ProKart Challenge - Santa Maria July 8, 2006
"The Illusion of Control"
Can We Control Our Karting Destiny?  Or is it Just Another Roll of the Dice?

What does it take to be in total control of your racing results?

Here's the thought for the day:


Illusion of Control

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Illusion of control is the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they demonstrably have no influence over.

The predominant paradigm in research on unrealistic perceived control has been Ellen Langer's (1975)"illusion of control". Langer showed that people often behave as if chance events are accessible to personal control. In a series of experiments, Langer demonstrated first the prevalence of the illusion of control and second, that people were more likely to behave as if they could exercise control in a chance situation where "skill cues" were present. By skill cues, Langer meant properties of the situation more normally associated with the exercise of skill, in particular the exercise of choice, competition, familiarity with the stimulus and involvement in decisions.

Taylor & Brown (1988), have argued that positive illusions are adaptive as they increase motivation and persistence. This position is supported by Albert Bandura's claim that 'optimistic self-appraisals of capability, that are not unduly disparate from what is possible, can be advantageous, whereas veridical judgements can be self-limiting' (Bandura, 1989, p.1177). We should, however, note here Bandura's use of the qualification 'not unduly disparate from what is possible'. His argument is essentially concerned with the adaptive effect of optimistic beliefs about control and performance in circumstances where control is possible, rather than perceived control in circumstances where outcomes are genuinely non-contingent on an individual's behaviour.

Bandura has also suggested that: "In activities where the margins of error are narrow and missteps can produce costly or injurious consequences, personal well-being is best served by highly accurate efficacy appraisal." (1997, p. 71)
Screw all that scholarly gibberish.  I'm in full control of what I need to do to in order to get to the podium for the main event, and I furthermore,  think I can control it.  I've narrowed it down to:

1.  Be in good physical shape.  Must finish 20 laps in peak condition.
2.  Kart must be aligned correctly
3.  Kart must have correct balance between oversteer and understeer, tested with good rubber.
4.  Brakes need to be good.
5.  Jetting has to be close to optimal
6.  Must qualify in front 3 rows
7.  Don't crash.  No risky passes.
8.  Don't spin.  Think control
9.  Get a good start.  Rev motor up, release clutch until it catches, wait for green light, haul ass.
10.  Know the track.  Stomp on the brake as late as possible, get on the gas as soon as possible.

See, it's simple, and I can control it, and beat the other guys that haven't checked off the above 10 items.

The next race was at the Santa Maria Kart Track.  We have never been there before, so we started thinking about how we are going to get maximum practice time at a track 200 miles away.  Trailering the 48 footer back and forth through LA traffic is not what we were looking forward to on a weekly basis.

Ota came up with a game plan.  A good friend of his has a big-ass airplane hanger that used to house a DC-3 jet.  The jet is no longer stored there.  And it just happens to be at the Santa Maria Airport, which is right where the kart track is located.  Ota said his friend has room for the truck and trailer, so we could drive it up there, practice, store it in the hanger, then just carpool back home.  That way we don't have to drag the trailer back and forth for our weekly practice sessions. Trailering takes about 4 hours to get there, but in the S2000 I can get there in 2.5 hours, and save 130 bucks per trip in fuel costs.  We didn't want to practice on the weekends incase there were too many people at the track or they might run a different config from the PKC race date.  In order to run on the weekdays at the track, you have to pay a $200 annual membership to the Santa Maria Karting Association, but then you can practice for free for an entire year.  They give you a gate code, and you sign all the waivers up front which eliminates the need for them to have a human being staff the track during the week days.  Running on a weekend means no membership fee, you just pay your normal $25 entry fee.  Since we are Cheating Bastards, we decide to join and get unlimited practice time on weekdays. 

Our temporary storage place in Santa Maria

Wednesday, June 14th
I'm in a batting slump for the first time in probably 3 years (9 seasons).  I don't know what happened.  My onbase percentage used to hover around .900.  I would always tell the batters in front of me if they get on base we are doing a hit-and-run play on the first pitch to me, so start hauling ass as soon as the ball is pitched, as I'll stroke a line drive base hit to right.  Now I'm hitting at least one weak ground ball out or fly ball out every game.  I sorta think it has to do with the personal training, as now I'm strengthening muscles (stomach/legs/thighs) that I don't normally work out, and it is throwing off my finely tuned swing.  Kinda like how Tiger Woods' golf game got crappy when he started added weight training.  My kart driving does seems better from the personal training, so I have to continue with the girly workouts.  

Friday, June 16th. 
Wayne, Ota, Fernando, and I go up to practice.  I bring the big rig up, and Fernando brings his trailer up to store in the hanger.  I think Fernando is realizing how the season is shaping up.  Halen's probably going to win the Spec 1 class unless he somehow has two mechanical DNFs, which is highly unlikely.  Halen seems invincible, and he doesn't make any mistakes.  McKee is looking good for 2nd place in the series, unless some of us can start beating him.  So now it becomes like a version of "Survivor: PKC Podium".  Everyone else that is around 3rd through 7th in points must band together to take McKee down so the rest of us can move up a spot.  Fernando probably figures he'll get extra practice with us to help him beat McKee, and at the same time figure out what laptimes Wayne, Jeff and I are running so he can keep tabs on how we are progressing. In the mean time, we are also eyeing each other, as we will be fighting for 3rd, 4th, and 5th in points.  We are friends, but we will be ruthless in order to secure bragging rights as to who is faster in the next race and for overall series points at the end of the season.   Jeff and Fernando are fighting for 3rd in points, and they need Wayne and I to beat McKee so they can make a run at 2nd place. 

The hanger makes the big trailer look like a toy

For gearing, I'm running 17/27(1.588), Wayne's running what seems to be an absurd 16/25(1.563), Ota has a 16/26(1.625) and Fernando is running a higher ratio than Ota.  But we figure one of us must have a good gear for this track.  After practicing for most of  the day, we are pretty close in laptimes, running 48.9 - 49.0, with Wayne leading.  Ota, running in Spec 2, is running mid 49's.  This is on old tires.  We more or less figured we'd run old tires, learn the track, and then maybe next practice day put new tires on.  Except late in the day, Fernando decides to mount new tires, and promptly runs 48.6.  Bastard.  I can't let him go home being half a second faster.   This forces me to mount some new tires, and I tell them to look for me to raise my hands with a "touchdown" sign while I'm on the track so they know if I beat Fernando's time.  I run a 48.55  Heh!  TD you homos!  But now Wayne is going, "Dammit, I ain't leaving with Hayashi on top"  So now he has to mount new tires, runs a bunch of laps, and gives us the touchdown sign, and goes 48.51.  Damn!  We eye each other again like gun slingers.  Fernando blinks, and says he's done, as he wants to get home at a decent time.  I don't blink and say, "Damn it, maybe Wayne has the right gear, and I'm trying the 16/25.  I can't let Wayne go home victorious."  45 minutes later, I'm on the track pushing to get a 48.4x, but I fall short, and run a bunch of 48.6's.  Humm..track seems slower, but this gear feels better than the 17/27.  Maybe I'll use this gear for the race.  It seems to work good if there is a lot of grip.   This is a great track to drive on.  Fast, two exciting chicanes, a bowl turn, and a long sweeper turn with a real hard braking zone.

We run configuration K


Wednesday, June 21st
John Hein on the Stern show on Sirius radio sells his website for more than a million bucks!  I think has better content than he does.  Someone should throw a million bucks my way and they'll have access to 4,000+ pages of racing stories, more than any other website on the Internet!  C'mon, I know you corporate marketing/PR folks from Red Bull, Brembo, Honda, No Fear, Tony Kart, SpeedTV are all perusing thinking about how to steal ideas to get more customers to read your website on a regular basis.

I hit into double play in softball.  I haven't hit into a ground ball double play in years.  The team is sucking, we are now 2-4.

Thursday, June 22rd
I plan to blast up to Santa Maria at 9:15 p.m., after I put Kayla to bed.  Wayne's gonna leave around 7:30 p.m., as he wants to get a good night's sleep before the practice day.  Being a passenger in Wayne's Evo is to steal a quote "Like being dragged around on a steel trashcan lid at high speed".  I get car sick as a passenger in the Evo, as there is no suspension in that car.  The ride is as stiff as my kart.  I figure I could travel the 200 miles in 2.5 hours in the F355, sleep at the hotel, wake up, do some kart practice, and then blast back and be home in time to put Kayla to bed Friday night.  Sounds like a great plan, right?  The wife disagrees with the plan, saying "Are you sure the Ferrari will make it there.  I tell her no problem, it is running fine.  Except that when I get by the LAX airport, about 35 miles from home, the "CHECK ENGINE" light comes on.  DOH!  I don't want to take a chance at blowing up the motor or breaking down on a deserted section of the 101 freeway, so I head back to the shop.  I hop into the S2000, but then I notice that the car is damn filthy.  So now I gotta wash it.  I don't leave the shop until 11:30 p.m.  Gonna be a long night.    I have my new Halycon driving goggles that I ordered from the Brits.  I needed something to keep the wind out of my eyes while driving with the top down at night.  Otherwise my eyes would get dried out with the wind hitting them at high speeds. I get to Santa Maria at 2:00 a.m.  It would have been faster to drive the damn truck and trailer there.  The Radison hotel has these king size beds with air compressors in them, so you can make the bed either hard or soft.  I figure at least Wayne won't bitch about the bed being uncomfortable.

New driving goggles that I thought would look cool.  Ooops.

Friday, June 23rd
The next morning, Wayne bitches about the bed being too hard.  How can that be?  It is adjustable.  Wayne said he didn't realize until the morning that you could adjust the right and left sides of the bed, and he was adjusting the wrong side!  He couldn't figure out why it wasn't getting softer!

Wayne and I both only go a few 1/100ths of a second faster than last week, with Wayne beating me again.  Bascially we wasted a day.  Damn!  Our data shows Wayne is trail braking better than me, but I got more balls in the really bumpy chicane that comes on to the front sweeper.  I basically don't lift after the last chicane turn.  I come real close to hitting the plastic barriers on exit, but every time I am able to countersteer my way out of trouble if I get too close.  I tell Wayne he is a wuss, that I can go flat through the sweeper just about every time.   The next session, I blast through the sweeper, but the back end comes out a little too far, I hit the barrier with my rear tire, which throws the front of the kart into the barrier, which then slams the rear again into the lightweight barrier.   I bend a rim, rear axle, steering column, spindle, bolts, tie rod ends, and the tire rod is at a 90 degree angle.  I also have a pain in my calf from the tie rod hitting it when it bent.  Damn!  It takes us a good 2.5 hours to fix the all the damage.  So much for getting home early.

Jeff and Jason getting ready on the grid

Wednesday. June 28th
Batting slump in softball continues.  I hit into another double play.  I'm almost ready to hire a sports psychologist to get out of this slump.  I'm scared to compile the batting statistics, as I think Tony is kicking my ass.  The horror!  Good thing I didn't announce my, "$100 if you beat my on base percentage this season" like I normally do at the beginning of the season.

Thursday, June 29th
Same plan.  F355 is fixed today!  It could have been because a CV boot was leaking and throwing grease all over the engine/O2 sensors.  I want to drive it up to Santa Maria.  The wife says bad idea.  Even Wayne says bad idea, as if the F355 breaks down halfway there, he's gonna be the one that has to turn around and pick my stranded ass up.  Wayne says I need a "test day" on the local freeways before venturing outside a 35 mile radius from home.  I decide to drive the S2000 up.

Friday, June 30th
Wind is blowing about 25-30 mph.  Sucks.  We go a good 4/10ths slower than last week.  We are getting slower with more practice.  Hopefully it is because the wind is blowing hard.  My brakes are sucking, and for some reason I don't have any more new pads in our spare parts.   And I'm not getting any color in my sparkplug.  Usually you want it to be brown or tan, but it is white-ish/grey-ish, which could indicate that the motor is running lean.  I go up in jets from 168-170-172-175 and the plug still looks white/grey.  I was going to get the bottom end and top end rebuilt after this race.  Wayne switches his carb out on mine, and it is still the same problem.  2Wild thinks it could be an air leak/gasket problem that can't be seen from outside the motor.   I don't want to blow the motor up.   Humm....have to think about this.  I could just put our spare rebuilt motor on.  I decide to leave the S2000 in the hanger, and drive the truck home.  Jason Steaman, our pit crew guy, is going to come up and help out next weekend, and I figure I can drive up his kart in the truck bed so he can practice some on Friday with his ICC shifter kart.

Mr Mello, putting on his game face

Wednesday, July 5th
I skip the personal training this week, do no cardio, and and skip the stomach exercises this week.  Santa Maria track shouldn't be too tough physically.  And magically, the swing is back!  I go 3 for 3.  Damn, I thought I was getting old and losing it...must figure out new workout plan for softball and karting.  We are now 2-6, losing again by one run.

Thursday, July 6th
I leave my house at 11:45 a.m.  The goal is to get to the hanger by 3:00 p.m., hook up the trailers, and setup our pit spots by 4:00 p.m. or so.  I take the 405 to the 101, and Fernando takes the 405 through Manhattan Beach to Highway 1 to pick up a friend.  Miraculously, we meet up on the 101 freeway 70 miles from home about 100 yards apart.  With me in front, of course. Ha ha. We proceed to the hanger, get all our stuff, and Fernando's friend drives the S2000 to the track.  I spend about 3.5 hours working on swapping the motor out.  2Wild cruises in, checks out my hack job on the motor swap, and says it looks like my fuel pump is bad.  Hummmm...maybe that is why it was running lean-ish and I did this swap for nothing?

  13 year old De Phillippi in white suit, winner of two classes at 2005 Supernationals

Friday, July 7th
Official PKC practice day.   I get to the track with Jason at 8:00 a.m.  Ota, Trumpio, and Taylor don't make it up for this race due to family/work stuff. I spend another FOUR hours finishing up the motor install, new fuel pump, new clutch cable, new fuel lines, new chain, re-tie wrapping Mychron wires, six new brake pads, bleeding brakes, set front alignment, replace Mychron batteries, etc.  I do a couple of engine break-in stints on the kart stand, and then I'm ready to do a quick motor break-in on the track.  On my second lap, the kart stops moving.  Engine feels fast, it revs, but kart doesn't go anywhere.  I get towed in.  Turns out that I didn't tighten the front sprocket for the chain, so that went flying off on the track at 12,000 rpms like a kung fu sherikan star.  After spending eight hours the past two days working on my kart, driving the 400 mile round trip FOUR times in a month, and going slower every time I get out on the track, I'm starting to get frustrated.  I wonder if all this extraordinary effort is worth it.   Because I am certainly not in control of my karting destiny today.

12:30 p.m. I put a new sprocket on.  Re-tighten all nuts and bolts.  Okay, let's do our first hotlaps after changing out all this stuff on the kart.  Within a few laps I run a 48.1, going 4/10th faster than I ever went before!  The kart is handling fantastic, brakes are stopping the kart like hitting a brick wall, and motor seems to be happy.  Spark plug is back to being a nice tan color.  Hell yes all this hard work was worth it!  I park the kart and start organizing the trailer, eat some lunch, etc. as I watch Jeff and Wayne flail around trying to beat a 48.1.  I am in TOTAL control of the situation.

An hour later, I can't resist the chance to break into the 47's.  Instead of parking the kart, I go out again, but I run 48.3's and 48.4's.  Damn.  Wayne talks to a guy in a Tony kart who's running 47's in another class, and his ride height is lower in front, and his front track is wider.  Wayne switches to that setting, goes out, and drops 4/10ths to a 48.4.  He's thinking that he now has the right setup.  He pushes me to try it, since he dropped 4/10th, maybe I can drop 4/10ths.  I tell him he's crazy.  But then I start thinking...."hummm..47's would be nice.   I can't resist, I reset my kart up so the front suspension pills are on top, put longer front hubs on, and go out.  Except now I'm 8/10ths slower, and for the first time this month, I spin in the chicane right before the straight, a dangerous place to spin as it is real tight with no runoff, as there are plastic barriers on both sides.  I'm worried that I may have bent something.  I recheck alignment, everything looks good.  One of the course workers comes by and says that my kart is handling horribly in the turns, and I should narrow the front end.  I tell him it was Wayne's fault.

I switch the pills back, and put the short magnesium hubs back on, but I crack one of them by tightening it too tight.  DAMN!  I shoulda just parked the damn kart after that first session and took a nap the rest of the afternoon.  Or gone to the Indian casino.  Jeff throws on some good rubber and runs 48.3.  I put my kart back together, take it on the track, but the track is slow now and I'm running high 48's/49.x.    Disappointing to me, as Jeff only practiced a half day total to mine and Wayne's 3.5 days, and he is almost on pace with us.   Wayne says we should commit suicide if Jeff beats us in the race with only a half days' practice.  I agree.  I'm totally losing control of the situation again.

Merve says that he watched the video of my flip last race quite a few times, and he thought it was too risky of an attempted pass.  He said, "Ron's a nice guy.  He might even share his girlfriend with you.  But he ain't gonna share the driving line!"  Ron and I got a good laugh over that one.

McKee, current points leader for Spec 1 Stock Honda (before to dropping a race)

Saturday morning, July 8, 2006
Practice Session 1. I think my kart is dialed in.  I figure I'll just go out in the first session to make sure everything is working okay, and to set my rear brake bias.  Too much rear brake and I'll spin while trail braking.  Not enough then I'll lose braking power.  I make sure that I am at the back of the practice grid so I don't spin in front of anyone.  Good thing, as I dial in too much rear brake and end up spinning three times, backing off the rear brake bias each time until it feels right.  I probably look like a moron out here, but at least I get my brake biased set before qualifying and the heat races.  There is a method to my stupidity. 

Practice 2 - I sit out, figuring I don't need the practice.  I'm ready to go, dammit!  Bring it on!  All my items from my checklist earlier in the chapter are checked off.  Now I just have to drive and not crash or spin.

Usually Spec 1 and Spec 2 classes have their own qualifying sessions, but they combine them for this race.  We watch the Premier 1 and 2 guys AND the V1/V2 guys all qualify together, and that looks like way too many karts to get a clean lap.  Ugly.  I remember how I boneheaded my qualifying session at the last race, so I think about how to get a fast lap with 40 karts on a 48 second track.   Criteria is:

1.  Need fast lap
2.  You have 15 minutes to do it
3.  New sticker tires, so lap 3 or 4 will most probably be your fastest lap
4.  You don't want any traffic to hold you up
5.  Some people don't have a lot of practice on this track, so they might run 10 laps to try to get a fast lap.
6.  There will be some guys that might be 3 seconds a lap slower.

In the Premier 1/2 and V1/V2 qual session, not many people were left on the track at the end.  I figure that I'll go out after 9 minutes in my session, and try to run a fast lap with about 2-3 minutes left in the session, just like they do in Formula One.   I come up to the grid at the start of the session, and it looks like a lot of people have the same idea, as when the session goes green, only a handful of drivers go on the track, instead of the 20-25 people that normally go out.  Now everyone can't decide if they should go out now, or wait.  I decide to wait until the 9 minute mark.   When I finally go out on the track, I let a couple of guys go by as I'm doing my warmup lap, and then suddenly I have no one in front of me.  I'm in control!  I figure I need to run a 47.9 to be in the first 3 rows.  I end up running a 48.06 and a 48.01 in laps 3 and 4, and then I get slower to 48.38 in lap 5, so I park it after that.

Results come out, and I'm in row 3, which is about where I expected to be.  On pole for our class is a new guy, Connor De Phillipi.  He's a 13 year old hot shoe (Uhhh...yes, that's 13 years old total, not 13 years of experience).  His claim to fame is that he is 2005 SKUSA Supernational Champ for the Junior ICA class, AND also won the Junior 80 shifter class at the same event.  Rumor has it that he was in the lead of every lap for all the heat races and the mains at the Supernationals.  This is the first time this year that Halen has lost the pole to someone in Spec 1.  Lindsay also out qualifies Halen to take P2. Halen was the Stock Honda King at the 2005 Supernationals, and he has won some big time ICC Stars of Tomorrow events in his career. Right behind me within a 2/10th of a second spread are the usual suspects:  McKee, Jeff, Wayne, Fernando.  And you know that they are all pissed that I'm in front of them!  Ha ha!  All that practice and driving and wrenching on the kart was worth it!

Qualifying Results:

Pos No.
  Best Tm In Lap Best Spd (Mph) Diff Gap Laps
Class: Spec1
1 00 Connor DePhillippi 46.894 3 53.738     10
2 18 Lindsay Kernohan 47.241 3 53.343 0.347 0.347 7
3 107 Nick Halen   47.379 3 53.188 0.485 0.138 6
4 37x Joey Collins 47.556 5 52.990 0.662 0.177 8
5 89 Paul Russell 47.688 8 52.843 0.794 0.132 11
6 55 Doug Hayashi 48.019 4 52.479 1.125 0.331 5
7 123 Randy McKee 48.062 4 52.432 1.168 0.043 6
8 95 Jeff Littrell 48.100 5 52.391 1.206 0.038 8
9 800 Wayne Mello 48.210 4 52.271 1.316 0.110 8
10 45c Fernando Diaz   48.230 8 52.250 1.336 0.020 8
11 70x Brian Pauter   48.712 3 51.733 1.818 0.482 7
12 91c Ron Barcimo   48.948 5 51.483 2.054 0.236 11
13 14 Justin Krueger   48.968 6 51.462 2.074 0.020 6
14 19 Bruce Carlquist   48.972 5 51.458 2.078 0.004 9
15 11 Nicholas Krueger   49.238 9 51.180 2.344 0.266 10
16 81 Merve Vidad   49.428 3 50.983 2.534 0.190 5
17 77 Jeff Krueger   49.858 4 50.544 2.964 0.430 4

Heat Race 1
Green flag drops, and we are off.  It seemed like the Collins and Russell in P4/P5 had problems with their start.  Which is good for me.  I jet around them, and head for turn 1.  Unfortunately since I had to weave around them on the start, McKee and Wayne blast by me on the inside, as they had more of a straight shot.  Damn, I should of cut off that lane.  I remain 6th out of turn 1, but at least I didn't lose any positions.  Lindsay is off the track with a mechanical problem or soemthing, so I'm on Wayne's bumper for about 7 laps, duking it out for 4th place.  Screw this crashing stuff and trying to come through the pack.  Santa Maria seems like a fairly hard track to pass on.   I'm thinking that I won't risk a crash by passing him unless he makes a huge mistake, as I need to finish this race cleanly in 5th or 6th position. Sure enough, Wayne bounces around in the chicane onto the straight, and spins in the chicane.  I'm able to avoid  hitting him.  After Wayne's spin, he just parks the kart to save the tires, as everyone passed him.

Halen shows De Phillippi who's boss and takes 1st, with De Phillippi 1.6 seconds behind.  Wayne spun where I did after putting on that wacky front setup yesterday.  He debates changing back to where he was before.

Pos No.
  Laps Total Tm Diff Best Tm In Lap Best Spd (Mph)
1 107 Nick Halen   9 7:08.810   47.239 9 53.346
2 00 Connor DePhillippi 9 7:10.481 1.671 47.333 5 53.240
3 123 Randy McKee 9 7:15.036 6.226 47.899 6 52.611
4 55 Doug Hayashi 9 7:22.259 13.449 48.369 2 52.099
5 95 Jeff Littrell 9 7:23.876 15.066 48.456 2 52.006
6 45c Fernando Diaz   9 7:23.916 15.106 48.373 2 52.095
7 91c Ron Barcimo   9 7:24.214 15.404 48.618 2 51.833
8 89 Paul Russell 9 7:25.922 17.112 48.388 9 52.079
9 70x Brian Pauter   9 7:32.594 23.784 49.322 5 51.093
10 11 Nicholas Krueger   9 7:33.709 24.899 48.998 6 51.431
11 37x Joey Collins 9 7:36.589 27.779 47.823 7 52.694
12 14 Justin Krueger   9 7:36.630 27.820 48.871 3 51.564
13 77 Jeff Krueger   9 7:45.031 36.221 49.570 3 50.837
DNF 81 Merve Vidad   8 6:43.886 1 Lap 49.330 8 51.085
DNF 800 Wayne Mello 7 6:14.264 2 Laps 48.293 2 52.181
DNF 18 Lindsay Kernohan 2 1:39.069 7 Laps 48.134 2 52.354

Heat 2
I have Jason check my tire pressures on the grid.  I want to bleed the tires down to 10 psi, since we have been sitting in the sun.  Unfortunately, my fronts only have 9 psi, and we didn't bring an air tank out with us.  Oh well.  Green flag drops.  McKee has a bad start, I whip by him.  I hang with Halen and De Phillippi for about half a lap, and they start checking out.  I hear McKee's motor right on my ass in the turns.  I'm running consistent 48.0, 48.1, 48.2's.  McKee's a smart guy, he probably figures that I'll spinout (since I spun 3 times in the morning practice), and that as long as he is in front of Jeff and Fernando, he's not going to lose any points to them.  No use pressing the issue of trying to pass me, wrecking, and then forced to start from the back for the main.   On the last lap, I shut down all the passing lanes to keep McKee behind me, and in the last chicane/sweeper turn, he gives it all he's got, but comes up 3/1000ths of a second short.  Heh.  I take 3rd in the 2nd heat race!  I am now in control of my destiny!  Everything is going according to plan. Humm...maybe the 9 psi fronts helped, as the kart was really good after the second lap or so, and was sticking good in laps 9 and 10. De Phllippi strikes back against Halen, and takes the win by 6/10ths.     Wayne passed a bunch of people, got on a guys bumper to make another pass, but ended up following the driver right off the track into the dirt.  He just parked it, figuring he'll save his tires and start from the back of the pack for the main heat.  Jeff makes it up to sixth, so he is in striking distance.

Pos No.
  Laps Total Tm Diff Best Tm In Lap Best Spd (Mph)
1 00 Connor DePhillippi 10 8:00.829   47.450 5 53.109
2 107 Nick Halen   10 8:01.463 0.634 47.628 10 52.910
3 55 Doug Hayashi 10 8:06.459 5.630 48.027 5 52.470
4 123 Randy McKee 10 8:06.492 5.663 47.949 6 52.556
5 45c Fernando Diaz   10 8:07.964 7.135 48.134 5 52.354
6 95 Jeff Littrell 10 8:11.934 11.105 48.537 2 51.919
7 18 Lindsay Kernohan 10 8:12.891 12.062 47.872 8 52.640
8 37x Joey Collins 10 8:15.100 14.271 48.094 10 52.397
9 91c Ron Barcimo   10 8:16.032 15.203 48.469 4 51.992
10 14 Justin Krueger   10 8:16.553 15.724 48.727 9 51.717
11 89 Paul Russell 10 8:16.830 16.001 48.572 4 51.882
12 70x Brian Pauter   10 8:23.393 22.564 49.281 5 51.135
13 19 Bruce Carlquist   10 8:23.966 23.137 49.277 3 51.139
14 77 Jeff Krueger   10 8:39.947 39.118 50.606 3 49.796
DNF 800 Wayne Mello 6 5:07.377 4 Laps 49.001 6 51.428
DNF 11 Nicholas Krueger   3 2:34.442 7 Laps 49.229 3 51.189

Main Heat Race.
This is gonna be an interesting final race.  Halen and De Phillippi will be duking it out for first place.  I'm in 3rd, but McKee, Collins, and Lindsay are running 47's throughout the day, and I haven't been able to drop below a 48.   I don't think I can hold them all off for 20 laps, but I'm going to give it a shot, as one of us four should take that 3rd spot on the podium.  Wayne makes a big last minute change and goes back to his previous front end settings that he had at the start of yesterday. I go with with 9 psi fronts, up the jet to 170, and let's see what happens.  In front of me I got the two Supernationals champs, De Phillippi and Halen.   In back of me I got 13 loser schmucks that are slower than me!   Ha ha! 

In front of me I have De Phillippi and the Invincible Mr. Halen for the main heat

Green light on, and I get another good start and slot in behind Halen.  De Phillippi is in the lead.  I know McKee is probably on my bumper.  I go into the infield chicane a little sloppy, probably because I need the tires to heat up another lap or two.  Damn!  The trade off is if I put more air in the tires at the start, the kart would not handle as good in laps 16-20.  I know McKee is gonna capitalize on my mistake.  He pulls up in front of me on the outside of the bowl turn on the back straight.  I could stay on the inside line and screw him up, but if he doesn't pass me this lap, he'll probably get me later in the race.  I decide to not take a chance at taking both of us out, and let him pass on the outside.  I'll follow his line the rest of the way around the track, and maybe that will be fast enough to keep everyone else behind me.  And then I'll dive bomb his ass on the last lap when my kart is sticking good....heh.

McKee takes me on the outside of the bowl turn.  Damn!

Halfway through lap two coming into an infield right hander, Lindsay comes flying in a little too hot, gets up on my sidepod, and flys OVER my steering wheel, hitting my right hand that is clutching my steering wheel.  I spin out from impact, my steering wheel is bent.  Damn.  A DNF for me. 

Lindsay gets on top of my steering wheel

I pull my kart to the side of the track.   The tow vehicle comes by, but my hand is hurting too much to help him lift it onto the tow vehicle.  Crap.  The ambulance is about 200 feet from where I crashed, so I go there for a checkup.  They bandage me up, and then suggest I get an x-ray incase something is broken.  The hand is starting to swell, so I just try to keep ice on it.  We decide that I will still drive the truck and trailer home, and have Jason drive home with me in case there is a problem.  Wayne said he'll drive the S2000 home, and Amy will drive his vehicle home after they relax for another day in Santa Maria.

Whoa! Entire kart is on top of my steering wheel

Halen smacks the 13 year old kid back to reality, with Halen winning by a healthy 3.5 seconds.  Halen has six wins in six races in the stock Honda class this year.  Even the hot shoe kid can't stop him.   Halen's in total control of his racing program.   The rest of us are still flailing around trying to figure out what we have to do to get to the podium, subjecting ourselves to seemingly random throws of the dice that screw up our racing, but in reality we aren't doing those tiny little things that will get the randomness out of our racing.   Our mistakes can be prevented, we just have to do what is necessary to stop them from happening.  We THINK we know what we are doing, but that ain't the case.  We are living the "Illusion of Control", and must figure out a way out of the fog to get to the podium.

Jeff said he spun coming onto the sweeper, screwing up his race.  Mr. Mello goes from last to 7th, so he had a decent race, beating both me and Jeff, despite him DNFing the two heat races.  Fernando takes 5th, Ron Barcimo 6th.  McKee can't hang onto 3rd, with Collins getting by him on the last lap. 

I'm lucky to get away from that one with only two broken fingers

I go to the emergency room at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night.  X-ray indicates two broken fingers, so I have to see an Orthopedic doctor later in the week.  They throw on a temporary cast.  Rob from helps me find a hand specialist at the UCI Medical Center.  Pain is minimal, no drugs/aspirin are needed.  At least it is the two small fingers.  The crash could have easily taken out my entire wrist, both wrists, or my neck, so I consider myself fortunate to get away with two broken fingers.  Must be all those good karma points I've been building up. 

Pos No.
  Laps Total Tm Diff Best Tm In Lap Best Spd (Mph)
1 107 Nick Halen   20 15:52.346   47.250 8 53.333
2 00 Connor DePhillippi 20 15:55.850 3.504 47.227 5 53.359
3 37x Joey Collins 20 16:03.834 11.488 47.400 13 53.165
4 123 Randy McKee 20 16:04.289 11.943 47.757 13 52.767
5 45c Fernando Diaz   20 16:14.277 21.931 48.075 3 52.418
6 91c Ron Barcimo   20 16:22.545 30.199 48.550 20 51.905
7 800 Wayne Mello 20 16:25.569 33.223 48.507 11 51.951
8 89 Paul Russell 20 16:26.023 33.677 48.481 20 51.979
9 14 Justin Krueger   20 16:27.045 34.699 48.619 11 51.832
10 95 Jeff Littrell 20 16:27.750 35.404 48.265 19 52.212
11 70x Brian Pauter   20 16:40.573 48.227 49.268 4 51.149
12 11 Nicholas Krueger   19 16:08.838 1 Lap 49.365 6 51.048
13 77 Jeff Krueger   19 16:13.481 4.643 49.983 10 50.417
DNF 18 Lindsay Kernohan 3 10:04.041 17 Laps 50.298 1 50.101
DNF 19 Bruce Carlquist   2 1:45.726 18 Laps 50.035 2 50.365
DNF 55 Doug Hayashi 1 51.891 19 Laps 50.675 1 49.729

Thursday, July 17, 2006
I have an appointment with Dr. Ranjan Gupta at the UCI Medical clinic.  He takes some more X-rays, and says that the fifth metacarpel is broken and is not fully lined up, but he thinks it will heal okay without surgery if it stays in the same spot for the next two weeks.  The 4th metacarpel should heal fine.  I asked him if I should be back to 100% without any problems, and he says most likely.  Whew!  Dodged another bullet there.   

Major break is circled

I live to race another day.   I don't think I can make the next race at Willow on August 12.  But if I have a special cast made so I can do a bump downshift with the cast, and hold the steering wheel with my three good fingers, I'll have a chance to take 5th in points from Wayne.  And we have Justin Krueger also trying to take that 5th spot overall breathing down our necks.  He's probably thinking while we are crashing and DNFing to get to the podium, he's gonna finish races and slide into 5th place overall without us knowing.  But we are watching him! 

New cast put on by Dr. Gupta's technician

Here's the helmet cam video of the main heat before the race.  Unfortunately, I don't have heat race 1 or 2 on tape, as there were some technical difficulties from the crash at Cal Speedway that I didn't realize until it was too late.

1. High resolution 42 meg Windows Media helmet camera video (probably best to do a "right click", "save target as")

2. Smaller, low resolution version 8 meg Windows Media helmet camera video

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