One of my goals for this year is to start blogging about our races again. I started out last year doing this but did not keep up with it. We learned a lot last year, and I wish I had documented it better. It was a tough year and we had to miss a couple of races due to my work schedule, but we had a good time and we all grew a lot.
Tonight we participated in the first race of a four race winter series at our club Tri-Valley Quarter Midget Association. A couple of people in the club decided to organize this race because it would be a good opportunity to get some racing in before the actual season starts.
The race had a pretty small turnout but it was a rescheduled race from last weekend that got rained out. Those that organized it kept it running pretty smooth. I’m very thankful that there are people in our club that put in the work to make these races possible, both regular schedule races and this mini series.
This winter mini-series consists of four races on Friday evenings over the next six weeks. Tonight’s race was rescheduled from last Friday due to rain.
I had a lot going on this week for work and didn’t really have any time to prep the car before getting to the track. Last week, I managed to spend a little bit of time on the car’s setup. My dad and I got it on the scales and tried to get it set up for Junior Honda. What we didn’t really anticipate was how cold the track would be. We didn’t really have any cold weather races last year and we weren’t going fast enough for it to really matter in the novice class. The cold track threw Liam and our setup off.
During the offseason we really only had about three opportunities to get to the track. Liam didn’t really spend a whole lot of time driving over the last 3 months and getting back into the swing of things was a little challenging, especially with a cold track.
We got to the track a little early so that we could get a few laps in under practice before the race started. I realized that we were not going to be able to move them up to Junior Honda quite yet. We just don’t have the car set-up quite like it needs to be so that he can drive fast enough and hold his line. He doesn’t feel confident enough in the car right now. Because of that, I decided that he should run Junior Novice tonight.
There was only one other kid and his class and that kid only has two races under his belt. Liam was quite a bit faster but still not driving as hard as he should considering he had a red restrictor plate in and his car was not really that fast tonight. He finished the heat race in first place.
Liam also doesn’t have much experience driving at night. This race started just before 7 p.m., so the sun was long gone. The main started around 8 pm. Liam is usually asleep in bed by then.
Since there were so few people at the track, I was asked to flag a couple of the Races. There were only four classes so I flagged two of the races and another dad flagged to the other two. I’m not even going to get into how the day started after we arrived at the track (solo parenting nightmare), but let’s just say it totally threw me off and I did not check everything that I needed to check on Liam’s car.
I was very thankful to have my father-in-law there helping us. He arrived shortly after our disastrous arrival to the track and helped out a lot tonight. After I was done flagging the two races I was in charge of he had Liam’s car up to the grid for me. I didn’t think to check anything, like whether or not he had enough fuel to finish the 30-lap main.
Now there may be a leak, which I will check for before the next race. I put fuel in his car after working on the setup, so I thought there was plenty. Even assuming that, I always checked the fuel level last year and never went out on to the track without checking fuel first.
It was just one of those days. You can prepare as much as you had time for or not at all and something would still manage to go wrong. It’s a solid reminder that racing is not like most other sports where you just show up and participate. All sports take practice, but racing takes a lot of prep, and I just haven’t had the time to stay on top of it all. Let’s just say that I’m glad this is a preseason race.
The next race in this mini-series isn’t for a couple of weeks, so I hope to be able to work on the car a bit and even get out to the track for a practice session before then. I’m not sure whether or not we will move Liam up to Junior Honda or whether he will race the rest of this mini-series and novice. We will see how things go.
One task I will achieve this week is to create a checklist that I will go through at every race and a checklist for in-between heat and main races. With a check list I won’t forget something so simple as checking the fuel level, even if I get busy wish other things, like flagging races. Things are never going to go as smoothly as I would like them to.
Thankfully Rick, who flags a lot of our club races, was there and stepped in to flag the main. That relieve me and allowed us to get loaded up and on the road to head home. I appreciate that guy.
I feel bad that Liam lost the main because of a mistake I made, but that is how racing goes. I had to explain to him what happened and why it happened. Racing is more than just about my kid’s driving, it’s also about prep and procedure. Prep and procedure is my job and that job didn’t get done well tonight. I always fail forward though, so don’t expect to see an error like this again.
The feeling of being defeated is wearing off. We will be better prepared for next race.