This past weekend the big bird in the sky took me to America’s Heartland to attend the ROAR 1/8th electric and 4×4 SC Nationals. The venue was the Hobbytown HobbyPlex in Omaha, Nebraska. A basically indoor facility saw us running clay tires with lots of liquid wrench throughout the weekend to maximize the traction levels. Joe and myself were running all 3 offered classes which only a handful of drivers were attempting. With the once again disappointingly low turnout there ended up being 7 heats and we were thus involved in 6 of them either racing or marshaling. On top of this they added 2 extra qualifiers giving us 6 total, but making for some extremely hectic days of trying to compete in all the classes. 

(-Quick need to rant-)

Now I try to be as positive as I can for the most part but it’s hard to not want to see change and consistency in our National level events. For instance we had booked our flights about 2 months in advance as we usually do and were told just weeks before the event they were shortening it. (This is something they should do with this Nationals anyways and make it a 3 day event). But it just made it so we were there for a full day early. Next because of the low turnout it was decided to run more qualifiers. Sounds good in theory but we already do to much qualifying and not enough racing. Now this weekend for instance it turned out to be a blessing for me as I struggled mightily early on and needed those last qualifiers. But that not withstanding we need to figure out how to race more. Another issue was that they changed the voltage meter from day to day. Thus when everything was ok on day 1 suddenly to start day 2 I got DQ for being at 16.81v. And to that point why do we have rules that would only effect stock racing at a mod event? Who cares if the voltage is .01 or .05 over. Who cares if the batteries are warmer than ambient temperature. These cars can be grossly overpowered as it is, we aren’t at a stock race!

(-End rant-)

Now to the racing where things didn’t start out to hot for me. In Etruggy I was doing all I could to make my AKA SLW Grids hook up on this clay track but they were just no match for the clay and purpose indoor tires other companies currently offer. So in Q1 and 2 I struggled mightily. Then with the DQ in Q3 I needed to put in 3 good runs just to secure and A main start. Fortunately my sponsor allowed me to run another brand tire for the rest of the weekend to allow me to be competitive and it immediately paid dividends. I was able to finish 3-4-3 in the final qualifiers to seed 4th in truggy. 

In Short course it was a 4 way battle in most of the heats and I was able to put my SCT410.3 with AKA Clay Chainlinks into the TQ position in rounds 3 and 4. The final round would decide the overall TQ and Joe was able to edge me out for the overall and thus I settled for 2nd. 

Ebuggy was a struggle early on as I worked to find a good setup and the right tire choice. On day one of quals I was running AKA clay Typos and while they were fast I just didn’t feel I was able to be consistent enough with them. So for day 2 I switched to some Chainlinks and they were easier to drive. I had a steady progression through the 6 quals with the first two being just outside the top 10 but finishing off with a 6 and a 2 in the final rounds to seed me 6th overall with momentum heading in the right direction. 

2nd place Ebuggy Concourse. Thanks Diggity Paints!

So Sunday brought us main day and we would be racing in the final 9 races of the day to compete the triple A mains. In A1 of etruggy it was an up and down race. I had been to 3rd and fell back to 6th. Then as 4th and 5th fought in front of me and tangled over the back single I launched over them and back into 4th where I would finish. In Short Course Joe and I would break away from the pack and he would pull away then make a mistake over the first triple. As I jumped it I got tangled and he got out ahead of me again and a cat and mouse game ensued but he held on for the close win. In Ebuggy it was a pretty straightforward race. I made up one position on the 2nd lap into 5th but everyone stayed pretty clean after that and that’s where I finished. 

Truggy Concourse Victory! Thanks Diggity Paints!

In A2 of Etruck I totally blew the start and launched across the lane into the opposite triple nearly ruining the front runners. I got corrected though and came across the first lap in 7th. I ran consistently the remainder of the run and worked my way into 4th. In Short Course I had to beat Joe and yet I decided to crash on lap 1 and fell back. I was able to make up the pace though and regain up to the leaders only to again get caught in the tragic after the first triple and get the raw end of the deal again. I continued to fight but just got back to 2nd and Joe was able to take a well deserved 1st and his first National title. In buggy I had a great start and on lap 2 briefly was in 2nd place. But I made a mistake again and fell back to 6th and just tried to keep pace with the leaders. On the last corner all kinds of chaos ensued as Maifield took out Rivkin which allowed Tebo into the picture. As Maifield waited for Rivkin to get corrected all 3 converged sending Rivkin on the wrong side of the track and he thus didn’t cross the line while Tebo was out of shape and Maifield beat him across the loop. It was crazy scenario as the top 7 drivers were within 3 seconds across the line. I would come away with 5th in that one. 

In A3 of etruggy I had my opportunity. I was running 3rd behind Rivkin and pressuring him hard and finally made a pass and into 2nd. This was dialed as if I could hold on I would be 3rd in the podium.  But with one minute to go and caught the pipe before the loop and flipped over falling back to 4th. Blowing my opportunity and thus finishing 4th overall. In Short Course getting to start from the start I put on clinic including back to back 21.3 lap times and a final time within one second of the ebuggy A2 winning time! Thus finishing 2nd overall for my 11th ROAR National 2nd place finish. Finally the last ebuggy main was one to forget as I had a marshal fall down on my car and it was just a mess overall including the front body clip coming off. So overall I had to settle for 7th in the class. 

Super fast A3 in 4×4 SC

In the end it was a trying week. But the track was a blast and the facility is still a really awesome one that I enjoy going to. I hope this small wave of momentum of media talking about the change that needs to come can make some waves going forward as things can for sure be made better for the community at large. 

My 11th ROAR Nationals 2nd place finish!

Next up is my LutzRC hometown Shootout at my home track Medina RC Raceway August 11th. 

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