The first race of the season is always special. The excitement building in the paddock as the karts finally get on track; it’s great. But 2018 did not get off to a normal start. Friday the 13th was the first Team Test day, and Daniel benefitted from having his own mechanic and tuner, James Vance (www.jamesvanceracing.com).
Conditions were wet and cold, but the team was already prepared for that. James set up the kart for full wet weather, raising the ride height, increasing the track width and bolting on a se of treaded rain tires. Daniel confidently went out on track to start 2018’s first race weekend.
Many drivers found out the hard way how little grip there was on track, Daniel included. Nearly every lap someone was pointed backwards. After 10 laps, Demaras came into the pits for some advice from professional racecar driver and IMSA veteran James Vance, on how to approach the wet track.
With some coaching, Daniel improved kept the kart out of the grass and went faster. As Daniel came off track, there was concern of a problem with the kart. Last year, Chris and Daniel could’ve spent half an hour trying to diagnose the problem. But with experienced mechanics at PRO, the issue was solved instantly.
Daniel went back on track. James gave Daniel advice on slowing his entry to turn 9, to allow for better acceleration leading onto the front straight. James instructed Daniel to “…be on the rev limiter crossing the finish line…” with the extra speed he would be carrying. As Daniel hit the limiter, lap after lap, a grin crept across Vance’s face. Daniel was getting quicker every lap.
For the final session the rain had picked up and conditions got really crazy. Multiple drivers spun in turn 1, and Daniel had to take emergency action to avoid a collision. hat essentially ended the day, as James felt optimistic about Saturday, having shown his young student a glimpse into the art of racing in the rain.
As Friday’s rain continued into Saturday morning, temperatures dropped, and ice pellets began to fall. The track became unsafe to race on.
While many drivers were disappointed that the race was called off, it was the only decision that Goodwood Kartways could make. Strong winds blew paddock tents down, and karts were soon covered in icicles.
Teams packed up for the drive home. But that wasn’t the case for Daniel. When you can’t race outside, just go inside!
Through hail and snow, the Demaras Auto Racing Team drove to K1 Speed in Toronto where the ice storm outside was just a memory. Flying laps around the indoor track was a fun way to end a day that started with such disappointment.
Daniel was setting fast lap times, and making strong overtakes. His racing was so impressive, he was challenged to a race! The man who challenged him went by one name. The Punisher.
Daniel couldn’t let himself get beaten at his home track. So he took the challenge. The Punisher and Daniel dueled on track, each driver taking turns at P1, but Daniel put together a hot lap right at the checkered flag to defeat his new nemesis.
Realizing he’d been beaten by a 14 year old, The Punisher went straight to the bar. Chris bought a round of beers, and everyone walked away as new friends. The Punisher slapped Daniel on the back and said, “See you in F1, kid!”.
So while TRAK race one may not have happened, it was still a good day.