Pole Position Raceway – Jersey City – Winter Racing Series – Race 4 – 40 Lap Endurance Race

Last night was the final race of the Winter Racing Series at Pole Position Raceway in Jersey City. It has been a great 3 weeks of racing, so last night was quite exciting. The points value of last nights races would be doubled. The only way for me to win the league was to be first. Luckily, endurance racing can allow for slips of strategy to allow slower cars to technically finish in higher positions – purely based on strategy. We were told to come in at 7pm to go through a briefing.

The rules of the race were simple. 40 laps. 3 pit stops. When the pit stops were to take place were quite interesting. Based on your qualifying time, positions 1 through 5 had to pit in lap 8-9; leaving positions 6-10 to pit in laps 11-12. After the first pit stop, whichever lap you chose, u had between 8-12 laps to pit. Every lap under or over the 8-12 range was a time penalty. So if you chose lap 8, u had between lap 16-20 to pit, and after that you, assuming u chose lap 19, you had between 27-31. Obviously it varied, but the goal was to get the karts to not do more than 12 laps, since battery power could be a variable at that point.

Knowing all this information, I chose to pit at lap 9, then 21, then 29. This would give me 11 laps in my final stint to try to make up any ground I may have lost while pitting. I thought this strategy would be feasible, but once the race actually started, it was near impossible to keep count as you just get sucked into the race. For the next endurance race, I am definitely gonna have to bring someone with me to tell me when to pit.

Overall, I wasn’t thrilled nor was I disappointed with the race. I enjoyed the concept of endurance racing, especially at Pole Position. Harrison and the guys did a PHENOMENAL job running the event, but I think that having such a “new” type of race, count for the biggest race of the season is kinda silly. It would be a shame for someone who was in 2nd or 3rd place to lose those spots after working so hard for 3 races to build a lead, to lose it completely to lack of strategy, but I guess that is the point.

The one thing I didn’t like was not knowing what position I am in. I guess I am spoiled with video games and with the scoreboard at PP, which tells me what place I am, but unfortunately that didn’t work out too well for me, since it showed P1 as P9!

Another thing I didn’t like was that there would be timing penalties for unequal pitstops but no penalty for bumping. I have never been in an accident on that track, so I don’t know what it feels like to go “under” a barrier, but I was the victim this time and was pushed into and UNDER a barrier by the person who eventually took 2nd place. I hurt my wrist and my knee is bruised. Unfortunate. In addition, this same driver was dive-bombing the gentleman who was in P3 of the league, which eventually forced him to crash. Totally uncool. I understand in racing, you have to go for a gap, but that doesn’t mean that you use other people to brake. Take the pass clean, or be a good little child and stay behind me. ūüôā

The other thing that sucked was in my final stint, my car seat was moved all the way back and couldn’t move forward. Which forced me to run 11 laps in a bad seating position. That is totally not cool. Every kart thats “chosen” for the endurance should have seat movability at the minimum! At the minimum!! Tires, I can understand. But you shouldn’t be forced to have a bad seat. Plus when timing comes into play in the pits when choosing cars, you don’t want to lose a lap to the guy ahead of you because your seat won’t move forward!

Those are my three main criticisms – knowing what position I was in, no penalties or warnings for bumping, and kart “maintenance”.

So the race went well. I qualified tied for 4th, but since the other guy who had 4th place, I suggested that he be in 4th and I be 5th since he had faster laps than me overall. You may ask why I qualified 4th vs. top 3 which I have done all season. Answer is simple. On Super G, you are given 8 laps. I usually piss my first lap away to keep the tires warm. After that, there was a portion of the track that was jutting out. I was a gentleman and decided to clean it up, so another lap was gone. So 6 total laps. I could barely get a rhythm and faltered. I wasn’t fast enough in those 6 laps.

So I qualified p4 moved to p5. The first corner was a bit hairy. P4 moved to P3, and the rest was chaos! I somehow moved to P3 overall. So I supposedly finished the season 2nd place overall. The video is 30 minutes long. Enjoy it.

I get crushed lap 3.

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Pole Position Raceway Jersey City – Winter Racing Series – Race 3

I had high hopes for race 3. It was on Track 2 but in reverse. This was new for everyone on the grid. Practice was fun, i set the fastest mark, 15.900. Qualifying placed me in 3rd, with Brandon B and Bossslayer hitting 15.730 and I hit a 15.800.

Starting P3 in the race was worrisome to me. I know that track 2 is very tight and passing is quite limited on this track. I appreciate everyone in the grid driving cleanly and with tons of etiquette, so I wanted to do the same. I knew that I could probably make a move on P2 on turn 1. I had the racing line and since the tires were cold, the karts would understeer outwards and if I lifted and took the turn slowly, I’d be able to pass. Unfortunately, P2 anticipated the move and closed the door on me. I stuck my nose in a bit, but I backed off. I didn’t want to ruin his race, and there would be a chance 1 or 2 guys could of taken us out. No good! So i backed off. 2 laps later, I got by and moved into P2.

Brandon kept gaining and gaining. He eventually caught up to traffic. I was coming up on P8 or 8, who spun, and I had to move out of the way. What sucked is that all the karts slowed down. But since me and p3 were at a slower pace, we remained in speed 1, where as everyone else was coasting from top speed setting, so they gained a crap load of ground on us. At this point, the race was over. I finished P2 and Brandon has slowly pulled away with #1. Brandon destroyed his previous best with a 15.510s. Jesus H Christ. I managed a 15.700.

Here is the video of the race. Sorry for the angle of the video, its a bit low. Need to move it up a bit.

Next week is a big race. Its a 40 lap Super G endurance race with 3 pit stops. Need to pit at the right time and may have my buddies come by to monitor!

Pole Position Raceway – Winter Racing Series – Race 2

Race 2 was quite the runaway. We ran on track 2. Brandon B – who had finished P2 in the first race – qualified with a track record shattering 15.730 and i followed suit in a 15.900 (which was 2nd fastest). He lined up first and he pulled away lap after lap. There was no way I could catch him. Brandon swept fastest time of the day, qualifying, and race.

We finished top 2. I am now #2 in the standings, 2 points behind Brandon.

Here is the video:

Pole Position Jersey City – Winter Racing Series 2012 – First Race

Its been some time since I have written to you guys.  Happy holidays and a happy new year to you all.  I have been go karting like a mad man.  60 times since October 1, 2011.  My local go karting track, Pole Position Raceway (P2R) of Jersey City created a Winter Racing League.  10 drivers, 4 races, 4 different tracks.  I signed up and last night was the first race of the series.  Here is my experience.

I was pretty nervous going into the race last night, not because I feared my own abilities, I know that I can put down some good lap times, my fear was that perhaps there were others that I had never raced with that could put down even better lap times than I could. Either way, I went and was greeted by familiar faces at PP Рthe employees.  Everyone I was racing with, I had no idea who they were.

So I walk in, and I see a bunch of older guys.  I am thinking Рok muscle car owners? these guys have no chance. then i see they all have their own helmet and they are not open faced Рso i say, ok Motorcycle guys Рcould be different Рas those guys have no understanding of whats safe and whats not safe Рthey go balls to the wall.  ok this could get interesting.

we wait until 7:30 and meet up with Harrison (tall dude always wearing black). ¬†he went over the points rules (17.5 points for p1 in qualifying – 35 points for p1 in race -time doesn’t matter during the race – and 3 points for fastest lap of the night in either qualifying or race).

pretty much the breaks in between the races are either 1 race or 5 minute break.

so on came practice. i let people pass, warmed up the tires for 1 lap, and off we went. i managed a 21.380 or something in practice. p1.

qualifying came Рsince i had qualified p1, i was out first. spent the first lap warming up, but thats when i ran into issues. not with the kart, but with the fact that there were 10 people on the track.  i was catching up with people so quickly, there was traffic every lap! so the best i could muster was a 21.440 over and over. then saw my name slip to 2nd, as someone hit a 21.410. i buckled down and aimed for a low 21.2, but could only manage a 21.340.  P1 for the race.

then came the race.  a bit nerve wracking since this was 9 people that i had never raced with. i had no idea what they would do, or how they would react in certain situations.  when we drive on the track in our real cars, we prefer to drive with people we know, so there is a sense of predictability.

either way, it was too late for that so we lined up on the grid. off we went. no problem in turn 1. the inside line is good enough, but since the tires are cold and you have to lift, if you want to be a dick about it in p2, you could really take that hard and see what happens. i have yet to do that, would like to and see how that works.  i move away from p2 and p3. i have about a kart length.  this is when i ran into more issues.  the front right tire was low or SOMETHING was off about the car. on my 2nd lap, the car just felt so bad. not cold tires bad, but almost moving to the right bad.  something about the front end felt very light.  i had to fight through that.

i kept going and the guy who qualified p3 moved to p2 and he was on my ass the entire time. now i wasn’t trying to set a fast lap, i was protecting my lead and closing the door every turn. ¬†trying to be as consistent as i could be and make zero to no errors.

now comes the most annoying part about the winter racing series. traffic. ¬†by lap 12 of the 15 lap race, i was coming up on p10. ¬†it was a nicer older guy so i didn’t want to spin him, but what i did want to do was pass him in a place where only I could pass him and p2 would have to be held up behind him or something along those lines – so i could build a gap and then turn on the afterburners and try to make the gap bigger with the remaining 3 laps.

it was the final hairpin on track 1 Рso the one before scoreboard straight. i was coming up on p10 hard and took the inside line which led me to understeer out of the turn. unfortunately p10 moved to the right instead of maintaining his line, so p2 also slipped through. so there i was, p1 middle of the track and i see p10 on my right rear bumper and i see p2 on my left rear bumper.  i had to hold him off.  on the main straight near the kink right under the scoreboard, i moved to the left so he had no choice but to brake or spin me out. at that point i needed to close the door on him.  it worked, he braked and he lost some time, but was still at a good pace behind me.

2 more careful laps and i finished first.  he actually ran a better time on the race than i did Рhe got a 21.340 where i managed a 21.4 (clean racing lap)

conclusions:

the winter racing series is interesting.  would i endorse it? yes for the race stories. its a good time. you have drivers who know what they are doing and look at the flags.  the level of competition is pretty good as well!

traffic – its a part of racing, but it comes up really quickly on you. especially when the races are 15 laps long, u come up to traffic in the 10+ lap point, and thats when it gets dicey if you are battling with p2. fortunately, these guys are good guys, and during qualifying and practice, if they saw a blue flag, they moved over immediately.

racing vs. arrive and drive. ¬†honestly, i prefer arrive and drive right now, maybe i will change my mind later on in the series. I find that its nicer to go there with your buddies and set lap times. ¬†obviously racing is another beast and way more strategy goes into place, but I’ve been in the mind set of trying to beat a specific time, so i was happy i had a p1 sweep, but somewhat unhappy that i had to share ftd (fastest time of day). ¬†my goal isn’t to win, its to dominate with no mercy (strike first, strike hard, no mercy).

All in all, it was a great time. ¬†I really enjoyed the level of competition and can’t wait for next weeks race – Track 2. ¬†Time to practice.

Here is the video of the first race:

Finally arrived … Evolve CF CSL Airbox

I put my name on the group buy for the EVOLVE CF CSL Airbox a few months ago. ¬†I was expecting to take delivery of the air box in March or April, but got a surprise e-mail from Evolve on December 12, 2011, telling me the air box was ready to be shipped. ¬†I was ecstatic, but also panicked because I wasn’t expecting to pay for it so soon! ¬†Either way it worked out and it has arrived. ¬†After spending a day at Customs and getting stuff cleared, it arrived today.

It came in a really big box, bigger than I thought. ¬†No evident crumples or dents, so I was hoping for the best. ¬†Opened up the box and was amazed at how BEAUTIFUL this piece is. ¬†I definitely will be cleaning my engine bay more often! I am so glad I went with 1×1 CF glossy. ¬†For me, its the nicest looking CF weave pattern. ¬†Although not the same as the weave of the OEM CSL Airbox, I will be quite happy with 1×1 since the other CF on my car is 1×1. ¬†Only sad thing, a minute detail, I was box #008. ¬†I was praying to the gods that I would be #007. ¬†Oh well!

Here are some pictures.  Will be taking it to my buddy Lightwerkz for a professional photoshoot.  Install will come when the weather is a bit nicer and I have a few more parts to replace while the OEM air box is out.

 

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Custom Helmet Paint Job

As a very big Formula 1 fan, I decided that I wanted to get a custom helmet paint job this offseason. I found a fellow over on Bimmerforums who was painting helmets and had done some amazing jobs.

I contacted him and I gave him an idea of what I wanted my helmet to look like. I wanted to have something about Senna – but decided to go with an Indian flag theme. Narain Karthikeyan, a F1 driver for HRT, has an indian flag inspired helmet when he was racing in GP2. I loved how his helmet looked.

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We decided to go with that, but I wanted to add a Michael Schumacher grid on the halo. So we came up with this idea.

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The back of the helmet, I wanted a black area, and a track map of the Nordschleife, since I drove it in 2010, I wanted to have it on the back, but in gold.

I then purchased a HJC AR-10-2 Helmet in White and sent it to him.

Here are pictures from start to finish.

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Schumacher Grid Halo

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Nordschleife

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My name:

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Clearcoated

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Senna Love

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Winter Practice

So the season is over. The M3 is going to get an oil change and I am waiting for my Evolve CF Airbox – which should be here in a few months I believe. Until then, how do we continue to get our itch scratched?

GO KARTING!

Me and my three buddies have been frequenting Pole Position Raceway in Jersey City. This building is huge and is a great place for indoor electrical go karts. GPNY in Mt.Kisko is great, but an hour away is a pain in the ass, especially for last minute trips like last night!

Pros:
-low traffic area – exit 14B off NJTP
-relatively cheap – $20 races / sometimes $15
-only gets busy on saturdays and sundays
-karts are quick
-challenging track

The cons at this place are
-no elevation changes
-super g should be open all the time – and closed off when kids need to use track 2
-race matching sucks – you can get experienced guys on the track with first timers – that don’t look at the blue flag
-car consistency – its rare, but once in a while you will get a car that has shot tires or a shot alignment.

For $20 a race, you can’t go wrong. PP also has $15 race nights, where you can buy unlimited races.

There are two tracks at Pole Position – Track 1 and Track 2. Monday nights they combine them and call it a Super G track. The following videos are on track 1.

Good times on this track are anything below 22 seconds. The track record is 20.6 I was told.

My personal best – 21.490 –

Thanks for reading.