Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chicago Indoor Racing

Last night the Retail Technology Team had a company sponsored outing at Chicago Indoor Racing in Buffalo Grove. CIR is an indoor track where you can compete in races driving high performance 'Go-Karts'. These carts are powered by a 200cc four cycle gasoline engine, and can reach speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. But I can tell you it feels much faster than that. Before racing you sign a liability waiver and watch a short training video. Then you put on a racing jumpsuit and full helmet with visor. You climb into your cart, sitting just inches off the ground with a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals. All participants in the race pull out onto the track and do one starting lap in a single file line. Then the green flag waves and you're off on a 15 lap race. The racing experience is very intense, and when you finish and come off the track you are exhilarated and breathing hard.

The racing format for our group was four 15 lap qualifying races, and one 30 lap final. Each driver participated in three qualifiers, and sat out for one. In each qualifier you had a different starting position, one near the front, one near the middle and one near the back. Your score for each race was based on your finishing position, with the highest points for first, and fewer points for each subsequent finish. At the end of the qualifiers, the top ten scoring drivers got to compete in the final. For the final, your starting position was according to your accumulated qualifying scores, with the highest score in the front.

In the first race, I started in 6th position, but gained 2 positions, finishing in 4th. I sat out the second race, and really needed that rest. I was surprised how physical the racing was. In the third race I started in 3rd position. I gained one spot when the 2nd place driver spun out, and finished in 2nd place. By the 4th race I had started to gain some experience with the car and the track. I started in 8th position just one car before the last, but quickly managed to work my way up to 3rd. Unfortunately, I got passed by my colleague Dave Burkhart, and finished in 4th place. However, my accumulated scores qualified me to race the final, with a starting position right behind the leader. The final 30 lap race was grueling, but I managed to maintain my position all the way through, even lapping some of the slower drivers. But I couldn't overtake the leader who by the way has raced at CIR before, and I ended up in second place on the final. But I was pretty proud of my performance and received a number of high fives.

1 comment:

JD said...

Sounds like a whole lot of fun! I hope it's safe. Nobody got hurt? The person who spun off only got dizzy? Glad it wasn't you.