Englishtown F-Series/LIKA Race Weekend Recap

Englishtown Race Recap

In my own words:

Super excited about running Englishtown Kart Race Track. I have heard this track makes for a lot of fast drivers. I was a little unsure about this type of track since all of my experience so far has been on different types of road courses like NJMP and OVRP. Englishtown’s track is set in the parking lot much like an autocross course would be. However, it is still being over a half mile in length. This would be my first time on a track like this. My first thought after reviewing the videos, it reminded me of a larger LVGP track. Being that it is flat and from what I have heard a fast “technical” track.  Well, after driving it during my first practice I soon realized how fast and technical it really is.  I Loved It! And now I understand why it makes fast drivers… FB_IMG_1463415019893

Ok, preparation starts. Friday night check the forecast, RAIN for Saturday.  Ok, we can handle this! MG Rain tires already mounted on the TopKart.  We loaded the trailer Friday night and got ready to leave home at 6:00 am to arrive at the track at 8:00 am. Wake up at 5:00 am and so far, No Rain!  Good! We arrived right on time and set up our paddock shop for the day.  We change our rain tires to slicks for the first practice run at 9:15 am.  Soon after we arrived, Jeff Herridge came and I was glad to see him. Jeff and I walked the track while dad continued to ready the kart. Walking the track was AWESOME! Doing so gave me a really good idea of the track conditions and it allowed me to visually get the track in my mind.  Thanks dad for suggesting this!

01IMG_20160521_092442402For me, the first practice session was to learn the line and to find out how the kart was running. Where our RPM’s were and how the kart set up was. We had trouble getting the kart to run at its maximum. Data in hand, we realized we needed to change out the fuel and change the gears to get the motor up to 14,500 rpm’s. Michele, our Tech Engineer, set the Mychron up just perfectly. The first practice went well although I was not anywhere close to race lap times. Second practice went better. RPM’s up but still learning the line and trying to get my lap times down. It was fun and I really started liking this track. During the second practice I worked on hitting my marks and finding out where my braking points needed be, apexes, track out and all that. All was going Great!

So, first heat race. The rain had held off just before the field was called to Staging. While on the gird, the rain started really coming down and we were all on slicks. After just a couple of laps, everyone was spinning all over the track. Track officials threw a red flag allowed us 15 minutes to change to our rain tires and rain prep the karts. Back out, and the TopKart was running great!

01astrid instagingNow it was time to finally start the race. I had qualified P9 out of 15 for the start. I was happy with this position considering this was my time on this track and first race here. Lining up for a double row start was going to be interesting. Englishtown has a very long, fast straight for the starts so the first turn was going to be interesting.

The pressure was on to make it through turn 1 without any contact. Success! After several false starts due to the front row jumping the green we were finally racing!  It was a very good race. No spins and only one unavoidable incident with two other karts. They spun in front of me and I had no place to go but right into them.  At the end of the first heat race I finished in the same position I started. Good! During the race, that unavoidable crash with two other karts caused the tie rod to bend on the kart but Jeff and my dad were able to get the repairs completed for the Feature Race!

FB_IMG_1464007472539FB_IMG_1464006603991The Feature Race was next but we had about 2 hours between races. We constantly watched the weather on Michele’s phone. I walked up and down the paddock to see if other teams where changing to slicks or leaving the rains on.  At the last minute the call was made to change the tires back to slicks and out I went. Through the course of the day we made a total of 4 tire changes, 16 altogether! The race went smooth. No spins and no contact. A clean race. Laps times were good but I see what I need to do and to continue to move forward.  I learned a lot and it was an excellent race! Finally getting to run a full race with no rain and on slicks was great! No spins and I was learning the whole time.  I was very happy with my performance and the karts. Now to work on the details.

At the end, I finished P3 in the IAME class, P9 overall, I was very happy!

 

Back to NJMP, June 19!

Some great pictures from the day and more in the gallery:

IMG_20160521_120047460

FB_IMG_1464007451509

IMG_20160521_163905179

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FB_IMG_1464006773182FB_IMG_1464006650243

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160521_114318037_HDRIMG_20160521_101047824IMG_20160521_121802555IMG_20160521_163928430

 

 

 

 

 

 

FB_IMG_1464007408425FB_IMG_1464006905444

 

 

 

 

FB_IMG_1464007396719

 

NJMP F-Series Race Weekend Recap

astridhelmetRace Weekend Recap:

“What a great weekend!! Even though we raced in the rain, splashing, hydroplaning and hitting a wall it was awesome!! Came 1st in class and 5th over all!! Greatest way to start the season!!!!!”

In my own words:

The weekend started out nicely as we arrived at NJMP Friday night and found a good paddock space to set up our team for the weekend.

Upon arrival at the track early Saturday morning I noticed the competition was going to be challenging. This being my first experience at such an event I didn’t really know what to expect from the other drivers but I had an idea. It was time to figure this out and quickly. I knew I had to focus on the challenge that was in front of me. I watched the videos, looked at the track map over and over again but now I had to mentally prepare myself. I was up for the challenge! We had a full day of practice ahead of us in preparation for qualifying and the race. The weather and temps where perfect on Saturday for testing and practice. Safety equipment on and the kart ready I headed out on track for my first 10 minute practice run. Getting comfortable in the kart and learning the line was the first thing I needed to focus on.

cartconfig3The Liberator track at NJMP is just over a half mile long with elevation changes, 13 turns, two fast kinks, a chicane and two long straights make up its cropDSC_0599configuration. Just prior to going out on track Jeff Herrridge arrived at the track to help with the kart setup and driver coaching. Thanks Jeff!!  The first practice session went well. However, we had a lot of work to do. My laps times were not where I needed them to be. Ok, what do we have to do. We changed the fuel and a couple of other adjustments and back out on track. We found 4.5 seconds a lap.  Good, but not good enough. I was having trouble with the power climbing out of the uphill section of the track and just couldn’t find the power. What to do… Gear change and a couple of other minor changes. Back out on track. My lap times came down and the kart was feeling pretty good.  More power in the uphill… Good! Now to work on handling. We played with the tire pressures and found a combination that made the kart handle so nice. A perfect balance of understeer and oversteer where I needed it. Now I needed to work on and perfect my driving. Jeff and my dad where in constant communication with me while out on track. The communication system we have is awesome and this really helped. Between Jeff, Dad and Michele I managed to get the lap times down even more. After a long day and may laps during the 5 full sessions of testing we were ready for qualifying and to race on Sunday.

01gridWaking up on Sunday morning… Rain! And plenty of it… We came here to test, get seat time and race. Rain or no rain I was ready. Racing in the rain brings its own challenges.01rain But first we had to ready myself and the kart. Having not prepared for racing in the rain, we had plenty to do. Kaos Kart Shop with their on-site shop was able to provide wheels, rain tires, wet cover suit and air box cover which were required to run in the rain. This was going to be interesting. Michele and I took care of my weather proofing while dad took care of the kart. Thanks to Trevor Dawe of Dawe Motorsports for his advice on setting up the kart for the rain. It worked out great! Thanks Trevor! New rain tires, rain gear and out for the first practice session. Extremely wet conditions. Pouring rain, standing water on the apex’s and other various spots along the track  lead to driving a very different race line, the rain line. My normal marks during Saturdays practice where all changed. Not to mention the inch of water in my seat.  Nevertheless, practice went well and I was surprised at the grip the rain tires had. Kart control would be important. I knew if I stayed out of trouble I could finish up front.  The whole plan was not go out and get the fastest lap but remain on the lead lap and stay out of trouble. That’s what I did… Right away I noticed the other drivers where all pushing and spinning… I just kept thinking ahead and hearing my dad in my head saying… “be smooth, don’t push. No mistakes and it’s yours” Well, it worked… two spins and one encounter with the wall was good enough to finish P1 in class!   We Won!  I say we, because this requires a team effort, especially to win.  I takes so much too even get to the track never mind winning. I can’t even begin to thank everyone enough for all your help! Now on to a Great rest of the Season.

rain trailer 02grigdry rainontrack

DSC_0518

01astridhelmet13062053_1088147541246026_1541554990751184541_n13072719_171915323206946_1527431396878917458_o13092060_1088720174522096_382112185254291555_n13096235_1088766447850802_5669803366701870628_nuntitledSee more pictures in the Photos section of the Gallery page.

 

Astrid goes on to F-Series

01IMG_20141225_130333_617

01Astridlogonextgen

 

 

 

Astrid Lynn to Start F-Series Racing 

Central, NJ (April 21 , 2016) – Astrid Lynn to start her first official championship karting series April 30 – May 1 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Astrid Lynn, age 12, has been working up to this moment since she was 8 years old.  Astrid started karting with the Somerset County 4-H club at the age of 8. Although she was too young to drive at that point in time, she got involved. At the age of 10 she started indoor karting at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix (LVGP) where she continues to sharpen her skills.

01astridp1“I have learned so much about driving, karting, competition and race strategy at LVGP. It is a great place to learn and continue to develop my skills. It’s seat time.  The racing is so competitive here, I just love it and the friends I have made here! We all help each other.  So far, all of my experience has been on a road courses. I like road courses since it’s a lot harder to drive a road course with the braking and turning and all that.” Astrid said

After celebrating several pole positions, multiple first place wins and multiple podium finishes at LVGP, the F-Series would be a logical step for this 12 year old.

The F-Series is a kart racing series that runs tracks from North Carolina to Boston. Local Championships and National Championships are awarded to the top finishers.

01IMG_20151014_215517“I am really excited to be running with my own kart on the big outdoor tracks in the F-Series.  I tested with my new TopKart last fall at NJMP and OVRP and really love it. I was able to get up to speed pretty quickly and my lap times are right there. We should be pretty good and hopefully competitive.”  Astrid said.

When asked about the difference from indoor karts to a full race kart, like the TopKart, Astrid said,

“The handling and tuning of the karts is so different… The TopKart is so precise like a Porsche, (as she smiles) the indoor karts are like trucks. The TopKart requires much more attention than the indoor karts. With my TopKart, I go out and do a few laps, then I pit, make adjustments, go out and test some more, I pit, adjust and so on. While all this is going on we look at the data collected that Michele downloads to the computer and see what I can do better. This might mean being on the brakes or being on the gas and to see how the motor is running and my lap times. Really cool stuff!  So, it’s all up to me to be able to tell what has to be done to the setup and the motor tune of the kart for making adjustments. It’s so funny how everything has to be right, just like in a real race car. Its fun! The indoor karts, if one is not running good or the brakes are so so, I just pit and grab another one. I don’t have that option in the F-Series running my own kart. In the TopKart, we adjust for everything like understeer and oversteer, how quick the motor reacts to coming out of the corners, tire pressures and temperatures all that fun stuff. ” Astrid said.

When asked how and why Astrid got into karting this is what she said:

“Well, I can’t really explain. I think it’s in the blood. I was exposed to all this with my father and step-mother Michele. Everyone in my family has been very supportive of this and that doesn’t hurt. I guess when I think about it, my grandfather is into sports cars, I think British cars, my father and Michele, as we all know, are into Porsches, Audi’s and  racing and it just seems like the right place for me. I love every part of it. Trying to understand the science and mechanical side behind it is awesome. Yes, I pick up a wrench every now and then…  I like the cars, the traveling, the excitement and being around so many cool people. That is one thing I really like! The people! Going to a lot of races, I’ve met so many drivers from all over the country and all over the world. They are really nice! Oh yeah, and I like to win, but who doesn’t.  I played soccer, softball and all the sports that most kids do but, I just like this. In karting you don’t get an award for just doing a good job or showing up. I have to really earn it. It keeps me very focused on school work as well. Good grades or I have to park the kart.  Yeah, I am a girl and this is a boy’s sport but like many other girls in the sport now, we can kick butt and we do. Look at Sarah who just won at Sebring in the Continental ST series. The boys treat me no different. There are no favors given to me and I think they try extra hard to make me earn a good finish.  Sure I like dressing up, wearing makeup and doing my nails but, I feel just as good in a driving suit. Makes no sense right? That’s ok.” Astrid said.

01astridovrpn

TopKart is a major racing kart manufacture from Italy. Model: TopKart Blue Eagle, Power comes from a gas powered  2 stroke, 15 hp, 14,500 rmp Italian made IAME motor.

Astrid will be competing in her first race April 30 – May 1 at NJMP.  Practice and qualifying on Saturday with the feature race on Sunday.

Next up for Astrid Lynn will be at Oakland Valley Race Park, NY, May21.

You can follow Astrid on her website:  astridlynnracing.com   Twitter @astridlynn22    FB Astrid Lynn

 

Mini_01

 

 

 

 

2016 F-Series

fseries46Astrid will be competing in The F-Series 2016 State Championship. The F-Series is an outdoor karting series that will begin its sixth season this year on April 2nd. “The program has tripled it’s entry list since the first season and promises to keep going in that direction for 2016. The format and class structure is designed with one objective, to ready the young racers of today for a racing career in the future.”

For the first time Astrid will compete in the outdoor karting arena in a state championship driving her 2015 IAME powered Top Kart. With contingencies and fierce competition, this series is going to put Astrid to the test. She will have to apply all that she has learned so far.

Astrid is very excited to race in The F-Series and is looking forward to expanding her racing resume.

LVGP 500 First Place

DSC_0075cOn February 21, 2016, Astrid and four other racers competed in a 500 lap endurance race at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix in the Amateur Division and WON!!!

Each driver would drive two thirty eight minute stints for almost an hour of total driving time. This is where Astrid’s shines. She, has a knack for endurance racing. This might have to do with her experience she has gained while being with her parents at the Rolex 24 and Twilight events. During the 500 strategy and consistent lap times where going to be key in winning this race.

The night before the race, Astrid and her team practiced for the big race the next day. Knowing that they had to do quick driver and kart changes, the team requested that the LVGP staff pull aside a kart for them to practice driver changes. When Astrid’s dad was asked what he thought about the kids practicing driver changes he said, “I think it’s great! Even though this is karting, all of the aspects of professional endurance racing are here. After all, even the top pro teams in the Rolex 24 practice driver changes. When competition is tight, fast pit stops can make the difference…”. All of Astrid’s teammates, Aidan, Blake, Colin and Greg where at the Saturday night practice. However, adding to the advantage of practice time, this team would have one additional tool, race communication.

With Astrid’s parents being racers themselves, and having years of experience with TRG at the Rolex 24, they knew they needed an advantage to help the drivers on the team. So with a little ingenuity, Astrid’s parents devised a way to have radio communication in each of the racers helmets.

A few months prior to the LVGP 500, Astrid’s father purchased a Sena communicator for Astrid’s helmet for use on the outdoor tracks. The purpose was initially meant for coaching her in her Top Kart however, Astrid’s parents realized they could provide communication for all of the racers on Astrid’s team.

DSC_0099cAll 5 racers could communicate with the crew chief while out on track. Saturday night the team worked out the quirks and devised a plan to win the following day.

Sunday morning, Aidan, Blake, Colin and Greg were preparing to race in their very first endurance race. Astrid had prior endurance racing experience in two other races she competed in earlier in the year. Her first being the Iron Man endurance race and her second being the Turkey Bowl at LVGP.

After an eight minute qualifying session, “Team Garden Hoses” would start P2 Amateur and P4 overall out of twelve teams. The strategy of the driver lineup was set and Colin would be the first driver in the kart. Astrid and Colin where the two “Hot Shoes” for the team. Between Astrid and Colin’s lap times, they would be able to bring the team back up to position. A Le Mans start with Colin sprinting to kart #11 would kick off the four hours of racing ahead. Colin quickly brought the kart up to P1 in class and P3 overall and would hand the kart off to the second driver, Blake.

Blake and Greg were the two least experienced drivers on the team. However, with coach Scott in their ears, both Blake and Greg improved so much that lap times dropped greatly. Blake would hand-off the kart to Aidan in P2 Amature.

Aidan continued to maintain position and would pit to hand-off to Greg. Greg quickly brought his lap times up to a competitive stride and would finish his stint in P3. Greg pitted and handed-off to Astrid. It was up to Astrid to bring the kart back to P1! Astrid was also to complete the required “kart swap”. Following the rules, she hopped into kart #19, the P1 qualifying kart in the 500. Obtaining such a hot kart was partly thanks to good communication and part of the overall strategy. Astrid would bring the team back up to P1 by the end of her 50 lap stint, handing the kart back over to Colin and restarting the driver cycle.

DSC_0063cThe race was a pretty text book endurance race for the remaining 250 laps or so. Very few cautions would allow for “Team Garden Hoses” to continue to “hose down” the rest of the amateur field. With a great group effort both on and off the track, “Team Garden Hoses” would go on to win first place amateur and fourth overall.

As a side note, Greg and Blake improved so much after Scott coached them in the 500, Greg went on to win the Group B Winter League Championship with Blake right behind in second. Both Greg and Blakes’ parents thanked Astrid’s dad for coaching them as they too saw a big improvement right after the 500.

2016 Winter League

DSC_0059cThis years Winter League at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix (LVGP) was a true turning point in Astrid’s racing career. During the previous Fall 2015 Junior League, Astrid was competing in Group B. Although Group B is quite competitive, Astrid’s goal had been to compete in Group A. Group A racers consistently hold and break track records at LVGP and are typically one to two seconds faster a lap than Group B.

01astridp1

LVGP offers an eight week program each Spring, Fall and Winter  where drivers race each Saturday morning. The morning consists of an eight minute qualifying session followed by a twenty minute position race. The karts are gas powered and reach a top speed of 45 mph on the indoor road course.

During the Winter League Week 1 race, Astrid qualified P1 in Group B. During the race she immediately pulled away from the 10 other racers, maintaining a tremendous lead over the field. About mid race during the 20 minute feature, she began to lap the field. A caution would reset the field with Astrid out in front. Astrid pulled away from the field again to finish P1.

With the domination that took place during Astrid’s first race in the Winter League, LVGP owner Mike McCreary suggested to move Astrid into Group A for the rest of the Winter League. Astrid was ecstatic. She had met her goal and would be competing in Group A. Astrid’s parents explained to her that the competition would be tough in Group A, she would need to “hit the reset button” and not only work on her lap times but, passing and race strategy as well.

Astrid understood this and replied, “I don’t need to win, I need to learn…and this group will help me…”. Her response was spot on. During the Winter League in Group A, Astrid struggled the first 2 races. Finishing twice 8th out of 10 and once 9th. Surprisingly, Astrid took it in stride. No sore losing coming from this young lady. When asked how she felt about it she simply replied, “I just need to keep practicing…”. And practice she did.

Every Friday before the Saturday morning league competition, Astrid would practice at LVGP. As one would expect, Astrid began to improve, greatly improve.

By week 4 of the 8 week league, Astrid had shaved 2 seconds off her lap time and was now able to qualify in the top 5. Even qualifying P2 her 5th race. By week 8 Astrid had developed her skills to compete very well within the top 5 of Group A. She not only brought her lap times down but, she began to understand how to strategize and what it means to race in a very competitive environment.

Astrid finished 6th in the 2016 Winter League Points Championship. However, she’s a true winner for her determination and attitude.

As Astrid reflected on the 2016 Winter League, she joked that she was the “Biggest Mover” as in almost every single 20 minute feature race she would manage to improve and pass and would finish better than qualified or better.