Sunday, Mar 6, 2011

Yesterday I headed over to Home Depot and got 400′ of pipe thinking that should be enough to finalize my track. Boy was I wrong! It’s going to take another 400′ to finish it I believe so that will have to wait for another day. We went out there and laid out the pipe that we had got along with the 150′ of black corrugated pipe that we had found on the property. For the most part the layout can be seen and it at least allowed me to run my car for a few laps before the rain came back. I didn’t do my complete layout that I had set out before because there ended up being a low spot that was still very wet and the rain also destroyed my berm. So for now I had to improvise.

My brother-in-law and his friends had also built a wood halfpipe looking thing for his BMX bikes. It was a little sketchy so they decided to start over with new wood. So we used the two halves to make a jump for the R/C track. We wanted to put it close so we could line up for it as it’s only 6′ wide but we ended up putting it on the end of the back-straight for now. So lining up for it is a big challenge but it is only temporary.

At the moment rain and time are the biggest hurdles. It’s raining again today and will be again tomorrow. Then i’m off to Atlanta. So hopefully by April the weather will clear out and I can spend some time making the track truly dialed. For now, it’s something to play on while we wait for the time and weather to clear! Enjoy the video for what it’s worth. I know it’s sketchy and all but it’s something for now.

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Sunday, Feb 27, 2011
As the sun has set on the Nitro Pit and the Nitro Challenge event and the winners have been crowned it’s time to reflect on my mains and how it all went down on Sunday. As I have mentioned I had some bad luck in qualifying and thus was in the D-main. Overnight rains soaked the track and we got a late start to the day. (Noon instead of 9am.) This caused the shortening of the lower mains and made it harder to get to the front to bump up.
First up was the D-main. The track was still a bit muddy and tacky in spots. So driving was a bit of a challenge. You would be going over the dry spots and your car would act normal. Then you would hit a wet patch especially in a corner and just flip or the car would be out of control! Kept you on your toes to say the least. In the D-main I had an okay start, eventually plugged away some decent lap times and took over the lead and extended it to 10 seconds or so and held on for the bump in the 7 min race.
Next up was the C-main. Didn’t do any set-up changes and went out again trying to just stay smooth and make my move. I had a rough beginning and found myself at the back. I worked my way up to around 5th near the end of the 10 min race where I was struggling with those wet patches on the track. Taking many tumbles. On the last 2 laps I reeled in 3rd and 4th and on the last 2 corners was right behind when one of them made a mistake and I got around and finished 3rd just acquiring the final bump spot into the B-main.
I was pleased to make the b-main as that is where the rest of the Durango team qualified into. We all had a bit of bad luck throughout the weekend but had hi hopes for the B-main. I did 3 set-up changes and in warmup they felt like I did the right thing. I think the other guys on the team found their cars to be a bit to edgy like I did in the D and C mains as they stuck basically with what they had been running. I had a good start and moved up to around 7th, then back to 15th on the first lap. I think before the first lap was over though I had made it back up to 8th again. Many people were crashing. About 2 – 3 min into the race on the right side I either crashed or got tangled in a crashed car and got creamed again by a car coming from behind me. Again I was facing the wrong way when it happened and much like CRCRC I got nailed and broke a front shock shaft! So I raced the final 17 min or so on 3 shocks. I somehow was able to do alright all things considered and by the end of the B-main I had finished 5th place (2nd after bump-ups.)
All in all I was pleased with the buggy. The track was very challenging with the dry/wet patches and the car was handling pretty well all things considered. Our team worked very well together this weekend and it was a pleasure to have that opportunity. I look forward to many more meetings with the entire Durango team. I know none of us achieved the results that we wanted this weekend but we did learn a lot about the car and things will only continue to get better from here on out!
Next up for me is the Psycho Nitro Blast in Georgia starting March 9th.

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011
Today was main day for trucks. This meant I got to run my DESC410 one more time hear at the Nitro Pit. There were I believe 7 of us in the class and at the start I moved up to 5th and settled in. After a couple of laps I was surprised to find that I was keeping up with the pack and I was learning the car and the track and it was all coming together. Eventually I started putting in some solid laps and moved up to second place! I was gaining on the leader having put in 3 consecutive 49 second lap times including the fastest lap of the main. Then I had the mistake to end it all. I broke loose and hit the support beam for the drop-down and sheared the left front off of my car. πŸ™
I was so impressed by my Durango DESC410 and how it was handling. I had many people tell me it was jumping better than any other short course out there and I was clearing everything. Even doing double double tripple the first couple of laps! I really do think this is the SC truck to have. This was a track that wasn’t meant for short course but out of the box the truck handled amazing and was very easy to drive. I know when people get a set-up on this thing and get it all dialed in it is going to dominate the scene!
Tomorrow is buggy main day and for me it is bump up day. I spent much of Saturday going through my buggy and getting it all ready for the hopefully 4 mains I will compete in on Sunday! Lets pray I can do it!

Friday, Feb 25, 2011
Today I have two words to explain. Fortune and Luck. One I consider I have very good and the other I have very bad. Can you guess which? I feel I have very good fortune. I have a beautiful family, great support both in the R/C industry and at home, and my health. I however feel like I have very bad luck as well, and that leads me into my Friday at the Nitro Challenge. Let me preface this by saying that I have always struggled having to talk about a poor race day or race weekend after the fact. I would prefer forget about it asap and be done with it. However now with this blog i’ve complicated matters further for myself by having to recount details of my bad days! Oh well, hopefully, eventually, my luck will change and I can write about some happier times.
I was so excited for this day. Not having nearly enough track time, I was ready to race and lay it down. However luck was not on my side. First round came about and while I was struggling I was still on a top 10 run at the time. With about 2 laps to go all of a sudden my car stopped turning to the left. It would still turn full right and back to center but wouldn’t go left. We brought it back to our pit and everything worked fine! So I’m chopping it up to a rock. (or bad luck gremlins)
Second round I put a new engine in for it. I borrowed it from another teammate as I haven’t had time to break any in over the past couple months of travel and racing. Unfortunately it wasn’t fully broken in either and the tune wasn’t consistent and I struggled timing the jumps. It was frustrating. My car was handling very well but I just couldn’t time the jumps for the life of me. I was able to finish but 24th is not what is expected of me.
Third round happened around 9pm. The sun had set and the moisture came up and the track was in prime condition. I got out there on my SS Gridirons and my car felt dialed! Best it has ever felt. I was so excited to finally put in a good run. I had a good first lap, bobbled on the second and on the third lap I crashed in the double double triple section. Unfortunately there were two cars behind me and my car sat upside down front facing oncoming traffic and the second car down-sided the double perfectly and punted my car at full bore resulting in a broken arm. πŸ™ My car was so good and it was just so frustrating.
Let me add what I am trying to construe as good news. I will probably be in the D or E main which hopefully will mean some bumping up! My car feels great, my engine is nearly broke in and should be very good by Sunday, and the thing I need more than anything is track time. So hopefully I will get it with those bump-ups and give me a shot at a good run in the A by the end of the day Sunday!

Thurs, Feb 24, 2011
Today was my day ‘off’ at the Dirt Nitro Challenge. Running only my Short-course truck it made for a very relaxing day at the track. I spent some of my time volunteer marshaling, working on my Buggy for Friday, and learning a bit more about the DESC410. Unfortunately today I had a crown gear go out on me. (I learned later that I shimmed it wrong). However we don’t have any spare parts for the truck at the moment so I wasn’t able to run my last two qualifiers. It does use the same diff as the DEX410 so on Saturday Billy Fisher will bring me a replacement so that I may run the A-main at least. What I did run it I was very impressed. This is a huge track and for sure not meant for SC trucks. However the Durango handled it pretty well and I know with some time on the truck it would be completely dialed! (I just can’t believe the number of holes you have to cut in these SC bodies to keep the trucks from floating! haha
Friday is Buggy qualifying and the day I have been waiting for. I’m really excited to run my DNX408 and looking to do very well! I have hi expectations this weekend and I hope to live up to them.

Wed, Feb 23, 2011
Well today was day number one and the first and only day of practice at the Nitro Challenge. I am running my Durango DESC410 and DNX408. This was my first time ever getting my short course truck on the track. Unfortunately I am having to use a body from another manufacturer as mine is at the painter and thus it doesn’t quite fit perfectly. Anyways on the track it feels amazing regardless. I can’t believe how well it is driving. I’m really excited for tomorrow to see what kind of laps I can put in with it.
As for my DNX408 its a new week! It feels Awesome and I really do feel like this is going to be a good week for me. It is awesome to have the American team together at this event. We are working great together and this being one of Billy’s home tracks he gave us a set-up to start with and it is really really good! I’m so excited for Buggy Qualifying and can’t wait to redeem myself from the last two events. The car is coming together and this team is a blast to work with! Good things are and will be coming out of the Durango camp for years to come! πŸ˜€
Check back tomorrow to see how I fare with my SC truck! Also watch live on

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Sunday February 20th, 2011

Well racing at Motorama has commenced and while it was a fun race with a cool atmosphere it was a bit of a disappointment for me. I hate making excuses so i’m just going to say I didn’t live up to my expectations this weekend. I had minor issues and bad set-up choices and it all cumulated in a less than desirable outcome. Something that I was happy with was the durability of my Durango. I beat the snot out of it with my poor driving in the main and it just kept going. It is awesome having a platform that I know is going to hold together for entire mains.
It was a very long 3 days with the early up and late to bed and only one class of running. Now I need to get up at 2:30 am to go drive 2 hours to Baltimore to go home for 1/2 a day before heading out for the Nitro Challenge. I’m beat at the moment but that is the great thing about racing R/C cars. You can have a terrible day or week of racing but there is always next time. And for me that next time is in 2 days with the start of the Nitro Challenge. I know starting tomorrow i’ll begin to feel better and be ready to lay it down again. This will be the first race with most of the US Durango team in attendance so that will be fun. I’ll be looking to redeem myself and put in a good performance.
I realize this was a different kind of post but maybe it can also give some insight into my mind and how the ‘life of an r/c racer goes.’ Check back all next week for updates from the Nitro Challenge where I’ll be running my DNX408 and should also be running the new DESC410 for the first time! Should be fun.
Take care,

Sunday Early A.M. February 20th, 2011

Yesterday was another long day. Waking up at 6:30 and heading to the track only to be there until midnight to run 3 qualifiers in just one class. It’s tiring to say the least but today is main day and even with some difficulties in qualifying I was able to put’er in the show and qualify 9th overall. My first qualifier was pretty good all things considered as I ran a fairly clean race which on this blown out track makes for a decent round. It put me 5th in the round which was a good feeling knowing I only had to finish one more decently to make the A.
That one other finish was not going to happen in the second round as I had a DNS due to a electronic failure. So now the pressure was on to make a decent third run. It was a very long day to only run one class while all the other top drivers were running two classes. I just never felt I had the tracktime I needed. However I spent the entire beginning of the 3rd round before I was up rebuilding my car and going through it to make sure there wasn’t something wrong because my car felt uncharacteristically loose. I found it near the end when I got to the rear suspension bushings. My mechanic had put them in wrong, having never built the car by himself yet it was a simple user error that could have happened to anyone. Basically the RR bushings were put in both the RF and RR applications. So I probably ended up with something like 4-5* of anti-squat and maybe 4-5* of rear toe, plus the suspension was put in a bit of a bind to get it to that point. So now the issues I’d been having all weekend thusfar made sense. Only thing was we had been trying to compensate for it with set-up and we had done a few key changes before that third round and weren’t so sure they were going to be the best with the suspension bushings now being correct.
So third round came about and the track was the roughest yet. I tried to stay clean but made a few mistakes early. The car felt more in control but the changes we did to the suspension ended up making it a bit too soft and it hurt on the jumps. Either way I stayed as clean as I could knowing I really only needed to finish decently to make the A. I took 8th overall for the round putting me 9th on the Grid for the A-main.
At this point I feel a bit behind having not had the tracktime and only now having a car that is working properly but I’m going to make a hail mary pass at a set-up for the main and I hope to nail it to have a good shot at doing very well. I know the car can handle this track so it’s up to me to lay it down and do the best I can! Check out Live R/C and watch the action live! I’ll be giving it all I have to put my Durango DNX408 in the winners circle! πŸ™‚

Saturday February 19th, 2011

Well it’s bright and early here in PA and it’s qualification day. Yesterday was three rounds of controlled practice with the last two rounds taking your best three consecutive laps to seat you for todays qualifications. It was a long day and the practice took us until Midnight to complete those three rounds. This is a HUGE event. There is over 400 entries in the Nitro / 1/8th area and over 400 entries in the Electric area! Absolutely huge! Plus they have motocross, midgets, tuner show, quads, and more to go watch throughout the day. There is also supposed to be around 40,000 people passing through in the next 2 days. This is an event not to miss and i’m glad I was able to make it this year. I’m looking forward to todays three qualification rounds and hopefully will be able to lay it down with my Durango DNX408 buggy. I also have my new Durango DESC410R on display for people to see. Most seem very impressed! πŸ™‚ Check back to see how qualification shakes out.

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Saturday February 12, 2011

On Saturday headed down to Antioch, CA for the Delta R/C Winter Series Rd #5. I went down with my mechanic Dennis and my brother-in-law Eric. The turnout was average, about 70 entries. There was about 17 expert buggies there and a pretty stacked field. Hometown hero Tyler Vik with Kyosho was there, fast as always. Also in attendance was Philip Atondo with Losi, a couple other fast young guns in Austin Blair with Kyosho and Curtis Door with the new JQ Products Car, and a slew of other fast locals. I myself was of course rockin my Durango DNX408. It was decided to race 7 minute qualifiers this week instead of 5 so I thought that may help to come back from a mistake and still have a good run.
In the first qualifier I had a few to many crashes but my car felt pretty good. They had changed the layout sense the last time I had been there and it was much more technical and tight. Fast Lap-times went from 17.5 on the old layout to 20.4 on this layout. So after the first round I was 2nd overall behind Vik. In round two I tried my ‘cheater’ tires which were AKA Super Soft Wishbones. I was able to bring my fast lap times down and I took TQ by over 3 seconds over Vik with a 20 laps in 7:01. We all then took a vote if we wanted to run a third qualifier or not. The majority voted for 3 so my TQ was then on the line. In the third qualifier both Vik and I ran very clean runs. Both of our slowest lap times were a 21.4 and our fast was both around a 20.4. So 20 laps within a second. I was able to eek out a TQ posting a 20 laps in 7:00 to Vik’s 20 laps in 7:01. So it was some very close qualifying and the main was shaping up to be very interesting!
Come main time the temps had cooled off about 15 degrees from the days hi but the temperature in the room was getting hot! At the tone Vik got under me in the first corner as the 2 spot was just as good of a starting position as the 1 spot and he had a great jump. We paced each other until the first pit stop, swapping the lead a couple times when either of us made a bobble. Pit lane is my mortal enemy on this track as where I stand on the drivers stand it is impossible to see the entrance so it’s completely blind. Every week I seem to loose a lot of my time in the pit lane here. Anyways got the first pit stop out of the way and began my pursuit to catch Tyler. He now had about a 4 second lead which I whittled away at until we were again nose to tail. I made a bobble and was about 3 second back when it was time for our second pit stop. This time Pit lane bit me hard as I fell over the edge. Someone in pit lane graciously jumped over to retrieve my car, but with pit lane only being the width of a truggy and the anxiousness of myself, when he set me back on it wasn’t quite straight and I fell off again! πŸ™ . He quickly got me and I got fueled up and took off, now with an 8 second deficit and about 6 minutes to go. Tyler found his groove and didn’t make another mistake. I was able to whittle down the lead to about 6 seconds by the end but it wasn’t enough and I took a hard fought 2nd place. I don’t mind loosing to Tyler at Delta because he is just so good there. I know one day when I get my pit lane gremlins worked out we will battle for the entire main and it will be a great show! πŸ™‚
As far as my DNX408, I tried a new lighter diff set-up (8-8-3) and it felt very good on this track. Reason I went so much lighter compared to what I had been running at Delta was because with the new layout being much tighter it just helped with all the transitions and turns because most were off power while the old layout was much more on power. I was very happy with my set-up and felt it was very easy to drive. It is posted in my set-up sheet area! πŸ™‚
Well that’s all for this time. I’m happy I was able to give Vik a run for his money this week and felt I had the car to really battle him with. I was happy to take TQ and next time look forward to making it an even better race for the win. Up next I’m off to Pennsylvania to Motorama, followed by a one day turn around and off to the Nitro Challenge in Arizona! Stay tuned for much more race recaps and hopefully big wins at those events!

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Wednesday February 9, 2011

Well i’ve hired some new help πŸ˜‰ (Thanks Jerry and Dennis) and have made some solid headway on the track today! We expanded the track quite a bit on the left side, changed up the jump section up front, and did a couple of jump tests to make sure they all worked. I’m not sold on our front section which is now a roller table roller. We will see if it stays or gets revised further. As always here is the photos of our current revision, now 4 photos as the track is bigger! πŸ˜‰


Monday February 7, 2011

Took Sunday off to spend the day with the family and watch the Super Bowl eating homemade Nacho’s, Yumm!
Monday came around and it was back to the salt mines. It’s down to the point where it’s time to build jumps and figure out what on earth I’m going to do for piping. It’s hard building jumps without a roller. It’s dump the dirt, rake it into shape, and smack it as hard as possible a million times with a flat shovel! My hands feel it!! The meaty parts of my palms are tenderized I think!
Anyways progress was made and there are 4 jumps more or less complete and another one raked and ready to pack. The next challenge after the jumps is leveling out all the holes we made and all the hills just behind the track which are full of rock. That in itself is going to take a good amount of time. Anyways here is the progress below! It’s coming along. Took a couple test jumps with my Durango DEX410 today and the double was makable and smooth both ways, the kicker wasn’t quite done at the time. My brother in law brought out his Durango DNX408 and I can’t believe how small an 1/8th scale makes the track look. I tried to make all the lanes around 12ft but once a 1/8th gets on there it looks small. So if we can make the track smooth enough somehow hopefully it will be a decent test track for both 1/8th and 1/10th

Saturday February 5, 2011

Two more days of labor in the books and things are beginning to take shape. We haven’t put as much time into the track the last two days and what has been done isn’t as noticeable as the first two days. However I painted a layout on the ground today and we laid the dirt for our first two jumps. Also spent considerable time on the banked corner. It looked like a lost cause yesterday with the rocks and big clumps of wet dirt but today with a bunch of shovel packing and a little finesse it came together pretty well.
Keep checking back. Hope to have all the jumps built by middle next week. Don’t know what we are going to do for piping or barriers. May have to be on the ‘honor’ system for a while! πŸ™‚

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yesterday was a groundbreaking day. Literally! πŸ™‚ Not only was it Groundhogs day (where Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow signaling an early spring), I have also broke ground on my new 1/8th Nitro practice track. Now I love winter, but only if there’s snow. Seeing as though there is no snow and i’m in the racing mood I’m ready for an early spring. Fortunately for us, unlike over 1/2 of the U.S., here in Northern California the last 2 days have been gorgeous, around 60* and Sunny. With a special thanks to my friend Carlos Macias for allowing me to borrow his tractor things have been much easier than when we were starting our electric track by hand! I was very excited to get started but things have gotten off to kind of a rocky start. By that I mean there are rocks…Everywhere! πŸ™ Unfortunately the one area of land on our property that is open enough for a track is also where rocks have been dumped for quite some time it seems. It’s something we will have to deal with but we will do our best and hopefully it will all come together as good as it can! Below are some photos of what we started with and where we stand after 2 days of work. My brother in law Eric and I are putting about 5 – 6 hours a day in on the track and hope to have something resembling a track by next week! πŸ™‚ Check back to keep updated on our progress and I promise some videos when it’s all done!

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