Behind the scenes from the road karting

Behind the scenes from the road karting

September 4, 2010

Last week, we left for the Monticello Kart Club on Thursday because it was a 6 hour drive.  Also my dad wanted to drop the trailer off at the track on Thursday so we wouldn't have too do that on Friday.  The trip went well, even though I slept pretty much the whole time.  We arrived at the track gates at 9:45 pm and they were locked.  My dad was pretty mad because we called the track people and they said that they would be open until 10:00 pm.  After we left the track, we headed to our hotel to check in and go to sleep.

Friday we woke up refreashd and rejuvinated.  After getting our pit spot and the kart ready, we were ready to practice.  It was important that I learned the track because it was my first time there.  I learned the track and practice went well.

Saturday was KPP Jr engine class.  Practice went well and I was looking forward to qualifying.  Quailfying went decently and I qualified 4th 2 tenths behind Jonathan Kotyk and 1 tenth behind Ian Tilbor.  At the start of the pre-final, I moved up to 3rd and tried to work with Jonathan to get away from Collin Warren and Ian.  This didn't really work and I ended up dropping back to 4th.  On the last lap of the race I tried to pass Ian for 3rd but I went in too deep and almost spun.  I dropped back to 5th were I finished the race.  The Final went okay.  At the start, I moved up 1 spot into 4th.  However, on the second lap, I was passed by Jonathan which moved me back to 5th.  I was able to stick with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th despite not being able to get out of the corners as well.  With 3 laps to go, I passed Ian for 4th.  The next lap he got me back.  On the last lap, I wasn't close enough to him to challenge for the position so I ended the day 5th.

Sunday was Yamaha Jr engine class.  We were pretty fast in practice so I was ready for qualifying.  In qualifying, I qualified 3rd.  In the pre-final, I held my position at the start.  I then worked with Corey Towles to catch Nick Neri who had a big lead over us.  About halfway through the race, Corey went a little wide at the exit of the turn.  I saw the opening so I went inside of him.  However, Ian, who was helping Corey and me catch Nick, fell behind Corey instead of pushing me so I fell back to 4th.  I quickly lost the draft because I had no one to push me out of the turns.  I finished that race in 4th.  In the Final, I was starting 3rd because Corey's bumper fell off so he was moved to the back of the field.  At the start of the Final, I held my position.  After everyone got settled in, I started to push Ian so we could catch Nick who had pulled way out front.  Once we got close enough to Nick, Ian pulled away in Nick's draft.  About halfway through the race, Jonathan, who started in the back, came flying by me.  I was able to stick to his back bumper but not able to pass him.  I ended the weekend in 4th.

We learned a lot about gearing.  This wasn't one of our better weekends but you can't win everything.  I did have some fan support, though.  My aunt and uncle and my godmother and godfather all came to watch me.  They also brought some really good food.  There will be a helmet cam and here is the link.

Sorry this is so late!  I have been really busy with school

August 30, 2010

Last Thursday, I flew to the Indianapolis airport, because my mom didn't want me to miss a lot of school.  If I went with my dad who drove up, then I would have had to leave Wednesday.  Anyway, after our arrival at Indianapolis, my dad picked us up to take us to the New Castle Motorsports Park where we were competing in the Coyote Motorsports Nationals (Round 3 of 4 of the Russel Karting Gold Cup).  After scaling the kart and eating dinner at the Steak n' Shake across from our hotel, we went to the hotel so I could do some homework and get some sleep.

Friday practice went without a hitch.

Saturday was Briggs Jr. Lite and Briggs Jr. Heavy.  I was fast in practice in both classes.

For Briggs Jr. Lite, we put on rain tires because of the wet conditions.  Qualifying went great and I qualified on pole by 2 tenths.  Heavy was a different story.  We used the same tires we qualified on in Lite and I was ahead of the field by 5 tenths.  For the Briggs Jr. Lite Pre-Final, we put on slick tires because the track dried out.  In the Biggs Jr. Lite Pre-Final, the outside row had a good jump.  I dropped back to 2nd position before the turn 1.  However, I was quick to pass for the lead and I ended up pulling away for the win.  The Briggs Jr Heavy Pre-Final went about the same.  The outside row got the jump and I dropped back to second.  I followed behind Jacob Heavlow for a couple of laps and made my move going into one of the tight hairpins.  I pulled away for the win.  Because I won the Pre-Final in Briggs Jr. Lite, I started on the pole position for the Final.  In the Briggs Jr Lite Final, I was able to hold onto the lead at the start.  I slowly eased away from the rest of the field for a 3 second gap coming across the finish line.  Briggs Jr. Heavy was a little bit different.  I fell behind Jacob on the start and waited for him to make a mistake.  He made one 4 laps into the race and I took advantage.  I never looked back and pulled away for the win.

Sunday was race day #2.  I was ready to race because of the success we had the day before.  For qualifying in the Biggs Jr. Medium class, we used the tires we raced on on Saturday.  I qualified on pole by less than a tenth!  Qualifying in Briggs Jr. Restricted was a blow out.  I qualified on pole by 8 tenths of a second! 8 tenths!  The start of the Medium Pre-final was definitely different.  I was moved back to the second row for "going too fast at the start".  I didn't stay back there for long.  I quickly worked my way back up to 1st and hung on for the win.  The Restricted Pre-Final was CRAZY.  At the start, I dropped to the 5th position.  I sliced and diced my way back to the front.  As I was making my move for the lead, Tyler Orlop spun me out going into the fastest turn on the track!  This caused a massive pile up behind us.  I went way off the track and came back on 3rd.  I quickly caught the two leaders and passed them both for the Pre-Final win.  The Medium Feature went without a problem and I led from flag-to-flag for my 3rd Final win of the weekend.  The Restricted Jr Final was pure domination.  I pulled away for a 16 second lead in 12 laps.  That means I pulled the field 1+ second a lap.

I was extremely happy for going undefeated during the weekend.  I hope the Grand Nationals will be the same.  Our next race is the 28-29 for the Florida Karting Championship Series at the Monticello Kart Club.  Sorry this is so late!

August 24, 2010

Hello everyone!  This is just a quick note to let you know how the weekend went.  I will send out more details when I get time.

Last weekend I raced in the WKA Gold Cup at the New Castle Motorsports Park.  I qualified on pole in all four classes I raced in, won all the heats, and won all the features!  It was an incredible weekend thanks to my engine builder, to Steve and Stacy Roberts for the flawless Razor chassis, to my dad who worked on the kart and nothing fell off, and to my mom who supported me and TRIED to tune the chassis.

August 13, 2010

Last Wednesday, we left for the New Castle Motorsports Park (NCMP) in New Castle, Indiana.  NCMP would play host to round number 4 in the WKA George Kugler's Manufacturers' Cup.  The 13 hour drive wasn't too bad because I slept the whole time.  When we arrived at our hotel, my friend Michael Melancon and my dad went to bed.  I, however, had a hard time sleeping because I slept all day.  The next morning, we set up and got the kart we were renting for KPP.  The reason we rented a kart was because they ran KPP and Yamaha on the same day so there was no way we could change engines in between sessions.

Friday practice didn't go very well.  We really didn't get anywhere and my feed back wasn't very good.

For the KPP practice, we switched over to a different KPP because my engine wouldn't run.  In Saturday morning's practice, I improved a lot on my lines in both Yamaha and KPP.  The engine ended up working a lot better.  For the KPP qualifying, we put new tires on.  I qualified 28th out of 36.  For the Yamaha, we put the tires we ran in KPP on.  I qualified 24th out of 40.  In the KPP pre-final, there was a big crash on the start and I moved up to 20th.  I then worked with Kyle Smith to the 17th position where I finished.  In the Yamaha pre-final, there was a crash in turn 4.  I don't really remember what happened after that.  I need to start writing down what happened after each race because we have so many races in one weekend.  When the finals came around, I was ready to race!  For the KPP final, we added fuel so we would have enough to reach the finish.  I had a good start, as I went 3 wide into turn 4.  Within 4 turns, I was up to 12th and guess who I was behind - Kyle Smith.  Kyle and I worked our way up to 10th. With 4 laps to go, someone caught us and drafted by both of us.  We were able to draft with the guy who passed us until the last lap when the fireworks started.  Coming out of a hairpin, the kid who passed Kyle and me bogged down.  Kyle went all the way down to the inside of the track.  This slowed him down and I split both of them to finish 8th.  The Yamaha final was going very well.  I was in 10th position when Dominique Van Wieringen took me out of the running.  She went to pass me in turn 1 and she drove straight up into me while we were in the middle of the turn.  I went off track and crashed into the barriers.  I would have continued but my chain came off.

In Sunday morning practice, we were really slow.  We couldn't figure out why.  For qualifying, we put new tires on the KPP and Yamaha.  In KPP, I had a good run going.  The kart didn't handle very well, though.  When I would get on the power, there was a 4 wheel drift and I ended up going off track on my fast lap.  I ended up 16th out of 36 karts.  In Yamaha, I qualified 24th out of 40.  In the pre-final for KPP, I had to go off the track to avoid getting caught up in a crash.  Unfortunately, this cost me a lot of time.  I was able to move up to 28th position before the race ended.  The Yamaha pre-final was very exciting.  I had worked my way up to 15th before halfway.  Unfortunately, someone flipped and they red flagged the race.  Since we were halfway done, they stopped our race.  When I went to check my times, the timing sheet said I finished in 20th.  If there is a red flag, then timing and scoring goes back to the last completed lap.  However, they went back 2 laps.  I wasn't to happy about this.  In the KPP final, I was climbed over by another kart.  I actually felt their nose hit my shoulder. I was able to continue, but I really didn't move up that much at the start.  I pretty much just stayed in the same position the whole race.  I ended up getting passed with 3 laps to go so I finished in 18th.  The Yamaha final didn't go much better.  I lost a couple spots at the start, but I managed to take back some of those positions.  About halfway through the race, I was caught behind Steven Landsprung who was slower than me but I couldn't get around him.  With 3 laps to go, he dropped his wheels off and I knew that was my chance.  Going into the next turn, I made my move.  He, however, turned down on me and we ended up going off track.  I lost a couple of positions but I was able to continue.  I finished the race in 20th but they moved me back for hitting Brandon Polich who I didn't even pass the whole race.  I went to protest to the race director but he didn't really listen to me.  I even had my friend Jonathan Kotyk tell the race director what he saw.  I ended up being moved back to the 29th position.  After the day, we went to dinner with my friend Steven Schlenke.  It was his birthday so he got this really big brownie and ice cream thing.  It wasn't very good.  I mean how do you mess up brownies and ice cream for crying out loud?

My weekend went pretty well.  I am very pleased that I got a top 10.  I need to work on my fitness level and my feedback.  I am sorry that there was no helmet cam video but the mount broke.  Our next race is in two weeks at New Castle again for the Gold Cup.  Look forward to updating you!

August 12, 2010
Skylar Robinson featured in Florida Karting Championship Series Newsletter.
Read it here!

July 27, 2010

Our journey to Jacksonville, Florida for the Florida Karting Championship Series began with the 5 hour drive on Wednesday.  The reason we drove down Wednesday was because we wanted to practice Thursday.  Thursday practice went as well as expected with our brand new KPP engine.

On Friday, under a blazing sun, we practiced with our KPP.  We practiced KPP because our Yamaha was being rebuilt and it was supposed to arrive at the hotel that night.

Saturday was KPP.  The first practice session was an epic fail.  When my dad warmed up the engine, he leaned the carburetor out which we are not supposed to do.  Then on the grid, when my dad was adjusting the carb to where it should be, I told him to leave it where it was.  The reason is because I thought that he left the carb were it was supposed to be.  I ended up running the whole session 3 quarters of a turn to lean which hurt the engine performance.  Due to the dilemma, I was REALLY slow.  The next session, we set the carburetor where it was supposed to be.  I was still pretty fast but we lost a hundred RPMS and 2 MPH.

For qualifying, we put on new tires.  Our problem in practice was that the kart was too tight (wouldn't turn) and the new tires didn't help that problem, they just amplified it.  I ended qualifying in 5th.  I had fan support from some friends of ours who live in Jacksonville.

For the pre-final, we changed an axle to loosen up the kart .  When we tried to start the engine on the grid for the pre-final, it wouldn't start.  When it finally started to run, it had a really bad bog coming out of the pits.  Once I caught up with the field for the green, they waved the start off.  They then sent us around a dirty short cut which had no grip.  Everybody in front of me went very slow through so it jumbled up the pack.  I had to get on the brakes to avoid hitting the person in front of me.  This sent the engine into a low RPM which made it bog again.  I tried to lean the carb down but by then the field had already taken the green.  I was 2 seconds back when the leaders took the green.  I didn't have enough time to catch anybody so I finished 2nd to last.  The reason I finished 2nd to last was because someone spun on the last lap.

For the feature, we tried a different carburetor.  The engine started this time but  it bogged (wouldn't accelerate) really badly.  I leaned it down some, but it turned out to be to much so the engine shut off.  I had to push it back to the pits to get it restarted.  We restarted the engine,  and I worked on catching back up to the rest of the field.  This time I was a second back when they threw the green.  In the second turn, someone spun out so I passed him.  On the third lap, a friend of mine, Steven Schlenke,  spun out and stalled.  I ended the race in 6th.

Sunday was the Yamaha Jr. class.  In the first practice session, we were one of the  fastest.  The kart had a little push so we tried loosening up the kart.  In the second practice session, we were fast but the kart still tightened up.

For qualifying, we put on the tires we ran in the races in KPP.  I qualified 5th, but I was only 3 tenths off the leader.  At the start of the pre-final,  I jumped into the 3rd position.  About halfway into the race, I drafted by Colin Warren for 2nd place.  I then set my sights on Cory Towles who ran away with the lead.  I wasn't able to catch him before the race was over, but he was docked 4 positions for "excessive head dipping".  This moved me into the 1st starting position for the feature.

For the feature, we slid the front and rear wheels out to loosen up the kart.  Under the scorching afternoon sun, the top 4 broke away from the rest of the field at the start of the feature.  Unfortunately, my kart was tight from the beginning.  Cory, Ian Tilbor, and Jonathan Kotyk all drafted by me down the straight (see the video).  Several laps later, Ian and Jonathan got together and Jonathan was pushed off the track.  I moved up to 3rd and Ian and Cory broke away from Jonathan and me.  Jonathan drafted by me again and I waited until 2 laps to go to make my move for 3rd.  On the last lap, Jonathan passed me again.  I ended up 4th which isn't too bad.

I had a good weekend even though I didn't win.  My friends, Ian, Jonathan, and Cory, all know the Jacksonville Track like the back of their hands.  Nick Neri wasn't racing because he broke his arm.  The interview I had went well and I look forward to doing another one.  Our next race is in 2 weeks for the national in New Castle, Indiana.  Here is the link to the helmet cam video of the Yamaha Jr. feature.

July 15, 2010

Last weekend, we left Pennsylvania for Greenfield, Indiana so we could get our Razor chassis re-welded.  From there, we left for Elkart Lake, Wisconsin.  The trip was long but it wasn't too bad because I slept the whole time.  When we arrived at Elkart, we went to the famous Siebkens Resort to check-in.  The hotel wasn't too bad except that it was on a lake and the mosquitoes were awful.  After dinner, we went to bed for a good night's rest.

On Thursday, we went to the track to park.  They wouldn't let us park until noon so we walked over to the car track paddock.  There we found several Formula Mazda teams.  We also swung by Conner Daly's team to say hi because his dad drove with my dad.  After that, we headed back to the truck and trailer to be parked.  Parking was a pain but we got through it.  Later on, I walked the track because I had never been there.  There was a lot of elevation change and an off camber left-hander which means it was banked to the right.  Very difficult but I was ready for the challenge.  Because we were able to leave the track early, we ate at the Siebkens bar.  All the old race teams and drivers use to hang out there.

Friday went well and I managed my practice well.  I needed to drive harder into the turn, though.  Again, we ate at the Siebkens bar, but this time with Nitro Neil, Ian (Nitro Neil's son), Jumpin' Jonathan Kotyk, and Jonathan's dad, Jon

Saturday was Yamaha Jr. Lite.  The one practice session I had went well.  We were still off the pace.  For qualifying, we put on new tires.  In qualifying, I laid down the 7th fastest lap time.  In the heat, I dropped to 10th where I finished the race.  In the feature, I was able to get down to the bottom line which was actually the wrong move.  Going through the first turn, someone spun ahead off me.  I tried to go around the outside but he rolled into me.  I then bounced off of him and hit Kyle Smith.  We then went through the grass.  After getting back on the track, I resumed in last (28th).  Throughout the race, I worked my way up to 17th.  I wish I could have done better, but it's not too bad coming from last.  After racing, we went to the Siebkens bar for the third night in a row.

Sunday came and along with it Yamaha Jr. Heavy.  In our one and only practice session, I was 8 tenths off the pace.  Once again, we put on new tires for qualifying.  I didn't do as well in qualifying. I ended up 17th.  At the start of the pre-final, I lost several positions.  Throughout the race, I gained most of those positions back.  I finished 17th once again.  In the feature, I dove to the inside and picked up 2 spots at the start.  I picked up 3 more in turn 4.  Going thru turn 8, I accidentally took out Kyle Kalish.  Going thru the turn, I got on the gas before the apex.  Kyle, however, wasn't on the gas at the apex so I ended up spinning him out.  I continued my charge to the front picking up 7 spots in 2 laps.  Unfortunately, my run ended when I was following my friend Jonathan Kotyk.  At the exit of the off camber left, Jonathan got loose and dropped his right side wheels off and spun in front off me.  I had no where to go and I hit him with my left side tire.  This broke the rod end so I had no steering.  To make matters worse, I went down a massive hill right into the middle of the track. WOW!!  That was hairy.  That ended my race early.

Despite that, I was still relatively happy with how I drove.  Gary Lawson, a legend in karting, helped us during the weekend.  It was great working with him and I hope to do it again.  The helmet cam is under Skylar Robinson Yamaha Jr. Heavy final Road America.  Our next race is in Jacksonville for the state series in 2 weekends (23-24).

July 5, 2010

Last Thursday, we left from my grandmother's house for the WKA Gold Cup Jammer Clutches national at the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex located in Wampum, Pennsylvania.  I love that word. Wampum.  Anyway, we went to dinner at the Fire Mountain Grill.  Waaaaay salty.  After dinner we went to the hotel.  Luckily, it was decent.  

          Friday began with our practice engine.  Around lunch time, we switched to an engine that Comet Kart Sales let us use.  We were one of the fastest so things were going very well.  For the last session, we put on our Baker Racing Engine.  We went even faster with the Baker, but one of my competitors, Jacob Heavlow pushed me on my fast lap.  We had a tough decision heading into race day because we weren't sure if Jacob helped me do my fast time or the engine did.  

Saturday began with practice.  We decided to go with the Baker because it had more top-end while the Comet had more pull out of the corners.  

          For qualifying, we put on new tires.  It worked and I qualified on the pole in both the Briggs Jr. Heavy class (by 4 tenths) and the Briggs Jr. Lite class (by 2 tenths).  

          At the start of the Lite pre-final class, I maintained my 1st place starting position.  Around halfway, Jacob Donald made his move and took the lead.  I followed Jacob until the last lap.  Jacob took a defensive line down the straight which slowed him down in the corners.  On the 4th to last turn, he went wide and I took advantage.  I crossed the finish line a kart length ahead of him.  At the start of the Briggs Jr. Heavy pre-final, I stayed in 1st place.  There was position swapping through out the entire race and I was shuffled back to 3rd where I finished.  

          The kart handled well so we didn't change anything for the finals.  The Lite final started with me taking the lead.  I led until the last lap when I took a defensive line into Turn 1.  I was slow down the straight and Jacob Donald passed me for the win.  The Heavy feature went in a very different direction for me.  On the start, I dropped to 3rd from my 2nd place starting position because Matt Tifft passed me.  The next lap, Chris Wells passed me for 3rd, so I dropped to 4th.  Around halfway, you could throw a blanket over the 4 of us.  I pushed Chris Wells to 2nd and I moved to 3rd.  The next lap we did the same thing except for 1st and 2nd.  With 4 to go, I made my move for 1st and pulled away.  With 2 to go, my neck brace came off.  I was then punished to the extent of the Gold Cup law; a black flag.  The velcro became frayed because I have been using it for 2.5 years.  Despite that, I was still happy with the day.

          In the first session of Sunday, our race engine blew up.  We switched to a back up engine.  

          For qualifying, we put on new tires.  In qualifying for Briggs Jr. Medium, I qualified 9th.  9th!!!!!  The reason we were so slow was because the new tires made the kart slide more.  Briggs Jr. Restricted didn't go much better because on my fast lap, I caught up to slower traffic which messed my lap up.  I ended up 7th.  

          In the Medium pre-final, I moved up to 4th.  In the Restricted pre-final, I got caught in a crash.  I dropped to 17th and bent a spindle but I managed to get up to 14th.  

          In the Medium final, I was starting 7th.  I moved up to 3rd.  However, Michael Faucci, the 2nd place finisher, spun on purpose after the race.  He was DQed and I was moved to 2nd.  In the Restricted final, I was starting 8th.  I dropped several positions but managed to move my way back to 4th.  Around the halfway mark, Michael spun again.  I moved up to 3rd were I finished the weekend.  

          I think we did a great job staying positive and not getting down on ourselves.  We managed to get several people excited about the Razor chassis which is very good for my kart owner.  There is no helmet cam video, but there is another video that I will give you the link to when it is posted.  My next race is next weekend Road America in Wisconsin for a Manufacturer's Cup national.

June 28, 2010

Last weekend we raced at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey.  We were going to practice in Millville, New Jersey to prepare for the national we have there in September, but the track had other activities so we went to Raceway Park to race.

We arrived at the track at around 9 am.  There was a motocross race, drifting, and people were driving their street cars down the famous drag strip.  Even though we were racing the Yamaha, we decided to practice with the Briggs so we wouldn't use up the Yamaha clutch.  Also, it was my first time at the track and the Briggs is slower than the Yamaha so it would be easier to learn the track.  After I drove the track, we switched to the Yamaha to get a setup for the night race.  My first session out, the gearing was WAY off (dad!!!).  We then put on a different gear and we saw the perfect amount of RPMS.

After practice, however, we were way off the pace.  For the first heat, we were starting 5th out of 6th in the Yamaha Jr. class due to drawing a high numbered pill.  I dropped to 6th at the start.  After 1 lap, I made an aggressive pass going into a hair pin that moved me up to 5th.  The next lap, I tried to out brake someone for 4th.  However, I went way too hard into the turn and I dropped back into 5th.  I maintained my position until the last lap.  One of my competitors dive bombed me and over drove the corner.  On the short straight that followed, I pinched her down so she couldn't get through the corner well. It worked and I ended up 5th.  For the second heat race, we put on fresh tires because that was the only thing left to try.

In the second heat, I was starting 2nd.  On the grid, I asked my uncle to check the tire pressure.  He accidentally bled it down too low, but it wasn't his fault.  He wasn't used to the tire pressure gauge.  We then had to bleed all the tires down.  At the start, I was taken out by the kid who was starting 1st.  Luckily, I got sideways in front of the field so I only lost 1 position.  The next lap, a girl took out the kid who took me out (John MucCusker) which moved me into 2nd.  The next lap, the girl went super wide and I was able to take advantage.  I then moved into 1st and led until the halfway point.  A fellow competitor then passed me.  I was able to stay with him for the rest of the race but not able to make a move.

In the feature, I was starting 3rd under the lights.  At the start, the two kids in front of me took off because they had MG tires instead of Bridgestone tires which I was running on.  A lap before the halfway mark, rain started to fall and the track got very slippery on slick tires.  I then started to reel the two leaders.  I managed to pass for 2nd and then the red flag came out.  We pulled into the pits to wait the rain out.  After the rain fell, I was starting 3rd because they start the restart with the running order that last made a complete lap.  Because we were starting in single file, guess who I was starting in front of?  That's right, John MucCusker.  At the start, John took me out AGAIN!!!  I resumed in 4th were I finished the race.

The fresh tires helped a ton and we picked up over a full second.  The weekend went well.  My uncle, cousin, and a family friend came and I think they all had fun.  Our next race, is next weekend at BeaveRun for the Gold Cup national.  The helmet cam video will be on YouTube later this week under Raceway Park Yamaha Jr. onboard.

June 15, 2010

Last Wednesday, we drove 8 hours down to my aunt's house in Clermont, Florida.  Clermont is about an hour away from the Ocala Grand Prix (OGP) track which hosted round number 4 of the Florida Karting Championship Series.  On Thursday, my dad and I drove over to OGP to practice.  As it turns out, my friend Ian and his dad Neil arrived at the same time as we did.  As we set up for the upcoming weekend, my dad told me to go check the oil in the generator.  When I did, I didn't turn the generator off.  Oil went everywhere.  It ended up on the truck, the generator, and the door to the compartment that holds the generator.  To make matters worse, I used brake cleaner to remove the oil from the truck.  After an eventful morning, we settled down to a calm practice day.  When we finished practice, we headed to our hotel, the Howard Johnson.  After checking in, we walked over to the hotel next door to pick up my other friend Michael and his dad for dinner.  Once we completed dinner, Michael, some friends of ours, and I played some mini golf at the Ho Jo.  We then hit the hay for a good night's rest before Friday.

Friday the was practice day.  I was consistently giving good feed back and my dad was consistently making the right changes.  Every session, we were a little faster.

On Saturday, we ran KPP Jr.  In practice, we started were we left off on Friday.  For qualifying, we put on new tires, Qualifying didn't go very well as I was 4th quickest.  We think that the new tires gave the kart too much grip.  For the pre-final, we tried freeing up the kart.  On the start of the pre-final, my line was much slower through the first turn.  I ended up losing 2 positions.  However, after the third turn, 2 friends of mine got together.  One was able to continue but the other wasn't so lucky.  With that, I moved into 5th.  I was down on power on the straights so I couldn't pass anybody.  When I pulled into the pits, I found the seat bolt on the ground which means the seat was moving around.  For the final, we fixed the seat.   In the final, I was starting 5th.  I couldn't keep up with the 3rd and 4th place people down the straight so I ended the race were I started, 5th.  When I got back into the pits, we discovered the cap that goes onto the end of the pipe was cracked.  This up set the back pressure which slowed me down the straight.  After the race day, their was free BBQ at the track.  After enjoying diner, my friend and I played some mini golf.  I then headed to my hotel room to watch the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Sunday was the Yamaha Jr. class.  Practice went well and we felt ready for qualifying.  Instead of putting new tires on for qualifying, we put old tires on.  Qualifying went well and I qualified 3rd.  In the heat, I moved up to 2nd.  I was able to hang with Nick Neri for a couple laps, but he ended up pulling away.  By the way, OGP is his home track.  I ended up 2nd in the pre-final.  For the final, we lowered a weight to free the kart up  In the final, I was starting second.  At the start, I dropped to third.  This allowed Nick to get away.  However, I was able to make my way up to 2nd at the beginning of the 2nd lap.  I wasn't able to catch Nick but I was super consistent.  Every lap, I got a tenth faster.  We probably could have set the tire pressures a little higher so they could have come in earlier.  After the race day, we headed to my aunt's house once again.  I then stayed up until 4 am.  My dad then woke me up at 7.  I wasn't thrilled but we had to get on the road. As soon as we were on the road, I fell a sleep and stayed that way for the entire 8 hour drive.

The weekend went great.  We had fun and were pretty fast.  I also gave good feed back.  Our next race is July 3rd and 4th at BeaveRun for the WKA Gold Cup.  I would also like to welcome our new sponsor the Jewelers Bench here in Augusta.

The following link is the helmet cam of the KPP pre-final.

May 25, 2010

Last week, we drove down to my aunt's house in Clermont, Florida on Wednesday which was only 30 minutes away from the Orlando Kart Center.  The Orlando Kart Center was home to round three of the Florida Karting Championship Series.  On Thursday, we ran a couple of practice sessions so I could get used to the new curbing they put in.  I quickly found out that if your seat was over the curbing, it was extremely uncomfortable because your seat would drag.  After cleaning up, we headed toward my aunt's house for the night.  On the way, we stopped at the restaurant Chili's for dinner.  My dad handed the waiter a hundred dollar bill and when the waiter brought back the change, we received a wad of 25 one dollar bills.

On Friday, we practiced with our Yamaha Jr. most of the day.  However, for the last two session, we put the KPP on.  In my first run with the KPP, I pulled out of the pits expecting to accelerate.  But instead, I reached a blistering speed of 8 mph while there were karts flying by me at 55 mph.  I could barely make it through the corners the kart was so slow!  After about getting through half-way through the track, I decided to pull off the track and turn the engine off.  When I returned to the pits, my dad told me that we had the carburetor set wrong.  In the last session, I was able to figure out how to tune the carb to the right setting.

Saturday was race day number one on which we ran the KPP.  In the first practice session of the day, I was passing somebody going into a turn.  However, the kart got loose at the exit and I hit a plastic wall which bent an axle.  After changing the axle, we were ready for practice round number 2.  This time I managed to keep the kart out of the wall despite having a slight push on entry.  To fix this, we made a front end adjustment.  In qualifying, I was 4th fastest but the push was still there.  We then realized that I might have been overdriving a tick.  In the heat race, I had a great start and I moved up to 3rd where I pretty much just hung out the whole race.  In the feature, I was passed by my friend Ian Tilbor who was followed by another one of my friends Austin Jordan.  I went from 3rd to 5th in one corner.  After the first lap melee, I put my head down and started to work on Austin.  About three laps into the race, I passed him. But a couple of turns later, he passed me right back and he was followed by yet another friend, Taylor Lohman.  All of this was rather frustrating because I knew I was faster than them but I was stuck behind them while Ian pulled away.  I managed to get by Taylor and Austin about halfway through the race.  I then set my sights on the 3rd place kart of Ian who managed to get a lead of about 3 seconds over me.  I closed on Ian a considerable amount and crossed the finish line on his rear bumper but I didn't have enough time to pass him for the final spot on the podium.

On Sunday, I competed in the Yamaha Jr. class.  Both of the practice sessions went well.  For qualifying, we put on new tires.  In qualifying, I actually picked up time on new tires which has never happened but we were still 5 tenths off of Nick Neri.  During the lunch break, my dad sent me over to the concessions to get lunch.

However, there was a sword swallowing, chain saw juggling guy who I wanted to watch.  So I left the concession line and enjoyed the show.  After the performance, I got back in line for lunch.  After standing in line for about a minute, my dad came over to wonder why the food was taking so long.  He was thrilled when I told him I went to watch the sword swallowing, chain saw juggling guy.  After enjoying lunch, we rolled up for the pre-final.  During the start of the pre-final, I went around the outside of Nick at Turn 1.  He then passed me back 2 laps into the race.  For the rest of the race, I just held my position.  At the start of the final, I had a bad jump and I fell back to 3rd behind Nick and Ian.  Nick was gone and was a second a lap faster than the rest of the field.  That left Ian and me to fight it out for 2nd.  Three laps into the race, I made an out breaking move on Ian for second.  Three laps later he passed me back.  I then passed him back the next lap.  Ian then waited until two laps to go to make his move which I could never counter.  I ended the weekend in 3rd.

The weekend went well.  We were lacking the speed we had at Homestead.  Our next race is Ocala on June 11-13.

May 9, 2010

Sorry this is so late.  I have been really busy the past week with school.  Anyway, to start off with my trip up to South Bend for the Manufactures Cup, I was flying up with some friends of ours, Jeff and Simon Sikes on Thursday.  My dad took Simon's and my kart up on Tuesday.  By the way, Simon (age nine) is kind of like a little brother.  Sometimes annoying and sometimes fun.  Back to the trip.  So we arrived at the Augusta Airport but they ran out of room on the plane to Atlanta so they couldn't take us.  Instead, we have to drive to the Atlanta airport.  We rushed to the airport, flew through security, and made the plane headed to Chicago as other passengers are boarding.  After landing, we met my dad and we head towards the state park equipped with the cabins we were staying at.  My dad took several wrong turns and all we heard for about five minutes was "Recalculating" from the GPS.  After our travel adventures, we settled down to a night's rest.

During Friday, I walked the Michiana Raceway Park track to get a rough idea of the lines.  Today we were looking at some data and we found out that we were slow because of our gearing.

Saturday was Yamaha Jr. Lite.  In the only practice session. I worked on perfecting my lines.  In qualifying, I put down a lap that put me in 28th.  In racing, its kind of funny how you can go from champ to chump in one race.   Back to qualifying.  They only took the top 29 karts in qualifying.  If you did not make in on speed, then you have to race in the Last Chance Qualifier.  If you finished in the top 5 of the LCQ, then you were combined with the top 29 from qualifying to make a field of 34 karts.  At the start of the pre-final, I realized that two of my friends from Jacksonville were right ahead of me.  The start of this race was 10 times better than at Daytona.  I at least picked up 8 spots while at Daytona I lost at least 8 spots.  I ended up 22nd and that's where I started the final.  This race, I once again picked up quite a few positions during the start.  At one point, I was running as high as 10th but I was punted going into a turn.  This caused me to go off the track and lose several positions.  After the incident, I resumed in 15th.  At the end of the race, I lost a two positions to finish 17th.

Sunday was Yamaha Jr. Heavy.  In the only practice session, it rained so we went out on rain tires.  In qualifying, I did much better than Saturday and put down a lap that put me in 21st.  Since we weren't going to move up that much with the way the kart was, we changed the whole front end.  In the pre-final, I yet again picked up numerous positions.  Later on in the race though, I went into a corner to deep and I accidentally took someone out along with my self.  I wasn't able to rebound and I finished in 26th.  The kart had a push so we widened the rear to loosen the kart up.  In the final, I didn't have an opening on the start so I had to hold my position.  Unfortunately, I was taken out a few corners into the race.  I resumed in 28th.  A couple of laps later, two karts behind me got together and I got collected.  I spun off the track and my kart stalled.  I ended up 30th.

The weekend went okay.  We came in with high hopes but didn't leave with much.  Our next race is May 21-23 at the Orlando Kart Center for the Florida Karting Championship Series.

If you plan on joining the booster club, please send your check or cash along with your shirt size.  If you have already paid, please send me an e-mail telling me what your shirt size is.

We are still waiting on that silly helmet camera. 

April 27, 2010

Here is an article that was put on about the Homestead state race.  In the Yamaha Junior final, I went around the outside of Nick Neri at turn during the start.  In turn 3, he bobbled under the pressure.

KPP Junior was dominated by a flawless Nick Neri as he left the action behind him in the final with a +10s lead at the stripe. Behind Neri, 4-cycle convert and Georgia based driver Skylar Robinson had a great race going with Jonathan Kotyk. Kotyk, determined to bring home the silver, tried lap after lap to make a move but a smooth driving Robinson would not allow the chance. Robinson and Kotyk crossed the finish with a narrow gap rounding out the 2nd and 3rd spots on the podium.

Yamaha Junior was another class that has seen many drivers move on to the senior ranks since 2009. This class was dominated by top driver Nick Neri throughout the last season and looked to be a repeat would be in the works with most of Neri's closest competitors having moved up. Neri made qualifying look like a walk in the park and showed the reason he's internationally ranked in the pre-final. However, every dog has it's day and a very sharp Georgia racer by the name of Skylar Robinson had his sights on Neri all day. In the final, Neri bobbled on the start and left the door open for Robinson who took full advantage of the opportunity. Driving wire to wire, Robinson turned in a flawless performance not allowing Neri the chance to make up for his opening error. Neri crossed the line 2nd and behind him, the new challengers in this class battled for position with Colin Warren taking 3rd and showing he is the next threat for Neri to contend with.

April 14, 2010

After our race in Jacksonville two weekends ago,  my dad and I drove down to Clermont, Florida were we stayed at my aunt and uncle's house for several days.  We then traveled to Sebring were we visited my dad's old race team owner, Bob Tullius at his hanger near Sebring International Raceway.  My dad and I worked on the kart all day Wednesday at the Group 44 hanger.  On Thursday, the truck and trailer received a quick wash before we headed over to the raceway where Skip Barber was testing some of their cars.  One of the instructors was kind of enough to let me ride in a Mazda MX-5 around the track.  We then drove down to the Homestead, Florida to the Homestead Karting facility for the Florida Karting Championship Series located just outside the Miami- Homestead Speedway.  After unloading, I did some laps around the track with our Yamaha KT 100 engine because I had never been there.  Unfortunately, our practice clutch seized and we stopped running.  However, we put the faster Komet Piston Port (KPP) engine on to get ready for Friday practice.

On Friday, I was consistently in the top 3 fastest based on time.

Saturday brought race day for the KPP Junior class.  A total of 7 people were competing in the class.  In morning practice, we tried to get back to the times we were running on Friday but we were unable to do so.  In qualifying, I went out at the back of the field despite my dad telling me to go out at the front.  This cost me and I qualified 4th because I was held up by slower traffic.  In the pre-final, I was able to pick up a position at the start but I was passed right back going into turn 4.  The leaders slowly pulled away as my friend, Jonathan Kotyk and I battled for the 3rd position.  About half way through the race, the 2nd place kart pulled off the track because of a broken chain.  I ended up 3rd.  In the final, I managed to move up a position into 2nd were I finished the race.

On Sunday, we were racing in the Yamaha Jr. class.  There was some rain along with thunder and lightning in the first round of practice so we only were able to get one session of practice and that was on rain tires.  The track dried out before qualifying though and we put on new tires.  I still went out at the back of the field but I slowed down on the track quite a bit on my first lap so I wouldn't get held up by slower traffic.  I put down a lap that put me in second for the pre-final.  In the pre-final, I went around the out side of Nick Neri at the start.  Nick then passed me back going into turn 4.  I tried to do a cross over but my timing was off by a hair.  I managed to hang with Neri for a couple of laps but he slowly pulled away.  I ended that race in second.  In the final, I did the same thing to Nick again at the start. I went around the outside of him at turn 1.  But this time, he hit a curb which sent him way out wide.  Jonathan Kotyk was able to capitalize and move into second.  While I pulled away, Nick was held up by Jonathan for a lap.  About half way through the race, I came up on a back marker.  I was able to clear him on the straight.  Neri caught him in the middle of a corner so he had to wait to pass.  I was able to stretch my lead even farther and never looked back.  I am told that Nick hasn't  lost a race in this series for 3 years.  Nick has also won multiple national championships.  He has also been to the Rotax Grand Finals in Egypt.

I am extremely happy to win.  We still need to find a little bit of time and the team manager needs to find a better hotel.  I think our next race is at South Bend, IN on May 1 - 2.  Look forward to updating you!


April 6, 2010

Last Friday, I was out of school so my dad and I went down to Jacksonville to test a little bit because the track was resurfaced.  I like the track a little more than I did before the track was resurfaced because its very smooth.  The only thing I don't like about the track is that the curbs are very tall.  While testing, the carburetor came loose and we lost 8 tenths of a second in one session.  Luckily we found out on Saturday and we tightened it.

On Saturday, I was racing in the Komet Piston Port (KPP) junior class.  There were 5 people in my class and all of them are my friends.  In the first session, I was second quickest.  For the second session, we put newer tires on because the tires that we started the day with were very old.  In the second session, I went the wrong way on the carburetor and we slowed down some.  For qualifying we left the carb were it was.  I was able to put down a lap that put me on pole.  For the pre-final, we slid the front wheels out to loosen up the kart.  This didn't help and it actually made the kart push.  I was able to lead for about 3 laps and then I was passed.  I finished the race in second.  For the final, we went back to where we were on the front wheel width.  On the start,  I managed to take the lead from my second place starting position.  A couple of laps later, my friend Michael passed me back.  The next lap I passed him back.  For the remainder of laps, we went back and forth until there were 2 laps left.  I managed to pull away and win!

Today, we left the Red Roof Inn where we were staying and headed over to my aunt and uncle's house in Clermont, Florida.

Miscellaneous comments: I had a great time at the race.  There was a Ferrari there. My friend's nose bled non-stop for about 10 minutes which was quite amusing to him.

My next race is in Homestead, Florida in the parking lot at the speedway for the state series.  Look forward to updating you!

Hope everyone had a Happy Easter,