First event with ETR

posted Sep 30, 2012, 7:20 AM by Scoob Edoo   [ updated Sep 30, 2012, 7:26 AM ]
We went down to Lenoir City for the Adesa Auto Auction event this weekend and had a blast.  The ETR crew is similar to the old NNJR and SJR crews so it's a smaller region with a homey feel to it.  This event is their biggest, with 106 drivers plus a police challenge, so it was a big of a logistical challenge.  Add in the "dogfight" with the Nashville and Chattanooga folks and it apparently went until about 7 pm.  Luckily Kieran ran first and I worked first and ran second, so we were able to get out of there early and drive back home so Kieran could make the school's "Fly-by-night" running event.

First, let's talk about the course.  The site is a pretty good size, but without a loop would only yield a 40 sec range max course.  So a loop was incorporated in a very cool fashion.  I wish we had the helmet-cam, but I have no idea where it is after the move.  It wasn't with the karts like I'd hoped, so we have no video evidence.  But the course was really cool in that the loop managed to loop back on itself, so the first time around you went down the hill, came back up the side and around to the crossover point and then came up the hill in the same section that we started going down.  Then a really fast, 6th-gear section across the top, then back down to the crossover and across the bottom and into a "thread-the-needle" side section to the final turn.  Excellent design.

So they aren't used to running junior karts very much and they still force them to run all of their runs all at once as sort of the old "Heat Zero" from National events.  I'll work on getting them to at least move to the Philly compromise of 2 and 2 so the kids can think about the course and talk about it with the parents.  For this event, though, it worked to his advantage since it was pretty cool in the morning when he ran, so getting a little extra heat in the tires for the last few runs was helpful for his grip and times.  I wish I'd had some time to tune the carb, but even so he was moving pretty good out there.  He got down in the 67 sec range and was looking good on his control and counter-steering.  I think he was happy to get back in the kart after 3+ months.

In the first heat, after Kieran was finished and when I was working the course, the rain came and made the course a real mess.  It was a short storm, fortunately, but the surface remained wet for a long time in the cloudy conditions.  Luckily they allowed the police challenge to occur between 1st and 2nd heats and the sun came out to almost entirely dry the surface before I ran to start the 2nd heat.  The course drove a little slower than I expected when we walked it, but it really rewarded hitting your braking zones and getting set up for the "straights".  My first run was good to warm the tires a little and set a mark of 55.0 sec.  I knew that I was over-cooking a few of the turns and I wasn't getting set up for the side straight correctly.  So I worked on a section at a time for the 2nd and third runs.  On my third run I had a perfect run going through the side straight (I finally got set up perfectly to thread the needle on the gas) but found that I carried too much speed for the final turn and pushed badly to the finish.  Still an improvement down to 54.1 I think.  I know I lost probably a second in that final turn, but that gave me motivation to get it right for the last run.  And boy did I!  I hit every one of my marks, was set up perfectly for each of the important cones/straights, and was able to stay on the gas through the finish, on line, to drop another 1.3 sec on that run!

The PAX results haven't been published yet, but by my calculation I was about 1.4 sec out of first in PAX, so the Pro class here is strong and the course was friendly to many different cars and classes.  It will be good to hang around here and probably drive the FR-S at some local events where my kart isn't currently allowed.  That means I'll need a little hitch and trailer for Kieran's kart for local events.

Next up: the Philly event while we're up there for Fall break.  And hopefully the 2013 National Tour and ProSolo schedules will be published soon so we can plan for those.