Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mini Indy 2011

Well, every year my work puts on a charity event called the mini indy. It's always held in March and takes place in St. George, Utah. All the proceeds go to the United Way and it brings in some good money for them. Basically a bunch of grown ups get together and race 5 horsepower go carts around a track. They have to make 2 pit stops during each race and the cars are heavily monitored to make sure no one cheats. In the past there have been quite a few cars disqualified and kicked out for cheating. These people really take this SERIOUS. I go down and volunteer to be on the tech team. I would be the one that makes sure everything is the same on all the cars and that no one is cheating. This is a 3 day event. On the first day they have a big golf tournament, the 2nd day is test and tune for all the cars and a charity auction and banquet. The 3rd day is the big race with a BBQ cook off during the day. It's always a bunch of fun. The only problem is the last 2 years the weather has not cooperated. After lunch on race day is when the weather decides to kick up and really make things interesting. Here are some of the photos from the weeks events.

 This is the tech area. All the go carts get their oil changed, compression checked, tire pressures and RPM's set, and everything is checked like air cleaners, seat belts, brakes and other necessary items.
 This is one of the pit areas. This shows you how serious people are here. Look at that tent. All 37 teams had similar tents like this.
 Here is my buddy eating by Tony Stewart's car. This car drove around the pits all week. They had a Nascar simulator that you could race also.
 This is part of the pit stop competition. All the teams compete to have the fastest pit stop. In a pit stop they have to change drivers, and jack up the car and change a tire out. It is very competitive and we had to judge and time the competition. The jack is in front of the car with the lug nut remover to the side of it.
 Here is a few teams in the middle of their pit stop. They have to do these pit stops twice in the real race also.
A miniature blimp was here all week taking pictures and flying around.
Here are the go carts doing test and tune runs on practise day. We actually install a transponder on each car so they can check their times accurately and in case there is a photo finish on race day.
 This is the team from Enterprise rent a car. Yes he is actually wearing a sport coat. I think it's their CEO.
 At the banquet there is a competition for the best looking car and uniforms for the teams. Most teams dress up in some wild outfits trying to get the trophy. A lot of the paint jobs that show up each year cost more than my bug, truck and van put together. Here is one that has a viking theme.
This is the nose on the car. It is all hand painted and it looked even better in person.
 This shows some of the details involved with these cars. This one was also hand painted and clear coated. Can you believe these are only go carts. Most cars on the road don't have paint jobs that cost this much.
Here are some more cars at the banquet.
 It's race day now and they always start off with the national anthem being sung and a parachuter with a flag .

 The first heat of the day. They run 2 classes and then the winners of them compete in the final race of the day. Unfortunately, the rain, wind, and hail came right after lunch and everything got cancelled. They had run 4 heats though but the weather just got to bad.

 At this point we were changing out the rear axle of this car trying to get it ready for the next race. It crashed earlier and bent the axle. If you look closely you can see some people starting to hold the tents down so they don't blow away.
 Here we are all holding the tents down. It was going nuts at this point and we quickly got all the tents down before they got blown away. The race was cancelled now and everyone went to the old terminal building in the old St. George. airport. This is when we got a great idea.
 Why not take the skywest cars out for a spin on the track. Everyone else was huddled in trying to avoid the weather so we had the track all to ourselves.. I am racing this one and had to get some pictures.
 here is my buddy. There was 4 of us racing in the rain and we all agreed that this definitely made the week worth it. I had a ball. It was a little cold but way to much fun to stop.
These are the guys I was racing with. We just came in and were trying to thaw out.  It wasn't very long after that we called it a day and took our cars out to the end of the runway for a drag race. You just don't get to race on an actual airport runway very often. I also took ed through the race track a couple times. Even with the crappy weather, it was still a fun week. It turns out to be a lot of work but there is still time to mess around and have fun. Hopefully next year the weather will cooperate a little better.

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