Super Cup Race #2 at Las Vegas Karting Center, March 11, 2001
Young Tigers Come Out Roaring
"The Youngsters Steal the Show"
Left to right: Josh, Tom, Jim and Jean. Josh and Tom are in their mid teens.....
Okay, I am kinda late with this story, and I lost my
notes. So I will make this story much shorter than usual. The next stop for the KRC F1 and F2 traveling circus was the Las Vegas
Karting Center. This is race #2 out of eight races. Las Vegas is an awesome
track, as it is a high speed track. There are many sections of the track
that you have to commit to keeping your foot all the way down on the throttle
through sweeper turns, and you pull some incredible g forces. Some people were trying to stuff towels under the shoulders of
their driving suits to keep their neck straight while in the 2.5 g sweeper
"Old Tigers", Tom Milner of BMW fame, and Jean of JM Racing
Sunday, March 11th is our race. Saturday, March 10th is
the scheduled practice. So Wayne and I figure we get a little
"extra practice", by ditching work, and going to Vegas on Friday
morning, and practicing on Friday before the rest of the traveling circus blows
into town. It looks like it might rain in Vegas, so we take the rain tires
with us in the trailer, and we plan to leave Huntington Beach at 9:00 a.m.
Wayne is late, so we end up leaving at 10:00 a.m. I tell him he is killing
me by being late. Dagmar goes with us, and we drop her off at the Primm
Valley Mall by the the state line, and we drive another 20 miles towards Vegas and
get off at the Sloan exit, which is where the karting track is located. We
get to the track at 2:30, which is one hour later than my planned arrival time.
The karting track has some huge puddles of water, which sucks, as we wanted to
get dry practice. I ask the guy who owns the track what time it started
raining, and he said about 10 minutes ago the sky just opened up and
poured. Prior to that, it was completely dry. So if Wayne would have
been on time, we could have gotten dry practice, and then switched to wets,
which would have been perfect practice. But now we are stuck with track
conditions that suck.
Cleopatra (4 years old), and Nefertiti, the young blue Abyssinian Tiger.
Now we have to practice on just the wets, and hope it drys
up. We throw the wet tires on, along with our rain gear, and we go out on
the track. The sky is grey, just like the surface of the track. On
my first lap around the track, I go ripping around the track and I don't realize
that one of the huge six inch deep puddles is perfectly reflecting the grey sky
to blend in with the grey asphalt. So I hit the puddle at 50+ miles per
hour, spin, and completely soak myself and my kart. What an idiot.
So Wayne and I run about 7 laps, but it is too dry to use the rain tires, as 80%
of the surface is drying quickly. Rain tires are special knobby
tires. They are super soft and sticky. They are so sticky, it is
hard to lift the karts off the tiled floor in the trailer. If you use the
rain tires on a dry track, you will be much slower than regular race tires, and
you will destroy them in 10 laps. So just like Formula One, you must use
them only under the correct conditions, otherwise people who chose the right
tire compound will destroy you on the track.
It is too wet to use regular race tires, as there are these big puddles about six inches deep, and 25 feet by 5 feet wide. We are so desperate for track time, that we pull out the trackside brooms and large squeegees and we try to dry out the track ourselves. For 15 minutes, we are trying to broom away the water. Never mind that we would never in our wildest dreams ever lift a finger to vacuum the front room at home, but here we are, racing shoes soaking wet, trying to dry out the track so we can practice going faster. We never get the track dry enough to really rip around, but we tried. Some of the KRC karters drive by the track on their way to Vegas, and they see us frantically pushing brooms around the puddles. "What the hell are those two bozos up to this time?".
So our practice sort of ends up sucking. Too dry to practice the wets, too wet to practice the drys. We go back to pickup Dagmar at the mall, and we call her on the cellphone to meet us at the Primm Valley Casino, the location of many successful hit and run attempts at the blackjack table. We are playing blackjack, and she comes up to real excited. She is talking about the baby tigers in the mall. Me and Wayne sort of look at her funny, and then continue to focus on counting to 21. She says, "No, this for real, there is a tiger petting zoo in the mall". We look at her again, irritated that the dealer just won again. She then produces the following picture:
Dagmar feeding a baby tiger with bottled milk
I look at the picture, and tell her it looks fake, just like those fake pictures that you can get at the arcades or tourist traps in Vegas. She insists that it is real, and there is a bunch of tigers occupying about 3 storefronts in the mall. Wayne and say that we gotta see this for ourselves.
We follow her to the mall, and sure enough, there are four baby tigers that are 3 months old, and weigh about 50-65 lbs. They have fenced off a large area, and the tigers are roaming around behind it. For $15, you can get a picture of yourself bottle feeding a real live baby tiger. The money goes to some Tiger preservation charity thingy. They also have about five 6 month old tigers roaming around in a huge area separated by fences. You can't pet the 6 month old tigers, as they are about 180 lbs, and their play toy is an old car tire that they throw around with their mouths. Imagine what they would do with your arm or leg. Anyways, Wayne and are fascinated by the tigers, and we hang out there for about 45 minutes just watching the bigger tigers play like little house cats, except they are 25 times bigger. Check it out, it is at the mall by the state line (you know, where the big roller coaster is).
The three of us with a baby tiger
Saturday morning, March 10, 2001.
Formal KRC practice. The Vegas track is fast, I mean really fast. I have described it in detail in early chapters. Anyways, Wayne is blasting down the back straight about 85 miles per hour, brakes a little too late, goes shooting off the track. Unfortunately, his left side tires dig into the gravel, and he gets launched out of the kart. To make matters worse, his kart then continues to roll, and rolls on top of him, with the steering shaft/shifter crashing into his thigh. Mark immediately stops his kart to see if Wayne is still alive, as it looked pretty ugly to him. Wayne was fine, a little shaken up and with a big charley horse, but he was back on the track after he got his kart fixed. But I think he did see his life flash before his eyes.
Sunday Morning, March 11, 2001. Race Day.
During qualifying, all us guys in the F1 class are shocked. I mean, we think we are pretty fast, and the top four guys in F1 know that they are really fast. But racing with us today is Josh Harris, who looks like he is about 14 or 15 years old. He is in the F2 class, so his Vortex motor has the F2 head, which is a little bit slower than the F1 class motor. Anyways, Josh out qualifies all the the F2 guys, and also all the F1 guys! I guess Vegas is reportedly Jeff's home track, and he has won an IKF Karting Championship, so he is no slouch. So he is one of the young tigers who came out this trip. Also, yet another shocker, is that Tom Milner Jr., another F2 karter, out qualified 13th out of 17 F1 drivers, including me and Wayne. Damn....we must be getting old. Milner looks like he is too young to drive a car yet. So Milner also gets a Young Tiger Award this weekend.
Gene Sigal flexes after winning the heat race, and is gridded next to Bob
There is another young tiger coming out this weekend. Well, he ain't exactly young....but Gene Sigal is an F1 rookie this year. Last year he ran in F2 with Wayne and I last year. Gene ends up winning the F1 heat and the F1 main race, beating the "Big Four", of Bob, Oscar, Vince, and Jeff, who are the seasoned F1 drivers that everyone is trying to take down off the podium. So Gene steps up to the plate against the F1 veterans, and whups their ass!
The Podium finishers for the F1 Class
Jeff comes in 4th, I come in 6th, and Wayne comes in 8th. Wayne and I make it to the upper half of the F1 class, but to make it to the upper 3rd of the class is going to be tough.....we need to gain some precious tenths of a second to make it there.....
That is all I remember about that weekend. Oh yeah, I lost a ton of cash at the tables. Now I remember why I erased this weekend from my memory.....
More info can on this race can be found at www.kartracingco.com, click on the Racing section!