Pittsburgh International Racing Complex, August 9-11, 2013 – We are very happy to actually be able to have our first race report of the season! Jake actually began the season at the beginning of June at the United States Pro Karting Series race at New Castle Motorsports Park. However, during the fifth and final practice of the day he felt something pop in his back and was unable to continue. He gave it a valiant effort on Saturday and actually completed a couple qualifying laps before calling it a day. A trip to the EMT confirmed that he had actually separated a rib in the lumbar area of his back (picture your thumb sticking out of your back by the spine). He stayed out of a kart and worked on core conditioning (Jake has grown almost six inches since last September) for six weeks and was prepared to race the middle of July, but the race weekend was cancelled due to weather.
The season finally got underway with the last race of the World Karting Association Great Lakes Sprint Series Divisional. Friday practice began under rain conditions and the team elected to wait out the rain and go over the karts, as the KPP had not even been on the track in 2013. After lunch the track had dried and Jake was able to hit the track in the MMP/XS Energy Drink sponsored Komet and then follow up with some seat time in the Polymer Valley Chemicals Yamaha. Throughout the sessions Jake was always toward the top of the speed charts.
Jake piloted the Polymer Valley Chemicals Yamaha Junior onto the third row in P5, but was able to put the MMP/XS Energy Drink Komet Junior onto the second row in P3. In the Yamaha prefinal Jake was able to pick up one spot to P4, but in Komet prefinal he lost a couple of spots to finish in P5. Starting the final from the outside of row 2 the Polymer Valley Chemicals Yamaha would fall back to P6 on the opening lap, but Jake would work his way up and with three laps to go would make the pass for P3. Started the Komet class in P5 and was able to move the MMP/XS Energy Drink up to P3 with two laps to go and begin the chase for P2. Unfortunately, the number of laps had been reduced by two due to time constraints. After finishing on the bumper of P2, Jake said “I needed one more lap!”
Sunday racing began with a disappointing qualifying run of P8 in the Polymer Valley Chemicals Yamaha, but Jake was able to put the MMP/XS Energy Drink Komet onto the second row in P4. In the Yamaha prefinal Jake was taken out in turn 3 of lap 2, but was able to came from way back to finish P11. In the Komet Prefinal Jake worked his way to the bumper of the leader as the two broke away from the field and he was satisfied to finish in P2 right on the tail of the leader. The Yamaha final was a disappointment as many drivers forgot that you don’t win the race on lap one. After multiple incidents of hard contact by other karts Jake had to bring the Polymer Valley Chemicals Yamaha in early with flat left rear tire and a 12th place finish. Starting from the outside pole in the MMP/XS Energy Drink Komet Jake got a great start and was able to get to the inside of the field and enter turn 2 on the pole sitters bumper where he remained until turn 3 of lap 2 when he got shuffled back to third. He continued to battle for position and in turn 12 followed the second place kart past the leader. Drafting down the front stretch Jake moved to the inside with the pole sitter in tow to make the pass heading into turn 1. Unfortunately for Jake and the MMP/XS Energy Drink Komet, the pole sitter did not show the same respect he was shown and instead drove straight through Jake’s right rear and turned him completely sideways in the track. The rest of the field was able to avoid any high speed contact, but the damage had been done. Jake was still able to finish with a top five, but was very disappointed in the way he was raced.
While disappointed with the Sunday results, the weekend can only be seen as a success. It was Jake’s first race of the season after his rib injury. He was going up against drivers who have been racing since April and still managed two podiums on Saturday, started a final from the front and was wrecked while in the lead on Sunday. The speed was definitely there and he can look all his competitors in the eye as he raced them clean all weekend.
Jake and Victory Racing thank his 2013 primary sponsors Polymer Valley Chemicals, MMP/XS Energy Drink and McWhirter & Associates, CPA and his associate sponsors, Summit Racing and NAPA Wyan Auto Parts. Also thanks to Brandon Jenkins at Comet Racing Engines, Jeff Robinson at L&T Clutches, Mark Dismore at Comet Kart Sales, Gary and Karrie Lawson and Drew Mitchell.
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