June 13, 2013
My first visit to the Silverstone Circuit was fun, but quite frustrating. For the third round of the Formula Ford National Championship, we would use the National configuration. The weekend didn't start off very well as I had an engine blow up the first session. However, the team did a great job to put a new engine in and not lose too much track time as I only missed one session. Saturday was a day off as we wouldn't be scheduled to qualify and race until Sunday
On Sunday, we started off with a 15 minute qualifying session. I didn't have a great session and qualified P7 for Race 1. The start of the race went well and picked up a few spots. I then drove up to 4th where I finished the race. For the second race, I would have to start 9th as grid positions were set by each competitors second quickest qualifying time. It would be safe to say that I took the "Balls to the wall" approach and I drove my way up to 3rd by the third lap. Unfortunately, I got a little bit to ambitious trying to make a move for 2nd, which resulted in contact. I continued after dropping back to last and losing massive amounts of time, but with a bent track rod. With the remaining laps, I made my way up to 10th.
I was a bit disappointed with my results. I had some good pace, especially in Race 2, but I made a costly mistake that hurt my chances at a strong finish. My next race is June 23 at the historic Mallory Park. I'll keep you posted!
June 7, 2013
Just arrived here in Silverstone for the second round of the BRSCC Avon Tyres Formula Ford National Championship! I will be staying on an RAF base near the track with my teammate and his family, so it should be fun! I'll post updates about testing tomorrow and the qualifying session and both race on Sunday on my Facebook fan page, Skylar Robinson Motorsports. Also, updates will be posted on Twitter and you can follow me @SRMotorsports6. Looking forward to keeping you updated!
May 17, 2013
After a busy week of testing, simulating, and yes, even studying, the team and I made our way to the Anglesey Circuit in Wales for the second round of the BRSCC Avon Tyres Formula Ford National Championship.
The race weekend at the coastal circuit commenced on Friday with four 20 minute practice sessions. All went well and I was one of the top 5 fastest headed into qualifying on Saturday. Qualifying was tricky as it was in damp conditions. However, I ended up 5th. By the time the first race rolled around, it was dry. I had a good start, and even though I didn't gain any positions, I didn't lose any either. I was able to position myself and make up a couple of spots with in the first couple of laps to move up to 3rd, where I finished. Once again, I would have to start in 5th for Race 2 as the grid was set by your second fastest qualifying lap. Before the race was underway, the track was hit with a large amount of rain, essential guaranteeing that we would be racing in the wet. I had a good start off the line and I jumped up to 4th. Several laps later, I made a move for 3rd and started to run down the two leaders. Luckily, 2nd place made a mistake and went off track moving me into 2nd. However, several laps later, 3rd place got by me and I fell back to 3rd. With several laps to go the top 2 started to battle, enabling me to join the battle for the win on the last lap. I was able to slip by 2nd with two wheels in the wet grass going into the tightest turn on the track. However, he was able to get under me going into the next turn. I then pulled a cross over move and secured 2nd spot. With a slight gap to 1st, I started to try and run down the leader, but I ran out of time and ended up P2.
Overall, I had a much better weekend than the first round at Oulton Park. I felt much more comfortable in the car and I can't wait until the next round at the famed Silverstone Circuit!
May 8, 2013
I will be heading back to the UK for the second round of the BRSCC Avon Tyres Formula Ford National Championship this week. I am super excited and can't wait to "redeem" myself after the last outing at Oulton Park. Before the race weekend commences, I will be doing a half day test at Mallory Park to work on my shifting. Additionally, I will have some more time on the F3 simulator to learn the Anglesey Circuit. The track looks incredible as it is right on the Welsh coast over looking the water. Check out the picture below!
April 17, 2013
As soon as the Skip Barber weekend ended, we were off to England for the first round of the BRSCC Avon Tyres Formula Ford Championship. Since we arrived several days before the race weekend started, we took the time to prepare for the weekend.
On Tuesday, the team and I made a custom fitted seat for the car. This involves an expanding foam mixture which forms to your body so you don't move around in the car.
Wednesday was my first day on track in the Formula Ford. The day went well besides a couple of problems we had with the engine misfiring.
Thursday started off with a trip to the West-Tec F3 simulator. The sim involved a carbon fiber F3 tub (in other words, the cockpit), steering wheel, pedals, gear shift lever, and 3 monitors. It was a great way to get some time at the Oulton Park circuit, one of the most challenging in the UK. It was a ton of fun for sure, and it was super cool how you could collect data form the sim and analyze it the way you would at the track. After that, we swung by an English McDonald's before we headed to Oulton. The rumors are true, their Medium drinks are smaller than our Small drinks!
Friday was my first full day in the car. It started off wet, but dried out as the day went on. I made progress throughout the day which I was pleased with, but I was having trouble getting used to the H-pattern gear box. The Skip Barber cars have a sequential, which means the gear shift lever just goes straight forward and backward.
Saturday was race day with qualifying and two races. I had a solid qualifying effort putting the car P5 for my first Formula Ford race, At the start of the first race, I fell back a bit as I didn't have a good jump off the line as it was my first standing start. I fell back to 6th or 7th, but I drove my way back up to the battle for 3rd. After making my way up to 3rd on the last lap, I messed up a down shift and spun. I was able to continue, but I fell back to 7th were I finished. Race 2 didn't go any better. After a much better start, I started to move my way up. Continuing to get faster and faster every lap, I feel that I had a good shot at the podium. Once I got up to 5th, I made a slight mistake which had a big consequence. I turned up a little bit to early for a turn and the tire barrier at the apex took the right front corner off the car. That pretty much ended my race.
Overall, my trip to England was definitely a success. There are a couple of things I need to work on, especially shifting. But, it was great to work with the team (Cliff Dempsey Racing) and my teammate. I had a great time and I can't wait to go back!
Check out a lap of Oulton! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IC8TOl-3jg&list=UUtPeU_OjyIi9Qw9tzFM5qjw&index=1
April, 9, 2013
I traveled to the Sebring International Raceway for the final round of the Skip Barber Winter Series this past weekend. After two rainy practice days, I was ready for some dry racing on Saturday.
I qualified 5th for Race 1. At the start of Race 1, I was able to avoid contact between the 3rd and 1st place drivers and move up to 3rd. But, going into the next turn, I was a bit too cautious trying to avoid a penalty for contact and I was pushed out wide moving me back to 8th. I then made my way back to 3rd within the next few laps. For the remainder of the race, I battle with two others for 3rd and barely missed out on the podium, finishing in 4th. I was able to hold my 4th place starting position for Race 2. Several laps later, the top 3 started to pull away and I ended up battling with 5th. On the last lap, he was able to get around me with help from the massive draft that develops on the long back straight. I finished Race 2 in 5th, but a penalty assigned to the 2nd place finisher moved me up to 4th.
I think I could have been more aggressive on the starts, but I ended up 3rd in the championship with Rookie of the Year and also an entry into the Champions Shootout in which you compete for a USF2000 ride.
Right now, I'm in England and today I was fitted for my seat. Tomorrow, I hit the track for my first time in a Formula Ford, and this weekend will be my first Formula Ford race!
March 11, 2013
I am excited to announce that over the summer, I will be moving up to British Formula Ford. I can't wait to go against the competition and discover a new country! Check out my press release here! http://www.eformulacarnews.com/news_info.php?n=12106&sid=5e70c3c6a585a40b10a69faee4516ad
February 14, 2013
Ready for an awesome weekend in Sebring! Today, we hit the track for lapping. I will be looking to rebound, especially after a tough weekend in Homestead. I will keep you updated! Also, I would like to announce a new partner- C.J. Robinson Wax
January 23, 2013
This past week, my dad and I traveled down to the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the third round of the Skip Barber Winter Series. Going into the weekend, I only had a 3 point lead over second place in the the championship standings. A couple of strong runs would be critical to increase my lead.
Practice on Thursday and Friday went well, but I would need some speed to be able to challenge for wins.
Qualifying for my first group went well... until I went off track due to a brake problem. This resulted in a penalty that moved me from 2nd all the way back to 15th. I knew for the race I would have to have a great start so I could draft the leaders. Unfortunately, I didn't have the best of starts and by the time I cleared the second pack, the leaders were too far ahead. I kept pushing though, and I went off track. I received a drive through penalty and finished Race 1 in 12th.
Things looked much more promising in qualifying for my second group. I posted the 3rd fastest lap and kept the car on track. I had a good start for Race 2 and I moved up 2nd before the first turn. Later that lap, I made my bid for the lead and took the spot. After leading for a couple of laps, 2nd place tried to pass me, but I held on to the spot. This slowed both of us down and it allowed the second lead pack to catch up. Several laps later, 2nd once again made a move for the lead, but this time took the spot. I then popped to the inside going into a hairpin with no intentions of passing to distract the leader, and he let me go under braking. The next turn he tried to repass me. Unfortunately, a guy from 5th who was making a pass on 4th braked too late and collected us both ending my race. Check out the video from Race 2 at the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqxNf4vBDjQ&list=UUtPeU_OjyIi9Qw9tzFM5qjw&index=1.
It was a tough weekend, especially from a points stand-point. I'll just have to get them next race weekend!
January 16, 2013
After a solid start to the Skip Barber Winter Series, I am looking to increase my points lead this weekend in Homestead, Florida. There will be some tough competition so it should be a ton of fun! You can follow me on Twitter, Skylar Robinson@SRMotorsp0rts, and on Facebook at Skylar Robinson Motorsports for updates throughout the weekend. Looking forward to updating you!
December 13, 2012
This past week, I traveled across the country to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California for the second round of the Skip Barber Winter Series. This round would utilize the condensed format which means we would have official practice and qualifying on Friday and Race 1 and Race 2 would both take place on Saturday. After participating in a lapping day on Thursday, and a official practice on Friday, I was ready for the Friday Qualifying session.
During Qualifying, I didn't have the best run and I ended up 7th out of 15. There was room for improvement regarding my driving so I was still confident going into the races.
The Race 1 start was quite crazy. However, I wasn't able to advance my position until the second lap. After moving up to 6th, there was a caution that bunched the field up. A couple of people in front of me had to serve drive through penalties for contact, so I moved up a couple of spots under caution. After the restart, I lost some ground to the lead pack. I then started to catch the top 3, but I locked up a bit going into the hard braking zone of turn 2. This caused me to lose some ground. Thankfully, another caution came out enabling another bunching up of the field. As we took the green flag for the final time, there was only one lap to go. I didn't have a great restart and there was a little bit of distance between me and the leaders. Luck was on my side though and going into the famed Corkscrew, the top 2 made contact. This enabled me to catch the leaders. I passed one of the leaders who was involved in the contact which moved me up to 3rd. Going into the last turn, I made a very aggressive pass under the brakes to take 2nd. Even though I crossed the start/finish line in 2nd, 1st place was penalized for the contact which moved me up to P1! That made two race wins in a row!
For Race 2, everybody would draw a new car. I was quite optimistic starting in pole position but, after a couple of laps in my new car, I realized I was down on power as the car would only turn 5,700 rpms versus the typical 6,000 rpms. I fell back to 7th where I finished. After the race, an official Skip Barber test driver confirmed that the car was a second and a half off the pace.
It was a good weekend overall, as I collected some critical points which should move me up in the championship standings. I am not very pleased with the Race 2 result, however I believe I did my best given the situation. The link to the Race 1 video is http://youtube/EFyLlEwBBGE
December 6, 2012
Tomorrow I'll be hitting the track at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California! I'm looking forward to keeping the momentum going after a great race two at Road Atlanta. I will have practice on Thursday and Friday, a qualifying session on Friday, and two races on Saturday. Follow me on Twitter Skylar Robinson@SRMotorsp0rts and like Skylar Robinson Motorsports on Facebook for daily updates!
November 14, 2012
This past week, my dad and I traveled to the famed Road Atlanta circuit for a Skip Barber 2 Day Advanced School. I showed good progression throughout the school so we decided to run the Skip Barber Winter Series race during the weekend. In order to prepare for the race, I ran a lapping day and a practice day. Both went well and I learned a lot.
In qualifying, I posted the 3rd quickest time about a second off the leaders. However I didn't have a draft which makes a massive difference in the Skip Barber Formula 2000 cars. I was super excited for my race. This would be my first time racing a car. I had a good start and I was able to pick up a spot going into turn 1. I pulled up alongside the leader, but decided to play it safe and back out before we went side-by-side through the esses which would have been really hairy! Once we got to the back straight, I was passed by Colton Herta, son of former Indy Car driver Bryan Herta. I tucked in behind him going into 10a. Due to a misjudgment on my part, I rear ended him. That ended my race and would surely make Race 2 difficult as the starting grid is set by the finishing order of Race 1.
For Race 2 I had my work cut out for me. I would be starting 12th out of 13 cars. The start went well for me and I picked up a couple of spots. There was a restart though and the field was bunched back together. Yet again, I had another solid start and I went 3 wide going into turn 3, picking up 2 spots in the blink of an eye. As the race progressed, I picked my way through the field until I found myself in the lead with a solid gap to 2nd place who was Colton. Lapped traffic slowed me down a bit and this enabled Colton to catch back up. He passed me with 3 laps to go after having a good run onto the front straight. With 2 laps to go, I just chilled behind him down the long back straight because I wanted to wait until the last lap to pass him. He brake checked me though and I decided to pass going into the heavy braking zone of 10a. I pulled off the move and prepared for a gnarly last lap battle. Going down the long back straight, he got another epic draft and completed the pass... for a turn. I had the crossover move set up, so I got the better run out of 10b, and passed him going into the last turn for the win!
It feels great to go from zero to hero in less than 24 hours. It's also nice to have a good result to close out the weekend. I didn't drive a perfect race, but I learned a lot over the course of the week. The on board video from the race is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJy5BVQva64. It may be long, but you won't regret watching it!
November 5, 2012
This upcoming week, I will be heading to the track that plays host to the Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta. I am looking forward to this 2 day advanced Skip Barber School, especially after having a tough Karting Scholarship Shootout. Also, it'll be great to get back in a race car again. There is no live coverage or results for the event, so I will let you know how I progress through "The Last Lap" and my Facebook fan page titled Skylar Robinson Motorsports.
October 22, 2012
Over the course of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I would be competing in the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. This is very much an international event, with Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama all being represented along with the United States. Points would be scored based on your best lap time, your average lap time, and finally, a judges' score. Whoever had the highest number of total points would be awarded a full season in either the Skip Barber Winter or Summer Series. Other prizes included various amounts of money to be spent on the Winter or Summer Series.
Day 1: Day 1 began with car recovery skills on the skid pad in Mazda RX 8s. We also did some autocross in the Skip Barber Formula 2000s, and Mazda 3s. Away from driving, we had an interview with Bob Varsha and David Hobbs, two members of the Speed Channel F1 broadcast crew. Also, we had a street driving classroom course.
Day 2: Day 2 was definitely exciting. It would be my first time on the VIR South Course. There was definitely some intense elevation change! But first, we had multiple classroom courses, ranging from media training to sponsorship, and also driver preparation. My first session on track went quite well as I was the quickest in my group. The instructors gave me some stuff to try and work on. However, I didn't pick up any speed. The instructors had more stuff for me to try for the next day to find some time.
Day 3: Day 3 started off with some problems. I picked up over a second from the previous day and posted the 2nd best lap time of the group, but I ended up going off track and bending a front wing due to a shifting problem. After receiving more feedback from my instructors, I was ready for round 2. For the second session of the day, I had to put the first session out of my mind and act like it never happened. Thankfully, practice 2 went well and I posted my personal best time by .6 of a second and ended up 3rd in the group.
I definitely had some ups and downs. The penalty points resulting from the crash really hurt me, too. I ended up with the 10th highest score despite the penalty points. Overall, it was a great experience. I can't wait to get back in a car again!
October 1, 2012
This past week, my dad and I traveled to the historic Sebring International Raceway for the Skip Barber 3 Day Racing School for my first time in a formula race car! Over the course of the event, we would run the short course, not the full course. With over 15 drivers from countries ranging from Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, and the U.S., we would be split into 2 different groups.
Day 1: After a classroom session explaining weight transfer, we headed to a small autocross course in order to get used to how the cars felt. After that, we worked on the toe-heeling technique. And by the end of the day, we were on track running laps with a stop box on the front straight. The stop box is to prevent us from reaching top speed on the front straight, and it enables the instructors to give us driver coaching via radio.
Day 2: Once again, the day started off with another classroom session explaining how a friction circle works and threshold braking. We hit the track again, this time going at a slightly higher speed, and practicing threshold braking going into a tight decreasing radius turn off the long back straight. At the end of the day, we lapped the famed circuit some more, while increasing our speed.
Day 3: The third day's classroom session included talks on over-taking, rain racing, and race starts. At the beginning of the day we practiced lines that would be used for overtaking. We then practiced race starts and restarts. I must say that I was quite nervous when the Brazilian in our group was starting right behind me. Thankfully, everything turned out well and I we moved onto The final two sessions. These included lapping at speed without the stop box.
I had an awesome time, and I am really looking forward to the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout at Virginia International Raceway October 15-17. With a first place prize awarding a full season in the Skip Barber Summer or Winter Series (Skip Barber National Series), the competition is surely to be intense. The link to the helmet cam video from the school is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF8bGxJEOvw&feature=results_video. We were limited to 4,000 rpm's that session on the second day.
September 21, 2012
New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana hosted the final race of the season for the Man Cup Series this past weekend. After having a great weekend there at the Great Lakes Sprint Series, I was confident I would be a threat for a win. We showed some good speed on Friday especially in Komet.
Even though I wasn't able to get a win, I still had a good drive in Yamaha Jr. Lite. After qualifying 19th out of 45 drivers, I was going to have a lot of work to do in the final and pre-final. In the pre-final, I moved my way up to 13th in the 8 lap race. I felt that this would be a good position for the start of the final because I wouldn't be on the outside at the first couple of turns. At the start of the final, I picked up a couple of spots. I kept on moving through the field to 5th place. With the top 4 drafting away from the rest of the field, I knew it was going to be difficult to catch them. After settling into a draft train, Sam Cate, Ashley Rogero, and I broke away from the rest of the field. However, the last lap would become quite chaotic. For most of the track I took a defensive line in order to make it more difficult to pass, especially down the long back straight before the last turn. Ashley, who has been known to push people off the track, pushed me down the straight. As we approached the last turn, it became quite evident that she planned on using the chrome horn. However, I braked early to prevent myself from flying off the track. It worked as I held on to the final podium spot.
It was definitely not the weekend I was looking for to close out my Junior karting career. But, on a positive note, I will be going to a 3-day Skip Barber Driving School in Sebring, Florida! This will be my first time in a race car so I am extremely excited.
September 10, 2012
This upcoming weekend, I will be heading up to the New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana for the final round of the World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup. After having good success during the Great Lakes Sprint Series at New Castle Motorsports Park, we are looking to keep the ball rolling. You can follow me live at http://www.worldkarting.com/index.php/live on Saturday and Sunday in the Komet Jr. Lite and Heavy classes and the Yamaha Jr. Lite and Heavy classes.
September 6, 2012
This past weekend, I headed up to New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana for the fifth and final round of the Great Lakes Sprint Series. After a decent weekend at Concept Haulers Motorspeedway in Norway, Illinois, we were looking to improve.
We struggled quite a bit during the morning part of Friday practice. However, we switched out Komet engines and we picked up a whole second. I was quite a bit quicker than the rest of the field for the remainder of the day.
In Komet Jr. Lite, we were quickest in morning warm up in dry conditions. By the time qualifying rolled around, it was raining so we put on wet weather tires. I qualified 2nd but I was quite a bit off pole time. The pre-final was run in the dry. After getting a good start, I held on for the win. Shortly after, rain once again began to fall and it became quite evident that we would be racing the final on a wet track. I had a good start and by the end of the first lap, I had about a two second lead. I continued to stretch the gap for the remainder of the race. When I crossed the finish line, it had amassed to a little over twelve seconds. In addition to leading every lap, I set fast lap by half a second.
I am pleased with the weekend as we did well across the board. With strong results, including multiple poles, pre-final wins, and a final win in Komet Jr. Heavy, I am very excited for the upcoming Manufacturers Cup in two weeks.
You can catch the last couple of laps of the Komet Jr. Lite final at the following link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwplPu2Bte0&feature=channel&list=UL
August 6, 2012
After such a tough weekend at the last national in South Bend, Indiana, we were out for vengeance at the fifth of six rounds of the World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup.
Friday practice went very well in Komet. We were consistently one of the top five fastest karts. However, in Yamaha, we struggled quite a bit. Fortunately, we were able to find some speed for race day, though.
The best race of the weekend was Yamaha Jr. Heavy, even though we didn't have the best results. I started off morning practice strongly and continued the momentum into qualifying were I posted the 2nd quickest time. The start to the pre-final didn't go to well though as the pole sitter didn't leave me much room at the exit of turn one. I ended up going wide. As I tried getting back into the racing line, I was then spun around. I was able to resume from the 25th spot and drive up to 17th in the short 8 lap race. The final went better, until around the fourth or fifth lap. After driving my way up to 8th or so in the first couple of laps, I tried to make an out braking move to slip into 7th. Unfortunately, contact ensued and I was sent flying off the track, only to rejoin around 20th position. I then put my head down once again and fought my way up to 15th.
All in all, it was a good weekend. Even though I was only able to get one podium, it was a 2nd place in Komet Jr. Heavy, one of the classes we have been struggling in. I was also able to sit on pole and lead over half of the final race in that class. We were quick in Yamaha, but the chips just didn't fall our way.
August 5, 2012
This upcoming weekend, I will be heading to Norway, Illinois for the fifth round of the World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup. We showed good speed at the Great Lakes Sprint Series so I am confident that we will run up front in the Yamaha Jr Lite and Heavy classes and the Komet Jr Lite and Heavy classes. You can follow me live on Saturday and Sunday at the following link http://www.worldkarting.com/index.php/live.
July 24, 2012
After a lengthy drive on Wednesday to Concept Haulers Motor Speedway in Norway, Illinois, we ended up practicing all day Thursday so I could learn the track since that was my first time there.
Official practice on Friday also went quite well, and I was one of the quickest in my classes.
Yamaha Jr. Heavy was probably the best race of the weekend. After qualifying 3rd, I knew I would have to get a good jump on the start to have a shot at the pre-final win. I did just that, and I forced my way into 2nd going into turn 1. However, a couple of turns later I was passed for 2nd. Around halfway, I once again I moved into 2nd and set my sights on 1st. After a couple of laps I made my bid for the lead and took away the top spot, only to be passed again. I was able to stay close enough to 1st to make a passing attempt going into turn 1 on the last lap. It stuck and I held on for the pre-final win. At the start of the final, outside pole and I were relegated to the 2nd row due to leading the field down too fast to several attempted starts. This would make the final much more challenging as I was not able to get around 2nd at the start. This cost me as 4th was able to find a way around me. After running in a pack for several laps, 3rd place made a move for 2nd. I saw an opportunity to possibly pick up a position, but I made the wrong call and it cost me dearly. I lost tons of ground and two positions. I was able to make up the two I lost to finish 4th.
The weekend well even though I made a couple of mistakes that cost us. We were quick and I feel confident we will be even better when its time for the nationals.
July 10, 2012
After having strong results at the Great Lakes Sprint Series race at the Michiana Raceway Park, we were looking for the same at the WKA Manufacturers Cup this past weekend. Unfortunately, we struggled quite a bit and our results were not what we hoped for.
The best result of the weekend was in Yamaha Jr. Heavy. After having a poor qualifying effort, I would line up 19th for the pre-final. However, I would make my way up to 12th for the final. In the final, I was able to advance to 11th before the checkered flag fell.
Hopefully, we will find some speed as well as other elements before the next race and be a force to be reckoned with.
July 3, 2012
Big weekend coming up! Our team will be heading up to the Michiana Raceway Park in South Bend, Indiana for the fourth round of the WKA Manufacturers Cup. You can follow me on Saturday and Sunday at the following link http://www.worldkarting.com/index.php/live. I will be racing in the ultra-competitive Yamaha Jr Lite and Heavy classes as well as the Komet Jr Lite and Heavy classes. And if you are on Facebook, be sure to like my new page, Simple Machines Racing! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Simple-Machine-Racing/354613181233905.
Look for me up front!
June 25, 2012
After a short, one week break, my dad and I were back on the road again. This time we would be heading down to Jacksonville, Florida for the final race of the Florida Karting Championship Series. We would only be running in the KPP Jr. class as my dad and I both felt that we needed to run the kart more to make sure we are prepared for the Manufacturers Cup national in two weeks.
We practiced on Thursday and also on Friday during official practice. We tried lots of stuff on the kart on both days, but we still needed a lot of speed for race day.
In morning warm up, we were decent, but we needed a lot of speed to contend for the win. In qualifying, I posted the 2nd quickest lap time. However, we were quite a bit off the pole time. In the pre-final, I jumped from my 2nd place starting position to the lead. I led the first two laps, but fell back to 2nd were I finished. Unfortunately, I was penalized for excessive head dipping. This resulted in a last place starting position (6th) for the final. The start of the final was quite good for me as I picked my way up 3rd before the first lap was over. By the second lap, I had moved up to 2nd. I didn't have the speed to run down the leader, or pull away from 3rd. This resulted in a battle for 2nd throughout the whole race. Despite being stung by a wasp that had found its way into my drivers suit, I pulled through for the runner-up position.
Both my dad and I feel that we are improving in the KPP class. However, we aren't able to contend for wins quite yet. I am looking forward to the next national in two weeks at the Michiana Raceway Park in South Bend, Indiana.
June 20, 2012
As you may already know, my dad and I are heading down to Jacksonville, Florida for the final round of the Florida Karting Championship Series. This is our last race before the Manufacturers Cup national in South Bend, Indiana. You can follow me live on Saturday in KPP Jr at the following link http://www.flwkasprintseries.com/fkcslive/index.php.
Hope you can tune in!
June 19, 2012
After a month long break since my last race, I was anxious to get back into the kart at the third round of the Great Lakes Sprint Series in South Bend, Indiana at the Michiana Raceway Park (MRP). Similarly to the Pittsburgh International Race Complex Great Lakes Sprint Series race, we wanted to use this weekend as a test for the upcoming Manufacturers Cup race at MRP.
Even though I would be competing in four competitive classes, Yamaha Jr. Heavy was the one that stood out to me.
After clocking in the second quickest lap time during qualifying, I set myself up nicely for the pre-final. I had a great start to the pre final and I grabbed first place around the outside of turn 1. However, I could not get any separation between second place (Kyle Kalish) and myself. This kept me honest the whole race as a mistake would surely result in a loss of position. The final would prove to be more of a challenge. Once again, I got the hole shot at the start. And once again, second place (Emerson Reed) was breathing down my neck. However, this time, second place would be able to challenge for the lead. A couple of laps into the race, Emerson made an aggressive move to take the lead. I was able to stick right behind Emerson, and when he made a mistake, I capitalized and drove off for my first win of the year (and my dad's Father's Day present)!
We had a very productive weekend and I am looking for more of the same during the Manufacturers Cup weekend. I believe we have figured out our problem in the Komet class and I will gain a front runner status in that class, too.
The link to the helmet cam video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-2rFp2k-Mc&list=UUtPeU_OjyIi9Qw9tzFM5qjw&index=1&feature=plcp.
May 11, 2012
Thankfully, this past weekend at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex wasn't as brutal as two weekends ago. The weather was actually quite nice for the 3rd round of the World Karting Manufacturers Cup Series. With over 35 people in each of the four classes in which I was contending, competition was intense, especially in Yamaha Jr. Heavy with 43 entries.
I was very quick in morning warm-up as I had one of the top 5 times. In qualifying, the track heated up and the kart became "stuck". In other words, the kart had too much grip which was not allowing it to accelerate off the turns. Despite this, I ended up 10th, 3 tenths off of the pole time. For the pre-final, we made a significant change to the kart. This helped and I race my way up to 6th. In the final, I would have to start on the outside of row three. I was able to hold my ground and keep my position at the start. However, I lost ground to the top 5. Several laps later, I caught 5th and made the pass to advance into the top 5. I then continued along this trend as I cut into the gap between me and 4th place. I then made another move to advance my position to 4th. About half way through, I caught Joel Jens who was running in 3rd at the time. I tried to work with him to catch the leaders who had about a 2 second lead over us. We gradually cut into the leaders gap, but I soon realized that we were not going to catch them. I made a decisive move and passed Joel for 3rd. Pulling away from Joel, I managed to stay a constant distance behind the leaders even though they were pushing each other. I crossed the finish line in 3rd with the fastest lap out of all 43 drivers.
We had some mixed results. In Yamaha, we were quick all weekend, especially on Sunday. But, in the KPP class, we really struggled. I am confident that we will be able to address the issue with the KPP before the next national.
May 2, 2012
Cold, windy, and, yes, even snow dominated this past weekend's Great Lakes Sprint Series Round 1 event at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex (previously BeaveRun Motorsports Complex). After a cold and windy Friday practice with a couple of snow flakes falling, we felt that we had some work to do for Saturday and Sunday.
The best race I had during the course of the weekend was in Yamaha Jr. Lite. After a solid qualifying effort, I would start 2nd in the 17 kart field for the pre-final. Unfortunately, the pre-final would be canceled as rainy weather was predicted to strike at around 3 p.m. (Around the time when the finals would take place if the pre-finals had been carried out). This would mean that we would go straight into the finals. In the final, I had a decent start, and I maintained my starting position. For the first four laps of the race, I struggled with the kart tremendously and I fell back to 5th on the 4th lap. However, the kart came in, and I charged back up to 2nd. There wasn't enough time to chase down 1st place but I was gradually cutting into his gap.
I am a little disappointed with the weekend's results. We were quick on Saturday, but we seemed to lose some speed on Sunday. However, I am still looking forward to the national race which is coming up this weekend at the same venue, Pittsburgh International Race Complex. I believe that we will be able to find the best set up for the kart and really excel.
Like the previous national events, there will be live coverage Saturday and Sunday on http://www.worldkarting.com/index.php/live.
April 2, 2012
Had a very wet and rainy Saturday at the 10th annual Jacksonville Grand Prix for Spina Bifida. None the less, it was awesome! I qualified the kart 4th for the 4 hour race, with qualifying being my first time in the kart. After starting the race in wet conditions with slick tires on, I managed to jump into the lead and lost one position before doing a driver change. My second stint was in the dry and I moved up the leader board to 4th from 7th. My final stint, once again in full wet conditions, was filled with lots of action. I was consistently the fastest on track and I brought the kart home 2nd in class and 7th overall. For the rain soaked 1.5 hour race, I would be starting P2. I took the lead on the first lap and went on to win by 49+ seconds. Big thanks to my crew chief, my dad, and my co-drivers for the 4 hour race: Judy Stropus, Jack Baldwin, Buz McCall, and Chuck Schoendorf!
March 28, 2012
We saw it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly - this past weekend at the Carolina Motorsports Park, the second stop on the World Karting Association Manufacturer's Cup 2012 tour.
We had a decent day on Saturday, finishing the final in 4th out of 40 in Yamaha Lite and ending up just outside the top 20 in KPP Heavy.
On Sunday, I was poised and ready to get my first national win after coming through with a 4th place finish in Yamaha Lite on Saturday. I put the kart on pole in the Yamaha Heavy class a full tenth and a half ahead of the field. However, I was three pounds light when I rolled across the scales. This set me up for one heck of a pre-final as I would have to start dead last, 40th. After charging up to 30th in the first three corners during the start, I was collected by a spun kart. This collision resulted in a totaled chassis on my part and another 40th starting spot. After running the KPP Lite final race, the Yamaha engine was placed on the KPP kart. Going into the final, I knew I would have to be very aggressive in marching towards the front. I did just that, and with a little bit of luck, found myself 8th when the 13 lap final concluded.
We had a very strong showing in Yamaha, but I feel we need to work on the KPP quite a bit more. I am looking forward to the next Man Cup which will be in Wampum, Pennsylvania. Hopefully, with a little bit of luck and a lot of skill, we will be able to come through with my first 2-cycle national victory.
The link to this past weekends onboard is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql-q7lpe3tI&list=UUtPeU_OjyIi9Qw9tzFM5qjw&index=1&feature=plcp. This race is the Yamaha Jr. Lite final where I placed 3rd.
March 19, 2012
Big week this week! Tomorrow (Tuesday) I have a interview on Suck It Up! radio station at 8:05 PM, You can listen live here http://suckitupusa.com/radio-player/. Following that, I will have a promo shoot for Fox54 of Augusta on Wednesday. Then as the week concludes and the weekend commences, I will travel to the Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina for the second round of the World Karting Association Manufacturer's Cup. Live timing is available at the following link http://www.worldkarting.com/. Under the Cover It Live logo, just click on the George Kugler/ Manufacturer's Cup Series. Look for me on Saturday and Sunday in the Yamaha Jr. Lite and Heavy and KPP Jr. Lite and Heavy.
March 13, 2012
This past weekend, my dad, my teammate Simon, his dad Jeff, and I drove up to the Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina for the local race that would be occurring. Due to the upcoming national Manufacturers Cup, we wanted to use the race as a test to prepare for the national. Several others had the same thought process and I ended with five people in Yamaha Jr. and KPP Jr, all of whom have the potential to finish on the podium at a national.
We had the kart hooked up in KPP Jr. I qualified 2nd a little less than a tenth off of pole. Then in the Pre-Final, I had a great start to snag the lead away going into turn 1. I didn't look back from there as I went flag to flag for the win. In the Final, I had another good start and I held onto the lead through turn 1. Several laps later, I was challenged by Corey Towles for the lead. He was able to get the lead momentarily, but I was able to pass him right back. He applied pressure the entire race, but a small error on his part enabled me to take the win by half a second.
In Yamaha Jr., we really struggled. We decided to test on Sunday to see if we could figure out the problem.
We were very quick in KPP so I feel very confident that we will be good when the national comes around. We still have a lot of work to do in Yamaha, but we have some things to try for the next test.
March 8, 2012
This past weekend, my dad and I drove down to the 103rd Street Karting Complex for the first round of five of the 2012 World Karting Association Gold Cup. In the past couple of years, we have had a fair amount of reasonable success in the series and we hoped we could continue the trend. I would run a total of three classes, two on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, we struggled with the kart and we could only muster two 5th place finishes, one in Briggs Jr. Lite and one in Briggs Jr. Heavy.
For Sunday, we didn't really have anything else to try on the kart so we decided to switch to the prototype chassis that Steve Roberts, my kart owner, had. The prototype had a radically different design than the kart I was driving so it would take some time to get used to. During our one round of practice, I was unable to go out as the kart was still being prepared. My first time ever driving the kart would be in qualifying! I ended up 9th- about a second off of pole. We weren't very fast, but there was still work to do on the kart. In the pre-final, I had a start that was no less than spectacular. I picked up seven spots to elevate me to 2nd. During the course of the race, we picked up a quite a bit of speed. Unfortunately though, I dropped back to 3rd. After being passed, I knew my only chance to regain the spot was right away. I tried for an inside move in the following corner but I did not prevail and I ended up pulling the bumper out after running over a curb. This resulted in a disqualification and I would be forced to start last for the final. We decided to put 25 psi of air in the rear tires to reduce the grip. This is twice what we normally run so it was a very radical change. Well, all I'm going to say is that it didn't work.
We had a tough weekend, but I am looking forward to our next race this weekend. I was very lucky to have my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Rick come out and support me. Also, a couple of family friends, Andy and Jeanne, made the trek to observe the on track action. In addition to family and friends, my French exchange student, Antione, was able to come out and support me.
March 1, 2012
As many of you are already aware, I will be heading down to the103rd Street Karting Complex for the first race of the World Karting Association Gold Cup series. Live coverage will be available for your viewing at the following link http://www.worldkarting.com/pg/coverItLive/2012.jacksonville.live.coverage.gc.php on both Saturday and Sunday. I will be racing in the Briggs Jr. Lite and Briggs Jr. Heavy class on Saturday. I will then finish out the weekend with the Briggs Jr. Medium class on Sunday.
Hope you can follow along!
February 29, 2012
This past weekend, my dad and I headed down to the Ocala Grand Prix in Ocala, Florida for the second round of the Florida Karting Championship Series. We wanted to use this race weekend to continue to learn how to tune and how to drive the Tony Kart chassis as it requires a different driving style than our old Arrow chassis. We would be racing in the KPP Jr. and Yamaha Jr. classes.
We started Friday off well, but we began to slow down. At the end of the day, we had quite a bit of work to do in order to catch up with the leaders.
When Sunday came around, so did the rain. This was not a problem as we put a wet setup on the kart and switched to the grooved, wet condition tires. Our morning warm up session went very well and I was 2nd quickest. Next up was qualifying. Even though I didn't get pole, I was still pleased with the run as I ended up 3rd, a tenth of a second off the leader. We made some adjustments to the chassis for the pre-final, but we went the wrong way and I was unable to keep up with the leaders. For the final, more changes were made to put the kart in its "sweet spot" and it worked. At the start, I managed to snag 2nd place away from Corey Towles. I then focused on passing the leader, Ashley Rogero. A couple of laps later, I made a pass for the lead going into turn one. After leading for several laps, I was forced back to 2nd. I then took the spot away and resumed leading. After several more laps of leading, Ashley passed me. We went back and forth for several laps until things started to calm down. As the laps started to wind down, I started to look for a place to pass. With two laps to go, I had my chance, but unfortunately, I didn't seize the opportunity. Not being close enough on the last lap, I was unable to make a move and I ended up finishing the weekend in 2nd.
Looking back on the weekend, we struggled quite a bit in the KPP Jr. class. However, we were able to hit the right setup in Yamaha. We had the kart to win, but unfortunately, I didn't take full advantage of the opportunity presented.
February 23, 2012
After a lengthy break from our last race at Daytona, I am anxious to get back on track this weekend! I will be heading down to the Ocala Grand Prix for the second round of the Florida Karting Championship Series. Like last year, the FKCS will be offering live video and timing. You can click on the link that follows for the live video and timing page http://www.flwkasprintseries.com/fkcslive/index.php.
I will be racing Saturday in the KPP Jr. class and Sunday in the Yamaha Jr. class.
The schedule for Saturday and Sunday is available at http://www.flwkasprintseries.com/files/2012/2012_Ocala_Race_Day_Schedule.pdf.
February 3, 2012
Today, my dad and I presented our 6 Simple Machines presentation to a group of students ranging from 6th-8th graders at St. Mary's on the Hill school. Approximately 150 students were in attendance, all seemed intrigued by what we were presenting. The presentation itself went very well. Looking forward to doing another one shortly!
January 11, 2012
With one event down in the 2012 World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup series, we have five more events before the final points are tallied up and championship winners are decided. This season, we will be making several stops at tracks that we have visited during the 2011 season. However, the 2012 tour will also take us to some tracks that will be foreign to us. After running a limited schedule in the Gold Cup during the 2011 season, we plan to do the same this year.
Instead of running the full Florida Karting Championship Series, we will do a handful of events in the FKCS and Great Lakes Sprint Series. The GLSS tends to go to the tracks where national events take place a week or two before the nationals. We feel that this will allow us to practice tuning and refining my driving at these tracks.
January 3, 2012
After a lengthy three month break since the last World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup race, I was anxious to hit the track for the Margay Sprint Championships at the Daytona International Speedway. This is one of the biggest kart races of the year as it attracts the likes of AJ Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray. Even though I would not be racing against them, I would be competing against some of the best junior kart racers in the country and the world as Canada and England would be represented in my classes. Over the course of three days, I would be practicing and racing these top-level competitors in four different classes.
Practice on Wednesday went well with the help of professional kart tuner Mike Maurini. We were quick, but we could have used a tenth or two more in all of the classes in which we were racing.
The most intense race of the race week had to be Yamaha Jr. Heavy. In qualifying the engine did not start due to a carburetor problem. This would place me in the 46th position out of 47 karts as one racer was disqualified due to a technical infraction. The pre-final went extremely well. On the start, I took the shortest way possible around the mayhem in turn one - the grass. I came out some where in the 20s. As the 9 lap race wore on, I continued to move up the leader board to the 19th position where I finished. I was quite pleased with this as I would be on the inside row for the start of the final. As the green flag waved for the start of the final race of the Margay Sprint Championships, total madness ensued. Someone near the front of the field spun and collected several others. This enabled me to move up to the 12th position. I continued to pick people off until I reached 9th place. It seemed as though 8th place and I were in a stale mate as I could close the gap but he would then pull away. With 2 laps to go, the drivers behind me grew increasingly aggressive. I was nailed from behind going into turn 6 and then a very aggressive pass followed going into the final turn leading on to the front straight. I was forced wide and I ended up off course. I lost two more spots which put me back to 12th were I finished the week.
Even though we were looking for better results, I managed to collect one top 10 finish in Yamaha Jr. Lite. I had a small fan base for the week. On the first race day, Thursday, family friend and accomplished sportscar racer Hurley Haywood was able to come witness the on-track action. On Friday, my aunt and cousin made the journey from Clermont, Florida to watch me race. Hopefully, we can apply what we learned from this race into the next race which I am looking forward to with anticipation.
The link to the helmet cam is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_2yP3ALnBU&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL.
Happy New Years!