Sunday 12-26-99 - DAY ...
Sunday 12-26-99 - DAY #4
After a day off for Christmas, the team was back at it today. We spent the whole day on the Yamaha class. With the pits filling up fast the track time became very limited. Classes were split into Jr. and Sr. sessions, and only 20 karts allowed on the track.
Track conditions are changing with more karts on the track and rubber starting to build up. This along with the track temp going from 55 deg in the morning to close to 75 in the afternoon, then cooling back down around 4:00pm, made for some chassis set up chasing. By the end of the day we had improved our best time by .3 sec and have a good set up for high grip and low grip conditions.
Monday is the last practice day and we plan to run the Cadet, then the HPV. Many more karts are expected and track time will be almost non existent. Tuesday we have our first race - HPV. No pictures today, as things got very busy.
Monday 12-27-99 - DAY #5
The final day of practice went well for Tracc 5. Colin ran the Cadet kart early in the day. Carl Woltjer brought a new engine for us to try, and it was better than our intended race engine. The Woltjer gang has really worked hard for us and we are seeing the results. Times do not mean much now due to all the karts and the draft. For us the draft can reduce lap times as much as .8 seconds.
We ran the HPV class at the end of the day and it ran very well. The very last practice we had 3 of the other fast HPV guys try to line up being us to draft with us and gauge our performance. Colin was smart and acted like he had a problem on the first lap of practice and let them all past. After that we ran faster than anyone else on the track. We made some changes to the kart after the run to tighten it up.
So, going into the first race day here is how I think we stand:
Tuesday race - HPV - Fastest in practice, we run best on high grip track
Wednesday race - Cadet - 3rd fastest, very good in the draft, no preference on track conditions
Thursday race - Yamaha - 5th fastest, best on low grip track.
The Coello racing team showed up today and ran some laps with Jr. driver Andy Rossett0. Andy is new to karting and is adapting well. Todd DeGrand ran his Formula Y Sr. Jolly Kart and his HPV light Jolly kart. He is running the first 2000 Jolly chassis. The kart looks very promising. Each driver has Woltjer power as do we.
Hope to report Tuesday night with the results of our HPV race.
Tuesday 12-28-99 - HPV RACE DAY
Heat #1 - Colin started 2nd and won the 8 lap qualifying heat. He was in a big drafting battle with Ryan Hamilton, and made the pass for first with 2 turns to go.
Heat #2 - Colin started 18th and avoided 2 big crashes in front of him to end up 3rd. If the race was one lap longer he would have won. With these 2 qualifying results Colin would start the main race on the pole.
Final - After a break in the action to put out a big grass fire in the woods next to the race track, and some big crashes that caused red flags our final race started under the lights at 6:30pm. Colin got the jump and lead lap 1. On lap2 Hamilton and Eibeck drafted by Colin. The next lap Colin drafted by both of them to regain the lead. The next 3 laps the 3 traded the lead each lap due to the draft. Colin lead with 4 to go and was much quicker in the infield portion of the track, the FOX chassis working very well in the slippery cold conditions. The next 2 laps saw the Woltjer power keep Colin ahead to bring them down for 1 lap to go. Colin lead onto the long 1,000 ft straight. He pulled to the center of the track, but Hamilton and Eibeck had hooked up in a massive bump drafting push and went by Colin. It was a helpless feeling for us all to watch them just draft by and know Colin could do nothing. Colin tried a pass on the last turn but could not make it stick. At the finish it was:
1st - Ryan Hamilton
2nd - Chris Eibeck
3rd - Colin Braun - Fast lap of the race
4th - Josh Allison
5th - Matt Buyrne
After the race there was some problems with the engine/clutch of Hamilton, and the results are pending further inspection of his engine.
The rest of the Coello team had mixed results. Andy Rossetto had a clutch break in the first heat, and fouled a plug in the second, making him a non qualifier for the main.
Todd DeGrand had good runs in the FY heats but fought a push condition and never got the balance quite right. In HPV light Todd was quickest and started from pole. On the last lap he lead at the end of the long straight and into the flat last turn only to be crashed by the second place driver who never attempted to brake, instead he drove straight into the side of Todd taking them each out. It was a sure win for Todd.
UPDATE ON THE HPV RACE
When we arrived at the track the next morning it was announced that the winner of the HPV race was disqualified for having an illegal clutch. This moved Colin to second place in the official results.
Wednesday 12-29-99 - CADET RACE DAY
HEAT #1 - Colin started 7th in the first qualifying heat. By mid race we knew we were in trouble, as Colin had made no progress. The kart looked like it was handling well, but we could not get off the monza turn onto the back straight very well. By the end Colin was 9th. The lap times were slow and the only thing we could think of was to change the engine for heat 2.
HEAT #2 - Colin started 9th. He passed 2 karts on lap 1 and had to deal with #97 blocking by zig zaging down the back straight. On the next lap Colin was passing #97 on the inside when he decided to zig into Colin. Colin moved to the grass and then #97 turned lower and they touched with Colin having 2 wheels in the grass. Colin drove over the front tire of #97 and was sent into the air. He landed square and kept going. The side pod was crushed and dragging the ground. He ran the last 3 laps and ended up in 4th place. The WKA officials disqualified Colin for "rough driving". We could not believe it!
FINAL - Due to the DQ we started the final in last place (16th). We had changed the chassis set up on a recommendation by Tony Coello, along with a gear change he suggested. Colin got a great start and by drafting he was in 6th place with 3 laps to go. The leaders only 5 seconds ahead of him. Directly ahead was #99, and Branden Webber. At the end of the back straight Webber pulled low to pass #99, Colin went lower to pass #99 and Webber. It was 3 wide with Colin having a big run on the other 2. Webber, in the middle backed off before the turn, and #99 thought he had the turn, so turned directly to the bottom of the race track, only to see Colin 1/2 way past him already. #99 hit Colin right in front of Colin's rear tire and launched Colin into the air. At this point on the track Colin is going over 60 MPH. Colin cleared the track, went over the burm on the outside and continued flying only to be stopped when he landed nose down into the hay bales against the fence. He was in the air for a distance of over 30 ft, and hit very hard. His arm broke the spark plug off in the engine, resulting in a huge bruise. Colin's ribs took a hard blow and he was one sore driver. The axle was bent in 3 spots and the chain came off.
The Fox Pantera Cadet kart was well hooked up and the Woltjer engine was very strong. Tony Coello had hit exactly on what to change. To show how fast we were Colin got the fast time award. This made it fast time in each race we have run this weekend. So it was a very tough day mostly on our drivers body. Thursday we run the Yamaha class if Colin is able to drive.
Thursday 12-30-99 - YAMAHA RACE DAY
Colin was a very sore guy this morning. His right side ribs and right arm were tender to light touch. The morning warm up went well except he could only do 6 laps before the pain was too much. We placed pads on the hip and upper body area to try to keep the ribs off the side of the seat. With 28 karts in the class WKA had to split the heats into 2 groups. The final would be decided by taking the top 12 from each group.
HEAT #1 - We started 5th and Colin was to 3rd by lap 6. As you all know by now the draft is all that matters here. Colin used it to his advantage and made the pass for second with 1 lap to go. On the last lap the lead kart was blocking by weaving side to side and Colin did not want to risk a crash in a qualifying heat. The padding helped, but not much. The kart was very fast and we made no changes for heat 2.
HEAT #2 - Colin started 9th. The traffic was very thick and after clearing a few slow guys had lost touch with the lead pack. He never got a good drafting partner and finished 7th. We had fast time of the 2 groups in heat 2, so the final looked good. After warping Colin's ribs in a tight bandage, he was better in this heat.
FINAL - A 4th starting spot was good and bad. The outside at Jacksonville is a bad place to start, as you can get hung out on the start. This resulted in Colin going to 6th on lap 1. After that he found Nick Sommerfeld to draft with. This pair made ground, caught the lead pack, then Colin passed Nick to take over 5th spot. Brandon Webber came up behind Colin and the 2 traded places with Colin staying in line for 3 laps. They moved into 3rd and 4th using this system, with 3 laps to go. The next lap the Webber / Colin partnership made it to 2nd/3rd. With 2 laps to go it was Hammilton, Webber, Colin. Colin wanted to get in second for the last lap, but the first 2 were too close for him to slot in. On to the back straight for the last time, leader Hammilton went for the middle, Webber to the left (low) side and Colin to the right (high) side. The 3 entered the 65 mph turn at the end of the straight 3 wide, with each going for a national win only 5 seconds away. Hammilton slid high, hit Colin so hard it broke the LF steering rod giving Colin no steering and sending him into the hay and plastic barrel lined fence, not 10 feet from where he hit on Wednesday with the Cadet kart. Webber made it the last 5 seconds to win his first National.
Colin said "I have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place national trophies, and I don't care for any more except 1st place ones". Right after that he said "man I hit my sore ribs again very hard and it hurts now when I breath". We plan X-rays, but he may have cracked his ribs. Travis, the team data guy and chief kart cleaner asked Colin to please crash in cleaner locations next time. The sand and hay make a big mess.
All in all it was a great weekend for Tracc 5. 2 fast times, and a second place in HPV. It was the first time we had a good shot at winning all 3 classes. Actually doing that will be very hard, but we can see that if we keep working it may be possible.
The combination we have of Fox karts, Woltjer engines and Tony Coello teaching us, has come together faster than we could have asked for. Now it is up to us to get the most out of it.
The team will be testing hard between now and the next National in Charlotte in March 2000. Transact Race Engineering Ovalo Texas