Saturday November 5, 2011
Today I had a Sandwich. . . My day of racing started and ended disappointing but the middle was pretty good! Now the results are going to be a bit confusing as there was the results from the actual event and then there is the National Finals total points tabulation as well. Here’s how my sandwich of a day went down.
Short Course – Coming into the 10 minute mains I knew my biggest battle was going to be the clock. Making 10 minutes was going to require me to tone it down a TON and just keep the car rolling. Well in A1 on the big jump in back on the first lap whomever was behind me decided they wanted to try to launch this jump that no SC truck had been doing all week. He ended up running right up my rear and sending me to the back of the pack. From there with a bit of frustration I worked my way back to 2nd but due to probably driving just a bit to hard after the incident I ended up dumping with 30 seconds to go. Still to go from dumping in a 7:30 qualifier to making it 9:30 took a lot of finesse. But I was going to need more.
In A2 I stayed out front at the start and no one ran me over and I set out to make that 10 minutes. I never pulled more than 20% throttle on my trigger except to clear 2 jumps on the track. On the straight I pulled 20% for the first 1/2 and then let off completely and coasted the end and the first corner. I was about 2 seconds a lap slower than I was in qualifying but was still turning the same laps as everyone else. I managed to stay out front and got the batteries to last and finished the 10 minutes!
In A3 I just wanted a repeat of A2. I drove as conservative as I could and just wanted to hug every pipe and make no mistakes. Keep the car rolling and not use the breaks. On the last lap when I knew 2nd place wasn’t going to get the extra lap and I knew I had conserved enough battery I drove it like I was in qualifying and put down a lap 2 seconds faster than any of my other laps in the main.
So the Short Course Class was a stand alone National event at this race and had no qualifying rounds to add to it. So I TQ’d and Won the event and thus also took the R/C Pro National Championship with my Durango DESC410R. My tire of choice for the day was AKA Soft GridIrons and my Tekin 4Pole 4600 was always there for me in reserve when I needed it! 😀
E-Buggy – To continue on with the Bun of my sandwich, E-buggy was up directly after SC. In A1 I had built a huge lead with about 4 minutes to go when I started loosing steering, especially to the left. It would completely not steer at all at times and I would go into the pipe and try to wiggle my wheels to get it to work again. It would then work for a lap or two and do it again. This allowed David Joor to catch and pass me on the last lap as i couldn’t make a corner and I took 2nd. Turns out my Servo Saver nut backed off and began to rub on the chassis and was locking the steering from working.
Now for the meat. In A2 and A3 I just wanted to do what I was doing in A1 except finish it out. I was able to accomplish that with two healthy victory margins and a car that felt great all weekend. My DEX408 prototype was dialed as all git out and everyone I encountered was very impressed with it’s handling and how it looked on and off the track. At the end of the day I even let a handful of people try the car and they seemed pretty impressed with the handling!
So for the results I took the TQ and the win for the event. However I only ran 1 qualification race for this class being a new car for me and thus wasn’t in the running for the National Title.
Nitro Buggy – Man did I want this one. I spent so much time making sure my car was perfect and I knew it was going to be bullet proof out there. Unfortunately there are some things that you just can’t prevent. At the start it was a 3 way battle between Robbers, Branham, and myself. A few minutes in though and Robbers crashed whilst leading and flamed or whatnot and ended up a lap down. This left it to me and Branham to battle it out for a bit. We swapped leads and battled for a few minutes but I could feel something going wrong with my engine. It started to get really really lean and eventually I wasn’t able to make some of the jumps. I yelled down to my pit guy to richen the top 3 hours. Came in at like the 13 minute mark and he did that but it just kept getting leaner. I ended up coming in like an extra 5 times and each time having him richen it up a good 3 hours top and bottom. Eventually it started to work again but I’m sure it was up over 400* there for a few minutes. I knew at that time that I had an airleak somewhere and there was nothing I could do about it except richen it up and hope it would keep running. I was able to manage to stay in 3rd place a few laps down from Branham and Robbers but with about 3 minutes to go the engine finally just gave up after all that stress and high temps. Robbers was able to catch back up and pass Branham for the win. This was unfortunate for me because I think if I would have stayed in 3rd and Branham finished 2nd that I would have taken the overall by virtue of my TQ but it doesn’t matter at this point and he won it well deserved.
So my final result for the event was TQ and a 7th place. For the National title I finished 2nd behind a well deserved Branham. For the hour long main I went with a Medium Enduro and it was awesome. I really wished I could have not had issues because it would have been a great battle all race long! Next time! There’s always Next Time! 😉
I want to thank Jeremy Cupps for pitting for me and probably turning more engine needles than he has in his 20 year racing career! haha. Thanks to David Lovett and his wife Susie for putting on the event and series. I really hope it grows bigger again next year. They have a lot of great ideas and they are great people and I think next year the finals will be at the same location so that should be reason enough to run the series! Gulf Coast Raceway is an amazing facility full of so many dedicated people that it was just such a great place to race and I can’t wait to come back and do it again!
Next up I’m heading back to Texas in 2 weeks for the Texas Offroad Shootout!
The Hardware from the R/C Pro Nationals
Friday November 4, 2011
Two final qualifiers in the books and oh what a great day! It was a hard fought battle in two of the classes and came down to the final qualifier but my Durango’s held strong and I made the right set-up and tire selections and came away with a trifecta of TQ’s! Let’s break it down.
Short Course – Traction is getting higher and higher every round and in Rd #1 I tried some worn out soft Rebars and they just had too much bite. I struggled keeping the car on the wheels and ended up 2nd behind young fast guy Josh Glancy. This meant with not finishing two of the rounds that I was going to need to TQ the final round. I started at the tone and stayed clean and was able to drive a bit better on my Medium AKA Enduros. In the end I came away with a fairly healthy win and was able to take the overall TQ. Tomorrow I have to try to accomplish a triple A-main with each being 10 minutes and I’m only able to do about 8. Going to have to see how easy I can drive it and hopefully still be able to battle for the lead… We shall see.
E-Buggy – My Durango DEX408 is on rails this weekend. I am so impressed with it’s performance. It has the fastest laptimes of any vehicle nitro or electric. I was able to get down to 27.2 in my final qualifier on AKA Medium Wishbones. In Q4 I ran soft Enduros and had a 27.3 so it seems whatever tire I throw at it it just handles and does it well. I was able to TQ all 5 rounds in this class and was nearly able to get to 16 laps, only 4 and 5 seconds away respectively in the final two rounds. The next quickest round was my Nitro Buggy with a 15 in 7:10! So triple A-main on tap for tomorrow!
N-Buggy – This morning I threw all the set-up changes I had in my mind on the car. (more caster, stiffer front bar, more toe out in front, Soft Enduros, and Dark Blue front spring and it worked!) In Q4 I was able to battle for most of the race but in the end stay cleaner and take the TQ. This left me and Robbers tied for points and tied in the tie breaker. So it was down to who beat who in the final round. For round 5 I also went back to the stiffer rear spring and back to the piston I was running before the rough track in Louisiana and it was even better yet. I ran a clean race with every lap either a 28 or 29. Robbers made a big mistake early and gave me a 6 second cushion and I wouldn’t relinquish it. Branham and I battled for the top spot until he made an error which gave me a few second cushion and I held on to take the TQ and the overall TQ in my Durango DNX408! Tomorrow is a hour long A-main event so anything can happen! Already have my tire selection glued up and ready! Should be good!
View from the 'skybox'
Thursday November 3, 2011
Today was qualification day numero uno here at the fabulous Gulf Coast Raceway in the frigid deep south! I was always under the impression that it was warm down in south Texas but I guess mother nature had different plans for today and tomorrow. Temps into the 30’s in the morning make for a cold start. At least the facility is amazing. If you haven’t been here you should put it on your calendar to visit. Covered offroad, onroad, huge hobby shop. They got it all! Let’s get to the racing here at the R/C Pro National Finals.
Short Course – My SC truck is again dialed. The traction started off semi-loose and has worked it’s way throughout the day to being pretty high bite. I think tomorrow were in for very high bite when it does warm up a bit. I have been on my AKA soft Gridirons all day though and they’ve been good from start to finish. I put in a fast lap time in Q3 of a 29.0 which was only 1 second off my Nitro and E-Buggy! Crazy! My Durango DESC410R has turned some heads this weekend and if it weren’t for me not being able to finish the 7 minute qualifiers I’d have 3 TQ’s to my name. Unfortunately I’ve only finished one. In Q1 I finished for the TQ, In Q2 I didn’t finish my last lap but only one other driver had the extra lap so I got 2nd. In Q3 the loop didn’t count me on the start so they had me running an extra lap. So in the end I didn’t finish the last two laps even though I was on a blistering 15 lap pace. Maybe only 5 drivers in any class have had a 15 all day!! Anyways tomorrow I shall try a new battery and turn down my current limiter even more. (I just drive to dang hard!) I also have to figure out how to make 10 minute mains. 🙁
There are two more qualifiers tomorrow and they are taking best 3 of 5.
E-Buggy – This has surprisingly been my best class of the weekend. In each of the three quals I’ve had a couple bad wrecks, most of the time on my own but I’ve had some really solid clean laps otherwise and have taken the TQ in all 3 rounds. Only thing I would change at this time is to lower my ride-height for the high bite that is coming up but i’m stuck with where i’m at due to the front dark blue Kyosho springs being just a bit too long for me. Anyways I’ll make due. I’ve pretty much ran AKA Soft Grids all day in this class and they have been dialed!
N-Buggy – This is the class as always that I want to do the best in but i’ve kind of gotten behind the 8 ball as the track has changed and I haven’t changed with it quick enough. In Q1 I was able to take the TQ over Robbers and Branham. It seems the three of us are going to be the battle this weekend and in each qualifier we’ve exchanged leads quite a few times. In Q2 the traction started to come up and my car got a bit twitchy. I was able to have the lead for a bit but lost it in traffic and finished 2nd to Robbers. In Q3 I only tried a different tire and raised my front roll center just a bit but it was still very twitchy. I made way to many mistakes and traffic was still a challenge. I led at the start but once the mistakes started I fell back and finished 3rd behind Robbers and Branham. So tomorrow I need to make a myriad of changes. I’m going to go with longer camber links, 14* Caster, Go back to the Dark Blue Kyosho springs on the front (was running the Light Green). This is going to make my rideheight higher than I want but hopefully I can deal with it. I’m also going to try a different tire. I may try enduro’s but this track may actually work with slicks. I just need to see if the track can handle medium tires or if I need to stay with softs. It’s going to be an important day of testing to get the car dialed in for the 1 hour long A-main event! Today tire wise I ran soft Wishbones in Q1, Soft Impacts in Q2, and soft Gridirons in Q3. In E-buggy Soft Grids are dialed but I need to get something I’m really happy with that’s going to be good for an hour main. I think tires are going to be crucial!
My 40* windbreak 😉
My Durango DNX408 enjoying the ride! 😉
So here’s the story. I had a Mazda 6 that I got as a rental car. Well when I left the airport I noticed that my interior dash lights weren’t working. I couldn’t figure it out so I made it to the hotel and just said I would figure it out tomorrow in the daylight. Well last night when leaving the track I was having the same problem and so when driving back to the hotel I had a motorcycle guy pull up next to me and honk at me and flash his hands while pointing to the rear of my car. So I realized that my rear taillights weren’t working either! I only had headlights! I had a few more people honk at me so I took the car back to the airport and luckly never got stopped by a cop. When there I asked the guy if he could hook me up with a Camaro sense I always wanted to drive one and he said yea, no problem! So that is how I ended up with the Red Camaro rental car which I don’t fit in and have to slouch and I have to shove my luggage into the trunk to make it fit! 😀 haha
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