Cup Race at Amago Raceway, Race #4
April 9/10, 2000
"Me and Michael Sitting Pretty"
What does this kart and driver have in common with Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari F399?
Race #4 is scheduled to be held at Amago Raceway, which is about 70 minutes from Newport Beach if you are driving at a high rate of speed. Here's the story…….
Going into this race, I heard that Amago is a very technical track. Which sucks for me and Wayne, as on a technical track, you need more skill than cajones. Unfortunately for us, we ain't as good as the fast guys yet, as evidenced by our inability to finish better than 5th place. So what we need is some practice. I called KRC a bunch of times, trying to get them to do a practice during the week so we can get more familiar with the track. Unfortunately, KRC had a lot of karts to prepare for the race, and a lot of classes, so they were unable to have an extra practice session during the week. So the schedule will be practice on Saturday, and race on Sunday.
Okay, so far this karting season, we have run 3 out of 5 races. Points are awarded as follows: 25 points for first place, 24 points for second place, 23 points for 3rd place, etc. If you DNF, DNS, or DNE, you get zero points. Now there are some fairly good prizes for the person with the most points at the end of the season.
Three karters showing how it is done!
So between me, Jeff, and Wayne, according to my informal calculations, I am KICKING THEIR ASS in our mini-championship for the KRC Cup, F2 division. KRC broke up the drivers into two groups, F1 and F2. F1 has the fastest, most experienced drivers running in this group. F2 has the rest of the drivers, meaning the rookies and people with anywhere from one to a few seasons of competition. As you might recall from an early story, Jeff, Wayne and I are running in F2 this season. Going into the third race, I had a big lead over Wayne, and a smaller lead over Jeff, primarily because they didn't finish all three of the previous races this season. Jeff had a mechanical failure, which means that he received 0 points for the first race. Wayne also had an early DNF, which means 0 points. I, on the other hand, had a 5th place, a 6th place, and an 8th place finish, which means I received 21, 20, and 18 points, for a total of 59 points.
Wayne and I drive up on Saturday morning, and I look at the standings. Hey, I am in 2nd place overall in total points for F2, with Dave DeGraw in the lead with 70 points to my 59! Not too bad for my second season of karting. However, some of the fast guys had a DNF or a DNE, so they have already thrown out a race. Which means if they do well in this race, and the last race of the season, they will definitely be ahead of me. But hey, for right now, in my mind, if KRC had an announcer at this race (which they don't), they would be forced to say, "Doug Hayashi is currently in 2nd place for the overall championship in the KRC F2 series."
F-2 Championship Prizes for points leaders at the end of the season:
1st place - $1000 and Russell Racing School Scholarship(TRC Course and Driver Runoffs)
2nd place - $750 and Yokohama Tire Gift Certificate
3rd place - $250 and a KRC Kart class for a friend
F-1 Championship Prizes Per Event. (Yes, for each race!)
1st Place- $1000
|2nd Place - $750
3rd Place - $250
F-1 Championship Prizes for points leaders at the end of the season:
1st place - Test day with RDR Racing Motorola Cup Team (Porsche 993 Supercup)
2nd place - Yokohama tire gift certificate
3rd place - KRC Kart Class for a friend
Now you will notice that first place for the F2 Championship is a pretty enticing prize. $1000 cash and a Russell Racing School Scholarship is pretty damn cool. As for the F1 Championship prizes for the series AND $1000 cash for the winner of each race, that is also pretty damn cool, except for the fact that the kart drivers in F1 are bad-ass mofos. Meaning that in a 25 lap race, they have the potential for lapping most of the people in the F2 class, including myself.
Layout of the track at Amago Raceway (near Mount Palomar)
After three 10 minute practice sessions, Jeff, who raced year here at Amago, is running 33.8x lap times. I ran a fast lap of 33.9x, which means with less practice overall than Jeff, I am only a tenth of a second behind. Hey, with a little more practice, maybe I can run a faster lap time than Jeff. I also find out that some of the drivers trailered their karts to the track during the middle of the week, and got some extra practice in, which means that they are running lap times in the low to mid 32's. Damn, we need to buy a kart trailers. Right now, we are at the mercy of when KRC can haul our karts out to the track and practice and support us, which means that we are somewhat limited in how much we can practice with the karts. We basically pay KRC about $200 a day to transport our karts, service, and tune the karts, and the labor to fix our karts when we break them at the track. Some of the other karters do all their maintenance themselves, as well as trailer their karts, so their costs are much less. Me and Wayne have no clue of how to maintain and prepare these karts for each race, and we also don't have the time to do it, so we just have KRC do it for us. However, it would be nice if we could find our own personal kart mechanic that would work within two blocks of our shop……
In the fourth practice session, my kart sputters and dies after the first 100 yards on the track. I have to wait for the end of the session, and push my kart into the pit. KRC looks at it, and feels that it is a clogged carb, so they clean it out. I go out for the 5th practice session, and kart dies again after 100 yards. I wait until the end of the practice session, and then again push my kart in. KRC looks at it again, and says maybe it wasn't getting enough gas primed in the carb due to the earlier problems, so they check it again. I go out for the sixth practice session, and kart dies again after exactly 100 yards. So now I have missed three practice sessions. Everyone else is getting faster, and I am going nowhere. KRC takes a closer look at the kart, and discovers that the seat of the kart was rubbing against the wire harness, which pulled on one of the ignition wires, which is why the kart was dying. But the wire broke with about 1/16 of a inch of wire left, and no one at the pits had a soldering iron. So my day is shot. Wayne is tired, so we do the next best thing: Go gambling at the Indian reservation.
The Indian casino is on the way home (sorta), so we stop there and agree to gamble for 30 minutes and then bail for home. After thirty minutes, Wayne leaves up $150, and I leave up $200. Not bad, especially since the Indians kicked our ass last weekend, more on that story some other time.
The leftside of the track
Sunday morning. We drive up again. Kevin from KRC brings an electrical kit,
and resolders my ignition wire, so now I am back in business. After a couple of
practice sessions, Jeff is running 32.7, and I am running 32.8x. Hey, not bad
for missing a lot of practice the day before. Wayne is struggling a bit, and is
running 33.8. The schedule for the day is :
1. two or three practice sessions
2. Five qualifying laps (to determine grid order for qualifying race)
3. 15 lap qual race (to determine grid order for final race)
4. 20 lap final race for points (for championship points)
In order to score high in points, you must do well in 2, 3, and 4 of the above steps. Screwing up either one of these steps is severely detrimental to your quest for the championship.
Okay so off to the qualifying laps. I run 4 mediocre laps, but on lap 5 I run a 32.9x, which ain't too bad for me. Jeff runs a 32.8, and two other drivers turn faster laps than him who did extra practice during the week are in front of Jeff. But hey, I am gridded 4th out of about 15 karters, so I am making some progress. Wayne is gridded about 8th. I starting thinking that if I can run clean in the qual race without crashing or DNFing, end up 3rd or 4th on the grid for the final race, and who knows, maybe I will be able to make a podium finish after 11 races in the KRC Cup series. There is only one problem: when you are racing wheel-to-wheel, all hell can break loose with people driving like maniacs on the 405 freeway. During practice and inbetween sessions, karters are some of the nicest, most friendly people in the world. But as soon as the green flag drops for the race, everyone turns into stark raving mad serial killers on four wheels swinging pick axes. They get that look in their eyes that says, "No one will ever pass me", " I will pass everyone", "I am the greatest driver in the world", "I am invincible". The problem is that EVERYONE on the grid is thinking the same thing, so it is absolute total fricking chaos with an adrenaline kick. Which is why Wayne, Jeff, and I spend so much time doing this wheel-to-wheel racing habit….and if you do it once, you too, will be hooked for life….
We are waiting on the starting grid, with everyone powerbraking and revving up their motors, waiting for the green flag to drop, just hours after our counterparts in Formula One, who ran at San Marino earlier that morning. . I look across the grid at Jeff, determined to kick his ass this race. I look behind me, and I see 10 axe murderers on wheels with a glazed look in their eyes. Green flag drops and Dave DeGraw, who is in front of me, frantically waves his arm up in the air, which means he stalled the kart. Bummer for Dave, as that means he is now an automatic DNF. Good for me, as Dave was leading me in points for the championship. I rip around Dave, and come out of turn 1 in 4th place, as someone was able to snake in before me, as I had to maneuver around Dave. I hold my own for a couple of laps, but then choke it coming into the first turn after the straightaway. I come into the turn a little too hot, I get the kart squirrelly, I lose power because I am one gear too high, and four karters get by me. Damn, I suck, especially because I see Wayne ripping by me on this turn. After a couple of laps, I pass a couple of people back, but now am behind Dave Giannetta, who is behind Wayne.
KRC has four big tents and mechanics to support the KRC Cup racers
I know I can kick Wayne's ass, but first I got to get by Dave. I am following Dave closely for a couple of laps, and then determine that I can out brake him going into the turn after the straightaway. One difference between the faster karters is that they can trail brake deeper into turns than other people. I rip down the straightaway going probably 75 mph, outbrake Dave at the last possible moment, cut in front of him, with tires chirping and sliding the tires around the turn. Wow, that looks cool. It sounds cool. I look cool. I am cool. Except that coming around the apex, I apparently nicked my right rear tire on the big bump that marks the apex, which throws the kart slightly off balance, my right rear tire goes up in the air, since I was braking and turning hitting the bump at the same time, which means that I then spin out. I try to grab the clutch to avoid stalling the motor, but it is too late. I stall the kart. I DNF. I do suck. I am now really pissed, as I qualified fourth for this qual race, and now I botch it up and DNF, so I have to start at the back of the back with the rest of us boneheads that DNFed in this race. And since this is a tight track, it is hard to pass, which means that it looks like it will be tough to score high in the points. Wayne looks like he is going to have a good finish this time in this qual race, but with less than 1/3 of a lap left in the race, someone spins out in front of him and the spinning kart jukes to the right and then the left instead of spinning off to one side. Wayne guesses wrong, jerks his kart to avoid crashing, then has to jerk it the other way, and spins, and DNFs…….bummer for him also.
The turn at the end of the straightaway where I hit the berm and spun out
It turns out that in this qual race, a lot of people spun out, a lot of people made contact, and a lot of people DNFed. Rudy from KRC talks to us before the final race, saying that we basically should be driving smart and professionally, which is a nice way of saying that in the qual race we looked like a bunch of out of control idiots on the kart track. For the final race, I am gridded about 13th or so. Wayne is gridded around 10th. I tell Wayne to look out, as I feel like I have nothing to lose, so I am barreling down the track when I see the green flag drop. Wayne also taunts me, saying that he will never ever let me pass him on the kart track.
Green flag drops, and we are off. It is chaos into the first turn, with everyone fighting for position. I feel like I come out of it okay, and pick up a couple of positions. This is a 20 lap race, so there is time to start slowly working my way up the field. I find myself behind Wayne for a couple of laps. He sees me as I try to nose my way into the turns, but he successfully shuts the door on me. I know he is thinking to himself, "I will never let that bastard pass me in a race". He makes a mistake on one of the turns, and goes wide. I dive to the inside, and grab the inside line from him. Exiting from the turn, Wayne is giving no quarter, as he ain't giving up any room to exit to the outside, and neither am I. We almost touch tires, and I sort run Wayne off the road coming out of the turn. Wayne keeps the pedal to the metal, runs right through the dirt and back onto the track, but now he is a couple of kart lengths behind me due to his off road excursion. Okay, got rid of Wayne, now it is Dave Giannetta who is in front of me. I know I can out brake him into turn 1, but I don't want to be an idiot and do the same thing and end up DNFing twice in the same turn with the same person. I follow him for a couple of laps, and finally get a chance to squeeze by him cleanly. About five laps are left in the race, and I notice that Wayne agains spins out and DNFs, bummer for him. I am right behind another karter in a battle for 4th place, but the engine on my kart is starting to intermittently sputter at high RPMs. Damn Damn Damn. There is no way to get enough power to pass the guy in 4th, so I cruise the rest of the race and end up in 5th place, which is my best finish so far this year. Jeff was in a battle for first place, but ends up taking 2nd place.
On the way home, we of course stop off at the casino again, and we take more money from the Indians. So now we are each up a total of $300 for the weekend, which helps to pay for our karting costs.
Closer view of the turn where I spun out and DNFed in the qual race
Okay, so after the race, I start doing some mental calculations. Humm….Dave Degraw DNFed in both the qual race and the final race.. Hummm….looks like he no longer in the lead for the points championship. Jeff, Greg, and Mark, the other four fast guys in our class, also have at least one DNF or DNS. I have finished all the final races of the series so for this season for points…….so that must mean……yeah…..yeah…..I can here it now over the imaginary loudspeaker. "Going into the last race for the KRC Cup F2 Championship, the leader by three points is……Doug Hayashi".
Now of course, the fast guys will argue, "Well, he may be in first place NOW on points, but it is totally meaningless, since:
1. There are five races, of
which you can throw out one race, so you count the points for your best four
2. The fast guys have thrown out their one race already with a DNF or DNS, so they are only counting their points for 3 races so far.
3. That Hayashi guy hasn't thrown out a race yet, as he was lucky enough to finish all his races. So he is in first place by a mere 3 points because he hasn't thrown out a race.
4. Which means that even if Hayashi finishes first (unlikely, because he sucks), the most points he can gain is 7 points, by throwing out his 7th place finish (18 points), and substituting a first place finish (25 points).
5. The fast guys, on the other hand, can count ALL the points for this next race, as they have already thrown out a race. So you figure the fast guys will pick up anywhere from 25 to 21 points.
6. Hayashi hasn't beaten Jeff, Greg, Dave, or Mark in a race where they have not DNFed or DNSed. So he ain't as fast as he thinks he is.
Well, they have a point, a minor one(s) at that. So my counter point to the
arguments that I know that all the fast guys are thinking above are the
1. Points is points. If you DNFed, or DNSed in the final race for points, you suck. I haven't done that yet.
2. You have to finish a race to win. I finished all my races for points.
3. As a matter of fact, I am the ONLY driver in the F2 class to keep their composure and have the stamina, willpower, and skill to finish the final race of the weekend for points. Everyone else has at least one or more DNFs or DNSs.
4. It doesn't matter how many races you win, or how many pole positions you took. The ONLY thing that counts at the end of the season is points!
Okay, so being that I am a competitive person (as if you can't tell by
reading all the stories on the website), what's my strategy for the Final Race
of the KRC Cup F2 Championship Series that will occurring in Las Vegas on April
29/30? After all, we are talking $1000 bucks cash, AND a scholarship to the
Russell Racing School. What is that worth, $3500 total or so? How can I keep the
fast guys from scoring those big points and taking my championship lead from me?
Well, I got a plan. Planning helps win championships. I figure that Wayne is my
mortal enemy on the track, and will not do anything to help me win against him.
But given that the winner gets $1000 cash, and a trip to the Russell Racing
School………and that Wayne is a racing junkie, I bet I could make the
following proposal to Wayne:
1. This is like Formula One Racing. Ferrari has a two car team. We can have a two car team. They have two car team tactics. Which mean we can have two cart team tactics.
2. If Jeff, Greg, Dave, and Mark all DNF this final race, they will score no points.
3. If Jeff, Greg, Dave, and Mark score no points, I can probably win the championship.
4. Wayne, as my friend and racing rival, your instructions are to drive aggressively, very aggressively, in the vicinity of Jeff, Greg, Dave, and Mark, who will all be running closely together at the front of the pack. Hell, they might even try to lap you.
5. Just do what Ferrari or McLaren would do, but would never admit. Take those SOBs out of the race, crash into them, make them spin, DO ANYTHING, just as long as they DNF in the final race. Just make it look "clean and unintentional", like they do in Formula One. No one will know the difference.
6. Any of the above four fast guys that you can't take out by "aggressively driving", I will take out, as I can also afford a DNF, as I have not yet thrown out a race. If the fast guys DNFs, that means they get 0 points for two races this season, and they thus lose the championship. If we take out all four of them, I can probably win the championship.
7. If I win the championship, then I will split the $1000, and we can split the cost for TWO Russell Racing classes. Then we can both get faster, and come back and kick everyone ass next year. Ha! The Men From Pulp Racing kick some ass in karting!
|Spring 2000 F2 Championship Standings
Four out of Five races completed.
|Willow||Streets||Las Vegas||Amago||Las Vegas|
|1||Doug Hayashi||# 55||5th/6th||20||7th/6th||40||14th/7th||59||4th/5th||80||?/?|
|2||Greg Smith||# 39||4th/1st||25||1st/1st||51||DNS||51||1st/1st||77||?/?|
|3||Jeff Littrell||# 95||1st/DNS||1||2nd/4th||23||13th/1st||48||3rd/2nd||72||?/?|
|4||Dave DeGraw||# 3||3rd/2nd||24||4th/3rd||47||4th/3rd||70||2nd/DNF||70||?/?|
|5||Mark Volen||# 9||2nd/3rd||23||DNS||23||11th/4th||45||5th/3rd||68||?/?|
|6||Vivek Tandon||# 69||11th/4th||22||9th/9th||39||15th/DNF||39||14th/7th||58||?/?|
|7||Marcus Guerrero||# 65||10th/7th||19||15th/8th||37||17th/6th||57||6th/DNF||57||?/?|
|8||Chris Land||# 62||7th/5th||21||14th/14th||33||DNS||33||10th/4th||55||?/?|
|9||Dave Giannetta||# 32||DNS||0||12th/13th||13||4th/DNF||13||9th/6th||33||?/?|
|10||Scott Schumacher||# 35||13th/9th||17||11th/12th||31||DNS||31||11th/DNF||31||?/?|
|11||Kris Kiteliner (RIP)||# 26||DNS||0||3rd/2nd||24||DNS||24||DNS||24||24|
|11||Imron Husseign||# 64||6th/DNF||0||DNS||0||12th/2nd||24||7th/DNF||24||?/?|
|13||Wayne Mello||# 54||12th/DNF||0||6th/DNF||0||8th/5th||21||8th/DNF||21||?/?|
|13||Gabriel Moffat||# 8||8th/DNF||0||5th/5th||21||9th/DNF||21||DNS||21||?/?|
|15||Craig Cutler||# 4||DNS||0||8th/7th||19||DNS||19||DNS||19||?/?|
|16||Wally ?||# 98||15th/8th||18||DNS||18||6th/DNF||18||DNS||18||?/?|
|16||Vernon Wnek||# 99||17th/DNF||0||16th/DNF||0||DNS||0||12th/8th||18||?/?|
|18||Fellipo Valle||# 44||14th/DNS||0||10th/10th||16||2nd/DNF||16||DNS||16||?/?|
|19||Steve Bennett||# 7||DNS||0||13th/11th||15||3rd/3rd||F1||DNS||F1||?/?||F1|
|20||Andre Cavin||# 50||9th/DNF||0||DNS||0||1st*/DNF||0||DNS||0||?/?|
|20||Barry Welton||# 199||16th/DNF||0||DNS||0||DNS||0||DNS||0||?/?|
So, right now, my kart, #55, are like Michael Schumacher and his F399 Ferrari......in that we are both leading our series in points!