Monday morning, Final day here at Neo. The started off with the electric final at 11am.
I started 3rd and was ready to fight for the win. In the two lap warm up, my car felt good and I was feeling strong. Ty, Lee, and myself got off to a good start and pulled a little gap on the rest of the field in the first couple laps. A few laps in and Ty made a mistake and went from 1st to 3rd. I was in 2nd and then Lee bobbled as well giving me the lead. It was pretty short lived as I didn’t hold the lead too long. Me and Ty passed each other back and forth a few times but he was a little faster and started to pull away. Halfway through the 10 minute final and I had 2nd place locked in pretty good. Ty was pulling away a little, and there was a pretty big group of cars a little behind me. Towards the end of the race, I made just a few small bobbles, and that let Adam Drake get pretty close and challenge me for 2nd. I put in a really strong last lap to gap out and take 2nd. I was happy to finish there and was happy with my car and my driving. Ty drove great to get the win.
Next on the day was Semi practice. My nitro car felt great in Q5, so I left the setup the same and only changed my tires. I went from super soft Gridiron 2 to soft Gridiron 2. My car felt really great in the practice and I seemed to have better speed than I had in qualifying. We checked run time and I ran out at 10:53. The semi is 20 minutes and I need to only stop once if I want to start near the front. It was going to be risky to pit at 10 if I could only go 10:53.
I got my car all ready for the semi, and I really thought about my strategy. I wanted to go for starting first in the final. I needed to pit only once in the semi. I leaned out my engine a little as it was a touch rich in the practice. I needed to drive smooth and efficient and not pull full throttle at all. We were going for it. I started 3rd and again got off to a good start. Reno had a small issue and Ty went to the lead and I was in second. We were very close in speed and both ran a perfect race. I made the 10 minute pit no problem and finished 4 seconds back of Ty. Every lap of the semi, not counting the pit lap, was a 30, or 29 second lap, so we were both very consistent. Our times were much faster than the other semi, and I would start 2nd in the final.
For the final I decided to make a few changes. I really wanted to fight for the win, and I was going to take any risk I felt I needed to take to make my chances better. I changed my from shock piston to try to make my front end more sensitive. We also thickened up my rear shock oil as the temp was higher than all week. We also changed clutch setup to try to get more traction and a smoother feel. We got everything all changed, but it was pretty rushed. I had glued my tires after the practice, so they were all ready, or so I thought.
Got out for the two lap warm up and I felt great. My car felt better than it has all week. Engine felt perfect, and the tires felt great too. I had more steering than I had before, and it was game on. On the grid you are revving your engine a lot to have it nice and crisp on the start. The tone went off and I all of a sudden I had no traction at all. I almost spun out in the first turn, cased the first jump, couldn’t jump the corner jump. I quickly went from 2nd to 5th or 6th. I got back in a groove and worked my way up to 2nd, but shortly after Cody had caught and passed me. For most of the race I ran 3rd and was very frustrated that my car seemed so different now. I was really trying to drive my best and not make mistakes. David got up to the back if me, and mistakes cost me as I lost 3rd spot. At the end of the final, I was struggling to go around and couldn’t do anything to catch David for 3rd. My neo streak ended with me not fighting even for a podium position. I was pretty bummed with that.
After the race, my pit guy was looking at my tires and noticed they all had no holes in them. I forgot to punch holes in the tires for the final. A bad mistake and I feel that was the difference. The tires grow and filled up with air, with no holes, they just stay like that. I am already very hard on myself, and I was pretty mad at myself for doing that. I feel I let everybody down.
Congrats to Ty for taking the win and Cody and David getting Kyosho on the podium. Thanks to all my sponsors Kyosho, Orion, AKA, Maxima, KO, AmainHobbies for all the amazing support. Thanks to Mike, Mau, and Adrien for all the help this weekend. I gave it my all and took the risks I felt I needed to take to win. I have no regrets and held nothing back. I slipped and made a mistake with my tires, I will learn from this week and apply it next race. Neo15….watch out….I’m coming back very hungry for my revenge on the win!!!!!!
Thanks to all you guys for following, supporting, cheering, and being there for me. God Bless