The day started out at pretty much ideal temp. I was pretty much up to race speed in the kart by lap 3 or 4 of the first session. The grip started to go away during the later half of the 2nd practice session. This track seems to lose grip once the temp gets past about 85 or so.
I had a decent run in qualifying. I got the pole with a 54.39, but I wasn't any faster than my previous practice sessions. The big development was my rival, who had some sort of mechanical issue with the kart (we're still not sure what happened, might have been bad carb jets, might have been a rubbing brake rotor). It just wouldn't accelerate like it should have. So he got 4th. It's sort of an empty-feeling pole because my rival had a mechanical. Kinda like winning under a yellow. I'd prefer if it was a fair fight.
Of course, my rival selected a new kart to do battle with and we gridded up for the main. Being pole, I had the inside. My row partner tried to take pace control away just before the start and kind of jumped the gun a bit, but I handily outbraked him into turn 1 and established a working gap, which I held for 3 laps.
At the end of the 3rd lap, my rival went by into kramer. I never got that corner down this weekend and I paid the price, and then again in lap 7 when I got passed again and put squarely into 3rd place.
Slight overdriving, added weight (5 lbs), the hot temps and a couple somewhat large mistakes kept me from launching more than one (botched) assault in an attempt to regain 2nd. At the end of the day I lost 2 places and finished 3rd. I'm not really pleased with how I did, it's not the result I was after, but it's not bad. Could have done way worse. At the end of the race my fastest lap was 54.761, which is a lot slower than qualifying, but 4th's fastest was 54.762, only 1 thousandth of a second slower.
On a brighter note, one of the coaches, Mike Hill, is starting his 2009 Indy Lights season next Sunday at Infineon with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Watch it and support him!