(For more from the 2012 Silver State Nitro Challenge, click here.)
After work on Wednesday I headed out from Pasadena, CA to Boulder City, NV to meet up with Marty and Chad at the beautiful (uh…yeah) Fiesta Hotel and Casino. While on the road I was cruising along when this lifted truck comes rolling up on me doing well over 90+MPH. It happened to be Mike and Drew Moller from TLR. I decided to let the mice eat in my Focus and cruise along with them. The Focus was gettin’ it! Fully loaded and rolling down the highway. After stopping in Baker for the Mollers to fill up “Bigfoot” (while the Focus was still at half a tank), I finally rolled into the Fiesta, met up with Marty and Chad, had a drink, and waited for Kendall and Aaron to show up. After a shower we met up for dinner at the buffet, shared some laughs and had a fun get together. After dinner it was time to play some games…heck, we were in Vegas. Instead of spending five bucks to get some money out of the ATM at the Casino I decided to waste five bucks worth of gas driving around looking for a Bank of America. It was all worth it! When I got back to the Fiesta I saw more racers rolling in. I played some video poker and got lucky, winning $260 that night! Time for night night!
The next morning I woke up and was excited to get to the track. I know it’s only a practice day but I just love to race. A Main Hobbies had rented 2 containers at the race. Marty and Chad had posted up in one so I decided to put my equipment in the other and see who wanted to pit in there with me. Donnie Rodriguez showed up and decided to pit with me. Dylan was still in school (good boy) and wouldn’t be there till later in the day. Remember kids…school comes first! Then the Doors showed up and pitted in the container with Marty and Chad.
Finally practice started and I was running 3 classes with my Team Associated RC8.2 and RC8.2E. After winning the 40+ class at The Dirt Nitro Challenge I had to try and defend that class here along with Expert Nitro and Expert Electric. My electric car was a handful the first time out and I was wondering if my nitro car was going to be the same, but I found out that my nitro car was fantastic right away. My LRP engine was purring and my AKA tires were hooked up! Team Associated has done alot of work to the cars with some hop-up parts that will be available soon. Luckily I was in the loop and got to run these parts on my car at this race, and what a difference they made. I actually felt that I had one of the best cars on the track. Needless to say my practice went quite well. They seeded heats for qualifying upon your three best consecutive laps, I happened to be 2nd in 40+ (dang you Mark Pavidis for ruining my perfect weekend), 6th in E-buggy and I was 9th overall in Expert. Yeah, this guy in the A qualifier at the Sliver State…someone’s been practicing! After a long day I cleaned up my cars and headed back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.
Friday came along and it was back to the track early. I was excited to get on the track again. I had made some changes to the E-car but I left my Nitro alone as it was working great. I felt I drove OK in all my heats; after one round I was 2nd in 40+, 6th in E-buggy, and 9th for the first round of Expert. All in all not a bad first round. I made some more changes to the E-buggy and it felt much better in that heat, I finished 3rd for the round. In 40+ my car was awesome. I TQ’d that round and turned the fastest time in 40+ to be reseeded #1 for the final round. In Expert I decided that I wanted to give the pack a head start on the first lap and I crashed. With the competition out there these days you can’t crash at all and be top 5. I got 18th for the round but still remained in the A resort. I really needed that run as I felt a top 7 run would put me in the Expert main. I cleaned up my cars, had some laughs with the rest of the team and headed back to the hotel for some sleep.
It was now Saturday and the last round of qualifying! I had 2 good runs in both E-buggy and 40+ but I needed 1 good run in expert to make it in the show. In E-buggy I tried a new setup and did not like it. For 40+ I just wanted to put in another solid run and I did. I TQ’d by 9 seconds in the last round and that solidified the pole for the main! Now it was time for the Expert heat, well needless to say we wont drag this out.. NOT SO GOOD! A few mistakes right away and that got me flustered. I just drove to the end of the heat and knew I would have to bump up in Expert Nitro if I wanted to race in the Main. It was cool to see one of my teammates, Dylan Rodriquez, qualify 2nd overall in Expert. He and his dad, Donnie, work really hard and it’s great to see the work pay off! Once again I hung out for a little bit at the containers, cleaning up and having a laugh with the team. They ran the lower mains that night so the morning would start with the B-mains. Before I was to run my expert main there would be a practice session for the direct qualifiers into the mains, so I wanted to test some tires as I had been running a small pin (AKA super soft Gridirons), and I wanted to try a bigger pin for the bumpy, loose track conditions that were starting to form. So before I left I mounted up a few different tires to try. That night I got lucky on Video Poker again (had to throw that in for all you blackjack players out there).
Sunday rolled around and it was main day. I got to the track, got my stuff ready for the practice and tested tires. I liked the bigger pin but did not try them back to back with the smaller pin so I decided to run the Gridirons in the B-main and if they were better I would stick with them in the 40+ main or I would go back to the AKA super soft I-Beams that I liked in practice.
It was time for the B-main and it all started good. I was in the lead by the 10 minute mark of the main that was only 20 minutes. Chad was running 3rd at the time and we were going to put 2 more A Main Hobbies cars in the final to join Dylan, but then it all fell apart for me; I made a few mistakes that lead to another, my tires felt great for the first half of the race then I think I wore the little pins out as the track had hardened up so much. Oh well; I dropped out of the bump positions and finished 5th. Chad drove great and bumped to join Dylan in the final! I decided to run the I-Beams in the electric 10 minute final to confirm my feelings for these tires as this race was right before the 40+ race. After getting bounced around at the start, I had made major changes to the E-buggy for the final (I had nothing to lose) and it took a few laps to get used to the car again but it drove great and I was just too far back to make any impact on the race. I think I finished 9th or so. But as I expected the tires were right.
Now it was time for the 40+ main…I was TQ and in warm up my car felt great. The LRP ZZ.21C engine was running great and the I-Beams were hooked up. I led every single lap of the 30 minute final being chased by Mark Pavidis, Mike Battaile and Tim Long. I ended up with over a lap victory. Kendall and Donnie had great pit stops and the AE RC8.2 handled the bumps great. It was a great ending to a long week!
(Photo: John Cary, RC Car Action)
I am so proud to be part of the A Main Hobbies race team. This team is not only filled with good drivers, but helpful and friendly people that anyone can approach to ask questions at any time.
I would like to thank Kendall, Marty, Curtis, Dave, Chad, Donnie, Dylan, Janet, and even Aaron for making this race one of the most enjoyable races I have ever been to, and it’s because of the TEAM!
A special thanks goes out to the AE team along with all the employees and customers of AMainHobbies.com.
It has taken me a long time to realize that this hobby is meant to be fun, win or lose. With the team we have here at A Main Hobbies and the team management, I am looking forward to many more enjoyable weekends!
See you all at the track,