Willow Springs Kart Track, November 12th, 2000
KRC SuperCup Finale 
"Last Chance for a First Place Trophy"

The KRC SuperCup Racing - wheel-to-wheel Death Matches for bragging rights
photo by Mark LacCour of MLP Event Imaging,  gmlacour@pacbell.net (909) 735-4122

Well, our cars are broke, both with engine problems, so we figure maybe we will go to the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) in Las Vegas.  We figure we can checkout all aftermarket parts stuff, get new contacts from the manufacturers, elevate our status in the racing industry, and more importantly:  Gamble so we can fix the NSX and the 944 Turbo.

Our goals for the last part of October and the first part of November were simple:  Find money to continue with our racing habit and win the final KRC Kart race of the season.   We need the cash to fix our cars and buy tires.  NASDAQ is crumpling before our very eyes.  Wayne bought deep into WorldCom, and I bought deep into Global Crossing and RFMD.  We are getting shellacked on these picks, so we have to back off a bit from our previous excesses.  It is easy to spend money on your car when you are racking up paper profits in the stock market.  However, when you start losing money in the market, you suddenly think that maybe it is time to get a multi-user Sony Playstation...and have your mom buy it for you.

Wayne needs a new engine for his 944 Turbo.  He was bidding on one at Ebay, and was winning the bid at $850, and then someone scooped in at the last minute and took it from him.  So if anyone out there in cyberland knows of where to get a cheap 944 Turbo motor, preferably a 3.0, but a 2.5 will do, please email him at phoneguysusa@msn.com ASAP.  Larry is fixing the ring problem on my motor, with a spare engine that we were lucky to snag a while back, so hopefully my car should be on the dyno in the last week of November.  

Wayne also has moved a good percentage of his business to a well-known Internet auction site.  This auction site warned him not to put "www.phoneguysusa.com" in the title of his equipment that he was selling on their auction site, as the auction site doesn't want to be used for advertising, they instead want people to sell and buy their stuff on line so the auction site can get their commission.  Since Wayne always tries to push the rules to the limit, as he is a cheating bastard, so he instead put in the title "Norstar Phone Equipment for Sale - phoneguysusa.com" and took out just the "www." part in the title.  The auction site came back with an email message saying that they BANNED HIM for a month for violation of rules.  Wayne had about 20 different auctions in progress of stuff that he was selling and that people were bidding on, but the auction site just came in and deleted them all.  Wiped them out clean.  This is no record of any bids, what equipment was for sale, etc.  So Wayne doesn't know who was bidding, and no one knows where Wayne went.  It is as if he vanished in thin air.  Talk about Nazi Germany style auctions.....you cannot call anyone to appeal or plead forgiveness at this auction site, you just have to try to send email to an account that never gets answered....and since auction site has a quasi-monopoly on the auction market, you just can't say, "Screw these guys, I will go elsewhere".  Where are the DOJ geeks when you REALLY need them.  So Wayne is out of luck for 30 days.......

Another thing that was been going on lately is that I have been checking out The Corner-Carvers website, which is a site where ultra-competitive Type-A personalities talk a lot of shit about racing and investments. Sick and tired of bulletin boards that post, "My friend's turbo-charged Type R with clear rear lens caps will kick your friend's Nitrous injected supercharged Civic in a street race", and "I got this friend who says that this real estate stock selling for $2 a share is going to pop up to $20 a share in the next month, buy it now"? Then checkout The Corner-Carvers.   See in depth analysis of stocks, suspensions, lap times, and general road racing fun at a site started by the P3+N crew.......watch the Prancing Horse Fund grow......look deep inside the analysis of the Transmeta IPO part 1 and part 2 in the general discussion forum.......check out the interviews under "Featured cc.com'ers"........read the Gore vs. Bush analysis that is much better than MSNBC, Frontline, or any other so-called pundit.   Find out if you don't know what you don't know!

Anyways, back to racing.  We both need to win the final KRC F2 Kart race of the season, as we will probably get bumped up to the F1 KRC SuperCup class next season.  The F1 guys don't make mistakes, they don't spin, are pretty good with kart setup, and are very fast.  Many of them would probably be competitive in a karting Nationals race.  Many of them like the KRC series because it is a spec series, and you don't have guys going out and putting an extra $3000 worth of go-fast enhancement to their engines for every race.  

F2 is not a "novice class", Wayne and I prefer to view it as similar to running an a car in the Formula 3000 series before you move up to Formula 1 and go against Schumacher and Hakkinen.  The F1 guys have the full Vortex engine with the F1 head (as opposed to some of us in F2 with the Vortex engine with the lower compression F2 head).  The guys who did well in F2 last year and moved up to F1 are getting a bit of a whupping in F1 this season.  So Wayne and I figure if one of us don't win this next race, we ain't gonna win a race for a while, until we work a little harder, get a little smoother, and run a little faster.  This is our third season in F2.  Jeff hopped up to F1 after two seasons.  Mark Volen took....ah....let's see here.....FIVE seasons in F2 before he will move up to F1 next season.

A lot of us bitched at KRC about wanting to do different tracks for our races.  The last race was supposed to be at Parumph (by Vegas), but had to be changed as the karting club we were going to run with for this joint event changed their date.  KRC likes running at Willow Springs, as it is within 90 minutes of most of the KRC crew.  Wayne and I want the race to be within 15 minutes of a blackjack table.  At Willow Springs, there is no casino within 150+ miles, and Vegas is a full 240 miles from the track.  So KRC said, okay, if you want a different track, we are going to run the final race at the Willow Springs Kart Track, but backwards.  We all scratched our heads, and thought, "Well....that would be a different track....so I guess that works".  Even though we can't gamble. 

So Wayne, Jeff, and I try to get as much practice as possible.  Wayne and I get about three practice sessions in two weeks going in the reverse direction prior to the full race weekend.  The track is actually better this way in our opinion, because it is less technical (technical means you need more skill), and there seems to be more passing room.  After the first practice session which was about four weeks prior to the race, Wayne and I decide that we are definitely going to make the move up to F1 next season.  Our driving is getting better, we are more confident, and we are ready to make the jump.  Since we are going to go to F1, this means Wayne needs to get a Vortex motor, as I already have one.  But we also need a Vortex motor for our spare kart, because just like the Formula One teams, we want to have a backup kart just in case something happens in qualifying or pre-qualifying practice like a crash or a mechanical failure in our main kart.  This way, it helps us ensure that we don't lose any points due to a mechanical problem.  

So the thinking continues......well...if we are going to get the new Vortex motors anyways, we might as well get the new Vortex motors now, put my used Vortex motor on the backup kart, and put the two new motors on my main kart and Wayne's main kart with the F2 head, and go into battle for the last race prepared for victory with our two fresh motors.  I call KRC a month before the race, and tell them we want the two new motors.  KRC says, "No problem.  We don't have them yet, but they should be in customs real soon, as they are Italian kart racing motors, so they have to come from Italy".  Uh oh.....I hate to hear that phrase..."It has to be shipped from Italy"......so Raceaflais now has a chance to get involved.  Damn, we better call them every day, and check the status of our motors.

The sequence of events that has to happen is the engines are shipped on a slow boat from Italy, then they arrive in customs where they have to sit until someone signs off on them, they are then delivered to JM Racing, who checks them out, then delivered to KRC, who then unpackages them, and installs them on the karts.  There is a lot of room for error in the equation.  I smell impending doom.....

Would you trust this man to ship your Vortex Motor on time?

So we start calling every day, but the motors have not arrived.  KRC is almost positive everything is going to work out fine.  We have our doubts.....and continue to practice on our old karts.  Wayne, who claims that I am running a cheater motor as 85% of the field in F2 has a Kawasaki engine, suddenly changes his mind and is determined to get a Vortex motor for the final race.  

SEMA is the weekend before our kart race.  We figure that worse case, we get the Vortex motors in this week, and we trailer the karts to Vegas, checkout SEMA, gamble, and practice at the Vegas Kart track to break the motors in.  Every day we call KRC, but no engines have arrived....this is bad, we can see it going south quickly.  We then find out that there is a big nationals race at the Vegas track that weekend, and people like Paul Tracy, other Indy drivers, etc, are running at the Vegas track, so there ain't no way we can get on the track anyways.  Unless of course, we got our Vortex motors installed, and then maybe we could try to run with the big boys...but that is probably wishful thinking.....as we are still stuck in F2.

November 2, 2000.
So we go to Vegas.  Since SEMA is for manufacturers, we have to get an official badge from someone in the industry.  Scott from the NSX Listserver hooks us up with some badges, and said he would leave with us at the hotel desk.  We also get hooked up with the big suites at our hotel due to our propensity for gambling at the $25-100 minimum tables, and because we got a friend who has a connection at the hotel.   So we are ready to kick some ass and take names in Vegas.  

Instead of flying, we drive out from Huntington Beach Thursday night at 7:30 p.m in the Ford Explorer.  We figure if we fly, it takes a total of about four hours to get from your house, park the car at the airport, check in early, board the plane, fly to Vegas, unboard the plane, find a taxi or rental car, wait in airport traffic to get to the hotel....and we can drive there directly in four hours.  We would take one of the Ferraris, except.....you guessed it....they are both in the shop.  Wayne's F355 was in the shop due to some creaking in the front end (a bushing had worn out), and the dealer also said he had very small leak in the heater core.  Wayne says that he never uses the damn heater, how can there be a leak?  Anyways, Wayne's car is out of warranty......and the dealer says it will be $2800 to fix the heater core.  Ouch.  Mine was in the shop also, as the fan belt squeaks for 30 seconds when the car is cold, the cigarette lighter won't come out of its socket, and the tranny is leaking and the shifting is clunky when cold.  This is the third time that the tranny has leaked or barfed, so I ask the dealer if a new tranny should be put in the car, as this leak has happened before.   The mechanic said no, the leaking is normal if you drive the car extremely hard.  Luckily, mine is under warranty for four more months.  My NSX after 145,000 miles has never leaked tranny fluid......

Chasing down Milner Jr. into a turn
(photo by Jeff Littrell)

So we get to Vegas in four hours flat, pretty good for using an Explorer that wobbles and is top heavy.  We check in, and Wayne gets his butt kicked at the tables and retires early.  I stay out until the wee hours of the morning, and am up $700 bucks.  Friday morning I wake up around 8:30 a.m. from a cell phone call, so I got about two hours of sleep.  Wayne says he is going to go play some cards, and I tell him let's leave for the SEMA show at 11:30 a.m.  Today is the last day of the show.  Normal people think it takes two days to see the show, but we figure we can see 90% of the convention in about two hours.   We have Attention Deficit Disorder, we plan on running through the aisles at the show OJ Simpson-style, and then right back to the blackjack tables.   

Highlights of the show were....The Saleen S7.  That is a pretty cool looking car.  But we don't have $375,000 for the street car version of this, nor do we have $425,000 for the full race version.  There was also this wireless provider that will send the audio from Bloomberg, CNN, and other cable TV shows to your auto radio, which would be awesome to have on a long drive.  The existing worthless, all news radio stations never give you the full detail on the stocks that are moving the market, they usually just say, "DOW up 20 points, NASDAQ up 10, S and P up 5, Small Caps down 2.  Back in 20 minutes with a market update".

We also walked into this booth that had an awesome looking F40 and a Diablo with a great rim/tire combo on both of the cars.  Wayne and I are standing in the booth, admiring the cars, when the two guys manning the booth come up to us and say, "What do you do for Kinesis".  

One of many extremely cool looking wheels from Kinesis

Wayne and I look at each other with puzzled looks, trying to figure out what the hell he is talking about, as we don't work for Kinesis, and the two guys in the booth look at us like we are idiots.  Then we look at our SEMA show badges on our shirt, and it says 

Doug Hayashi                            Wayne Mello
Exhibitor                                    Exhibitor  
Kinesis Motorsports                  Kinesis Motorsports

We look up at the booth we are in, and there is a 30 foot sign saying "Kinesis Motorsports".   Duh, the badges we scammed from Scott are from Kinesis.  So, with some quick thinking, I say, "Uhh..we are partial owners of Kinesis.  We are uh....silent investors in the company.  Yeah, yeah, that's what we are."  The guys in the booth are a little more persistent, asking what we really do for Kinesis.  Then one of the guys gives me his card, and  his title is "President, Kinesis Motorsports".  Now Wayne and I look dumber than usual, even dumber than Beavis and Butthead....which my wife says is pretty easy for us to do.

Okay, now we go into damage control.  "Uh...we got them from this guy in our NSX Club."  The president says, "Was it Scott?".  We both then go, "Yeah, yeah, that was his name".  I give him one of my NSX-Files business cards, and then his face lights up, "Oh, you must be Doug and Wayne from the NSX-Files Website.  Yeah, we read about you guys all the time."  So he starts telling us about how he is in the market for an exotic car, and is looking for a low mileage NSX, and at one time he was looking at a wrecked F355 and restoring it.  We tell him that we would have driven our F355's to Vegas, but they are in the shop.  We also tell him what fun the F355 is to drive.  And we also tell him the NSX is another great exotic that is bulletproof.   We chat for about 20 minutes on cars, and then it is time to go gamble.   Whew, we almost looked like total boneheads on that......

Back to gambling.  We are starting to kick some major ass.  I make it to the over $1000 mark, and Wayne gets back to even.  We go to Ballys, The Venetian, Bellagio, The California, Four Queens, The Golden Nugget, The Horseshoe, the Fremont, looking for that table with a hot streak.  Wayne is dabbling in craps, and I tell him that one of these days I will hit 7 field bets in a row.  Whenever you bet the field, the pit bosses look at you like you are an idiot, as there is 16/36 chance you will lose, as you only win if a 2,3,4,9,10,11,12 shows up.  But you also get paid 2x if a 2 or a 12 comes up, so by my calculations, it makes it almost 18/36, or it is like betting red or black on the roulette wheel.  So it is pretty close to a 50/50 bet.  And I maintain that when dealing with lucky streaks, it is possible to hit a 50/50 bet seven times in a row.  It ain't that hard.  I have won 7 hands of blackjack in a row before, which is essentially a 50/50 bet.   I have played the "Pick which hand the quarter is in" and won 7 times in a row before.  One of these days I am going to kick the crap tables ass for $20,000+, using all field bets parlayed one after the other.

Wayne is on a craps kick

Wayne says that I am an idiot, and then when you win one or two bets on the field, you should pull some off and cash out.  I tell him that I want to go for the kill, and let my money multiply by two and go up exponentially, like Microsoft and Cisco stock when it splits and goes up again and splits again and goes up again.  Cash some out?  Hell no, let's go for 64 times what we started with.  Which means 2x2x2x2x2x2x2.  So if you bet $100 one time on the field and let it ride, and the thrower of the dice hits the field 7 times in a row and you let your bet ride each time, it will go $100-$200-$400-$800-$1600-$3200-$6400.  If any two's or twelve's come up during the streak, you will get 2x of what you bet, which is a big bonus

My craps fantasy is sort like this:  I put $100 on the field bet.  Everyone at the table snickers, and says "are you SURE you wanna do that?".  I say yes.  Wayne rolls a 9.  I win.  I let it ride.  Pit boss says, "Are you sure, that ain't a good bet".  I tell him I am sure.  Wayne throws dice, rolls a 4, and I win again.  I got $400 now, and I let it ride.  Wayne throws three more field bets in a row.  I am up $3200.  Max bet on the field is $3000 at this table.  I bet $3000, Wayne rolls a 12, which means double my bet as the winnings.  I now got $9000 on the table, and I have to pocket $6000 in cash as profits, as the max bet is $3000.  Wayne throws a 2, which means another $6000 is pushed on the table towards me, as snake eyes pays double.  The crowd goes wild, all the players at the table who were snickering at my field bets are now whipped up in a frenzy and screaming and chanting "THROW A 12 OR 2. 12 OR 2.  12 OR 2".  Huge piles of money from all the players at the table are now bet on the field. 

The Eye in the Sky watching us break the bank

Pit boss calls to casino control and the Eye in the Sky on his cell phone, and says, "These two asshole looking guys with Pulp Racing T-shirts can't lose on their stupid field bets, and the goofy looking Asian looking guy is up $20,000 because the funny looking redhead guy can't stop throwing 2's and 12's, and the Asian guy is winning $6000 every time the redheaded guy throws the dice, and the casino is losing $15,000 to all the players at the table on every roll of the dice.  Please send down a quarter million dollars in $1000 chips ASAP, as these guys are going to wipe out the bank at this table!".  

Pit Bosses won't be tough looking and happy when I am through with them           

We test the theory at the Hilton for probably the 10th time.  I bet $50 and win, so now I got $100.  I bet the $100 and win so now I got $200.  I bet $200, and bonehead Wayne throws a seven.  I lose it all, and I curse Wayne for throwing the dice badly.  Wayne is yelling at me, "You throw the damn dice".  I reply no, I want someone to yell at when I lose.  Wayne continues to play, and I sit it out.  On his fourth roll after I sit out, I think about doing another $50 bet.  

Anyways, I don't bet the $50 in chips that I have left in my pocket on the field.  I already lost $300 bucks in blackjack in 10 minutes here, and I don't want to violate my rule of losing more than $200 in any one casino, so I can stop the inevitable losing streak that you sometimes wander into.  Remember, winning streak bet bigger, losing streak bet less and run away from the unlucky table.  Wayne starts throwing the dice, and hitting the field.  I count out loud each time he throws the dice, and hitting the field bet....$50-$100-$200-$400-$800-$1600-$3200.  Damn, he throws the dice for 7 field bets in a row, and we don't have money riding on it.  Oh well...next time.  The pit boss hears me doing the math each time Wayne hits the field, and shrugs his shoulders in disgust and says, "Computer guys...".  Just wait.....I'll Be Back....and I am going to make Mr. Hilton cry when we take his ass down for six figures betting on the field....

So we proceed to kick ass on blackjack instead.  We even kick ass in the last two casinos in town at Buffalo Bills and the Primm Valley Inn.  I go home with $2000 more in my pocket than I came to Vegas with, and Wayne comes home with $1000 more than when we left.  Not enough to fully fix our cars, but at least we got some tire money for the next car race...providing we can get the motors up and running.

Okay, so we get back home from Vegas, and now we have to focus on the Kart race for next weekend.  Unfortunately, we still don't have the Italian engines delivered yet.  Damn.  We call again on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and they still aren't in.  KRC says that we have to go with our normal karts, but they can do an engine rebuild on our existing engines to make sure everything is top notch from that perspective.  We grudgingly agree with them......

Saturday morning, November 11th, 2000.
Today is the morning practice for the big race, which will be on Sunday morning.  Wayne and I take the kart trailer up to Willow, and we plan to spend the night in desolate Lancaster so we can wake up early for the big kart race the  next morning.  In the morning practice, I feel like I am running pretty fast, with a 43.39 as my fastest practice lap.  Mark Volen is running 43.70 or so, and he has the championship for F2 wrapped up in terms of points.  Vivek, Marcos, Wayne, and I are fighting it out for 2nd place.  Jeff is running 42.6 with his Vortex with the F1 head, and seems like the fastest guy in his group for the practice.  My DNF last race due to a flat tire was extremely costly, I went from having a chance of winning it all, to having a slight chance at 3rd, and an even smaller chance at 2nd, as I would need Vivek and Marcos to have horrible finishes in order to get in front of them.  Wayne is running 44:10's, and is griping about not getting his Vortex motor.   Curiously, one other karter got a Vortex motor in by this weekend, so it looks like KRC was able to come up with one Vortex motor, and it appears that they gave it to Tom Milner Jr. instead of Wayne.  So let's see here....put yourself in their shoes.....you receive only one motor in, yet you have 3 people that want the motor.  You can give it to one of the following:

Mark locked up F2 championship the previous race....due to my Mechanical Failures
(photo by Jeff Littrell)

1.  Doug - so he can have a "fresh Vortex motor" to replace his old Vortex motor.  Has taken pole for the previous three races.  People are screaming that he has a cheater motor.
2.  Wayne - who has been complaining about how the Vortex is a cheater motor, and the motor should be illegal.
3.  Tom Milner Jr. - whose dad is responsible for running the BMW factory cars and team

Humm....out of the three above, who would you give the only Vortex motor to.....assuming that you have aspirations of one day driving with the big boys in a factory prepared, fully sponsored car with race team support in ALMS or LeMans.....hummm......I wonder....

Sunday morning race day, November 12th, 2000.
We have about 90 minutes of practice, a quick tire scrub in session to get our new tires ready for qualifying, and then five hot laps of qualifying, two 10 lap heat races, and then a final 20 lap main race.  One of the guys gets there a little late for practice, as he chose to drive up Angeles Crest instead of taking the 14 freeway all the way.  Angeles Crest is one of the best mountain roads in southern California for a driver to enjoy his/her sports car.  On Saturday morning, the road was dry.  On Sunday morning, the road was dry also....for about 50% of the way, and then the driver suddenly encountered a nasty patch of ice coming around one of the turns.  The ice causes the car to understeer right into the mountain, the front passenger wheel hitting first (just like the way Wayne and I encountered a little interaction with the hill at Virginia City),  but this time the car careened up the side of the mountain wall, rolled, and skidded down the highway upside down for 200 feet or so.  The driver is fine....and even made to the track for qualifying with a ride from the track babes (girlfriends and wives of fellow racers at the track that day).

Dry mountain road on one side of turn, and ice on the other side of turn

I put the new tires on my kart, and scrub them in.  I run a 43.20, or two tenths of a second faster than the day before.  New race tires are like crack cocaine for a racer.  New tires put you in heaven, and let you attain feelings of superiority over machinery and asphalt like you cannot believe.  Your heart beats faster, your palms sweat as your kart stick in turns that you couldn't do just 10 minutes earlier with your old tires.  As you turn into the apex, the kart responds instantly, and as you exit, the kart shoots all the way out to the outside of the track, inches from the dirt.  You have to experience it.  It's kinda like explaining sex to a 5 year old, it just doesn't quite have meaning yet.

Okay, in qualifying my strategy is to run the first two laps at 80% speed, to let the tires warm-up fully, and then do flying laps for laps 3, 4, and 5.  On lap 3, I run a 43.30, which I figure should be a pole contending time.  Since I have this down on the record books, I try to brake a little later, and get on the gas a little earlier for laps 4 and 5, since if I blow them, I already have at least one good lap time recorded.  Lap 4 I run a 43.14, which is smoking.  I go a little deeper on lap 5, a little faster on the gas, and I end up qualifying with a 43.04.  2nd place in qualifying was Milner Jr., with a 43.57.  Of course since two Vortex motors were on the front row, everyone complained that that Vortex is an unfair advantage.   Milner and I agree it was due to superior karting skills, not engine differences.  Usually you win qualifying by less than a tenth of a second, but today is starting out to be a good day at the track for me, and I have my fingers crossed that it will continue.

Refer to me as Doug "Mr. Pole Position" Hayashi, as we rev our karts to 14,000 RPMs
(photo by Jeff Littrell)

Wayne has finished in 5th place the last four races.  People were ragging on him, saying that if he gets 5th place again, it would be a Yahtzee.  People were ragging on me, as I got pole with my "cheater motor", but that they weren't worried, as they tell me that my standing starts are not just bad, they are Spectacularly Horrible. It's a Disaster Waiting to Happen.  People pull out their video cameras in the stands in order to record the debacle.

The First Heat Race:
I actually get a halfway decent start, and for the first time ever after 4 pole positions, I come OUT of turn 1 still in first place.  Miracles do happen.  I get about a 8 kart lead on Milner, and I try to keep the margin at that length, which means I can conserve my tires a little for this race.  You only get one new set of tires on race day, and they have to last you through all the heats and the main race.  Further back in the pack,  Mark tries to get by Vivek for 3rd place on a turn, they touch, and Vivek wipes out and ends up 10th in the race.  Mark is bummed, because Mark has the championship locked up, and he takes out a guy who is trying for 2nd place in points.  Bummer for Vivek, as now he has to start the 2nd heat from the back of the pack.  I end up taking first, Milner 2nd, and Mark 3rd.  No one passed me in the race.   So let's see, Vivek might not finish as high as I thought he would, so maybe I still have a chance at overall points for 2nd place in F2..

Proof that Volen's Kawasaki is just as fast as my Vortex.....

The Second Heat Race:
Since I won the first heat, I start on pole again. For the second time in a row, I get another decent start, and I again I try to hold the lead again at 8 kart lengths or so.  This is cool....it is almost like a time trial, I don't have to worry about chasing anyone down (which is fun), and I don't have to worry about anyone trying to duke it out with me for a turn (which is a lot of pressure and nerve wracking).  Farther back in the pack, Wayne either got bumped or missed judged a turn, and goes flying off into the hay bales.  Bummer for Wayne, as he will be at the back of the pack for the final heat.  But Wayne will also have the most fun, as he will have the most opportunities for passing people.

The Final Heat:
I tell everyone that my starts are better because my clutch now engages a lot easier.  In the previous races, it was hard for me to properly slip the clutch out.  Now, it seems real easy.  I tell everyone one that my previous bad starts must have been due to a mechanical problem with the clutch, and that after KRC rebuilt this engine, they must have done something to make it engage better.    Okay, off to the final race.  I lead the cars around for two warmup laps.  I feel confident.  I just need another good start, and no mechanical problems, and I might be able to squeeze out my first karting win.

We grid up, engines revving, the smell of race gas exhaust in the air.  Green flag drops, I slip out the clutch just like I did the previous two races......and I see Milner Jr. and Mark blast by me like I was standing still.  Looks like I let out the clutch a little too fast.   Damn.  So now I have to chase down Milner and Mark.  From the back of the pack, Wayne is blasting through traffic and having a ball.   On lap two, I see Mark uncharacteristically get out out of shape on one of the tricky turns.  I take the same corner perfectly, and I am able to pass him down the long straight after this turn.   Of course he said it was Vortex power that got me by him on the straight.  I say it was because he botched the turn a little bit.

So now I have Milner in front of me, and I pressure him for a lap or so.  Coming into one of the turns before a long straight, he apexes a little wide, and I get a run on him down the straight, and pass him going into the next turn.  So now I am in first, and I am praying that nothing breaks.  After all, my season hasn't been the best in terms of luck:

1.  First race - new Tony Kart with Vortex motor doesn't have F2 head on it.  Instead, it comes with the F1 head, which is not legal to run in my F2 class.  There are no spare F2 heads lying around at the track.  I am forced to use rental kart, which seemed to have engine sputtering problems.  I qualified 7th, finished 9th.
2.  Second Race - I take pole.  But keyhole for axle falls out so wheels don't spin, I take a DNF for the heat race.  From the back of the pack in the final race, I take 4th.
3.  Third Race - I take pole.  All the races run late by three hours.  Halfway through the race, the shorten the race from 25 laps to 17 laps, and they don't wave the white flag signaling last lap to me.  Checkered takes me and others by surprise, so I take 3rd, when I had a good chance at 2nd if I had one more lap.
4.  Forth Race - I take pole.  I am fighting for first place in the final race, but I get a flat tire.  DNF.

Fourteen more laps to go, and I concentrate on being smooth, don't brake too deep so I don't take a chance on spinning.  I check my laptimer, and I am running 42.8x laps, so I am another two tenths faster in the race than qualifying.  Three more laps to go, and I am in front by 10 kart lengths, and I exercise extra caution as I am catching up with lapped traffic.  One more lap to go, everything is going good.....I pass the final checkered flag.....and I win my first karting race after 16 races.   Wayne was in 5th place, going for probably the first Yahtzee season in KRC history, and was fighting with a guy for this position, who was right on his tail, trying to get by Wayne.  Unfortunately for Wayne, the other guy came in a little too hot and T-boned him at a high rate of speed, maybe even 50+ mph, throwing his kart into the hay bales for a DNF.  Wayne was furious.  This happened right in front of one of two video cameras that I had positioned on the track, so we were both pretty excited about viewing the video tape, as Wayne said his kart was thrown up on two wheels before crashing into the hay bale.  No Yahtzee for Wayne today, he has to settle for four-of-a-kind.  I grab the camera, and replay the tape....but I put the wrong damn battery in the camera, and it died before the race even started.  Bummer, we could have seen Wayne in a near-death experience.

Vivek Tandon, me, and Tom Milner Jr. on the podium
(photo by Jeff Littrell)

Milner comes in second for the race.  Marcos was fighting with Mark for 3rd place, and 2nd for the overall series title, as Macros had to stay in front of Vivek to take 2nd place in overall points, but tried to make a pass on Mark and failed, and spun out for DNF.  Vivek got by Mark after Mark almost spun out.  Milner stayed out of harms way, and ended up in 2nd place.  Vivek battles his way to 3rd place in the race, which means he beats me out for 2nd place overall in the series.  I take 3rd overall in the series in points.  Wayne is cursing, as he feels that since Mark spun out, he had a chance at his first podium finish until he got T-Boned.  Wayne does pretty well in overall series points, and takes 4th in the series.  Final points results can be seen along with the "Official" summary of the race can be see at the Kart Racing Company website.

Jeff Littrell in the F1 class takes pole, wins his heat race (after running over the tires and the radiator of Oscar's kart in a tightly contested race) and also wins the final F1 race by many kart lengths to take his first win in the F1 class.  

Jeff wins his first F1 race ever, and takes 3rd overall in F1 points
(photo by Jeff Littrell)

So it looks like we don't have another official kart race for at least two or three months.  In the meantime, we are going to be practicing karting as much as we can.  Hopefully my NSX will done in time for the December 2 Touring Car Racing Association event at Sears Point.  Wayne is still in need of a 944 Turbo engine, preferably a 3.0 or a 2.5, so if you know of ANYONE that has one for sale cheap, sponsorship opportunities do exist in return for an inexpensively priced engine!

KRC says that they will have our new F1 motors installed in the next week or so into our new Tony Kart Chassis's, so we can start practicing to chase down the F1 guys for next season.  Lookout Jeff, we are coming at ya.....

Champagne sprayed everywhere a la Formula One...even on the camera lens
(photo by Jeff Littrell)

Oh yeah, and Wayne and I have two used Tony Shifter Karts with Kawasaki motors for sale, $5,000 each.....as we are upgrading hardware and gearing up for Death Matches with the F1 guys in the KRC SuperCup series.