June 13, 2016
This past week we headed deep down south to Austin, Texas. The rains of the past weeks had subsided and we received no rain while there. Although that’s a mute point considering the amazing covered facility that Thornhill Racing Circuit has become. The layout was put in by the “Dirt’s”, Joey Christiansan and it was fast, flowing, and a lot of fun. The event itself was 5 days long counting the track coordinated practice on Wednesday. Tekno had a good presence at the event with Joe, Billy, and I attending, as well as some young hotshots from this midwest and east coast. The racing was super close and competitive and on a personal level I feel I was able to really do quite well this weekend, even through my miscalculations.
On Thursday we ran one open practice followed by two rounds of seeding practice taking the fastest 3 consecutive laps. In Truggy I came out of the gate strong with the fastest 3 laps of the field by 0.9 tenths of a second over 2nd. In buggy my P1 I wasn’t able to put together 3 good laps as I would get into traffic every 3rd lap it seemed. In the P2 in truggy the track was a little slicker and slower and so I opted to have some fun as I did a full drift session backing my truck into some of the turns and just driving full noodle. It was a lot of fun and I hope those that got to watch enjoyed it! Overall I would seed 1st in truggy and 14th in buggy after the seeded practice.
Friday was the first day of qualifications with two rounds on tap. Truck was ok in the first round but I chose the wrong tire which was a little to hard for the conditions and I was a bit loose. I did the best I could to come in 4th. In Q2 I drove a bit better having a better tire compound choice under me but I made a lengthy crash and took 2nd. In buggy I drove a very conservative Q1 as I knew I was close on fuel mileage. This was a good strategy for me though as I kept a clean race and got a 5th. In Q2 I was able to do the same but pick up the pace just a bit and got a 3rd. So after the first day I was solidly into the A and semi and ready to try some things on Saturday.
In between rounds on Friday we also got to do the pit lane challenge. Joe and I decided to pit for a Tekno hotshoe Seth Van Dalen and we ended up winning the challenge ahead of the other 7 teams entered. Maybe Joe and I have a career after we are done driving! 😉
Saturday saw two more qualifiers to fill out the mains. Truggy Q3 was a bit disappointing as my truck was on point and I was on a TQ run by 1.2 seconds on lap 6 when a traffic incident happened sending me off the track and relegating me to 4th. In Q4 it was more bad luck as I was again as I had a 1.3 second lead for TQ on lap 8 when my throttle servo started to go out on me and I had to pull it in. So I wasn’t able to help my cause in truggy and thus qualified 5th overall. In buggy Q3 had some wrong direction set-up changes and I would finish 8th. In Q4 I ran a very solid run and took 4th overall just 3 seconds back. So overall in buggy I would qualify a solid 4th!
Saturday also saw the concourse competition where I entered my buggy and won the buggy class with my Diggity Paints painted body!
Sunday Sunday Sunday – It was main day and the preparations were in full force. On tap was 10 minute practice runs for both classes. Then a 45 minute Truggy A final, followed by a 30 minute buggy semi and an hour long buggy A-final. Lots of standing, lots of focus, and some sore eyes, but i’m very please with how my on track performance went.
Truggy Amain – I was a little discouraged starting 5th as I knew if those last two qualifiers had gone my way I could have been starting 1st or 2nd. The track was reasonable easy and it was hard to pass. So at the start I felt I had a better pace than Jared but I had to keep checking up as to not get into him. We began to loose a little distance to the lead back and I ended up making a small bobble dropping to 7th for a couple laps. But my truck was so dialed and I quickly reassumed 5th. Next, my goal being right behind Jared again was that we were on a different pit strategy. So my goal was get in a really fast stop as I was coming in earlier than he, and then make sure my out laps were clean and make the ‘pass’ in pit lane. It worked out great and I moved into 4th on lap 16. Then a few laps later I was able to get into 3rd on lap 21. There is where I would stay overall until lap 68. At the time I was in lockstep with the leaders and just about 18 seconds back. Then Rivkin had an issue and I inherited 2nd place and would finish out in 2nd about 14 seconds behind Maifield. I had a few little issues in the main including my truck loosing all electrical power on lap 32 for 3 seconds. I also opted to do an extra pit stop than the others so I could drive my truck as punched as I desired. All in all I was pretty happy with where I finished. In the past 3 years prior I had finished 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd in truggy so this would have been my 4th podium finish in 4 years in the truggy class. But it was all taken away shortly after the mains were completed. My truck that had passed tech all week long was found to be under weight. Upon examination it was determined that I lost 48g of tire tread weight during the main! I honestly had no idea a tire could loose that much weight. My truck started the main at 4,033g (4,000 being the legal limit) and I ended up 15g under. For sure it was a learning experience and one i’ve never had to deal with before. It was my mistake to not know these numbers as I thought I would be safe running a heavier tire in the main than I did throughout qualifying. I was wrong and I got a DQ which just made me feel like I waisted 45 minutes of my life. At least I can look back and know in my mind I was competitive for a 4th consecutive year in the class. Also based on a gram a minute I figure I was only illegal for about the last 12 minutes. HAHA.
The Buggy Semi-final was next and it was a 30 minute affair. I felt pretty fast at the start on my AKA Soft Long Wear Zipps, and I made a pass for the lead on lap 7 after starting 2nd in the odd Semi. I would hold the lead for most of the laps until lap 22 where I made a mistake and would soon fall back to 3rd. My engine was a bit hard to drive in this one as I was having to drive in the 80-100% trigger range to really get it to keep the power I needed. So I had to adjust for a bit and was able to pick my pace up again and moved back into 2nd on lap 47 where I would finish out the Semi in 2nd. Overall it was the 3rd fastest time in either Semi and thus with Maifield getting in on TQ I would start 4th for the A-final.
For the one hour long main I readjusted my throttle endpoint and got it retuned and the power felt much better. I again was doing a shorter pit window than some others though there was about 5 of us on the same window. My buggy felt really good overall and I was able to push pretty hard. I held my 4th for the first couple laps and on lap 4 got to 3rd and on lap 5 found myself in 2nd. I was a bit nervous for the moment as I didn’t expect to be in that position so soon but I finally settled in until lap 9 when in the top right corner my car just lifted off and flew off the back of the track. I fell back to 4th and fought on for a while cycling between 5th – 6th depending on pit schedules. I lost some composure mid race as my car was a little lean and keeping the nose down on the front jumps was a chore. Also I was having a bit of an issue flat landing and bouncing. I had to do some mid race driving adjustments like getting a little easier on the throttle and landing full lit to help pack up on landings. Around mid race I was being lapped by Rivkin in 1st but I was able to just hold him off until his pit stop. I really began to find my groove then and started to claw my way closer to the lead foursome. I began to push really hard at the end and I made up some ground but with the extra pit stops and mid race fade I came up a little short. I would finish 5th about 20 seconds out of the lead and 10 seconds out of the battle for third. Overall I did the best I could. I feel I drove my heart out and I think it was a really good showing for Tekno.
Speaking of, Tekno had 3 cars in both A-mains at the Nationals this year and they have never had more than 1 at the Nationals. So a huge accomplishment for team Tekno! I had a great time with the team and seeing some of the team drivers from around the country all coming together to compete for the Nationals Title. I hope notions can be put in place to fix the Truggy weight limit that has been around since Monster trucks ruled the truggy class. All trucks come in well under the current limit so instead of trying to save weight places (in buggy) we are always having to add weight places.
Next up is the OEOSS series at my local track in Medina, Ohio. Then the following week to AMS 7.0 in Bama!
June 6, 2016
This is such an awesome event and it’s a shame the weather made it a challenge this year. Put on at a family’s home in a beautiful part of Indiana at Stateline R/C Raceway. The setting is awesome, the track is challenging and fun, and the people are the nicest anywhere. They put out a full buffet lunch on Saturday afternoon and have a corn hole tournament on Saturday night.
I arrived Friday afternoon and upon arrival practice had been going on for a bit. A couple of jump faces were a bit tough and with having both of my Nitro cars basically ready for Nationals I didn’t want to ‘ruin’ them so I just did a few packs of practice with my E-buggy. Saturday morning they had a bit more practice and the jump faces were fixed so I opted to run one tank on each nitro car. For the racing I chose to just race the two nitro classes.
In the first qualifier I made a few mistakes in the 6 pack with both cars. It was a challenging section with options to single, double, triple or double, double, double. I watched some of the other faster guys doing the first option but I just couldn’t get it down and made mistakes. So mid race switched to the latter option and got more consistent over it and put down some fast laps. In the end I would TQ both classes in the first round.
Then the rains came. The track got soaked and the rain delay began. They did all they could laying peat moss and working the track and decided to run another qualifier that night starting at 10pm. I opted out as I had my family with me and I didn’t want to be up to 4 am qualifying with Nationals right around the corner. (You can see where my primary focus is)
Come back on Sunday hoping to get some mains in. I would retain the overall TQ in both classes as no one in that late night second round was able to overtake my times. They got the first few mains in but then some pop up storms came by around noon and re-flooded the track. It was decision time and I decided to drive home instead of waiting it out to be sure I was ready for Nats.
So unfortunately I didn’t run the mains but I am glad they were able to get the program done on Sunday. Kudos to the track crew for their hard work. I look forward to returning soon for the E-nats and i’m greatly looking forward to the Nitro Nationals this upcoming weekend!
May 27, 2016
May 3, 2016