Monday, 15 July 2013 09:00
I finally arrive at the track after an unusually slow drive in from the East side of the island. The traffic had been backed up for miles right around the stadium area and suddenly the traffic had sped up and the road cleared while I had been expecting to come upon an accident. Somewhat typical for Hawaii; it was a slowdown on the freeway with no apparent cause.
I pause for a moment to let the Tonka Toy truck of Manuel Moisa pass (so I can see the new headers he installed) and cover my ears pretending the exhaust note is too much to bear as he grins while driving by. I'm pleasantly surprised to see Junior Alimoot in the pits as I make my way to the tower. He hadn't been sure he'd be able to get "Wicked" repaired in time for the event and, although he and his crew are busy working on the car, he thought he'd be ready for time trials which were about to start. And Bobby Perkins appears to have made the transmission repairs that he'd suffered at the last event as I can see the back of the white Toyota truck behind the second bunker. "There's a new roadster " Gerald Ing points out to me as I greet him and his son (who have already unloaded). Gerald and Tim must have been just far enough ahead of whatever incident had slowed me down as they were unaware of the slow traffic I had encountered.
There are a few late registrations at the tower, but in general everyone appears ready to roll as the announcer calls for drivers to come to the staging area so they can get started and I can see the beginnings of another gorgeous sunset (which Hawaii is so, so famous for).
They run time trials and I see a new stretched, black quad as well as all of the regulars. They grade the track quickly and run one of the Jr. dragsters as well as the kids on bikes and quads. Mike Kitchens reminds everyone on the PA that, as always, the kids run for free so everyone shoul be sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Granny Grace provides a prayer, in Hawaiian first followed by a version in English and we all face the flag quietly in attention as the National Anthem is played prior to getting started.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 00:49
The stiff winds and hot weather have made for a somewhat dusty day for the competitors, fans and crews alike. The stock car heat races have just ended and the track has been lightly watered in an attempt to lessen the dustiness. The Hula Cross cars and trucks are grouped together today and are going to run their heat race first: we see the black and blue “winged” Honda of Clifton Poteet number 13 on the pole with the 69x of Christensen Moniz which appears to be a Toyota Corolla or similar import. On the 2nd row it’s the 44 a red Mazda pickup driven by Robert Vierra inside of the black B2200 number 22 of Lopaka Vierra. The cars are running clockwise today and when the green comes out the cars speed “mauka” (or towards the mountains) past the starter’s stand. Trying to relate to the corner numbers was not only challenging to me, but may also be so for you as you read this so I apologize. The track has a mix of dry/tacky oval areas and a “sopping wet” chicane, but no jumps today and it will all come down to going fast in the fast sections and really slowing down sufficiently in the wet and slow chicane.
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:06
Race number 4 for the 2013 season finds us at a hot and sunny day race, but the weather is looming over the Ko’olau mountain range somewhat and rain is a possibility later in the day. There aren’t as many cars here as last month’s night race, but this is, by far, the best showing of racers at a day event to date. Once “pack track” and practice were finished the track was looking in great shape, but the windy, sunny conditions would inevitably dry it out fairly quickly.
The heat races were announced and once the cars were lined up at the track entrance (the “chute”) we paused for the National Anthem and prayer prior to racing.
There are a total of eight groups of varying cars arranged into their respective classes and the order in which they run is intended to get the cars with the widest tires out first, I think in part to help the track avoid rutting from the narrower tires when the track is still moist.
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 12:46
Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00
We’re experiencing a typically gorgeous trade wind day today here at Kalaeloa Raceway Park. It’s definitely a good day for some sunscreen and probably a good day to have an ample supply of refreshments. Thankfully the vendors are always prepared with an assortment of food and drinks to choose from, but if spectators prefer they are allowed to bring in coolers (sans alcoholic beverages which are not permitted) which is always a plus.
As I make my way from my van to the tower I hear them announce Tom Brown against Paul Giovannetti, the cars start, line up then off in a roar. Announcer for the day, Mike Kitchens, announces in excitement the reaction time of Paul’s unlimited rail #556 as a .006/sec (which is very nearly perfect) and it was evidenced by a glimpse of the orange car leading the black car as they flashed between two storage containers located between me and the track. I pause for a moment, knowing the two cars might pass me in a moment as they make their ways down the return road and back to the staging lane. I had intended to give Paul a “thumbs up” for his reaction time, but his car was intercepted by his pit crew and stopped several hundred feet short of me. Tom was rumbling along the asphalt return road so I we gave each other a nod of acknowledgement and I basked for a moment in the perfume of the exhaust fumes trailing behind him.
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 00:00
The stock car practices are complete so during a short break we run a series that has been running at the track since its first opening. This is a motorsport support series that was born out of a need for racing without a real racetrack. It was first started in the form of rally cross that is common across the US and made up of a mixture of sedans and trucks. The series has dwindled since the opening of the circle track in part due to the conflict faced by the drivers as to where they should invest both energy and dollars.
Hulacross Heat Races
Nowadays KRP utilizes the dirt oval pit entrance/exit area and the infield to create a sort of arena style off road racing. The practice follows all the stock car classes and in order for the drivers to be sure they know the track layout the segment starts with a quick “lead follow” before they let the vehicles loose. It gets dusty quickly and at one point I can’t see across the track. There’s the #83 of the Maui Off Road crew who took off from the pack early and the #1 black Subaru of Mike Ward followed by the blue Dodge truck #1 (It’s actually a number 1 followed by a bunch of letters which I can’t read), and a few other trailing for about 10 laps.
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