2015 JConcepts Summer Indoor Nats Race Report (Chico, CA)
Coming straight from a short vacation on the coast with my family I rolled into Chico, Ca late Wednesday evening to see the track getting its final preparations for the opening following day. Kevin Jelich and his team were hard at work and the track looked great. The layout looked fast, race, and fun to drive on.
Thursday was the first day we were allowed on the track. This was the most unprepared I’d been going into a larger race. My tires were misplaced by FedEx (thanks guys, lol) and I was about to drop 3 cars on the track having never been to the Outback Raceway with my new Yokomo cars, and AE T5m truck. Lucky for me I had tires for two cars so I focused on the setups and learning the track.
I was asked to run the 4wd 13.5 class to help promote the class to the locals and show them how fast it really was compared to Mod 4wd times. I agreed since I was a but rusty having not ran for the past 2 months dealing with selling my home and moving to Reno, NV(thank you all for your patience during this time by the way). Immediately my Tekin/Protek powered Yokomo Bmax4 V3 was on point. Once my JConcept 60mm Gold Dirt Webs scrubbed in with the help of MoGrip tire additive I was laying down fast and consistent lap times.
I also chose to run 2wd Stock buggy as it’s the most competitive class locally and I had some “proving” to do to the locals who said Tekin Gen2’s couldn’t hang with the “other” brands. Lucky for me I had a good starting setup on the car to get me into the right direction with the help of AMain teammate Will Smith. Swapping the stock Bmax2 V3 front end for the Yokomo Yz2 straight arms, hub carriers with Factory RC steering arms and Bmax2 Yz2 Arm tower (coming soon) the car gained the steering I needed. I was often asked why I wasn’t running the Yz2 car and all I can say is that with a few tweaks, I feel the Bmax2 is just as fast but a bit easier to drive when the track isn’t 100% grip. Saying that I had forward grip to spare is an understatement with this car. That along with my Avid ceramic bearings and lower skeleton spring cups, Yokomo factory upgrades like such as the lightweight motor plate, top shaft, my car hit the scales at 1497g with the new Protek 4250 2s 100c packs. This allowed me to run the upcoming Factory Rc chassis protectors which helped keep speed up while scrubbing the table top on the track and putting me at 1510g which was a safe place to be weight wise in the class.
I left the track feeling good about my Yokomo cars and was hoping to get some tires for my ST truck the next day when Paul from JConcepts was due to show up.
Fresh cup of coffee and another great day of racing at The Outback Raceway in Chico, Ca I was greeted to a lot more racers and more top level guys from AE, TLR and other teams joining us for the day. With a bit of help from SDRC’s Owner I was able to get my Tekin/Protek powered T5M on the track for its maiden voyage. I entered into the Stock ST Truck class again with motivation to prove once and for all the Tekin Gen2 17.5 could run with the best of them. Armed with essentially a stock T5M built using Spencer Rivkin’s Stock Nats setup and some Factory RC upgrades I hit the track. Right out of the gate the truck was on point. I found my gearing to be best at 75/26 with motor timing around 25 degrees on the can. I was using a “MO’s Performance Parts” B5M/T5M fan waterfall brace which allowed me to run a high speed 25mm fan to help keep temps down knowing I had an 8 minute A-main to work towards. In testing this dropped the can temp about 20 degrees according to the Data Logs I was pulling from my Tekin RS Gen2 esc. I can’t stress enough how much of an advantage the data logger feature in the Tekin Esc’s can be, especially in stock. Having a few of my competitors coming over to my pits to check my “setup” told me I had enough speed in the class to bring attention to the truck.
Seeding practice would be held Friday evening and would help seed like paced drivers together to in theory provide cleaner qualifying. Personally I enjoy this as I’ve had good luck with it. There was a few who elected to refrain from this and end up in a lower qualifier. Mr. YouTube Jayson Snyder was one of them and I must say it worked for him in the Stock ST Truck class.
2wd Stock Buggy was good. I chose to run treads while others were trying “Stripes” or ghost pins. I often struggle with 2wd buggy simply because it’s often hard to setup to my “punched” driving style. I took a 24 for the round which was off pace due to my tire choice of treads.
4wd 13.5 Buggy would be a different story. I would take a 3rd in RD1 running some very low treaded 60mm JC Gold Dirt Webs. They too were a tick off pace but I felt it was a safe choice having seen the track be a bit dusty off the main line and I knew I’d be passing other drivers.
Stock ST Truck was a rough qualifier with a lot of traffic but I’d still manage a 10th. I knew the truck was quick but a few bobbles and traffic slowed my round down.
2wd Stock Buggy would be 9th for the round. First time with car on slicks and feeling it out caused me to get up on 2 wheels a few times too many while pushing the pace. Car was great but the driver needed to calm down a bit lol.
4wd 13.5 Buggy again was rock solid. This round was on slicks as most of us in the class made the change. I again took a 3rd for the round.
ST Stock Truck was much cleaner this round and while still on fresher JC Dirt Webs I was able to take a 3rd for this round.
2wd Stock Buggy had a great round and was finally able to break into the 20 lap group taking a 6th for the round. Our stock buggy local drivers are some of the best in the region, some having Tq’d big races such as Cactus and April Fools. I build my car for mod so I was quite pleased with my times.
4wd 13.5 Buggy was simply unflappable. Anothe3rd for the round. Young Kamyrn Ayers from AZ and local fast guy Eddie Bernal were just ticks quicker and I felt mostly due to my cars weight penalty of nearly 150 grams. They could triple a bit longer into the heat than I could. Again I didn’t build my cars to race in any “spec” classes. The lightest cars were the B44’s.
Stock ST Truck was once again on point and a quick ride height adjustment to compensate for the increased grip and choice to go out on slicks would give me a 2nd for this round.
2wd Stock Buggy and I’d need a top 5 to get directly into the A-main. I would fall short of my goal with another 9th for the round putting me 3rd in the B-main with the top 8 format going directly into the A.
4wd 13.5 Buggy I had nothing to lose and tried to lay down blistering laps and push the car as hard as I could. This round was ran in the morning after some minor track repairs so some of the grip was down in certain sections. I wasn’t able to improve my position taking a 4th but it did help me know where I could push, and where I couldn’t for the mains.
Stock St Truck was once again simply easy to drive fast. I had a lot of traffic for the first 3 minutes that slowed me down but still managed a 4th for the round.
Up first was my B-main of 2wd Stock Buggy. I would start from P3 from the tone be right on the back end of P2. We’d take a full lap before I’d put good pressure on P2. My car had much more high speed corner speed which was invaluable at sweeper at the end of the straight away. P2 felt the pressure and would go wide trying to match my pace for an easy pass. Sights on P1 and charging hard I’d make ground and catch him as soon as we got into traffic. The leader was making his way through traffic well for about 3 laps then would make a mistake cutting down on the 180 after the sweeper to give me my opening to pass. I’d make the pass and take off never looking back to take the win and the bump.
4wd 13.5 Buggy A-main was going to be a mad dash for 8 minutes. The top 8 were all capable of turning fast laps, it would come down to who got away clean. At the tone young Miss Ayers would get away clean with Eddie Benal and me in tow. A big pile up would cause us all to scatter around it and try to find clean track to put our cars. I’d snag a car but manage to free it and take 4th. A few more laps to catch up hoping the top 2 would battle it out and slow each other down I’d make clean and quick laps making a tenth or two each lap. I’d catch P3 with 2 minutes to go and put pressure on him. He’d buckle enough to bicycle it on the sweeper giving me the positon. A few more laps would go buy but I’d not have enough time to battle for the win. I’d take 3rd overall.
Stock ST Truck was up next and to say I was excited for this race was an understatement. In front of me was an icon of R/C racing, the one and only Scotty Ernst. Scotty and I were running neck and neck all weekend and it was going to be a battle in the main. From the tone the top 4 would get away clean for the first few laps. I made a quick pass on Terry Shultz and move forward to work on Scotty Ernst. Scotty would run a bit wide in the sweeper (my favorite part of the track) and I saw a gap I could stick my nose into and went for it. Unfortunately Scotty came down slamming the door on me and getting us tangled up. He got the worst of it requiring a marshal, so I pulled over and waited. Letting him get back under way in front of me we continued our battle for the next 2 or 3 minutes with me pushing hard to force another mistake. Scotty would finally succumb to my pressure and I’d make the pass when he tapped a pipe. Hammer down trying to chase the leader I’d click off some of the fastest laps in the class and would grab the fastest lap in the class with a 14.8 (nearly .4 faster than anyone else) which is only a few tenths off the fastest laps turned on mod truck. P1 Brendan Wheatley was long gone with the rest of us battling behind him as he ran a great race to take the win, followed by myself in 2nd, and Scotty Ernst in 3rd.
2wd Stock Buggy A-main was up last. Starting from 9th on the grid I had my work cut out for me and knew it was going to take a lot of luck and patience to but my Yokomo on the box. Right out of the gate a 2nd turn pile up would collect half the field. I saw it coming and tried to avoid it but I couldn’t avoid the corner marshal entering the track quick enough and got kicked into the pile only to come out last. Head down turning laps I caught 9th and made a pass. I was making too many small bobbles getting up on two wheels, tapping the inside corner, etc. 4 minutes in the leaders had begun to catch me. I let Tekin teammate and Tq/leader Derek Stephansen to pass and saw P2 coming up. Knowing what was at stake for the rest of the field and realizing I didn’t want to be a part of the outcome as well as wanting to watch the great race I chose to pull over and watch. I’d watch Derek run away with the race and take the overall win by a sizeable margin.
So Overall for me I feel it was a success. I managed to take a 2nd in Stock Truck which had nearly 5 full heats, 3rd in 4wd 13.5 which had 3 full heats, and 10th in Expert 17.5 Stock buggy with a teammate taking the overall win. Not having raced in nearly 2 months’ time I feel these are decent results, especially considering my limited race time in these conditions with all new cars.
I’d like to thank all my sponsors, who without them I wouldn’t be able to do this:
My Car Setups: