This past week I took to the skies to head south to Florida for the ROAR 1/8th Nitro Offroad Nationals. Now you may think why would they have a prestigious National level race in Florida during the season when it rains every day. Well you would have a valid point! But I must say the crew of Southside RC Raceway did as they promised and had everything in place to make this event a success. This included the best tarp system for an R/C track that i’ve yet to see. Just two tarps to cover the entire surface minimizing water that could seep through gaps and cracks in the tarps. I believe they were utilized 3 times during the racing to keep the track as consistent as possible and it was a complete success in my book. So a huge kudos to the track crew for doing as promised and putting on a great event. Also the jumbo-tron scoring screen in the back right corner was icing on the cake. It was great for everyone around the track to be able to look up and see lap times and positioning and such.
This week for me was very much a tale of two vehicles. My Tekno NT48.3 was on point from the very beginning and even with the continuously changing track conditions I primarily stuck with the same set-up, only varying the shock oil a little for the temperatures. My Tekno NB48.4 felt at it’s best during the 2nd seeding practice when the track was probably at it’s most difficult. It was breaking up at the time and getting extra dusty and during that run I felt the most comfortable. After that before qualifying the next day they put calcium down on the track which absolutely kept the track together better and lessened the dust and caused the grip to come up pretty high along with tire wear. The rest of the weekend was a bit of a struggle for me in Nitro buggy as we tried to come to grips with the evolving surface and the high traction yet bumpy terrain.
Truggy qualifying was solid throughout. I had finishes of 3,5,3,3 during the four rounds which would end up seeing me 4th overall for the A-main final. The layout was pretty easy overall which, especially in truggy led to some very very close racing. During many qualifying rounds 2nd – 10th were less than 2 or 3 seconds apart. This set us up for a very competitive A-main final!
Nitro buggy was as mentioned a bit of a struggle. It was difficult to choose just the right tire for the conditions. The track was constantly changing moisture levels and depending on how hard the sun was baking on it or if it was cloudy all affected the choice. My 3 best rounds were all about 10th overall for the round which in the end qualified me 15th overall and 7th into the even Semi-final. It did seem that the even semi final was the ‘stacked’ final, primarily due to experience levels of the drivers in them. This would end up being a true assumption as you will see shortly.
First up we had the 30 minute Nitro truggy final. (All the mains were shortened due to rain / threat of rain). I felt confident at the get go and put the pressure on Rivkin in 3rd. This I had way more steering than he had and was able to stick my nose under him multiple times but wasn’t able to make the pass. This lasted for a number of laps and suddenly I started to loose pace. I fell back and allowed 5-6 to catch up to me as I fell away from the leaders. After Tebo nipped at my heels a couple times including us momentarily tangling, I was able to find a good flow again and started to move up and catch back up to Rivkin. On lap 16 I was able to put the pass on him and move into 3rd and I set my sights on Cavalieri in 2nd. For about 20 laps I stalked him making up a couple tenths here and there and finally around lap 36 I put the pressure on and at the end of the front straight dog leg he went wide in the dust and I just snuck underneath and into 2nd. Tessman was about 6 seconds ahead at this point as he had just had a pit lane debacle and I thought I may have a chance to make a move. But it was time for my 3rd stop and it wasn’t pretty either. Thus I lost touch with Ty and now I was fighting to fend off a very hard charging Maifield. He would get close a couple times but would make a mistake. As the race wound down Tebo was making a move and it was now a 3 horse race for 2-4. I was fortunate to stay clean and just ahead of them as we crossed the finish line for my 5th, 2nd place finish in Nitro Truggy at the ROAR Nationals. My AKA Soft Long Wear Impacts had the most tread left of any of the vehicles in the main. To bad it could have remained a 45 minute race! Things may have been different. 🙂
Next we had the Nitro buggy Semi Finals. They were taking the top 5 from each Semi plus the fastest 6th place finisher. Because I felt our semi would be faster I was really just trying to stay clean and in the top 6. Starting 7th it took me to lap 3 to be up to 5th but I made a mistake of my own dropping to 8th. This gave me some motivation to clean it up some more and I was able to do so and while I didn’t feel completely fast my car was the best it had been and I moved up to 5th on the 19th lap and after that I just followed behind Joe for the remainder of the run as we finished 4-5 and into the A-final. As suspected our semi was much faster than the next one and thus I would start 6th in the A-final which was pretty amazing to me after seeing how things had been going!
The final race for the day was the 45 minute Nitro Buggy A-main final. We made just a couple small tweaks to the car before the main but perhaps we could have done more. The sun decided to shine extra bright and the conditions were as hot as they had been all weekend. I think everyone felt their cars get a little soft in the final. I had a slow start making a mistake as to not run into Joe in the first corner and got shuffled to the back. My car was pretty safe on set-up but wasn’t necessarily fast because of that. I started to keep pace at least and found a groove and Joe and I were progressing together through the back of the pack but we both ended up running out of fuel within 10 seconds of each other on our in laps of the second pit stops. Seems mileage went south during the main as other drivers I heard also changed their strategy when they noticed us running out. For me this cost me a lap and 3 seconds. For Joe it was a lap and 12 seconds. Putting my time back into my run it could have put me in a battle with Ogden for 6th. But instead I had to settle for 9th overall. Not exactly what I would have hoped for but on the challenging surface for us I feel we made the best of it we could do. In the main I ran AKA Soft Long Wear Zips.
Overall as mentioned this was my 5th time finishing 2nd in Nitro Truggy and my 7th podium in the class. Pretty pleased with that consistency as this is 6 years in a row of podiums.*
I would like to give a huge thanks to David Scott for the A/C trailer set-up. Also to James Calhoun and Patrick Rossiter, (And the gentleman Patrick got for the main) for the marshal help on Sunday!
Next up we have A.M.S. 9.0 in Alabama!
This past weekend I took a couple flights way down in West Texas to attend the MDA Tri-State Championships. This annual event is put on to support the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association). All proceeds from the event from entry fees to a raffle are donated to the cause that is near and dear to the Showers family. I had an awesome time hanging out with Corbyn, Ashley, Christian, and Joey Showers at this new track location at Christian’s property (the track actually being in New Mexico while his house is in Texas on the same property). In fact there are so many awesome people who call this track home, including Tag Georges and his fiancee Bailee who were just above and beyond hospitable and a blast to hang out with. We all had some Mario Kart battles after racing was over at Corbyn’s house which was a hoot. I’ve even decided after attending this event that I am going to make my end of the year trophy and memorabilia donation this year to the MDA!
On to the racing where unfortunately the turnout was a bit light due to the end of school and some other events in the area, and above average temperatures around 105 on Saturday. That didn’t deter those who did make it from having a great time though. I ran my standard 3 classes and was able to take the TQ in all 3. The track was one of the more fun ones i’ve ever raced on as track building master Joey Christensen was in town to do his magic before the event got underway. The track flowed very well and it was another event with some old school dirt with a bit of loam that got a little rough in some sections.
Main day on Sunday we tried to start a bit early as storms were forecast later in the day. First up was the 30 minute Nitro truggy final. I was able to get out from pole and start clean and pull away from the field. Ashley and Bailee tag teamed Tag and I for our pit stops and did an awesome job. I think they could give Matt and Danny a run for their money! 😉 I was able to put in a very consistent run in truggy and took the win after 30 minutes by about 4 laps. My Tekno NT48.3 with Blok power was on point as it usually is!
Next up was the 10 minute E-buggy main. My Tekno EB48.4 has been pretty dialed lately taking some big wins at PNB and Silver State. It was no exception here as I was able to put just barely under a lap on the field while having some fun on the left side double doing some fun whips. Ever since going to the new ProTek 5600 4S battery, going inside on the front arm shock location, and moving the ackerman back, my e-buggy has just been stellar!
The final race of the day was the 30 minute Nitro buggy race. I didn’t have the cleanest race in this one making a few mistakes but I did hold the lead from the start and had a couple of laps that were some of my fastest in the class for the weekend. I ended up running some old school AKA Soft long Wear I-Beams in my buggies and they were really pretty good. In the end I would come away with a 1.5 lap victory!
Overall it was just an awesome event, lots of fun, some great prizes, and all for a very worthy cause. I truly hope to be able to make it back again for it next year!
Next up is the ROAR Nitro Nationals in the
Sunshine State of Florida!
This past weekend, Joe and I jet set across the country to fabulous Las Vegas and the South Point Hotel and Casino for the 2018 Silver State Nitro Challenge. Joey from the Dirt Racing did an awesome job reviving the event and making it happen after the closure of RC Tracks of Las Vegas. He found an awesome venue and I truly believe this now has the potential to become one of the best races on the planet in coming years if the venue will have us back. We were spoiled with convenience being able to stay at this hotel casino, and just walk to the track each day, and have ample activities and things to do, see, and eat after racing was finished. The race drew right around 500 entires and I can see this being way higher next year with the positive vibe of the event.
The track while indoor utilized the typical Las Vegas sandy dirt that I remember from Boulder City and it got rough and made it a challenging track which I loved! We got 2 rounds of controlled practice in on Thursday and then it was into qualifying with 2 rounds on Friday and 1 on Saturday morning. This was followed by lower mains on Saturday afternoon and the show on Sunday. My cars felt pretty good in practice and with them taking the fastest 3 consecutive laps from either round I was able to top seed truggy practice and be in the top few in the buggy classes as well.
Qualifying on Friday was hit and miss. The hits came in Ebuggy where I would get a 3 and a 5. In truggy I was not feeling to comfortable and in Q1 I missed my tune and we had to do a pit stop to adjust it during the 6 min qualifier. Thus I had a poor 19th overall. Round 2 was still a struggle though I stayed out there the whole time getting a 9th. So I needed Q3 to count and as I was warming my car up on the box someone mentioned I had 2 tires balooning and 2 that weren’t. DOH! Two of my tires didn’t have holes in them and that is how I had been running for both previous rounds. I got the holes added just in time and was able to TQ the round! Go figure! This would seed me 5th into the A-main. My E-buggy Q3 wasn’t an improvement but my first two rounds qualified me 3rd overall. In Nitro buggy I was off to a slow start just making a few to many mistakes and only getting a 12th in the first two rounds. I needed a good Q3 and I did some set-up changes like underdrive and a 9-5-5 diff set-up and my buggy was great and I got 3rd for the round qualifying me 9th overall into the main event.
As Sunday got underway we heard them announce they would only be watering the edges of the track and no longer the line. This caused me to continually be gluing up different sets of tires throughout the morning as I watched the track progress. A slight groove started to form in the line so for the first main which was truggy I opted to run SSLW Impacts but I was a bit fearful they may have been to soft. Sure enough as the race got underway I was fighting the vehicle a bit in some corners as the tires would balloon here and there and I just did the best I could. I moved into the top 3 by lap 7 and for a while from lap 24-29 I held down 2nd position. But my tires just kept heating up and the diffs got hotter and I wasn’t able to be as consistent as I would have hoped. In the end I was able to still get a podium finish in 3rd place. I found out after that Jared ran Soft Long Wear and got the victory, so I know if I would have made a better tire choice I could have put in a better battle.
By seeing what he ran in truggy however I quickly mounted up a set of SLW Double Downs and Impacts. The intention was to run Double downs in front and Impacts in the rear on both of my buggies. The theory was that the track was getting aggressively grabby on the front end and so the Double Downs would help the front skip over bumps better and be less agressive and the impacts in the rear could give me a bit better dust handling and forward drive. My choice was on point and I moved up from my 3rd place grid position into 2nd on the first lap and then challenge Maifield for the first 4 laps before he made a mistake allowing me into the lead. I then set off into the sunset as he and Joe would battle for a few laps and make a few mistakes. I would come home with an over 10 second victory in the single 10 minute A-main!
Nitro buggy was the final race of the day and I was feeling pretty confident in my car going into it. I had an amazing start from the 9 position moving up to 4th on the first lap and working along with the freight train to start the race. I got up to 2nd on lap 5 and was nipping at Maifields heels between lap 5 and 10. Then I had a bad lap of my own and fell back to 5th. On my second pitstop I had a jolt of good energy as I jumped into pit lane and my catcher Steve Harris caught me mid air and right down to the pin lane wall for fueling. It was an amazing stop and it was time to make up some time. I would hang within 6-10 seconds of the lead through the first half of the race but at about the 20 minutes down mark I made a comment to my pit guy that my brakes weren’t working right. I started to dial in more brakes on my radio on the fly but sometimes they would come in really hard and sometimes they would barely come in. Somehow I was still managing to keep pace and even make up a little time on the lead pack. But with about 12 mintues to go I my throttle started to be affected to and I thought I was going to have a runaway. I thought it might have been a battery so I asked my pitguy to run back for a spare. I tried to go one more lap but it ended up stopping on the track. When they got me into the pit the battery didn’t help the issue and it turned out to be my throttle servo that had failed. What a bummer as my car was amazing and I felt was only getting better and that I could have been up there to challenge for the win. Seems to be the story of my career when things are feeling good.
In the end though I am super pleased with the results. Our team worked amazing together as always. We have made great strides with the car on these conditions and it was pretty awesome to be so competitive in all the classes!
I hope they are able to bring the race back to this venue again next year and that we can do it all again! I can’t wait for the next race as I feel my program is just getting better each time out,a and I just want to prove it in Nitro buggy before it’s to late!
This past weekend I took a drive down south just under 8 hours with Joe to attend the PNB in White Pine, Tennessee. The event as a whole saw a number of changes this year. They decided to go with a 4 day format to allow for people to get some sleep at night. They offered the 24 hours of practice from 6am Thursday through 6am Friday but with how the track was watered it was closer to 18 hours of available track time. Final entry count was down considerably this year with 595 entries consisting of 280 drivers. This compared to last years 895 entries and 426 drivers. So in reality 146 people less than last year. I attribute the majority of that to the extra day as it adds an extra vacation day as well as an extra hotel night and many just can’t do that. I want to briefly discuss my thoughts on this years race before going into my results.
When I think of the PNB there are a number of things that come to mind.
-The biggest Air (highest and furthest) of any race.
-24 hours of practice, Close to 24 hours of qualifying. You have to schedule your sleep and it’s a true test of man and machine.
-Biggest of big track with 45-50+ second lap times.
-Majority of the jumps being wood
These things are synonymous with the PNB in my eyes. This year they decided to change a lot of that. They went with a majority of dirt jumps. The lap times were under 40 seconds as they removed a lane from the very back of the track. There were no huge jumps and no wall this year. Also with the extra day, while it was nice to get sleep it also too away some of the strategy and the true test this event had been known to be. Also they for some reason decided to water at 4am after we decided to come back at 3:30 to get some final practice. So the track was closed from 4-5:30 with no advance warning. So I was a bit disappointed with how things went this year in those regards.
In the end though the event still went well and this year saw more top drivers and competition in attendance than ever before. I chose to run my standard 5 classes for this event and compete for the Iron Man award. I ran my Nitro buggy and truggy, electric buggy and truggy, and 4×4 Short Course truck. The first qualifiers this year were a 10 minute qualifier and the 2nd and 3rd qualifier were 5 minute races. Overall they took your top 2 of 3 qual points and any tiebreaker was all 3 rounds combined.
Qualifying for me wasn’t my best results i’ve ever accomplished. While I was able to TQ Etruggy and Short Course I would be mediocre in my primary 3 classes. In nitro truggy my primary struggle was just feeling like I didn’t have enough acceleration. Come main time I decided to open up my throttle end point a bit further and that fixed the issue. In the buggy classes I would have decent runs but in reality I just wasn’t feeling at one with the track and was making a few to many mistakes. Overall I would qualify 5th in Ebuggy, 7th in Nitro buggy, and 8th in Nitro truggy.
Main day would be a long day! We fortunately were able to sleep in a little even though they started mains at 6am. We would arrive to the track a bit after 9am and would finish the day a little after 1am Monday morning. The first main up was actually the Pro Nitro buggy main. They did this to ensure there were still many people there and that they would be able to sit in the stands and enjoy the show! I though this was a great idea and it worked well in my opinion. The grip level was the highest it’s been and I had chosen to run AKA SSLW double downs. They felt pretty good overall and my car was overall good though it was a little to soft on the shock oils which resulted in a bit to much roll at times when I had lots of grip. I would remain with the lead pack at the start which was the goal. I was able to pick off a driver here and there as they crashed and for most of the 30 minute main found myself battling it out for the 4-6 positions. On lap 15 I briefly got by a bunch as they crashed and moved into 2nd for 3 laps before giving it up and falling back to 5th. The battle for 2-5 was very strong for the mid part of the race. On lap 25 I moved into 4th and got into a battle with Cavalieri. He was faster than I was for the most part but was making mistakes and on lap 37 I got by him in the pits into 3rd place. My pit guys Matt on the gun and Jared on the pickup were super fast and gained me a position and I held him off for the remainder of the 45 laps to take the top 3 podium spot! Not bad from 7th on the grid and the level of competition!
After that I had to marshal, race, marshal, race, marshal, break, race, marshal. It was a busy schedule with triple A’s on tap for the E-classes. Next was Etruggy followed by 4×4 SC. Both races were pretty straight forward victories for me. In short course I was able to get down to a 40.8 lap time which I did 3 times during the run. This was about 2 seconds off the top 1/8th times so I was pretty happy with that. In Ebuggy A1 I held position and again moved up upon others crashing. By the 12th lap I found myself in 2nd and on good pace but I started to get a bit nervous and lost some smoothness. Cavalieri caught back up to me and put a hard pass on me after the back double and as I crashed he kept going which demoted me to 3rd but still a pretty solid A1.
Next up was the Nitro truggy main. Again they chose to run us earlier in the program to have more people there to watch the show. I was starting a pretty disappointing 8th in this one as usually this is my best class. My NT48.3 felt good in the warmup laps though and I was hoping to make a run for the top. I did as I had done in every main so far and kept it clean to start and stayed with the lead pack as much as possible. I moved up one position at a time and by lap 21 I made the pass on teammate Joe into 3rd place. It took me a little while to get my groove and the top two had pretty much gotten away and there wasn’t much chance for me to catch up without them giving some of it back. So I just held a strong 3rd position and did my best to run consistent laps. I was able to put in a stretch of 10 consecutive 38 second laps between my last pitstops and come home with another 3rd place podium!
Next we ran through the A2’s of the electric portion of the program. In Etruggy and Short Course I was able to complete the victory in the A2’s and take home the checkered flag. In Short course I was able to improve the fast lap down to a 40.59 so I was pretty happy with that!
Ebuggy A2 came next and this was one of the best races of my life with the level of competition here. Starting on the 5 position I quickly moved by Joe into 4th on the inverted whoops section and put major pressure on Cav and got by him on the first lap as well and into 3rd coming across the line for the first time. By lap 3 I had managed to take the lead and I just pulled away from the field. My AKA SSLW Double Downs were easy to drive and the conditions were perfect for them. I had 99.214% consistency for the race with 14 of my 16 laps being 38’s. I came home with the win which set up a 3 way battle in A3 for the overall victory.
So Ebuggy A3 would finish out the event this year at just after 1am. I had another solid start and moved into 3rd by lap 3. Maifield from pole was taking off in this one so it was between me and Phend for the overall it seemed. I was able to catch up to him as he made a mistake and on lap 7 I overshot the back double a bit and even though I landed on the binders I don’t use a lot of braking force and unfortunately I landed into Phend sending him tumbling. I immediately stopped and while Phend landed on his tires here came Joe and after that mayhem ensued over the next jump and Phend flew off the track and Joe went out way wide and I tried to dodge them and slithered by into 2nd which I would hold until the end of the race and the 1st and 2nd finish would give me 1st overall in the class!
Overall the results on main day were very good. 2 x TQ, 3 x Victory, 2 x 3rd place. Met quite a few new people and was able to do my best all weekend!
Next up is Silver State so long as Child #4 doesn’t decide to come late. 🙂