Speed RC is a growing name in the RC world lately, with legendary full-scale race car driver, F1, NASCAR, and now Rallycross, Scott Speed opening up a RC track in Mooresville, NC. In 2015 Scott and TJ Bell opened up the indoor clay 1/10 track, with hobby shop front and online store. 2016 they were wanting to make the move outside and build a 1/8 track. I would fly out to do their grand opening outdoor race.
My flight coming in would be late Friday, and of course, there were some delays, so my late flight, became even later. Scott picked me up at the airport around 1am and we were off to his house. Our day would start bright and early Saturday, as this was just a one day race. Rolling into the track around 7am, I got my first look at the track.
They did a great job with the space they had available. The track was watered and looked like it would form some good lines and be more “off-road” than most of the races lately. I was only racing Nitro Buggy, so that was nice, I had my Kyosho MP9 TKI4 ready to roll and hit the track for some practice. The track had great flow and was fun to drive, but I felt pretty awkward my first few laps. Going from a HUGE freeway of a track the weekend before, to a much smaller, tighter track, I took a few laps to get comfy. I was able to get in two practice runs before qualifying would start.
The race drew in over 150 racers, and everybody was excited to get the racing started. Q1 and the track was taking shape really well. They were just watering the edges now and the track had my favorite surface….blue groove, dusty outside the groove, and some chop. Q1 my car was amazing, I had a really clean and took the TQ. Q2 the heat of the day was getting close, so I went from a Proline M4 Holeshot to a M3 Holeshot. Just like Q1, my car was awesome and I had another clean run, taking the TQ. As the track broke in more, the grip was coming up, and with that…..tire wear. With the TQ locked u, I decided to test some different tires in the final round. I ran Proline M3 Suppressor, but I didn’t really think they suited the track conditions. I started out my run with some mistakes and just couldn’t get a good flow going.
With all the entries and the one day race format, the mains were running much into the night. It was around 10:30pm and the Nitro Buggy was coming up. The track was still a dry ish blue groove, but the air temp was down and moisture was up. I decided to run Proline M4 Holeshots, and that turned out to be a great choice. The main started and I was in the lead, with fellow Speed RC and Mugen driver, Cole Ogden in 2nd. My plan was to drive smooth and smart, not over drive the difficult conditions. The track had gained a bunch of bumps and ruts, so the track would bite you when you were not expecting it to. My plan was working perfect, Cole made some mistakes and I had built a big, 12 second lead around the halfway point of the 20 minute Main. I had caught the battle for 3rd though, and I let it get me out of my rhythm….which cost me. I had a big lead, so I wasn’t in a hurry to pass, I was trying to get the guys space to race, and started to change my thinking. I ended up making a couple of mistakes and then some big mistakes, and before I knew it, my lead was gone, and I was actually in 2nd. Cole took the lead with 6 or 7 minutes left in the race. I got the lead back for a brief time, but then I cased a tricky step up section, and had a VERY costly crash. I was 4 seconds back with around 4 minutes left in the race. You could tell we both wanted the win and we were both doing our best laps of the main. I was slowly catching Cole, but not very fast, and time was running out. Starting the last lap, I was only 1.5 second back, but I bobbled as I was pushing as hard as I could, which is dangerous with the track conditions. I would finish 2nd. I was bummed that I gave away my lead, but I tried to be positive and learn from it. I always have to race forward, always chasing the car directly in front of you. I got too comfortable with my lead and I thew it all away.
Sunday would be my JTU driving school. The class was for 1/8 Nitro Buggy, and I had a full class with 12 drivers. This was one of my best classes for multiple reasons. 1) the track was difficult and there were great things to teach about line choice and how to react to certain sections. 2) weather was AWESOME! 3) the drivers were all pretty close in speed, so it was really special to see the guys gain speed and most important, gain consistency. I had some awesome help with former F1 driver, Scott Speed, working the computer, and current NASCAR driver, Justin Allgaier doing some marshalling.
After the two nights are barely sleeping, long day of racing, and then the CRAZYNESS of doing the JTU, Sunday night I was exhausted!!! Not tired enough to stay off the I Racing simulator though….I was trying to give Scott a run for his money, but it was tough.
Monday was my final day, and I had an evening flight, so we had a little time for some karting. We headed over the GO PRO Motorplex and did two rounds of the rental karts and then a little session with a proper racing kart. I stepped up my game a little with the rental kart, Scott let me follow him to get the good lines and braking points. The REAL fun was with the actual race kart, it was crazy how much faster it was to the rental kart. I got the feel of it and was running pretty decent, 1.5 seconds off Scott’s lap time, but we only had time for a couple short runs before we were off to the airport.
Thanks to my fans, sponsors, Kyosho, MX Racing, Team Orion, Proline, KO Propo, Speed RC, JTP, Upgrade-RC, TD Paint, Lunsford, Liverc.com, thanks to TJ Bell, the entire Speed family, my family, and the Good Lord Jesus Christ.
See you guys at the next one, thanks for reading, and God Bless!