was in 2 nd and only 1/3 of a lap behind. Joey appeared to be holding him off. Then with about 5 laps to go Joey's chain fell off.

They yellow flagged the race and I pushed Joey into the hot chute. Another handler and I wrestled the chain back on. I pushed Joey off and he joined the pack in the back. He would have to finish 4 th to transfer to the A main. Joey got another great start. He saw the green coming out of turn 2 while some of the others were sleeping. He picked up a few places, but alas it was not to be. The chain came off again.

I told the flagger we were packing it in and pushed Joey back to the pits. To say Joey was heart broken was an understatement. This was the first time he would not be in the A-main. He just sat in the car in a funk. I told him he raced the best race ever (he did), but I could not lift is sprits. I backed off and after 10 minutes he asked me where he could go where no one would see him. He did not want to bee seen by any other racers. I persuaded him to get out of the car and sit in the truck with the AC.

I looked at the car and the axle had moved. I believe the bump during line ups shifted the axle. This threw the chain out of line and caused it to jump off. After 15 minutes Joey had his act together and came out of the truck and went off to play with his friend. I started to fix the car, but I had to judge the next two races.

After judging I went back to working on the car and Joey came back. His mood had improved significantly. I got the axle in the approximate right position. Aligning the axle requires pulling the body work off and removing the engine to get the axle square to the centerline. I did not have the time or equipment to do the job at the track. I adjusted the chain and we were good to go.

Joey was ready to go out and dominate the B-main. I was a little concerned about him being over confident. Since he did not finish the heat he had a "No Time" status for the B-main and started in the back which put him #7. He got a great start and went to work. I think he was in the lead in 2-3 laps. Joey was taking no prisoners and he was passing lapped cars like it was going out of style. At one point he came up on two slower cars in a corner and had difficulty deciding which one to pass first. The 15 lap race went quickly and he won.

Joey's confidence was restored. One of the other novice dads congratulated Joey on the race and said he won it twice by passing everyone. Cool.

The Oaklane track will be closed for 2 weeks due to the Grand's race. Team Dille will be vacationing in Rhinebeck New York attending the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America national rally and visiting Grandma and Aunt Cathy . Our next race will be on July 31. I will be busy when we return perhaps fabricating a new pipe and aligning the axle. I also have a better axle mount design in mind.

Race Safe,

Joe Return to index.


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