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    Robert Lawson

    It won’t be official until Monday, but, the busy weekend involved hunting down a new engine.

    I know, I know, I can be quoted saying this:

    I have started calling this Summer the “Retirement Tour” as I wont be doing the “race events” anymore and really concentrating on a Track Day program.”

    AND this:

    I always figured when our “stuff” became irrelevent and without a class or participation we would be done. I’m not moving to another class or upgrading just to turn laps….”

    So, what the *%@&!!!! am I doing then, right? I guess, extending the Tour!!!

    Last quote:

    Love my kart. Its cheaper than a Car and safer than a Bike. If I only get to drive it for fun a couple times a year and racing a clock, thats OK with me.”

    Nothing wrong with having a super fast Track Day Kart!!!! 🙂

    Hee, hee, hee!!! And the best part….the WIFE suggested I look for something! I love it when a plan comes together!!!!!

    IF all things work out, we will make Grattan with it. If not, I will take it on the road to do some Circuit testing at Nelson, Pitt, and….fingers crossed, Pocono. (Dude, you know the Long Pond straight is over 3,ooo ft long, right?)

    Being a “laydown guy” my wish list is what they call Southeast Option 3, let me explain.   Direction is CCW, exit the infield onto the Oval at Nascar Pit exit (blue course) and proceed through the 1st turn down the Long Pond Straight to the last infield entrance (white course) turning left. Follow the white course past the infield pit lane and right kink straight to the yellow course, then turn hard right back onto the blue course to complete the lap. Its 2.15 miles.

    I here the transition from the oval to the infield at the last entrance before the tunnel turn is…. abrupt. Karts would have trouble there. So, maybe something can be done to slow or change the approach to it. Like what is done at MIS. or go CW? Can’t speculate until we try it. Thats why we have to go and test it.

    As you can see there are numerous options! I’m sure something can be configured that would be fun, fast, and best of all NEW.  By choosing one end of the facility and leaving the other open, makes this place unbelieveably affordable.

    So, I have a lot of work to do!

    More to come….



    Robert Lawson

    Hey Y’all, if you search at Youtube “Pocono Southeast option 3” there is plenty of on board of the above configuration.

    Rich stopped by today and picked up the replated cylinder to repair the damaged area with the H2O leak. I mixed up some soap & water and poured it into the sealed head & cylinder combo….then put some PSI to it. The leaks are plainly visable and will take some creative material removal and welding to repair correctly. We will have to use a longer stud in that corner as well.

    I am prepared for bad news though. A spare cylinder is preped for replating and will get boxed up tonight and shipped to US Chrome tomorrow regardless. Rich wants this engine, I wanted to keep it for a spare. Either way, it has so many new parts in it that going 10/10ths on a 2nd cylinder is just sound reasoning.

    We may just take the kart with the RVS on it to do the Circuit testing simply because it will require NO additional work. And, Rich doesn’t mind if I “break it in” for him. 🙂

    Spoke to our good friend Fred at Nelson Friday, that may be the best place to start since he’ll give me all the laps I need. I knew going to Nelson when no one in their right mind would, would pay off some day. We (he!) laughed about my last trip over there, “Man, I could hear the revs on that thing jumpin all over….you got the s**t knocked out of you that day!!!” Yep, sure did, and, all for the low-low price of $150!!!!  Those days are now history!

    New engine will be on a truck headed this way tomorrow. Not sure how long it will take to get here and get mounted up so no plans for it just yet.

    Fun, fun!!!


    Todd Stoffer

    Let me know when you go to Nelson. I want to see that new asphalt.


    Robert Lawson

    I’ll do that Todd.

    Ofcourse I have had plenty of offers to take my place or just join me in testing out there! My brother being one of them!!! I will be insured for these “tests” and they are done for more than just the thrill of spinning laps. There are mutiple pages of Insurance forms to complete about each Venue and its grounds, not just the track itself. Getting all of it on video will keep me from having to take a ton of notes and asking the Management of each Circuit about specifics pertaining to the grounds and safety of all areas.

    Its, involved!

    It does any Club coming in afterwards a great favor, if they use the same Insurance. The “certification” of the Venue per that Insurance provider is submitted by my having already done it. Hmm, I need to make a call, maybe I don’t need to go to PittRace afterall???

    Anyway, watching the UPS tracking like an 1100 mile race! My packages are said to be delivered Friday, by end of day. The timing doesn’t seem to work out that way though, watching it travel North. We’ll see tomorrow. (Postman, Postman, don’t delay….do the Cha-Cha all the way!!!)

    Yeah, I’m a teenie bit excited about this….. just a teenie bit!!!! 🙂


    Robert Lawson

    It was like Christmas Day this morning!!!

    I couldn’t get ANY work done until I checked & spec’d it all out!!!

    What an AWESOME deal I got on a virtually brand new Vortex RVXX. The seller (Thanks Andy!!!) never ran it and the history he gave checked out 100%. The only time on this engine is by the owner of the shop from which it originated, 2 Wild Karting in Laguna Hills, CA. That time is comprised of “practice” for the Super Nats prior to the “Factory Guys” removing it and installing their engine for qualifying and racing.

    It may have 4 hours of total time on it.

    I’ll leave it stock/standard KZ spec, PVL, 30mm carb, etc. All we’ll change is the squish and static timing. Rich is as excited about his new stuff as I am about mine. Maybe this was the spark we needed to go another few years…who knows!

    Mounting should be simple modification to the other mounts. I’ll get started on that Monday. Rich’s too, it won’t take a completely new set-up to get the RVS on his chassis either. Unfortunately he is not going to make Grattan regardless.

    Will have to work ALL weekend now since I got nothing done today!!!




    Robert Lawson

    Bummer, won’t make Grattan!!!

    The work over the weekend went well, long, but well. I had been up to my ears with “stuff” to do and just had to clear the air. I was sufficating!!!

    There is just too much to get right with this new engine package before next weekend. The 2nd RVS cylinder won’t be back in time so no help there either.

    Its all good, we’ll look next to Gingerman for racing. Until then I can turn my attention to getting this engine right & mounted, correct carb parts, pipe cut-fit-welded, and rear bumper extended.

    Looks like first runs will be at these surface/facility tests. I may just hit up Fred on the way out AND back!!!!




    Robert Lawson

    Chuck and I are heading out to Grattan in the AM.

    Larry can use some help I’m sure and I have some homework to do!

    The 2nd cylinder for the old ICC is on its way back, will be here Monday. Looks like THAT engine will get the break-in and test runs at Nelson and PittRace.

    Not sure about going all the way over to Pocono on this same trip. I have to do more research on the car and bike groups over there then figure out if we can pull this off. I’m fairly sure we won’t get anywhere near enough karts alone to do a day or 2 over there. At least not the first time out. So, more work to do on that yet.

    The new engine has me a little freaked out. I DO NOT want to blow this thing up so we have been going the extra mile, getting all info I can before assembling it for a long track. With the old engine we just winged it! Never gave any thought to port timing or “degrees of angle”  blah, blah, blah… In all the advice I ever got involving specs for that engine no one ever asked “By the way Lawson, is the port timing in spec or…….”

    So, because this engine is sooo like new I want to do it right. Of course I have had offers to help “If you need any assistance modding it to a proper spec engine.”  🙂

    Once again this one will remain in KZ spec. I think we made our point that in spec these engines are plenty fast.

    Kenny reports a big crowd out there in Grand Rapids today. The MX track is running all weekend too so there will be sounds and smells to please all!

    More coming VERY soon!




    Robert Lawson

    Had a super good time at Grattan on Saturday!

    Chuck and I stole Cherri’s car, loaded it with a cooler full of H20 and Sammy’s, a couple chairs and a pop-up, and I tossed in the helmet bag just in case! 😉

    We got to the track, parked, set up the shade and chairs, off loaded the cooler, grabbed a drink and headed out to say hello to some friends. We only came back to get more to drink, then again at lunch to fill up! Each time we came back someone was sitting there enjoying the shade and chairs!!!! It litterally took all day to visit and get caught up with everyone. Actually, there were a few folks we just ran out of time to speak with OR they were working away and we didn’t want to bother them. Got our hands dirty a couple times helping some guys too, that was fun! Larry was done working and was not going to drive until Sunday so there was not much to do over at his pit.

    Before I go any further, my sincere condolences to the entire Faasen family for the loss of their patriarch and Father, EJ. He passed on earlier in the week. Although he was infirmed for quite some time now, and not doing well, we are always a bit numb when having to confront our mortality. My buddy Curt Faasen is also on the mend after being diagnosed with cancer and having his prostate removed. I have years of stories about EJ and his antics, also, growing up at THEIR track with HIS boys holds a special place in my heart.

    Get well soon Curt, and GODSPEED EJ!!!!!!

    Of course, these things start the rumor mill too. I heard all kinds of stories about how the track is being sold now and the many different offers being made. To quote Sam: “If I’m not telling you this, it isn’t happening!!!” I’ll also add this, IF any of these “big deals” I heard about were taking place, Sam would have been boasting about it!!!!!!! He CAN’T keep a secret!! 🙂

    So, we were running around the paddock all day.  We really didn’t get to sit down until 4-4:30. Just long enough to finish the day and head out.

    I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a good many folks we talked to that they LOOK IN HERE regularly! That was cool, and it explains the skyrocketing number of views we get here.

    I’m excited. Thought a trip to the track would have had me missing the racing and going nuts but it just didn’t happen. Larry had the right game plan, work on it and prep on Saturday then visit, help, and do your racing on Sunday!!! The run, run, run schedule of a competitive weekend is not attractive to me. I AM infact excited about getting over to Nelson and Pittsburg in a week or so. All the specs and set up for the new engine are done, will be ordering some bits just to have in the AM tomorrow. Depending on when we get UPS, the old engine could be running tomorrow and we could be ready to go this week! Spoke to the guys at Grattan about slipping out there just to break it in so when we get to Pitt or Nelson we can drop the hammer right off the truck! Got to find out what their schedule looks like tomorrow too.

    Will be a busy couple weeks.

    Thats all for now, stay tuned, things are about to pick up!!!



    Robert Lawson

    Well, plans change yet again!


    The ports in that last cylinder looked terrible. Completely uncharicteristic of US Chrome from my past dealings with them. After sending pics & talking with a few different folks over there I got a call from the Owner himself. After some haggling he agreed to fix them so I’m sending all 3 back. Understand, I’m not poo-pooing US Chrome here. Obviously a new port dresser worked on all of these and the boss said he would make it right. I will continue to use US Chrome because the bore looks absolutely factory, no “porosity” like the other guys. BUT, I will request NO TOUCHY the ports and deal with that myself.


    So, I started mounting up the new engine and hope to get all of that done as quick as possible. Got messages in to both venues and working on a free space between bookings that work for both.


    Everything happens for a reason right? We’ll keep at it!!!!






    Robert Lawson

    Shipped out the box to US Chrome and got the engine mounts squared away.

    This new engine is tiny. I mean its small compared to the RVS, a full couple inches shorter in the cases! The rear mount was ok and it kept the chain as short as possible but had to make a longer front mount. Got that all done, welded up at Pop Moscones new shop yesterday (beautiful big new garage!) and fit/primed & painted today. The cut-away on the side panel isn’t close at all, the cylinder sits 3 inches back from the RVS. I have a special little project to fix that!!!! It will be sweet!

    I’ll start cutting up the pipe to fit next week, gotta buzz Carbon Tech too and see where they are on my reeds and it will be ready to go. Can’t wait to see what shes got!!!!

    I’ll post up a little video when I give it the first crank!!!!

    Got a call back from Nelson but nothing from PittRace. I’m not ready yet so its not a big deal, I’ll chase these guys down when its time to go.



    Robert Lawson

    A Little update:





    Robert Lawson

    That was a long day!

    Just got home from Grattan. The Family held a Memorial Service for their Dad EJ. There was a big crowd, 200 or so folks. Everyone the family ever met seemed to be there! They had a nice catered lunch under a huge tent with lots of pictures and memories to go around. I got to spend time with each of the Boys, a few of their kids, a bunch of their friends, and Corner Marshals!

    EJ had a history even I didn’t know about! In his late teens/early 20’s he was buff! He looked like Jack LaLane!!!! Bright blonde hair and fit he did some kind of acrobatics!!!! Really cool pictures of him through out the years, and, all the kids & grandkids. When you have 13 kids you will collect a few Grand’s too!!! I snapped pics with my phone, as many as I could. He was also in the Navy! The Navy color guard was there, did the flag ceremony and 21 guns. Then the bugler played Taps….which rang off the hills and trees and was awesome! EJ’s grandson read a poem and scripture then Sam spoke to the crowd.

    What he said was very emotional for him and his Family. He said what helped and made them feel better were all the calls they received and how these callers would explain how the track and facility gave them great memories and many friends over the years.

    EJ’s Wife, Mary, is not doing well. Her health is also in question. The Family was rotating sitting with her at the House in the paddock, they fear she may now give up after taking care of EJ for the past few years of his illness. She did not feel up to joining the crowd. I waited for each of them to come out to the tent, with such a large crowd you had to wait your turn but they really appreciated speaking to everyone.

    I told Huey that my parents ashes were buried out there, I had not shared that with all the Boys. He was emotional, as was I, and said “There are a lot of ashes out here!”

    Grattan is more than just a race track, and the Family more than just good friends. The work they did way back in the day, to clear the land, by hand. The old Tower, the drag strip & christmas tree! The old paddock, the lower was our playground and was nothing but grass! The 55 gallon drums filled with sand on the front straight that made a pit wall!!! Each of the Boys have left a piece of themselves out there, and carved out a legacy.

    A bunch of years ago my Brothers and I brought our Family movies out there and had a showing in what is now the MX garage. 8mm movies with no sound, but plenty of now historic scenes of EJ’s pride and joy. He loved that place as much as we do.

    Godspeed EJ, enjoy your rest. You have earned it!!!


    Robert Lawson

    Reeds arrived Friday and Rich finished welding the pipe. I have what I need to get it fired up now, but….

    The carb won’t go on!

    The bowl cap is contacting the front motor mount and the carb is not fitting in the intake flange. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll modify that mount for clearance but the bit welded to the chassis that the mount bolts to may become an issue as well. A couple added links to the chain should move everything forward enough so any geaing option will keep it from getting close.

    At least the Pipe fits!!! I did forget to give Rich the EGT bung but I can get that on myself later in the week.

    With any luck I’ll post up the running engine video tomorrow afternoon!


    Robert Lawson

    Sorry guys!!! The Wife said nay-nay to hitting the garge on Sunday!

    We had my niece’s Wedding at 3pm and she would not allow me to get out there and get dirty!!!

    Ah but there is good news…. I shot the video today! 2 of them actually!

    What happened?? Why 2??? Oh no you don’t…. you’ll have to wait for the YT uploading to finish!!!!

    It seems BOTH my cameras are botched! Even the VIO cam has digital break up in the video!!??? I’m looking at a Go Pro “Sessions” cam, for 150 bucks. Thats all I’m willing to spend as easily as these things get shaken apart and trashed! The VIO cam is remote! It was in my suit with no vibration, last time I used it the video was good???!!!!?????? Could it be the card?

    Anyway, there will be some “technical difficulties” to the video’s.

    Can’t wait to get on the track at Nelson!


    Robert Lawson

    Here you go, the events of the day:

    …..and a follow up:


    Robert Lawson

    I have to get my EGT bung welded on the pipe this weekend and some new springs for the exhaust and the kart will be ready.

    Spoke to Nelson Ledges 4 times today working out a plan for track time this coming week that is not threatened by weather. I have 2 days picked out, 1 early, 1 late. I’ll be shopping for a camera this weekend, the result of that along with the forcast will determine which day I choose.

    Spoke also with PittRace today too. Unfortunately they can’t get me out there in the next 2 weeks. We did talk about heading over there early in September. I will be in contact with them in the next couple weeks, the possibility of a “Track Sponsored” Friday/Event practice is now in the hands of the Management. They will talk it over and make a decision. That is the best I could do, its too late in the year and short notice makes the chances of this happening a financial mess.

    If you want to influence this, call the Track Office and leave a message that you would attend. You never know, it may help! (PittRace: 724-535-1000)

    More to come….




    Robert Lawson

    Again, ^^^^ call that number if you are interested!

    Looks like there will be a strong T storm on Tuesday in the Garretsville OH area. My new cam won’t be here until then anyway (everything happens for a reason!) so Friday will be my next opportunity. Right now the forecast shows a perfect day for it.

    I’m going to mount and bring a new set of tires just in case I get some overtime over there!!!!

    New cam test coming soon!




    Robert Lawson

    Was intending to briing you a cam test of the new unit. Unfortunately, it has even worse video break-up than the cams I already have!

    Not sure why, the replay on the cam is fine but download to the DT and its unwatchable!


    DONE! Back it goes!!! Y’all will have to deal with the ole Go Pro and the bit of video disturbance that unit is creating. I’ll be sending my POV HD back to get diagnosed and repaired first of the week.

    The forecast for Garrettsville OH on Friday couldn’t be better for a day at the track! Although a brief day, still can’t ask for better than this:

    Hi 72°, RealFeel® 78°, Precipitation 25%

    Pleasant with sunshine and some clouds

    Sounds good to me!

    I will be talking with the Management about doing something this fall to get karts out there. Maybe sharing with cars and bikes, like the old “Fundays” the former Management used to put on.

    Will share everything we learned back here on Saturday.


    Robert Lawson

    That was a tremendously long day.

    Chuck and I headed out at 6:00am and got back here at 7:30pm. We did 450 miles of driving and about 16-18 laps on the track!

    I did get video, it turned out well! I’ll see about getting it uploaded to YT then on here tomorrow.

    Bob, thanks for helping! Looking forward to seeing your photos!!!


    Robert Lawson

    Nelson Ledges, repaved:



    I have a ride-around video in Bobby’s van with Chuck and Fred where Fred explains the different colors of pavement. They are not patches but intentional compound difference, purposely laid. Genious! I’ll see about editing it down for time.

    The track had no rubber down so the tires were absolutely clean coming off the track and I had tire dust on my legs from the fronts. Regardless, the surface had decent grip on very used tires. A new set would have been a better evaluation but I didn’t get them balanced in time!

    This is a last minute run at the time limit for the day. Fred was nice enough to let me go right back out after finding a new but faulty spark plug after cutting off the only long run of the day. I’ll post up a video on that too!


    Enjoy the ride, I have much more comming about Nelson!



    Bob Kurkowski

    Some Nelson Ledges Track Day images. Click on image for larger view.


    Bob K.


    Robert Lawson

    074 is going to make nice wallpaper, thanks Bob!!!!



    Robert Lawson

    Hey Y’all,

    In trying to gain attention for AND participation in a “karting day” at Nelson Ledges, I’m posting a link to all 5 clips from my trip over there.


    I’m working with the Management for a Track run/promoted/sponsored “kart day” for anyone interested in getting something going at Nelson. I don’t care whom you are, WKA, AKRA, Dart, Woodbridge, MKC, CES….. I am trying to help this FACILITY get karts back in the rotation on their season schedule.

    Although the former Management is gone, and I had a very good relationship with them, I want to help Fred Wolfe the Track Manager (former grounds keeper!) get Nelson Ledges back in the mainstream. The facility will continue to be upgraded, actually, the plan was to do ALL the upgrading before repaving. But, some very convincing and persistant groups were relentless in requesting the repave get done asap. There were MANY vollenteers from these group that helped remove the great deal of rundown junk out there I talk about in the videos.

    Now, some of you may be saying “When did karts ever race at this place before????” I hold in my hand a flyer advertising an IKF Enduro race from September 1968! Thats right, I said 1 9 6 8 !!!!! The track was called Steel City International Raceway, the Club was Competition Karters Inc. and your $13 entry included 1 pit pass!!!!

    This is a Historic place, its finally been repaved and deserves our patronage. Again!

    Bonus video:

    I have a lotta more…



    Mark Horne

    Hi Robert, we will have the new Sprint Enduro chassis ready to test in a couple of weeks. Are you also looking at Grattan for a test day again this fall? I hope to be able to come up and give it a try, just need to know where.


    Thanks, have a great day


    Jeremy Baldi

    If they do a kart track day there I would be very interested.  We have some new 250’s to shake down.  Have any clue when it might be?

    Jeremy Baldi

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