Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Customer Service

Thank you K1 Race Gear

Last week I finally broke down and called K1 Race Gear about my daughter's race suit. Only a few races into the season the zipper broke. We have been trying to make it work but finally we conceded that it just wasn't going to cut it. I truly believe that the suit should have lasted much longer and the other kids at the track who had the same suit did not have the zipper issue. I called K1 and they were super helpful. He mailed out a new suit immediately and we got it in time to use for the race that weekend. What good customer service! No arguing, no excuses, he just helped me no questions asked.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Street Race...Our First Experience

 Indy Street Races Here We Come

We decided to try a street race this year. My husband has raced several in his racing career and he loved it so we thought we'd give Ashlee the experience. She was quite nervous because she has only raced at one track. It was kind of a last minute decision. The night before my husband asked hey is there any way we can pack up and head to Indianapolis for the weekend? Of course!

Friday after work we got in the car and headed for our 4 1/2 hour journey. The ride started out good (as good as it can with an excited 7 year old and 4 year old.) When we got to Indiana the rain began. It rained, and rained and rained. It was a miserable and treacherous drive. We were so thankful to arrive at the hotel.

Saturday morning we arrived at the track at Greenwood, IN (just South of Indianapolis.) Great city! The track was around a park (baseball fields.) It was very humid and chilly. They had record rain fall so the track was wet, and by wet I mean there was basically a river going through turn 2. We signed Ashlee in. They were so nice. The gal taking our information said they were glad to see another girl driver, her daughter was racing in another class. There was another little boy in line behind us. His name was Aiden and he is 6. He was the kid she would be practicing with and racing that day. The other kids were not arriving until tomorrow.

Usually they have the kid karts go out first but since the track was so wet they had the older drivers go out and dry it off for the kids. The track was fast. If we had to guess we'd estimate it at 3/4 of a mile. Basically it was an oval with a chicane going into turn 1. They use straw bails and plastic barriers to mark the track. It's a little challenging because there is really no where to pull off the track unless you pull into the pits. Another thing that was new and different for her was the way they did their flags to begin the race. She had to get used to the way they waived them. Practice went really well. She got her feet wet and no spin outs or crashing. Bonus! She gained her confidence and was able to win her heat race. We were so excited that she was starting out front especially because there would be more competition the next day.

Now I'm going to go off on a tangent about the great people we met at this great SIRA event. Aiden's parents were awesome. They made us feel so welcome and included in their racing family. It makes the experience so much more enjoyable to be surrounded by friendly and welcoming people. There was  another girl driver, she greeted us almost immediately. Her name is Makala Marks, that girl can drive!! We were so impressed with her. I hope to blog more about her later. Her mother was so extremely nice and helpful. I cannot say enough nice things about the people we met. I look forward to building relationships with them as we continue in the racing circuit.

Let me get to the feature...Ashlee started out in front. She kept the lead for oh maybe 1/8th of the track. Kaden a very talented 8 year old boy jumped out in front of her almost immediately. She was keeping up with him pretty well for the first few laps and then she slowed down quite a bit. Unfortunately her muffler was knocked loose. The kart sounded horrible. One thing we learned about street races is that it is very hard on your kart and equipment. They are going over bumps and cracks and all the other things you will find on a street that aren't on a track. These roads were built for cars not racing karts. Another girl caught her and passed her then almost immediately after spun out. Ashlee was able to hold onto 2nd for the remainder of the race. Thank God the muffler stayed on!

We are so proud of her results from the first street race. I've got to admit we are hooked. I'm not sure if it's to the street races or just to the City of Indianapolis and all the racing opportunities there. I'm sure we will be making many more trips down there in the future. Now if they could only make that drive shorter...

For more information on Southern Indiana Racing Association and their schedule check out there website:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cadet Racing, Moving up or moving on?

Advice on Cadet Racing from CRP Racing

I want to address a couple of issues and some questions I have been receiving on moving up from kid karts to cadets or Yamaha Jr. Sportsmans. It is true that stepping up to the next level is NOT easy by any means. But if it was easy, wouldn't everyone be racing cadets? It is a huge jump in not only horsepower but chassis tuning ability as well. It is much easier to tune a chassis in kid karts than it is in cadets without question. The speeds that you will reach in cadet will definitely poise more of a setup challenge to you and tuning and scaling will become much more relevant in racing these classes. Even the most seasoned and successful kid kart drivers and teams will often struggle in this transformation. I rarely see, if ever, those that dominated in kid karts move up to dominate in cadets, it usually takes a season just to get up to speed. Before you go bashing me, there are few exceptions. Especially for those that have the 100s of laps logged in at their home track, but then move them to an unfamiliar track and watch them struggle. A couple of areas cadet parents need to get smart on right away are gearing and carb settings. Gearing was a no-brainer in kid karts (89) and as far as carb tuning you basically had 5 choices of jets and most of the time you ran a 57 or 58. The Tillotson carb is a whole new ball game and it will require patience, good note taking, proper plug and temp readings and learning to use the graph on your MyChron. Even the best built K80 motor in the sport won¡¦t run worth it weight if the carb is not tuned properly. Once you have it dialed in, you will know and the lap times will prove it.

The good news is there are plenty of people at the track that will help you along, most of us know that when it is all said and done it's the drivers race to win in the first place, but that is an entirely different topic all together. If you do not have folks willing to help, you are racing at the wrong track. The best advice I can give you is grab a decent chassis, and a blueprinted engine and get the seat time, this will pay dividends. Get out there on those practice days every chance you can get and just let them drive, drive, drive. Don't go putting your young 8-9 year old out there and expect them to be running up front with the seasoned 11-12 year olds. It will make their adventure not so much fun. Explain to your driver there is a ladder that they must climb to get to the top, and right now they are on the bottom rung. The other good news is, all those parents that have been cheating with their kid kart engines and having their child lap everyone not even using the proper driving line. Well, that is now going to come back and bite them. For those of you who have been running legal and learning the proper line, passing in traffic and the craft of racing, well that is going to pay dividends for you now.

As far as chassis and engine choices go, pretty much no different than kid karts. There is no magical chrome molly super chassis out there and those that believe that are quite simply delusional and need to get of the hype wagon. I am sure if Top Kart or Birel or one of the other Italian chassis makers were to keep track of there kid kart wins you would see double the number of wins that others are advertising. I have seen just about every cadet chassis on the market today win at the Regional and National Level as well as most engine builders K80s running up front. Pick your chassis and engine builders like you would pick your wife or husband. Make sure that they are someone that you want to spend time with while at the track, make sure they are someone you can trust with your hard earned money, ensure they are really good listeners that genuinely care about what you are saying and someone you enjoy talking to allot. I never really liked those girls that in the first 5 minutes of the conversation they had already told me how many ex-boyfriends they have had, how much money their dad makes, asked me if I thought they were pretty and wanted me to come meet their parents. Seriously, if you intend to spend any length of time in this sport relationships are very important, start making good ones now. This is how our decisions were made, we trusted Gary Lawson (if you don't know who this is Google his name and the WKA) enough to try Arrow, we had seen Ben and Sam Beasley at the track on numerous occasions and they were always helpful. It was a no brainer, Gary had been helping Kaden with his driving and known him since Kaden sat in his first kid kart. Went with Arrow and are happy with our decision. Engines are another story, but in a nutshell we had tried several other engine builders with Deven and Kaden and quite often felt like a little fish in a big sea, which is in effect what we were but no reason to be treated like that by guys that are getting your hard earned dollars. A couple of folks that I trust very much locally, tried MCR and we gave them a shot after numerous phone calls. After talking to Matt and Clay we learned more in a month (before even purchasing an engine) than we did from the others we had used in the past. We committed and one of our engines just qualified 3rd at the Charlotte Man Cup race with a 9 year old driver K. All these folks mentioned above I enjoy talking to, trust them and they are providing us with what we feel is excellent feedback and service. What more can we ask for? I am sure there are others out there that do the same, but only you can make that choice. If you trust me, follow my lead, if not live and learn.

We are here for you and although we are not at the top of the Cadet ladder (YET) we are working are way up and the lessons we have learned are still fresh in our minds. Give us a call if you have any questions or anything else.

Good Luck!!!

Check out the CRP Racing Website: