Kid Kart Considerations

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    One of the topics that has been making the rounds of late and was discussed at ?The Meeting? was the supplied motor program for the Kid Kart class for 2006. Although general information and ideas have been stated by a couple of sources, there were some important additional details stated by officials at IMI. This is a class close to my heart since my oldest has run in this class for two years now with one more year to go and my younger one will enter the class in 2007 and will be eligible through 2009. I have been listening to the conversations and waiting for enough details to consider throwing out my two cents worth and you may find that it is worth exactly that?

    A critical question should be asked before making any change: By what method will we verify that this new program is working? Think about it, how will we know? In part the reason this issue is so difficult is because of the difficulty in answering that question. What we are saying is that there is something wrong with our current outcomes and in order to change these outcomes we have to change our inputs. So, what will be different in our outcomes and how will we know if those changes are the ones we were after. If we are going to attempt different outcomes then let?s at least be specific about our goal. Will there be less fighting, fewer protests, less whining, fewer disqualifications, different winners and champions, happier children, better drivers, more honest parents, better tasting hot dogs, whiter brighter driving suites, fresher breath, less waxy buildup, what, what is it that will be different and measurably different enough to recognize the desired improvement?

    Let me be very clear about the aim of this post and my personal position, (not that I deserve any special attention). I, am 100% behind the ?intent? and concept of equalizing the Kid Kart class in so far as a ?spec? class should and can be equalized. This is a completely honorable goal, to equalize the equipment in order to allow the driver component to be the differentiator. It would be hypocritical in fact to not be behind this intent since the entire push last year to establish a good consistent set of rules and to actually enforce them was to the same point. Let?s also keep in mind the class ?Purpose? which I am particularly fond of, (I wrote it). There are some clubs that run this class as non-competition in an attempt to eliminate the ?hassle?. However, they are the minority and the most respected and best programs are competitive particularly at the state or regional championship level. The major difference is that they have specific rules and they are enforced. I would even be in favor of a non-comp class if we were just now introducing the class to the area, but not after this many years of competition with kids that have one to two years under their belt, no. Please remember, I am in favor of the intent, the aim of this post is to discuss the reality and feasibility of what has been proposed. I sincerely want it to work and work well, my fear however is that we may simply be trading one set of issues for another and in the final analysis we will have zero net improvement over what we already have. The supplied motor program solution sounds so wonderful and simple, but gets ridiculously complicated once you look at what it will actually take to execute the program in a literal and legitimate way. So let?s get into more of the specifics:

    Here is the most current outline as stated at the ?Meeting? regarding the supplied motor program and will be considered point by point:

    1. ?We will purchase 20 motors, put them on the dyno and make sure that they are all
    the same. If there are any that are too good or really bad we?ll get others.?
    Consider: In order to even attempt this we must first decide on an acceptable % of variation. These motors are factory rated, I believe at 1.8 hp. Which means that even if we take that as a starting point, a difference of less than 1/10 of a hp represents 5% of the total power made by the motor! Most racers would love to find a 5% increase in power and go crazy if they suddenly had a 5% loss of power. Therefore I am using that amount as an amount that would normally be viewed as significant, (so in this case less than 1/10 of one hp). I?m not suggesting that we specifically use 5% as an acceptable variation, but I certainly can?t imagine using any more than 5%. In addition, what would be the acceptable rpm range where the engine produces the acceptable hp? I have seen them produce 1.8 hp at 8900 rpm and 1.8 hp at 10,500 rpm. Would these both pass the test? Which one would you rather have, and where? So now to stay true to the aim we must decide on an rpm range where each motor produces the acceptable hp within 5% variation. What about maximum rpm? If the motor produces the required hp within the required rpm range, how much higher can the motor spin while maintaining that power and still be the ?same?? A motor that will turn 10,500 rpm without dropping off too much at a track like GJ will certainly have an advantage. Do we put rev limiters on them? So, for example: we now have 20 engines that all produce the same hp within 5% of each other. They all produce that power between 9800 and 10,100 rpm and the rev limiters are set at 10,200 rpm. Oh, also keep in mind that all of the dyno testing to all engines must be done within the same day and/or that the corrected altitude cannot vary by more than 500 ft or so over the duration of the session. If for any reason the entire session cannot be performed within these requirements it must be started over from scratch. In addition, the running head temp would have to be within ten or twenty degrees in each test, (it makes a difference). I know I know this sounds ridicules! That?s the point. Remember the reason for all of this is to make them the ?same?. The ?same? gets real complicated real fast. By the way, I was speaking to a friend of mine with engines in his blood, factories in his past and connections to teams like Penske & Roush and although I new what his answer was going to be, I mentioned this whole proposal to him. He said, ?You know, I understand what there?re trying to do and it?s all with good intention I?m sure?. NASCAR spent millions and millions of dollars trying to do the same thing and they were never able to do it. The only thing they could ever settle on was a good set of rules, to enforce those rules and to mandate a restrictor plate. In the end a motor is nothing more than an air pump. I guess if they can pull it off they?ll be smarter than anybody at NASCAR? he replied. Let?s say we jump through all of these hoops and actually wind up with a group of engines that are legitimately within ?control?. (Statistical theory and standard deviation of process knowledge helpful here) Then what?

    2. ?We will track the hours on the motors to keep them the same, if we have to dyno them after every race, we will.?
    Consider: I?m glad they said that because even if they start off within ?control? there is slim chance that they will stay within control. I have run these motors enough to know that the more they run the looser they get and the faster they go, (within reason and up to a point, then they drop off). To keep them the same they would have to be re-dyno?ed after every race and/or practice, all of them, whether they were all raced or not because otherwise you have no relative baseline by which to establish your control limits and % of variation. Could this all be done, yes. What I have trouble believing is that someone, anyone would be willing to take the time and expense of doing it and doing it to the extent that we can even come close to accepting that they are the ?same?. Again, remember that this entire process is to accomplish, and is justified by one objective, to be the same. Is this still better than what we had last year? Maybe it is, I?m just discussing it. What about last year, in fact! Point: It was the first year that the class was not run as an outlaw class. Point: It was the first year that had actual rules. Point: It was the first year that there was any tech. Point: With the exception of a tiny minority, all competitors adhered to the rules and passed tech with no issues and were appreciative of the efforts and progress that was made with that dept. Point: 90%+ of last year?s issues have moved on.

    Since the whole intent is to make them the same and to have a level playing field, we have to talk about weight. I know other classes argue about weight a lot and I remember reading a post about how a great driver can overcome a weight issue, (Preston Newberry). I agree, but remember how much power and weight they are talking about. 20-30+ lbs spread out over 20 to 40 hp is totally different than the effects of 10-20 lbs with 1.8 hp. There are racers in this class that are carrying an extra 10-20 lbs with no way to take off any weight. If we are serious about being fair then we will have to raise the minimum weight from 150 lbs to at least 165 to 170 lbs, they have to be the ?same?.

    3. ?If you don?t like the motor you can exchange it for another one?
    Consider: How many times can you exchange it and up to which point within an event, and if the new one is worse can you go back to the one you had before? We?ll need a revolving door on the shop at each track.

    4. ?We?ll have two classes at IMI, the CSC supplied motor class and an open class.?
    Consider: This is just a bad idea. (The open class is also affectionately known as the ?Kill My Kid? class) In general, anything that necessitates dividing up the potential participants of a class of this size will damage the class, not help it. And this is true regardless of which set of rules you decide to run. How about this, A boys class and a girls class, and one for blond hair and one for dark hair, one for kids with parents with gross incomes over $100,000 and one for under 100K, etc, etc. Likewise, anything that we do that separates our class and series from what the majority of the other clubs around the country are doing makes participating out of our area and people wanting to come into our area difficult. The CSC Kid Kart rules in 2005 were very consistent with most of the country and it would be easy to travel to other events. The only departure really was our 78 gear instead of the spec 89 gear that most clubs run. One idea that I heard was appealing. Same rules (whatever they are) across the board, club and CSC, however, a special sub class (they all run together though) for true rookies. They could be any age within the rules of the class but awarded separately and in addition for first year drivers. And now that I think of it, I think I?ll sponsor those awards each year! Yea! An award and a $100 US savings bond to the CSC Kid Kart ?Rookie of the Year!?

    It reminds me of the second Jurassic Park movie when the nutty old guy is putting together another trip back to the island and trying to get Jeff Goldblum to go along and he says I’m not going to make the same mistakes again and jeffs charactor says “No, no your making all new ones.” In the end, who do you want responsible for your program, the dirt in your carb, the fouled plug, the frayed wire, etc?. yourself or the people that run the series.

    Question: is a motor with a broken pull-cord on the starting line of the main the ?same??

    Scott Hannum

    J.B. Olmstead

    Scott, perhaps we should incorporate “Bracket Racing” rules , if your kid goes too fast — he/she is DQ’ed !

    Tee Hee


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