First Race Day tips
Your first race day can get stressful, but with these tips you’ll stay on top of the game.
- Know what class you belong in.
- Classes are divided by a combination of age and engine. When you register for the day of racing, knowing the class you belong is important information. Through the rest of the day you will be called to the grid for practice and races by your class as well. If you are not sure what class you belong in, make sure you ask for clarification from an official. We use WKA class names to keep standardized with the karting industry.
- Get your kart Safety Tech’ed.
- Safety Tech is typically done before you enter the track, and some times needs to be done at each event. The idea is to be sure your kart is in a safe working condition so that you don’t hurt yourself or another competitor. If we look at this from the perspective of an insurance company, you can understand that they really don’t care if you win or not, they care about your kart being safe. Among other details, steering, brakes, and weight mounting gets a thorough look. At CHMS, you can get safety tech’ed for the season anytime before you enter the track. If you are here through the week, try to get the safety tech done and save the effort on race day.
- Have the correct fuel, oil, and tires.
- Most classes have a Spec for these items. This helps to control the cost for the racer, as it limits the advantage available for purchase and keeps a level playing field. For an example, let’s look at tires. If you were to use stickier tires, you would grip the track better, and increase your speed through the corner. The tires would also wear out more quickly, increasing the cost for the season. By Spec’ing a tire we ensure that everyone is driving the same type of tire, making driver and chassis tuning most important. By spec’ing a fuel and oil, we again ensure equality, and know that your fuel should match the sample we mix at the start of the day.
- Know the schedule.
- Arriving at the grid late doesn’t give the driver a chance to settle in before the race. That rushed feeling usually hurts performance, and missing the race entirely is no fun at all! Staying up to date with who is out on the track, and listening to the announcer are the best ways to avoid that rush. Become familiar with the classes that are on-track before you each day, so that you don’t get caught behind. If you have difficulty hearing the announcer, you can listen with any radio tuned to 104.1 fm.
- Become familiar with ‘gridding’.
- The ‘grid’ is the two by two lineup of karts as you get ready to enter the track. There are lineup sheets posted in the window of the tan building beside the Hot Grid. You will need to find your correct lineup spot each race, and then put the kart in that spot. There are two grids, Grid A and Grid B, that are marked in white paint on the ground. This allows us to have two classes getting ready at the same time and keep the day moving more quickly. Check with the Grid Steward if you have any questions.
- Start from the back.
- Some of the most stressful times of a first race day are the starts of the races. When a newer driver is starting up front, they know that the drivers behind them are likely faster, and definitely more experienced. If you elect to start from the rear for the two heats you have taken all that pressure off yourself. You can sit at the back for the first corner and just watch the chaos. You put yourself in control. Then see how many karts you can pass for the rest of the race. After the first week, most drivers feel much more confident in the middle of the pack.
- Your race isn’t over until post-tech is completed.
- At the end of every scored race, you’ll have some post race tech to deal with. While safety tech was making sure the kart was safe to drive, post-race tech is concerned with equality under the rules. The first thing that happens after the race is weigh in. We have a push-on scale that measures the kart and driver to be sure you are at or above the weight limit. When you complete that, the Tech Official will likely check something on the kart. Expect it for both heats and the feature. Please don’t leave the tech area until you are released by the Tech Official, or you risk disqualification.