On April 11th – 13th, Jason Ruona and the JConcepts crew made their way to Tacoma R/C Raceway for the 2nd stop of the highly anticipated JConcepts Spring Indoor National Tour. Being regarded as the biggest race in the great Northwest, RC legend and track owner, Scott Brown stepped up to the plate and delivered one of the most competitive races ever held in the region. Entry count was nearing 240 with 34 heats…. it was awesome!!!
I distinctly remember standing in line waiting to hit the track for some practice when I noticed the guy on my left totally decked out in AE gear, was the current IFMAR 4wd World Champion Steven Hartson! The list of drivers in attendance were names you’d only read from a magazines. Team Associated’s Tanner Denney made an appearance, along with TLR’s JR Mitch, MIP’s Matt Olson, Xray’s Tyler Vik, and the list goes on. It was that moment, I knew this was going to be an epic race and then …….. in walks 2 guys carrying black bags and on the back of their equally black sweaters read the words …………… Red RC!! Yep, it’s official! Although it wasn’t red. When news and media coverage is live at the track, you know it’s another level. Please also check out Red RC’s coverage of the race as it’s really damn good too.
About the only thing typical about this race was the race format. Open practice on Friday till 5:30pm and then onto 3 min seeding rounds taking the average top 5 laps. 3 qualifiers were held on Saturday with 1 qualifier on Sunday followed by the mains. 2wd and 4wd would be decided by 5 minute triple A-mains while the B mains would battle 8 mins and lower mains would get 7 minutes with bumps. Phew!
The track, as always, is very tight and technical which ultimately separated drivers by skill and lap times would prove this. Click on the pics above for a better idea. Some layouts are simple allowing everyone to get around in about the same time, however, this track rewarded drivers that drove with precision as well as speed, separating their times with the competition’s. One of the trickiest things to get right at TRCR is getting on the right tires at the right time. The idea is to have a few sets to spread the tire wear b/c as the track grooves up, it starts to devour tires at a rapid rate. Once your tires turn into slicks, it can become very edgy and difficult to drive. The goal is to have your tires peak in the mains and if you get that right, it increases your chances of doing well for the triple A mains.
I don’t want to make this post super long as there were 12 total A-main classes so I’m going to post the photos in a separate post called the JConcepts Spring Indoor Tour Photo Epic! Please have a look there too.
It was great to see the young generation at this race and experience, for some of them, their first major race. Young Dalton Pierce would set the TQ and finishing 2nd. Tyler Carlsen would display a high level of consistency and take the win in the 8 minute main. Grimm Chandler would round out the podium with a strong finish and not too far back from the novice class TQ, Dalton. Great job novice as you are the future of this sport!
Stock Buggy was off the hook! These guys were battling for the whole entire race! 1st through 4th were only 4 seconds apart after 8 minutes of racing. It was awesome to watch. MIP’s Rudy Rico and Wayne Wyrick were on fire. They had a pace that no one else could match, however consistency would be the only thing that would separate the drivers. Rudy and Wayne would drive smart and pull away from the field. Meanwhile, Jon Sterling had other plans as his relentless chase would finally pay off in the closing minutes of the race as he was able to get by Wayne and Rudy to take over the lead when the two were jockey’ing for position. Unfortunately, that lead was short lived as Rudy and Wayne would eventually battle back and reclaim the spot. On the last lap and on the last corner, Marty Barnes driving Serpent’s SRX2 MM car, would sneak pass Jon Sterling and steal 3rd and finish on the podium.
Known as the “Gentlemen’s race” the top 7 drivers were all on the same lap! Leading the race on the last lap, Darin Duncan would actually dump on the track (I think he forgot to charge his pack). As you can see from the time sheet above, he actually cross the line with .4 seconds to spare giving him that extra lap that no one was able to get! 31 laps but the last lap was uncompleted! Great job “Double D” and saved by the bell!! Also great racing by James Wood in 2nd and Jack Leighan in 3rd!
2wd Mod Results
A1 – The field was stacked with the best drivers I’ve seen in a long time. Besides going to a “major” race, this is as good as it gets. From the sound of the tone, Michael Schoettler would rocket away on the very first lap. A small bobble by Team Associated’s Luke Smith in 2nd would tightly pack the field making for extra exciting racing for the rest of the main. On the 2nd lap, 4th place starter, Kyosho’s Ryan Matesa, would squeeze by TLR’s JC Johnson for 3rd. Disaster almost struck as Luke Smith would push too hard in the sweeper causing him to roll his car just 2 minutes in. Luckily the corner marshal got to him quickly, allowing him to retain 2nd place. Brent Thielke would come from 6th on the grid and finish 4th in A1. Taking A1 was Michael Schoettler with a perfect run. 2nd would be Luke Smith followed by Ryan Matesa in 3rd.
A2 – From the very start, it would be the Michael and Luke show as the two would break away from the pack with ease. 4th place starter, Ryan Matesa again found his way around JC Johnson for 3rd and remain there for the entire race. With just over 2 minutes down and 3 to go, Michael Schoettler would make a rare mistake and roll his car over landing a jump allowing Luke to get by and take over the lead. Trading lap for lap, Michael would pour on the pressure that eventually caused Luke to miss the triple landing giving back the lead to Schoettler. However, the door was still open and Luke would make an attempt to take back the lead, but unfortunately clip Michael’s car resulting in both drivers needing to be corner marshaled. Showing a huge amount of sportsmanship and class, Luke would give the position back to Michael and the race was on once again. The two drivers proved to be too much for the rest of the field. As the race clock expired, Micheal would win A2 claiming the overall victory in a super stacked field of some of the finest drivers to pull trigger at TRCR. Luke would finish 2nd and Matesa 3rd.
A3 – Having cleaned up and only needing 2 races, Michael Schoettler would be able to watch from the sidelines as he cheered on his teammates. Luke was on a mission and took the bull by the horns and never let go. With a minute gone, Brent Thielke would make a hard charge from 6th on the grid and move into 2nd early in the race as racers would battle traction rolling at the end of the sweeper. Recovering from an early mistake that sent him backwards in the pack, Kyosho’s Ryan Matesa would eventually drive his way back and start his attack on Thielke. Within a few laps, Thielke would go too deep in the sweeper that allowed Matesa to make the pass on the inside. The two drivers would have an incidental ‘get together’ which allowed Tanner Denney to slip into 2nd. The order would remain the same with Luke taking the win in A3, Tanner in 2nd, and Matesa 3rd.
The triple A main results are…….