|Devin, his Trophy, & Dan Weldon
|The TopKart/Kartel Drivers
|S.K.U.S.A. SuperNationals XII, Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, Nv. Nov 20-23, 2008 Weekend Overview and THANKS! All of this could not have
been possible without some help from some very great people. First, thanks to Brian & Tyler Thomas
for inviting us to pit with them (and tuner Mike Maurini), and their help and support all weekend;
also, a huge thanks to John Sefcik of SRS Engines for providing us with such a strong, reliable, and legal motor - it was great to be back to winning races
with John's engines once again; Les and all of the guys in Team Kartel, always
helpful and supportive, and we hope we lived up to the standards this team set; Mike from Grand Products,
for the great kart as well as taking us in (on Brian's word I'm sure) and allowing us to represent TopKart
in S5 during this event; Adrian & Bell Helmets, for providing the gear that protects Devin from
head to toe, as well as having faith in Devin as a representitive of their products; our competitors, who pushed us all weekend, with
a special mention to Jake (& Mark) French for some great competition, a competitor who Devin knew
he could race hard on track, but knew it would be clean, fair and tough competition; Tom Kutsher and
all of the staff of SKUSA for putting on a great event (special shout-out to Rob Howden for providing commentary
of the races) as well as the event sponsors, the National Guard and Oakley Sunglasses;
and last but by no means least, my special thanks to Devin, for a great drive all weekend. He always
pushed, but never put a wheel wrong all weekend. He never bent a thing on the kart, even in the tough confines of a
barrier course. He did not even mark up the new graphics and body-work I put on for the event. Despite this being
only his seventh race in this class and kart (and for the year), he was always right there, and in the end took home the trophy
that comes with the very top step of the podium! |
23, 2008 Sunday: A morning warm-up was followed by the opening ceremonies, then the Main that afternoon. We had
been chasing Jake all weekend, and, assuming everybody's equipment stayed together and there were no incidents, we knew
our best chance was simply to keep putting pressure on Jake. The start went ok, with Devin slotting into second.
However, while going throught the "bus stop" complex of turns, Jake tapped the barrier and this allowed Devin to
get by. Devin held the lead for a couple of laps before Jake repassed him going into the same "bus stop" complex.
Devin said Jake again hit the barriers but was able to maintain the lead. The climatic moment came on lap 6 (of 25),
when going through the same "bus stop" complex. Jake led through, with Devin about 5 kart lengths behind.
Then Jake hit the barriers once again, and the contact and subsequent spin resulted in a stalled kart. Devin, making
an evasive move to avoid his fellow racer from Texas, went around to take the lead. Devin then went on to open up a
gap of over 9 seconds over second place, and took the win and national championship in the SKUSA S5 class!
Nov 22, 2008 Saturday: Saturday saw Devin run a morning
warm-up and two Heat races, again starting on the outside of the front row in each based on his qualifying postion.
In Heat 2, Devin led for several laps before giving up the lead. Then, with three laps to go in the 15 lap heat, we
suffered a mechanical issue. A long bolt that attaches the rear brake caliper to the kart, and also supported two seat
structs and the top radiator mount, broke. This allowed the two seat struts to come unattached, as well as the radiator
mount. The radiator ended up laying down on the left rear tire, but forturnately Devin was still able to bring the kart
home in second without any significant damage to the kart. Also, in post tech, the tech officials took the ignition
module of the top 5 karts and switched them around. Between Heat 2 and Heat 3, I remounted the radiator and seat struts in a way to avoid putting
so many components on one bolt. In the final, it was pretty uneventful, with Devin slotting into second and just bringing
it home since there was not way we could get the pole unless Jake dropped back, and if we finished second we would secure
the #2 starting position for the final.
21, 2008 Friday: Today we had a morning practice, then qualifying later in the afternoon, followed by a Heat race later
in the evening. In qualifying Devin only got one clear lap without coming upon slower traffic, and ended up qualifying
2nd. In Heat 1, Devin dropped back to fifth during the start when there was some shuffling in the first turn.
After less than 3 laps, Devin was up into the second position, but was unable to make up any time on the leader, Jake French,
so he settled into a comfortable second place.
Nov 20, 2008 Thursday: This was our first time on the track, and when I say our I really mean Devin (I was
on the track, but it was in running shoes on the outside of the fence). We had five 15 minute practice sessions.
I was at the track for about 14 hours, Devin did over 63 laps, we used the same set of tires all day, I made a change to the
kart every session trying to find more speed, and in the end Devin was only .063 seconds off of Jake French's best time.
Nov 19, 2008 Wednesday: This was a move in and preparation
day. I spent most of the morining making some changes to the kart suggested by Brain Thomas and his tuner, Mike Maurini.
We also got our fuel and tires for the event in the afternoon, then Devin and I were off to see some of Las Vegas on
our one free night.
Fall 4 @ NTK, Oct. 18, 2008: There were 4 entries in the class tonight, and we were
running the track backwards (clockwise). Devin qualified 2nd, and finished 2nd in the prefinal. In the final,
Devin pressed the leader the entire race, and set the fast lap of the night for both his class as well as all classes running
at NTK this night.
Fall 3 @ NTK, Oct. 4, 2008: Just two entrie tonight, and we used the evening as a practice
and tuning session, with Devin qualifying on the pole, and winning the final.
South West Regional Cup (SWRC) @ OMC, Normam, OK June 28-29
This was our first out of town race in the shifter, and we spent Friday practicing and working on finding a set-up,
happy to be running at OMC again because it is such a great track.
Saturday 6/28 SWRC Race #5 After putting on some fresh tires, we went out and qualified
2nd. We felt pretty good about this since we only did 3 hot laps, and the pole winner (Jake French) did more and was
only .008 seconds ahead of us on the grid. In the pre-final, Devin stalled on the start (we will be practicing these
more), and after 5 laps running in the rear decided to come in and save his equipment. However, his fast time was about
.3 seconds faster than the leader. In the final, Devin made a conservative start, dropping several kart lenghts behind
the leader. However, by half way around the first lap he was on his tail, and passed him coming out of the hairpin and
was never challenged again for the lead. In the process Devin set fast lap for the class for the weekend, and even managed
to pass some Senior Shifters over the course of the race.
Sunday 6/29 SWRC Race #6 On Sunday we did not make the morning practice, and again
Devin went out and only did 3 laps of qualifying. This was still good enough to put us on the pole by .087 seconds over
French. In the pre-final, Devin did his usual conservative start and dropped back to second, but caught back up to the
leader quickly and passed him at the end of the main straight, going into Turn 1. All was for naught, though, as there
was a wreck that sent Clint Korte (racing in Senior Shifter S3) flipping, so the race was red-flagged. Thankfully,
Clint was unharmed, and after the track was cleared, the race restarted from the beginning. This was a copy of
prior to the red flag, and Devin again took the lead by passing at the end of the main straight, and then was not challenged.
In the Final, after Devin's conservative start, he caught up to French and, after following him for a few laps passed him
in the left hand 90 degree turn, only to miss the next turn and let French get back by. However, on the next lap Devin
passed him back on the inner "bowl" and made it stick. After that, Devin pressed on and opened a comfortable gap, winning
for the second day in a row. Overall, a successful weekend, and we came away with some more time and experience with
our new chassis and motor combination.
Summer 2 @ NTK (clockwise), June 14, 2008 Devin qualified 2nd (out of 4), and in the
prefinal was doing ok the first couple of laps before he spun off in turn 7. He kept it running, though, and then put
in some more laps. In the final, he finished 2nd, and with still less than 5 hours in the kart, we were a couple tenths
off of Jake French's pace.
Spring 6 @ NTK (clockwise), May 11, 2008 This was Devin's first shifter race, and was
more of a shakedown and practice session than anything. We got a little more feel for the kart and motor, and a feel
for running it in race conditions.