Road America was excellent!
We arrived Thursday.† Andy Kiker, Donnie Souterís son, Chris, Jim Brannonís helper, Leonard, and I went up the hill to secure what was the USSK pitting area.† Upon arrival, we found the HUGE tent.† I was told we could use the tent for the weekend.† We started to put the racers in place as they made it up the hill.
As we were putting up the pits, a downpour started.† It was coming down on us pretty hard.† The tent was a blessing, to be sure.† Once everyone was in place, all of us good friends went out to dinner.† I have said it many, many times, there is nothing like getting together with your buddies for having a good meal and a good time at the races.
I take the track for a few laps.† My times were in the 220ís.† I came in and made a couple of adjustments for the track width.† Everything was fine.† It was good to see Steve Rhodes and his son, Craig, arrive from Canada.† They have been very busy making a living and were able to make the trip.† I spoke to Alan Rudolph for a bit.† What a first class guy!† What can I say?† Here is a man who shows up alone, no pit crew!† He prepared his kart and it was FAST!
Alan and I went out to practice...we went back and forth a bit.† Talking in the pits, he said I had the same top speed, and he had a bit more mid-range.† When I asked what he weighed, he said 487 lbs.† This man is really on his game.† With the weight at 485 lbs., that is playing it tight.† I weighed in at 509 lbs (just a little chubby).
I believe Alan qualified with a 214.7.† I had a 217.5.† I was three seconds off.† In any event, I was happy everything was running well.† No blown engines, no mishaps.
Alan took the lead and never looked back.† I was in hot pursuit (or at least as hot as I could go).† The red flag came out on lap ten.† The race was over.† At that time, I was back by 12.5 seconds.† If the race were to have continued, there would be three more laps to go.† It was not to be.† Alan WON the heat.† Good job Alan.
In the pits, I looked at the data from my Mycron.† I noticed I could change the gearing a bit and it could get me better acceleration, and still have top speed.† I took the engine apart for inspection.† Everything looked good.† The lower piston ring was stuck slightly, so I replaced the lower ring.† Changed the gearing, new Dunlop tires and topped it off with fuel.† I was ready for Sunday.
On Saturday, my wife, Debbie, drove up with daughter Charity and four year old grandson, Matthew.† Matthew sure enjoyed watching his grandpa race!†
Matthew was in for a big surprise when I presented him with his own Kid Kart.† It came with a little driving suit.† He was a little leery at first, then reluctantly, he let me help him put on the driving suit.† It was a perfect fit!† After a while, we could hardly get him out of the kart.† If I knew the grandkids could be this much fun, I would have just had grandkids!† Being a parent is a lot harder!
Alan led the field to the flagman and OFF we go!† Alan took the lead and I got under him into turn one...he got by me in turn four...we ran up the hill to turn six, nose to tail.† We swapped back and forth for two laps.† Thatís when I had a brain fart going into turn six under the bridge.† I was right on Alanís bumper, when he went in a little deep and hit the brakes.† I, too, hit the brakes, only to do a SLOW spin that put the rear of my kart off the track.† I held the clutch and kept it running.† I got back in the race and pressed on.† If you look at the MY LAPS, it shows just how the race unfolded.† I caught back up to Alan by lap ten.† I had him in sight, and I knew there was something wrong with his ride.† I thought maybe it was his tires or fuel.† When I passed Alan, it was just after the carousel before the kink.† This was on lap 12.† I took the checkered flag and then the red flag came out.
After scaling and tech, I saw Alan and Scott Fiesler on the flatbed tow truck.† Alanís tires on the left were blistered and he said he ran out of fuel.
I canít thank my son, Joey, enough.† That boy worked his butt off for me.† He got all the race coverage from my in-car camera for the entire event.
I would like to thank Scott Fiesler, Steve Rhodes, and Craig Rhodes for all their help for the weekend.
As always, a special thanks goes out to my sponsors,† DUNLOP TIRE/RUSSELL KARTING, WISECO PISTON, KELGATE BRAKES and BADGER KART CLUB for all their support this racing season.
The next race is at Thunderbolt Raceway, Milville, New Jersey, September 5-7, 2008.
See you guys soon,
West Racing News
JOHNNY WEST WINS AT ROAD AMERICA!
Contents Edited July 20, 2008
Update following Mid-Ohio