What I learned at Daytona. Part II - The RED FLAG STORY

This was our second year competing in the Clone 360 and 385 class at Daytona and it went considerably better than last year. We traded in our CIK sit-up karts for straight rail laydowns and enjoyed taking about 25 seconds off of our previous lap time with the same engines and kart drivers.

TOP TIP: At Daytona changing from a CIK kart to a laydown is worth 25 seconds/lap. I've been asked that question a dozen times.

We were fortunate to share a garage this year with Dave Planakis who helped us out a ton with his 15+ years of karting knowledge. That was soooo worth the extra $87.50, electricity and being sort of indoors. Last year we had an outdoor slab, we baked in the sun then got rained on. Not fun.

We unloaded both karts and ran a practice. The 385 was not revving past 5800 so we changed the springs. Now it wouldn't rev past 5500 so we changed the timing. Now it wouldn't rev past 5300. The more we fixed it the worse it got! We ran out of time and put it in the Clone 385 Final 1 anyway. Meanwhile our 360 kart got a scheduled engine change and was running okay. Both karts finished third and fifth respectively.

Monday came and we were still banging on the sick 385 clone trying to get it to run. Head gasket, valves, fly wheel, compression all checked out. It still wouldn't run right. Jim Smith from TS racing gave us one of his spare engines and we installed it just before the start of the third race. How cool is Jim! Made it to the grid with a few minutes to spare.

Race began and our two karts went straight to the back and hooked up in a draft. When they passed the start/finish we were about 150 feet behind the next clone in front of us, I thought to myself "How magical is this, we are still slow". Next trip around we somehow closed in to about 25 feet behind and were moving up. Suddenly our karts were moving well and sounding strong.

In the third lap our 385 driver got it up on two wheels going through the infield horseshoe then finally rolled the kart. Our 360 kart ditched on the grass to avoid the wreck and got stuck. The red flag came out. Yes, our karts took each other out. Our 385 driver had a Level II kart suit which did its job and is now reassigned to memorabilia status. The 360 kart was towed to the grid, restarted and finished. The 385 kart was done.

We tuned the chassis for the weak engine so when we put in the strong one we had too much grip. Now we know not to do that anymore.

I want to thank Dave P for the two laydowns and his expertise in the garage. (BTW, he drove the 440 Birel Open Sprint.....thud, thud, thud, I'm sure you all heard it). Thank you to Tedder for the roller and birthday cake! Thanks to Jim from TS, we could not have rolled our kart without that sweet TS power. Thanks to Bob Frye, good to meet you. Lastly I want to thank our drivers Mark, John and Stephen Gallagher for another fantastic year at the track. See you all at Kershaw.

Here is another TOP TIP: A regular battery charger will only fry a gel battery.
I'm sure Tedder appreciated the red flag allowing him to fix-A-flat, got the pit action video in the edit room now.. stay tuned!
I learned how many karts can pass you on one trip around the banking. It's somewhere between a dozen, and everyone who feels like it!

I must have mastered what makes a kart fast when cornering and slow when straight, because my kart refused to roll for the 3rd straight year. Meanwhile, I think I set a new personal best for distance closed on a pack of Animals in the infield, something on the order of 40 kart lengths. Doesn't really matter unless the finish line gets moved down to Turn 2 :)
now that was damn good!! Hope you all had a great time at daytona....hope to see you all at a track down the road.

Mike Stroik