October 29, 2000
The final race of the year at Monrovia was the most action-packed race I've ever been in. Practically everyone went off the track or collided at some point. I had three crashes of my own, though fortunately I was able to continue after each one.
The heat race was nuts. I started 4th and made a slow start and fell back a little. The three guys in front were really duking it out so I caught up to them but couldn't do a thing about it. I just waited for the inevitable mistakes and collisions and took advantage.
By the time I got to second place it was a mad house as everyone was right on my bumper but I couldn't get around the leader. He bogged really bad coming out of a hairpin turn and practically stopped. I tried to go around but I ran right into the back of him launching the front of my kart up in the air. For an instant I was looking at only blue sky.
Fortunately for him that helped him accelerate and we both were able to continue without losing position. Then a few laps later the guy behind me lost control and hit my rear wheel, launching himself up in the air. I just saw in the corner of my eye someone's rear wheel and the kart flying through the air, level with my head. It was like two feet off the ground. He chipped a few of the cooling fins on my engine, knocked my intake silencer loose and left skid marks on the top of my side pod. Since no one got hurt it was funny!
That delayed me a little so I had to start the feature in second place. The lead guy and I left the field behind, with me chasing after him. I was slightly faster and after a while I had the opportunity to attempt a pass. I went in very deep at the end of the main straight and we went through the chicane side-by-side.
It didn't last. We touched and my kart was launched into the air, doing a complete 360 spin. When I landed he was well ahead but somehow I was able to continue. The engine nearly stalled but didn't. We were so far ahead I had only lost 2 positions. So then I was fourth.
A few laps later I worked my way back up to second but was too far behind to do anything more. The race drew to a close and I finished second. I couldn't believe I even finished.
More importantly, I won the 2000 Monrovia Track Championship. In the Maryland Divisional Series I missed out on the championship by one point (892 vs. 891)! It was incredibly close. My total for the year was 8 victories in 21 races. A few more wins slipped away due to mistakes or accidents on the final laps. But that's racing.
After the races were over I got the chance to sample a kart with 10 more horsepower. The tires were also completely worn so it was a handful to drive. Plus the seat was a bit big for me so I was getting thrown around like a rag doll. But it was a rush down the straight at 18,000 rpm!
Now I'm ready for the move up to formula cars and I hope to announce next year's plan by late winter or early spring of next year. It's been one heck of a ride this year!