It’s January and that means…..start of the new race season. I had a couple sponsor changes from 2015 to 2016, and I was really excited. I am getting some help from SpeedRC.com and also made the tire switch from AKA to Proline, this would be my first race with the PL tires.
Flew out on Tuesday, and everything was good. Landed in Columbus, OH and met up with Kyosho Team Manager Joe Pillars, and Kyosho driver, Matt Chambers. All the luggage showed up and we were off on our one hour drive to Jeffersonville…..
We were greeted by a surprisingly nice and much cleaner than normal, Ohio RC Factory facility. Curt and the guys over there had been busting there you know what to make that place look awesome! Track layout looked super fun, nothing too crazy, but some very technical sections as well. We went into the pit area and got our spots all picked out for Team Kyosho, we would have a pretty large presence with team drivers at this event. Track walk was next, it’s always nice to get out on the track and get a difference perspective than from the drivers stand. I like to look from the stand first, get an idea for the track, then get down on the actual track and see what looks difference than from seeing on the stand.
That night we got settled into the room and started to prep for Wednesday, Day 1, of two practice days. Got all my PL race tires for the event and got two sets for each car mounted up and ready for the track. I would also race with the Proline BullDog body on my Kyosho RT6 for the first time. My bodies are normally painted by TD Paint in Japan, but with the signing happening so late, I needed a quite paint job. My Friend at Dibrino Designs HOOKED it up with this body. He matched it perfectly!!!
Practice was going great. I started off with two runs of 2wd with my Kyosho RB6, followed by one run with my Kyosho ZX6 4wd buggy, and finished the day with my Kyosho RT6 stadium truck. All three of my cars felt good and the tires were surprisingly good feeling for the first day. I made minimal car setup changes and was just driving the track. Day 2 was here and we had open practice till 4pm and then we would run one round of controlled practice to seed all the racers into the qualifying heats. The open practice was going really good, and I had my cars feeling awesome! I was enjoying the track, driving aggressive, and flying through all the WILD practice day traffic. My final runs with both my 2wd and 4wd in the open practice were amazing, so I was feeling confident. I had two sets of tires broke in, and wanted to run a new set in the seeding run to get a final set of tires broke in for racing. In truck, I had a really good controlled practice and seeded 1st, my truck felt the best it had since arriving to the Ohio RC Factory. Next was 2wd. With new tires, I wasn’t expecting to light the world on fire and get top seed. My car was difficult to drive, but I managed to go around and get 2nd seed. 4wd was similar, I didn’t feel as fast as I did earlier in open practice, but I still got top seed!
It was Friday and qualifying was finally here. The order went Truck, 2wd, then 4wd at the end. The turnout for the 29th running CRCRC was AWESOME with some 400+ total entries. 2wd had 121 racers, 4wd had 95 racers, and stadium truck making a resurgence with 65 racers.
Q1: Truck started off good with a pretty clean run, my truck wasn’t as fast as it was in seeding, but I got the TQ in round 1. Up next was 2wd. Now, I wasn’t on brand new tires, so my car was feeling better. I drove good and kept it pretty mistake free, but my pace wasn’t as fast as I was expecting after yesterdays practice times I was running. The other drivers made some mistakes, and I took the TQ. 4wd wasn’t as good as truck and 2wd. My car was leaning really bad on the rear end and I could not drive as hard as I wanted, I got 2nd.
Q2: Truck would again go just to plan, I would get another TQ run in Q2. 2wd I struggled some. I seemed to be loosing the feeling I had in practice earlier and my car was getting harder to drive. I made some mistakes and finished 5th. In 4wd, I would also make a couple mistakes and not be as fast as I was wanting, and I took a 3rd. The track seemed to be gaining traction and I was now fighting the rear end of both my 2wd and my 4wd.
Q3: I needed a third TQ in truck to lock up the overall #1 starting spot for the triple A-Mains. I had a rough start and then it just went down hill. I crashed early and it put me battling with a bunch of other trucks. In the triple section, the truck in front of me didn’t jump it, which was the main line in all the modified classes, and I did, which made me land on his truck and take a big tumble into the turn. I ended up popping a ball cup off, so my hopes for the Q3 TQ were done. 2wd was up and I drove better than in Q2, but was still fighting my rear end leaning more than I want. I had a pretty clean run to get 4th. I made some big changes to my 4wd for Q3 and I was excited for the run. My car felt better in the warm up and I was ready. I had a good first lap and was halfway through lap 2, when I jumped a little too inside on the triple and snagged the pipe of the track with the front wheel nut. My car stopped and was broke, not the way I wanted to end Q3.
Q4: The track was still gaining traction and I knew that I needed to change my driving style a little. I wasn’t totally happy with my cars feeling around the track, and I needed to drive smoother and not so aggressive. Truck was back on pace and feeling good. I cleaned up my driving and took the TQ for Q4 and for the overall. 2wd was next and I needed a clean run to make sure I started 2nd overall. My car was feeling better after some changes and my driving was better as well. I ran close to the TQ time and got 2nd, securing 2nd starting position. 4wd was similar. My car felt better and I felt better, but a few little mistakes got me. I had a good run to finish 3rd in the round and get 3rd starting position.
Truck: I would start first for all the triple A-Mains. A1: I would get off to rough start, crashing on my own on the first lap and going from 1st to 6th. I was a little nervous being in traffic and didn’t want to make any bad decisions. I was able to clean back up and get it back together. My truck felt good, and I drove to the front, took the lead, and never looked back. I got the A1 win! A2: This would be a much easier race. I was clean on the first lap and just drove within my limits and put the pressure on the other guys to catch me. I drove a mistake free race to take an easy A2 win, and with that, the overall WIN in Stadium Truck. I didn’t need to race A3….I love that 🙂
2wd: I would line up 2nd. A1: I would have more speed and a good race. All in qualifying, except Q1, Cav had more speed than me, but in A1 we had a great race. We both ran clean and were pushing hard, staying within two seconds of each other the entire race. Some spot I would get within striking distance, but was never able to make a move. We lapped the entire field and on the last lap I was pushing hard to get close enough to try to pass, I would bobble after the triple and finish 2nd. A2: I wanted to do the same as A1, but on lap two or three I would make a VERY costly mistake, crashing in a 180 turn and dropped back to 6th. It was super wild in the middle of the pack, so I wasn’t able to just come through the pack super fast. I got into 4th and reeled in the 2nd and 3rd and we all battled it out on the final lap, but I could only get 4th, all of us finishing within .5 of a second. A3: The overall Championship was done, but I needed a solid race to get on the podium. Got a good start and kept it pretty clean. JP was all me and then I made a mistake on the triple landing, giving up the lead. I stayed really close and got the lead back, but JP was all over me and pushing, trying to get me to crash. He would end up making the mistake and giving me an easy finish to the A3 win and 2nd overall.
4wd: I would start 3rd. A1: I knew my car was going to be pretty good and should be up to speed to race Cav and JP for the win. We all got a good start, but the number 1 starting spot had a pretty bug advantage and would get about a second gap on the first lap. JP and I would start to close in on Cav and then around lap 3 or 4, all heck broke loose. Cav made a small mistake heading into the back section, JP got into him, then Cav got hard on the throttle not to loose the lead to me, but he throttled right into the pipe and EXPLODED his front end. I took the lead and cruised to the A1 victory! A2: I really wanted the win, and I felt I had the speed for it. The start was very similar to A1 and we were all pretty close in the top three. The top two once again made mistakes and I got into the lead. Cav fell back a few seconds and JP was a second or so behind me. I had my shot at winning, and I didn’t want to throw it away. Cav crashed again, but he decided to just put all the chips on the table, the track had two sections where you could really take high risk and go BIG. Cav started to jump super far in the back step up section and jump the corner table top by the finish line. I was driving kinda safe, having the lead and not wanting to make an unnecessary mistake to lose it. Cav caught and passed JP, then caught me, but I was comfortable going BIG too. I flipped my switch and we were flying….sending it in the back and both of us almost crashing lap after lap. Skying the corner table and both us pulling away from JP, Cav clipped the pipe on the back, but somehow landed back going straight. With only 1:30 left on the clock, I missed the back jump and hit the pipe, crashing, and falling back to 3rd. I would finish 3rd, less than .5 of a second behind JP, and I was bummed I let a good chance of winning slip away. A3: I was ready to battle again, but mistakes early would cost me. My car really felt good, the best it had felt all week. Cav was out front, JP in second, and I was a distant third. I put on a good charge and was going good, but couldn’t catch JP, so I finished 3rd. Cav took the Overall, JP and I tied, but my two main times were faster, so I got 2nd overall.