Day one of The Duel was at Proline’s test track. I used to race there quite a bit back when I lived in CA, but I haven’t driven there since 2008. I was pretty curious to see what kind of layout Levi Jackson would build out there. We rolled in at 6:30am and there was a good turnout. We got our pit all setup and then checked out the track. It looked awesome, flowing, technical, but nothing stupid on the track. The day got started quick with practice starting at 7am. They ran one time through the heats with 5 minutes per heat. I needed to learn the track fast with only get 5 minutes of track time with each car. Practice went pretty good and I got my engines feeling pretty good. The track was pretty loose in practice, they were watering every other heat, but the track was fresh and the water was drying up fast, making dusty track conditions. The race is ran with all heads up racing. I raced invite, so we run buggy and truggy. Three races per car, three races per track, with one throw out per car, per track. The races are 12 minutes long, which is awesome. Starting position isn’t quite as important with the race length longer, and we do one pit stop. The heats are set up random, and you draw a ball with a number on it for your starting position. I think that’s the best way to make it fair.
First race was truggy. The track was still pretty loose for the first race and they were still watering the track. My heat was pretty easy, and I drew a 1. My truck felt ok, but it pushed really bad. Luckily my heat was easy and I took the win. Nice way to start out the day. As the day progressed, it got hot and windy. They weren’t able to keep the track watered, and it was just taking way too long trying to water the track. Once they stopped, the track grooved up and got pretty high traction. The groove was narrow, with quite a bit of dust out of the racing line. Driving conditions were really tough, tons of grip on line, but it was getting bumpy and edgy in the line. If you went off the line, it was like Mario through a banana peel on the track. I personally enjoyed the conditions, you had to be precise and smooth going around. I had some good races and some really good battles. Me and Ty battled pretty hard in a truggy race and I was leading on the last lap, but I got wild in the whoops and he passed me one corner from the finish. I ended truggy with my two scores being a 1st and a 2nd. My buggy was really good at times, but I seemed to catch the track too late. The track changed a ton after practice and the first round of races. I had a good race in the stacked first heat and took 2nd. The second heat I started 1st and got a big lead up till the pit stop. After the pit stop, my car seemed to really change it’s feel. I lost traction and my car got crazy edgy. I had a five second lead and crashed 3 times and dropped to 3rd. I changed tire compound and some things on my car for the final race. They put all the fast guys in the same heat for the final race. I got a bad start, but my car felt awesome. I made a bunch of passes and came back to finish 2nd. The day was super long and left the track at 10:30pm. Yup, 16 hours at the track.
After day 1 I was tied for 2nd with Carson. I had a 1st and three 2nd’s. Ty was leading the points with four 1st’s. King was 4th, Maifield 5th, Cavalieri 6th.
Day 2 was at my favorite track in the world, Thunder Alley. It had a fresh track layout also, and it was awesome. Kinda like Proline, it was technical and flowing, but nothing too nuts. The toughest section was a downhill whoop section. The race program was the same, one five minute practice, and three 12 minute races.
Again they were watering the track, but this time they were able to keep it decently watered all day. In the middle of the day, the track dried out some, but overall it was pretty good. The grip was much different than Proline though. Proline was a faster track, a little bumpy, really high traction and high tire wear. Thunder Alley was a much tighter track, medium to low traction, smooth, and no tire wear. After practice I changed both my cars a little to get them better for the conditions.
Truggy started off again with a pretty easy heat, but this time I started 4th. Worked my way to lead pretty quick and took another easy win to start the day off good. My second buggy race of the day was awesome too. I started 6th and had King, Maifield, and Cavalieri all in front of me. I worked my way to the lead and just checked out, winning by almost 10 seconds. That race felt good. Going into the final round of races, I was sitting 2nd in points, but I needed good finishes to stay there. I didn’t have the races I wanted and kinda struggled. Carson ended up winning the last round in both cars, so he got 2nd. I ended up 3rd. Another super long day with up pulling out of the track at 10:30pm again. Two 16 hour days in the hot sun and dust, I’m officially pooped!!!!
All in all, the racing was just what I wanted it to be, to get a ton of heads up racing in. It was great to run at two different tracks and have little practice to dial your cars in. I made good setup changes through the days and both my cars felt great. My engines ran good and I was able to confirm my starting Nationals setups for both cars. I’m still struggling with my comfort while driving. I’m going to be trying to get that sorted out for the Nationals. I think if I get that sorted, I have a great shot at Nationals.
Thanks to Rob Jackson and Levi Jackson for the fun weekend. Levi has a track building company, SiK Track Designs. Check him out on Facebook. In my opinion, he is the best track builder around right now. The jumps are always built perfect, the layouts have great flow, and are just flat out FUN to drive on. If your wanting a track build, look SiK Track up for sure.
Thanks to all my sponsors, Joe Pillars for all the help, and my Dad for the great father, son day we had. Thanks for checking in and God Bless!