Critique My Racecraft? (Video)

So I had asked a while ago about how to improve racecraft. I now have a couple videos and was wondering if anyone would mind watching them to give feedback on what they think of what I do in the race.

This is from the weekend I asked about racecrafty stuff, which didn’t go terribly but still I think I should’ve put down a better result. I believe I only went from 13th to 12th, so not great.

I’ll try and be gentle. :wink:

Good defense on lap 1.

Nothing you could do to get in there when Granata passed Fierke.

Good pass on Fierke into 1.

Maybe could’ve gone on Granata into the hairpin around 5:20, but it’s hard because if everyone is stacked up, there’s a good chance you drive over the guy in-front of him. Also it looked like Granata was faster so any move on him is ultimately going to cause him to battle you back and you’ll lose time off it.

Definitely should’ve had Lyda at 5:35. Looks like you locked up a little when you saw Granata go in too hot, watching for a wreck. Little bit of a knee-jerk reaction there when you could have slipped through with more speed and established position into the next corner. That just comes from comfort in traffic and experience. But you paid for that little mistake badly onto the next straight, since you were compromised in the last section and onto the straight, making you an easy target into 1. Didn’t help that your tires were dirty from driving off on the back straight. Then Bromberek jumps you but blows the corner, and now Keavney slips through and you’re 100% in the blender. Karts just bouncing around each other… You lose the pack in front because of that one tiny little lock-up in the back section.

Probably should’ve gone on Hurlbert into 1. At the rate you caught her, you were clearly much faster. And she makes a few mistakes that holds you back even more. Number one issue I see with racecraft is drivers not overtaking when they should. I’m constantly shouting “GO NOW!” on the fence when I watch our drivers.

Cheeky move on her into turn 2 though. She was pretty nice to not fight that too hard.

In summary, not too bad, just a little cautious in traffic. When the driver in front is going for it and you’re trying to follow through, you really need to be right on that passing driver otherwise you just end up half-passing the kart and being compromised off the corner. Your only real mistake was not getting Lyda because you panic-braked a little when you saw Granata pod him. Not a big mistake at all, but the consequences were really bad. You were screwed down the next straight, lost a bunch of time and the pack you were racing with, and it cost you a few laps until you got back up to those guys.

I blew an overtake in 1 on Sunday there, going for 3rd, and it dropped me to 5th. It also let the following pack catch up and then I got involved in shenanigans on the last lap and ended up off-track and in 8th at the line. That one little blown overtake dropped me from what should’ve been a guaranteed 3rd with the pace I had, to my worst finish of the year. Doesn’t take much.

Yamaha is tough because the class is tight and momentum is key. You really need to be dialed on every overtake to sacrifice as little speed as possible. Efficiency is important.


Thanks! I think that’s going to be my biggest objective for next year, just getting a little more reckless in traffic. Like you said, I backed out of a situation when I probably could’ve pushed the issue a little harder and gotten away with it, which has hurt me in other races, too.

Hurlbert actually lost a bead lock in the first turn of the race, so she just fell all the way to like last. I didn’t know that, nor did I realize “Hey, she started 3rd. If she’s all the way back here, something’s wrong and I should get by her right away.” She basically couldn’t turn right, so that was kinda crap for her.

I’m trying to find a video from the race at Badger. I started 28th and managed 19th Sunday, but still probably could’ve done much better than that. I think I started the warmups Saturday in top 10 times, but laid a fat egg in qualifying and struggled from there. Once again, your help in looking at the video, once I put it together, would be seriously appreciated.

I actually think it’d be interesting to see multiple people’s videos if a high-traffic race to compare differences in this type of stuff

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Another video to share! This one was from 28th to 19th like I mentioned, I just feel like I should’ve run better overall. I think my last pass was about 11:30 in the video, just so nobody wastes too much time

I’ll watch both videos as best I can. I’ll try to look at them both from a racer’s perspective and as an Race Director…

First video:

From the racer’s perspective:

  • (only caveat to this is if you have ‘drop down’ bumpers) There should be no gap between you and #10 on the start. You should be pancaked against his bumper and leaning on the gas so as he goes, you go. Especially in the Yamahas, any small gap or loss of space on the track is a missed opportunity. I would classify your start as conservative. As a result, #69 was able to slot into the position from the outside row. If every person on the inside does their job, the outside row should get freight-trained and have literally zero gaps to slot into on a start, in a perfect world.

  • A good defense on lap 1 is good…but you also sacrifice one of your best opportunities to pass. This one is something that there isn’t a ‘good solution’ to as there is always compromise. Still, if you ran your normal racing line, the argument could be made that you could remain closer to #69 and possibly get a run on him in the opening lap. Something to consider, balancing your gap behind and capitalizing on exaggerated ultra smooth lines to get huge runs on people while they are all bunched up.

  • In almost all cases, a narrow exit off of a corner (not using all the track) only hurts you, and doesn’t really help defend. Usually, if the driver behind you is any good, they’ll be beside you or setting you up (they’ve timed their run down the straight) by the time you’re exiting the corner. So, by not letting the kart roll all the way out on exit, you lose some speed down the straights. The closer you are to the guy in front, the better you can pounce when he makes a mistake in traffic…(See 2:350—2:45 in your video)

  • (2:50) Defending narrow into high-speed corners is again likely not really that beneficial. Because it is high speed, they can’t ‘lunge’ for a position to your inside. You compromise your straightaway speed for no real defensive gain, which makes it even easier for them to draft you on the long straights, and for the pack in front to pull away.

  • (3:11) Really interesting group of events happens here. #69 pulls out to make a pass, and executes it cleanly. However, I notice as he pulls out, you swing further to the right on the track than lap 01. Why do you do this? If this is your normal racing line, this makes sense. However, if you are still bunched up in a pack with karts behind, this could be a dangerous mistake. The guy behind you may have seen the pass unfold, then sees you opening up a gap. They get greedy, and suddenly you both crash, as you likely were not ready for them to make that pass as their eyes are the size of dinner plates. It may seem unlikely, but I’ve seen this sort of situation unfold before. On the exit of the corner, you wisely don’t try to pass 7 on the outside. There would have been zero chance of making a pass into the next corner, and all it would have done is allow a kart behind you to slot in behind 7, push him pass you, and suddenly you’ve lost a position. It could be argued there was a chance to try and bully 7 on the exit of the corner, but likely would have resulted in contact, and the rest of the pack pulling away despite completing an awkward pass. Again, at 3:30, you are not letting the kart roll out to the exit of the track, which ruins the gain you make from entry to middle of the corner on karts in front.

  • (3:47) texbook pass on 7! Nice.

  • (3:56) Haven’t driven this track, but looks like you overdrove the entry a ton. Were you pushed into the corner?

  • (4:00-5:20) Nothing really wrong here, other than some missed apexes or overdriving slightly. Don’t get greedy, I realize this is hard to say. But if you run smoothly while the people in front of you jostle, you will gain ground. Several times I suspect you got excited, and made unforced errors that minimized how much you would gain on the pack in front when they would make mistakes. As you continue to close, you must also evaluate how much pressure you have from behind. This will ditcate how much you can alter your line once you reach the tail end of the pack in front. They, running in a pack, by consequence will run slower in the center of the corners and be uncomfortable in the braking zones. You can capitalize on this by altering your approach to corners in such a position.

  • As TJ said, the opening 69 makes is tempting. However, as you see headed into the next corner, this is him simply attempting to time his run to get by the pack in front! So, good idea to hang back and watch. And, be ready to push him as hard as possible if he gets a run.

  • (5:30) Idk what happened!

*(5:33) To Touch on what TJ said, I kind of agree you could have theoretically timed this better, but in fairness at this moment in the video 69 looks like he is already crashing. So, I think you just reacted normally. From a broad prospective, you could have pinched 91 off the track or further left, but likely he would have been super surprised, caushing you both to tangle, and lose the pack in front as a result. It left you as a sitting duck. The first guy that passed you got greedy and put wheels off, you countered perfectly, just a shame #41 slips by. But, now that you’ve lost the pack in front, you now have a drafting buddy to catch back up! So it kinda evens out somewhat.

  • (6:36) I don’t claim to know this track well at all, but you clipped the curbing into 1 much more than before, and gained a ton on the guy in front as well as the rest of the pack. May be worth re-watching to do every lap.

  • (6:50) when you clipped that curb on the exit onto the backstraight, and lost your gap to 41 as he pulled out to pass someone else, you made me sad :(.

  • (7:05) It may seem like a little thing, but kudos to you for running an alternate and exagerrated line through the sweeping left behind 02. That shows you are up on your feet and thinking. As you come into the final right onto the main straight, I suspect had you stayed all the way to the left on entry, you could have angled your kart under him just past the apex, to be able to be somewhat alongside him out of the corner. This could have been a pass, rather than a bump draft.

  • (7:34) You get a fantastic run out of the previous corner. With more practice and timing, this would have been a pass headed into the next corner. This will come with time and practice.

  • (8:11) Excellent reaction for his faltering to sweep past. Nice work!

From the Race Director’s Perspective: You were in some battles. No one went off track. You didn’t wreck anyone. Fair job.

Second video…

Racer’s Perspective:

  • (0:17) Again, you need to be GLUED to 10’s bumper. Have I mentioned that’s important? Cuz the Yamaha is all about the freight train. It was right of you to just yield the position to 11 heading into the first turn though.

  • (0:34) The pack has single filed out at this point, everyone is off pace because they are all bunched up. You have to be the black sheep and start running different lines to try and weasel past people. Otherwise, it is just a long line of karts following the same slow path around the track.

  • (0:54) Go Around!!!

  • (1:58) Not sure now far alongside you he was on corner exit. If he yielded on corner entry, you should return to the ideal line as soon as possible. Not allowing the kart to roll out to the edge of the track there cost you some time to the rest of the pack. Passing without losing time to the rest of a pack is just as much an art as is passing in the first place.

  • (2:38) Your transition through the entry of a fast left into the slower right is really solid. However, on exit, again I suspect you thought of going for a pass even when there wasn’t one there? That really hurt your momentum. Something to consider.

  • (3:18) Excellent attempt to bully your way through with 7. Nice work!

  • (4:07) Nice pass! Shame the other guy didn’t quite fall back far enough to make the 2 for 1 work.

  • (4:40) Hindsight is always 20:20. Still, it may have worked better to not attempt to pass the 24 here, instead use your run to help push him past the 10 cleanly and then pass 24 on the next straight.

From a race directors perspective: The contact you had with the 24 was pretty repetitive at times. That could’ve been called in by a corner worker if they were paying attention.

Hope some of this helps!


Wow that was super descriptive, thanks!

So we were running drop down bumpers here, but you’re completely right on me not being on top of the guy in front of me. They’ll hold up on a start for something like this, so I should have been much closer.

I think my logic at 2:35 was that I had checked up at apex there, so someone might have jumped me if they had a better run. I probably didn’t need to do it and like you said it hurt me on exit in the next turn.

At 3:11 that was the normal racing line. I had felt like at that point we were spread enough I wouldn’t get checked up there, but as you saw it’s very close and I probably could’ve set up narrower that lap and had the same exit.

You are correct at 3:56 that someone loaded into me there, if I remember correctly (these were a while ago).

I noticed that watching the video too, I just wasn’t consistently hitting the same points in the track. It’s something I can’t do on new tracks very well yet, just setting down constant laptimes. Or at least, I can’t set constant laptimes in the same way. I found a couple times I’ll run similar times but when I look at video or data, I make my time in different areas each lap. I could easily shave a tenth or two just by linking together the turns correctly instead of missing different ones each lap.

You’re totally right at 6:36. If that turn was hit right it was a good bit quicker, but at least for me it was so easy to get wrong if I hit the curb that much every time that it was safer to run less on the curb. If I was in the rhythm and going I could do it a lot easier, like chasing the 41 but on my own I found it difficult to replicate. If we were going to the track next year I’d work on it but that was a one-off deal unfortunately.

On video two, I see exactly what you’re saying at the first few turns. I see at least 3 passes I could have made but didn’t because I was running cautiously, which bit me when the 7 got by. At that 56 second mark, looking back at it, I should’ve gone up the inside. I run that turn with my right tires almost touching the rumble strip anyways, I could’ve gotten on the inside there.

I can’t remember if the guy was there or not at 1:58 but I tend to give that kart length of space in case I don’t see them. Would you reason if I can’t see the driver then they shouldn’t be there and I could take up the whole track? I did that a good bit this year just to be safe since I didn’t have a 100% answer.

I think you’re right at 2:38. Either I noticed he’s braking sooner than he should there and thought about going for the pass before realizing I’m way too far back, or I locked up my tires momentarily because I’m an idiot.

At 4:07, I just got greedy. I should’ve slipped behind the 24 and held on to what I had but was hoping I could do another 'round the outside there like the lap previous. I fell to greed and lost what I had earned already there. I’m actually not even sure why I slowed so much in the turn. I could’ve gone in harder but for some reason didn’t. That’s just what I pay for doing it wrong though.

By repetitive contact do you mean the taps under braking, including the one right before I passed him? I didn’t notice that while I was racing but saw it in the video. I thought that was a little questionable but figured if he didn’t spin out it would be allowed. I’m sure he wasn’t too happy and I didn’t mean to get into him but if they called me for it I would still get a penalty, intentional or not.

That was a lot of help! You and TJ both gave good information there. I’ll have to come back to this a couple times over the winter before the season starts again to make sure I digest it.

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I think Eric covered a lot of good things for both videos so I’ll let you ponder on his feedback, but just wanted to point out the pass Fierke made in the Badger video at around 3:10… Look at how he CHUCKED that kart down to the inside and over the curbing. He over did it a little bit, but he held it into the next corner. Fierke is a little wild, but you’ve got to be willing to make some moves like that sometimes. That corner especially is an easy one. I’ve lunged people from 5 kart lengths back there before and stuck it. Don’t be afraid to use the inside curb, and then don’t be afraid to hang one tire over the grass a little if you need to. Aggressive moves like that can pay off big time if executed at the right moment. I’ve always found that it’s easier to dial down a driver’s aggression than to get them to ramp it up. Don’t be scared to chuck it in there once in a while!

One thing I wanted to note that I thought of when you talked about not knowing Hurlbert had lost a beadlock… Awareness of EVERYTHING that’s happening in the race is important. When I walk down the grid, I’m just quickly making a note of where key competitors are lining up, so I can figure things out on track quicker. If I see Driver B lines up P2, but suddenly I’m right on his tail in P8 after a few laps, I know he’s either slow or had an issue. Either way, I know he’s weak and you should be leaping at any opportunity you see to pass him. Conversely, if Driver B lines up at the tail of the field and while I’m working away for P5 a few laps in and I look back and see him, I know he’s flying and it would behoove me to not fight him super hard and let him make some holes for me on his way forward. Maybe get him back later once he’s burned his tires off.

If you would’ve noticed that Hurlbert had started up front and was now right in front of you, putting two and two together means that you’re obviously significantly faster than her and you should be wasting no time overtaking.

I’ve never really thought too hard about this aspect of racecraft because after years of driving it’s just second nature, or maybe I’m just an observant person, but it’s a really good thing to get into the habit of doing. Knowing what’s going on in front and behind you can be super helpful when you’re planning out the rest of the race.


This is a 100% mental game. If they are out of your peripheral vision, they don’t have position. It’s your real-estate to claim. If you look at them, they now know you can see them so they won’t back out. They will only back out if they know you don’t see them.

If I can hear someone coming up the inside into a corner and I know they are going to have to force the issue to make the pass, I don’t look at them. 9 times out of 10 they back out because they know I don’t see them.

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@Aaron_Hachmeister_13 In regards to (1:58), I think if you can’t see them in your periphery, it is reasonable to assume they aren’t there or have yielded the position. This, of course, is not always a safe assumption, so I can see why you have made the decision you did. Often, the front-running guys will make passes like this, and the other driver (if they are smart) will quickly concede the pass, and fall back into line as soon as possible. Running off the ideal line for both the overtaking driver and the one being passed is not ideal, and loses both time. Often out of a slower corner, I would say it is reasonable to ‘squeeze’ the driver on the outside slightly if you can no longer see them. Maybe blend over deliberately but slowly, making it clear you are taking up the whole track, but giving them time to back out if they have still hung on. In most cases, this will work.

Regarding the repetition of taps, It appeared to happen out of corners as well as down the straight and into the braking zone. Assuming an RD has race experience, they often will be more lenient on taps into a braking zone than out of corners, as one is less avoidable than another. The reason I brought it up is because it was repeated several times. It really wasn’t enough to draw a penalty, but if a corner worker knew what he was looking for, now he is watching you as you go around the track. This, of course, assumes the corner workers have racing experience, which often they do not.

That was something I noticed in the last couple races at 66. Fierke wasn’t always faster than I was, but he got through traffic quicker/more aggressively than I did. Even if I could run faster than him, he would get me in traffic and I’d have to work back to him. Your driver did that pretty well at Springfield I remember. He crashed out of the pre-final but made at least 4 spots in the first 3 turns just by being aggressive and putting himself there.

Another question related to space while passing/being passed. There was one time where I held the outside while being passed on the last turn before the front straight at Badger. I was definitely next to the other driver and he hadn’t completed the pass but still didn’t give me the room there. Is that on me for not backing out or him for not giving room he should have?

@Eric_Gunderson interesting, I figured the contact under braking would’ve been more for concern since that’s more likely to upset a kart, but your reasoning is fair too that out of corners should be more avoidable. I always try to keep the hits pretty light but I know that can still be a risky game to play. My problem is that I always feel like I don’t have enough of a run to complete a pass if I move next to them instead of push them. What are your thoughts on that - would it be better to try anyways, is my judgement just underestimating how much of a run I have on them? Like I said, a lot of this was and still is very new to me in regional competition.

@Aaron_Hachmeister_13 I read your inquiry a couple times through and I guess I’m not 100% sure I understand what you’re asking my thoughts on.

I will say that there were a lot of strong runs that you had in the video, stronger than you often see in Yamahas. That must mean you have a strong motor and the kart seems to really stick through the corners, it’s awesome to watch.

Setting that aside, I suspect part of your issue is the timing of runs and knowing and ‘feeling’ when you’re getting a good run. That will come with practice, and also with time, so I wouldn’t stress out about not having that feeling down 100% now in regional races. In general, if you feel you have a run going, and pull out to pass, the guy behind you is going to push you past. Of course, if no one is behind you, and you can’t make the run stick to make a pass, just tuck back in line, and try again. Usually if the driver on the outside sees you in their periphery making a run, they will give you some room and try to race you. You can also of course, with care, try to gain even more space alongside them in the braking zone. Done incorrectly, however, and you will overshoot, allowing them to counter, cut under you, and then you must start all over again.

Ultimately, I’m not telling you to pull out to pass every time you have a run. But, I do try to tell drivers that if you’re gaining on them hard enough that you can bump them on the straightaways, unless you’re in the lead pack and just biding your time, go ahead and just go around them! Bump drafting should be saved for either strategic holding of position, or for closing gaps or freight-training others. It is not for use when you had a run but simply decided not to go for it.

We harp on our drivers all the time about trying to hold the outside. There are very few instances where you can hold the outside successfully.

  1. The driver passing you is incredibly friendly
  2. The driver passing never really had position on you to begin with, so couldn’t claim the corner

If you stick on the outside, especially of a hairpin, expect to get dumped off the track on the exit like 90% of the time. If the kart to the inside has gotten along side you into the corner, he has staked his claim for that corner and your best bet is to let him have that one. This is something club guys never seem to understand. I’ve seen it happen a million times (and gotten yelled at for it a million times) when the outside guy doesn’t know when to concede and fights you all the way through the corner and ends up off track.

Yeah he gets pretty fired up on the opening lap. Unfortunately we’re still having trouble finding the limit between “aggressively moving forward” and “stupidity” with him. :joy:

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Great content guys. I can’t wait to watch and learn from this discussion. Thanks for taking the time to post the interesting question and compile the detailed and informative responses :slight_smile:


Okay, you answered what I was saying so that’s good, I know I’m not 100% articulate late at night sometimes. Basically I think I just need to go for more passes when I have runs, and just see whether they work or not. What’s currently a grey area for me in not knowing what does and doesn’t work is keeping me from trying when really I should just make the attempt and accept the consequence, positive or negative.

@tjkoyen okay, that’s fair. I assumed if I stick with them along the outside they would need to leave the room there but that is not so. I suppose it’s almost always better to fall in behind them and either work a way around them later or, if they’re faster by a good amount, try to follow them through the people ahead.

Well new season, new motor, new kart. I have a new video where I think I did better at some of the things mentioned here but I would like to know what I am still missing. I had a good run, I think 25th to 15th at one point, but I know I could’ve done better. Qualifying had a bad chain and that ruined my top end and I knew I had to get moving.

Video hasn’t uploaded yet but it should be done by the morning

@tjkoyen I tried going around the outside in I-70, exactly what you said I shouldn’t do! I knew it was a bad idea but I had already committed and just hoped for the best. Thankfully the 4 was kind enough to not send me off even after I accidentally gave him a good punt trying to pass the 101.