Having already spent the previous week in Las Vegas at the IIC held at the Westgate Hotel and Casino, I was ready to put my own cars down on the black carpet. In the on-road side we already had some great success with the team taking an overall Tq and win and having multiple drivers in multiple divisions placed in the A mains and on podiums.
If you’ve never attended the IIC or International Indoor Championships in Las Vegas you’ve missed one of the premier on-road race venues the U.S. has to offer. The legendary Scotty Ernst plays your host for one of the tightest ran races I’ve had the pleasure of attending, racing or not. Racing is on schedule, the track layout is on point, and everyone is having a good time. If you’re not it’s your fault and you should find another hobby lol.
Back to the off-road side of this. The inaugural IOC or Indoor Off-road Championships kicked off Saturday afternoon with pit setup and registration. One of first concerns brought up to me was the untested black CRC carpet and tire combination. The 2nd and probably more frequently asked question was the cost of the entries. As off-road racers we rarely see an entry in the 100+ range unless it’s Nationals or something. However the 1st entry fee of $195 wasn’t just for your racing. For that entry fee you received:
- Drivers Meeting Buffet
- Beer (Legal Drinking Age) and Taco Night
- Custom Design Event Shirt
- Custom Driver ID Badge
- Set of tires for your class
- Goodie Bag filled with Body, Tools, and other items worth approximately $100.00.
That goodie back was under sold at $100. There were more discount coupons then I could count, various accessories from all the companies sponsoring the event, sample products, not to mention a full set of JConcepts tires for your class! You easily got half your entry back in the bag! JConcepts even sweetened the deal with a free buggy body! How awesome is that!?
The opening banquet was once again served with great food and service. Scotty gave a quick speech, something to me that felt deja vu’ish! LOL I was happy to have yet another great meal with great friends and enjoyed the evening.
With the latest release of the Tekin RS Pro BE ESC and our latest Spec R racing motors I chose to run the 17.5 2wd Buggy class as well as 4wd 13.5 Buggy. There were some fast drivers in both of these classes represented by various chassis and electronic manufacturers so factory drivers were definitely in attendance. I had my work cut out for me.
I hadn’t originally planned to race at all. But some last minute requests got me on the track(Hi Scotty). Having already promised my regular 2wd buggies to Ryan and Joe I ended up taking a bone stock Yz2 CA kit Joe had built and turned it into my race buggy for the week. I missed practice rounds 1 and 2 but managed to get it on the track in P3. Lucky for me I’m pretty familiar with the Yokomo Yz2 platform and with a little help from Carson Wernimont(thanks for the motor plate) I was able to put 99% of my standard “stock” buggy setup on the car I race on astro turf back home.
In 4wd I dusted off my faithful Bmax4 worlds car that has been around the way in the 13.5 class. She’s a bit wide, and a tad heavy just like me! She weights in at 1700g but she handles great and can make consistent lap times. In early practice I was ahead of most everyone so I focused on the team drivers there and was helping a lot of people with the ProTek battery demo program Amain one of the title sponsors had kicking off, very cool.
Due to the entries being on the load side for a first time race, Scotty made sure we got as much track time has he could give us. Three rounds of practice on both days along with the standard 45 minutes in the morning and a bit of open practice time in the evening made sure everyone had plenty of time on the track. For those who were on the fence due to the untested carpet, you missed out. In stock classes and most mod classes tire wear was minimal, something rarely found with this level of grip. Kudos to Scotty and Jason for their prior testing.
I was able to qualify in the fast sort groups for all of my classes. I had great competition from quite a few names in the 2wd Stock Buggy class as well as 4wd 13.5 Buggy. There were multiple Tq’s in 2wd and it was going to be anyone’s race to win or lose with Triple A’s in all classes on Thursday. I had too many mistakes in 4wd 13.5 but would qualify 3rd overall. I had a great car but the old girl only takes so much pushing around the track as she protested with a few roll overs on me. In 2wd I again had a few errors in each run preventing me from taking my own round to Tq. I had the pace, just one mistake was all it would take.
A1 of 4wd 13.5 was up first. On the tone the leader grabbed a handful knowing the rest of us were coming. He wheelied and quicly sat it back down as we all bunched up behind him. P2 got into him a bit after the sweeper into the first chicane allowing me to duck the two cars which were air born! Only for Scotty to false start the race….dang it. On the restart it was much cleaner only for another incident over the double double in front of timing and scoring would require me to be marshaled dropping me back to 5th with a lot of catching up to do. Head down and running I’d make passes and make it back to 3rd. I’ve had worse but I’ve also had better. NEXT!
A1 of 2wd was one race after the 4wd run I had to marshal for. A decent start in the beginning making up one position and sitting in 3rd trying to make up ground on the top 2. I’d sit there for most of the race only to make my own mistake on the 2nd to the last lap losing a position ending up 4th. Not my best performance. I did notice while running my car seemed loud, something it never does. I later found a bent top shaft!? Not sure how, not sure when. It’d get replaced in time for A2.
A2 of 4wd was up and this is one I’d like to forget. A newer set of tires and a bit too aggressive behind the wheel had my Bmax4 up on two a few too many times. Coming together with a back marker on the straight away and launching the car off track was the end of this one. One I’d like to forget. It would cost me later however.
A2 of 2wd was up and I was ready for a good run. My car was back to stealth whisper quiet mode and feeling quick in the warm up lap. On the tone Ray was out and Ian would tap giving me one position right away. Ron Schurr in front of me would roll over after the kids table giving me P2 on the first lap. Ray was already 1/3 straight away up on me. Head down and in chase mode I knew I had a fast car and knew I just needed to put pressure on him. Ray’s no joke and has won many on-road races so it would be a tough order to fill. Ray would give me the mistake I needed on lap 7 or so. I took advantage of the inherited now 5 second lead and would just not lift. I didn’t put it into cruise mode until there was about a minute left only dropping about a tenth to prevent any induced excitement assuring this win was mine.
A3 of 4wd 13.5 was mine to lose. P2 wheelied on the tone and I was on the leader in 2 turns putting pressure early on. I made a mistake on the double double costing me a few positions, dang it. I’d fight back up to 3rd running out of time. 4th Overall in this one. I could have done better but it was good racing none the less. If you read this far you’ll recall that my A2 would cost me, I lost 3rd by a single point I likely could have made up in A2. Live and learn.
A3 of 2wd Buggy was up and I was hoping for a repeat of A2. Clean start with Schuur running wide in the first turn giving me a spot. We’d go side by side over the double double and I’d have to take the inside “safety” line giving back the position. Ron would make another mistake on the sweeper and I’d again take advantage my Tekin/Yokomo package being very strong on this part of the track. I knew I had to push, the overall was between Ray and myself and he was ahead already by nearly 4 seconds! Lucky the leaders were fighting it out and slowing it down. I had Kimberly on my heels so I couldn’t afford a mistake myself either. Ian with a mistake lifted the pressure off Ray. Kimberly would tumble in the high speed chicane allowing me to focus my attention forward. A few more small errors would allow me to catch the top 2 with a bit of time to do some work. Sometimes P3 is a good place to spend a minute if time allows, and I’d give that a shot for a few laps. With one minute left that option was no longer viable so I decided to push. I had the horsepower thanks to our new Spec R and ProTek 100c graphene packs holding mad voltage in this race. Twenty seconds called on the last lap and my battle with Ian had to come to an end. He was doing a good job blocking me but I knew my car would turn in tighter on the step on/off if he gave me room…he did and I’d send it in hot and take the position. I had to catch ray and make the pass on the very last lap. Ray would not blink and make no mistake on the last lap taking the win by .296 seconds. If only I had another lap! LOL It was a great race and I was happy to be in contention for the win.
By the time you read this my ESC settings, Spec R motor setups and chassis setups should all be posted on various sites and pages.
Special thanks to Scotty Ernst and his iic/ioc crew, all the sponsors of the event as well as my own personal sponsors for all you support. Special thanks to my wife for surprise me at the race in Las Vegas!