3 Classes entered..... 3 National Titles brought home!!!
We're back from the 2007 R.O.A.R Carpet On-Road Nationals held at CEFX Raceway in Westland, Michigan. The host track in owned and operated by Josh Cyrul and his family. The race was run by the R.M.T. (ROAR Management Team), and they did a great job. The racing was well organized, stayed on schedule, and the Tech was both professional and thorough. Doug from RC Scoring Pro did a super job behind the computer, and Ruben Benitez did a nice job announcing the action. A big congratulations goes out to the Cyrul family and the R.M.T. crew for putting on a great show.
So….how'd the race go? Just about perfect. SpeedMerchant drivers Top Qualified two out of three 12th scale classes, and ended up taking home all three National titles!
Practice & Qualifying:
In 12th scale Stock, our newest driver Donny Lia, decided to head out to the Nats pretty much "last second". It ended up being a good decision on his part. Donny and his friend/motor-man Sal Amato got to the track late in the week for practice, but immediately put their heads down and got to work. Within just a few battery packs, Donny already had his Rev 4.5 flying around the technical lay out. Qualifying went well for Donny, and he quickly proved to be the one to beat in 12th scale Stock. He held the TQ position until Saturday evening when CEFX driver and Cleveland Indoor Champ winner Drew Ellis grabbed TQ away with a very quick and clean run.
In 12th scale 19-Turn, another new team driver rose to the top. JACO/SMC pilot Ray Darroch was just super quick all week long. The impressive thing is, Ray received his new Rev 4.5 at the race. We spent the first day of practice installing electronics and getting a body mounted for him. As soon as he hit the track, he was turning times that would have made the 12th Modified A-Main…..with a 19-Turn in his car! This quickly earned Ray the nickname "The Natural". LOL. Even though Ray spent most of the week taking care of his responsibilities as the JACO/SMC representative, he still managed to TQ the 19-Turn class.
In 12th Scale Modified, the competition was as tough as ever. The very technical lay-out that Josh Cyrul had designed was keeping the racing very close. You can really appreciate just how talented the top drivers are when you get to a tight and twisty track like Josh's. These guys can strap in a 9-turn motor and just finesse it around the track, while squeezing every little bit of speed out of it. The Mod team ran really well. Barry Baker and Andrew Gray both qualified solidly in the A-Main, and perennial front-runner Mike Dumas Top Qualified!
Because this was the R.O.A.R. Nationals, the format for Sunday would be each A-Main racer will race a total of three A-Mains, and the best two finishes (laps/times) would be added to find the overall winner. This is designed to some what remove the "luck" or "bad luck" factor in racing, and although it isn't perfect, it works pretty well. The hardest part about this format is just getting the cars prepared in time. Getting batteries charged, tires mounted, and possibly cars repaired can be quite a thrash session with a Triple A-Main format.
12th scale Stock proved to be very exciting. In the first main, Donny and TQ Drew Ellis both had big crashes at the beginning of the race. Drew had to drop out, and Donny was all the way back in last place. Donny stuck with it though, and over the course of the next 8 minutes, he worked his way all the way up to 3rd place, only three seconds behind Chris Mazzola's winning Asc.12L.
In the second A-Main, Drew took the hole-shot and never relinquished the lead. By the 5 minute mark Drew had almost ¼ of the track lead on Donny, and Donny had a large gap back to Mike Pulfer in 3rd. Over the last few minutes Donny started to make the race interesting by reeling in Drew at a very quick pace. Every lap he would knock off another 4-6 feet out of Drew's lead. The race actually came down to Drew just taking the win by four tenths of a second!
Going into the last Stock A-main Chris Mazzola had a 1st and a 4th, Drew had a 1st and a 10th, and Donny had a 3rd and a 2nd. For Donny to win overall, he would have to win the 3rd A-Main, and gap either Drew or Chris by a few seconds. At the sound of the horn, Drew took the hole-shot again, with Donny tucked in behind him. Unlike the 2nd A-Main though, this time Drew couldn't stretch his lead on Donny and his Rev 4.5. At about the 3-minute mark, Donny started to pressure Drew for the lead. After about a minute, Drew tapped a board and Donny shot by into the lead. Drew did his best to hang with Donny, but Donny's pace was much quicker than the previous two mains. Lap after lap, Donny added a few more feet to his lead. Would it be enough to take the overall win? Going into the race, we knew Donny had to win by at least a few seconds. Fortunately for Donny, it was a moot point. As the 8-minute clock counted down to zero, Donny's car shot across the line to make a 45th lap. That assured Donny the overall win, as Drew was caught at the line and finished with a 44 lap run. Donny's 45 lap run was the only stock 45 lapper of the weekend. Just an incredible result for a guy who was literally at the second large RC event he's ever attended. Donny's main sponsor, NYC Hobbies should be very proud. Donny and Sal worked very hard and weren't afraid to keep trying new things to make their set-up quicker as the week wore on. Sometimes at a big race, if you go out early, and you're one of the pace setters, it's very easy to "play it safe" and stick with that set-up for the rest of the race. In reality, the really quick guys never stop trying to go just a little faster, even if it means changing a car or a motor set-up that is already working pretty well. Donny and Sal exemplified the "we can go faster" attitude all week long. Very well done Guys!
To see Donny's National winning Rev 4.5 and get his set-up, click HERE!
In 12th Scale 19-Turn we had a little bit of a catastrophe during Saturday evening's final qualifier. Ray Darroch already had TQ for the class sewn up, and the pace in the final qualifier was slower than his TQ run. We decided to try a different tire set-up, and his car had picked up a "push", so he decided to pull off to the side and let the other competitors try to improve their times with out him on the track. Unfortunately, multi-National champion and large footed corner marshal, Rick Hohwart didn't see Ray's little 4.5 sitting on the side of the track. After returning from marshalling a car……"CRUNCH"….Rick's humongous foot came crashing down on Ray's helpless Rev 4.5. LOL. Actually, at the time, it didn't look too bad. A broken body mount, and a snapped roll over antenna seemed to be it. We didn't realize until about 15 seconds into the first 19-Turn A-main the next morning that the damage was a little more substantial than we thought. Rick's giant hoof had actually put a stress fracture in Ray's Tweak Plate. Needless to say, Ray's 4.5 wasn't quite "up to snuff" for that 1st A-Main. The good news was, after getting the car back to the pits, and giving her a much better check-up, there were no additional problems found other than the cracked Tweak Plate. After a few minutes, Ray's 4.5 was as good as new.
The next two A-Mains were fairly uneventful. Ray was able to lead wire to wire in both, and bring home the 2007 ROAR 12th Scale 19-Turn Championship! Not bad for his first race with the car. Great job Ray!
12th Scale Modified proved to be just some awesome racing. Mike Dumas and his Trinity powered Rev 4.5 had TQ'd by a couple of seconds over Mike Blackstock. In the first A-Main, Dumas took the hole-shot followed closely by Blackstock. They stayed pretty much "nose to tail" for about 6 minutes of really great racing, and then Dumas started to gap Blackstock just a little. At that point, Bobby Flack was able to get by Blackstock and started to work his way up to Dumas. Dumas had a fairly comfortable lead at this point, but actually made a small mistake by running a little too tight coming out of the right hand side chicane. His car drove all four tires over the green felt border, and the sticky tires were immediately covered with the green felt. He went into the next 180 corner, and almost spun out. He slowed his pace down, and got back on line, but he lost his gap back to Bobby. A turn or two later, Bobby got into the side of Dumas, and both Bobby and Blackstock shot by. After leading the entire race, Dumas was now back in third with only about 20 seconds left on the master clock. Fortunately, Mike was able to put a very quick pass on Bobby, and immediately close down on Blackstock. Unfortunately, there was just too little time left in the race. Mike got 2nd to Blackstock by 3 tenths, and Josh Cyrul actually grabbed 3rd from Flack on the last lap. That's a pretty amazing run by Josh, considering he was starting from the 10th position on the grid.
Going into the second A-Main, we were hoping to lead for a full 8-minutes….. not just 7:40. LOL. At the start of the race, that idea went out the window. The "Mike & Mike" show got together in the very first turn, and it dropped Blackstock back to 4th and Dumas back to 5th. Unbelievably, Josh Cyrul went from 10th to 1st after the first turn melee. The first turn crash not only hurt Mike's track position, but also chunked his left rear tire. Luckily, it wasn't too bad, but it really hampered his car at the end of the straight going into the hard right-hander. Mike spent the rest of the race just trying to chase down Josh in 1st and Todd Hodge who had moved into 2nd place. Dumas was able to get by Blackstock for 4th, and then about a minute later he passed Eric Desrosier's 12L for 3rd place. By the end of the 8-minutes Mike had closed down to finish seven tenths of a second behind Josh, and three tenths off of Hodge. Not too bad for having a chunked tire, but going into the Third A-Main with a 2nd and a 3rd after TQ'ing the class wasn't what we were looking for.
The 3rd A-Main turned out to be a really fun race to watch. Dumas got off to a clean start followed closely by Blackstock. After a few laps, Blackstock got into Dumas a little, but did the cool thing and waited for Dumas to get back on-line before continuing. After that, it was just a super clean and super close race. At times Dumas would stretch his lead to a couple of corners, and at times Blackstock was just inches from Mike's tail. Also of note, was the fact that Josh Cyrul made another charge up to the front of the pack. To be able to work your way up to the top three from the tenth starting position three times in a row showed some spectacular driving by Josh. Obviously, he had his CEFX 12th scale working very well too. With about a minute left in the race, Doug from RC Scoring Pro announced that Dumas would have to beat Blackstock by three tenths of a second to take the overall win. That added a very real sense of urgency to the race very quickly. Up to that point in the race Dumas was really just driving to stay ahead of Blackstock, now he would have to stretch his lead if he hoped to win the National Title. Slowly Dumas started to gap Blackstock, and going into the final lap, it looked liked he probably had at least a 3/10ths lead, but I don't think anyone was really sure. The race ended like that. Dumas 1st, Blackstock 2nd, and Josh in 3rd. After what seemed like an eternity, the ROAR Management Team announced Dumas had won the race by just over four tenths of a second, and he was your new 2007 ROAR 12th Scale Modified Carpet Champion!!! Awesome job Mike! You continually prove yourself to be one of the fastest 12th scalers in the World.
As always, thank you to all the people/companies that give us the equipment to put our cars up front.....
A special thanks goes out to Jim Dieter from TrueSpeed/CustomWorks for tuning both Ray's 19-Turn motor and Mike's Trinity modified National winning motors.
Finally, I would really like to thank Justin”Beavis”Johnson. Justin has been a great friend and a super hard worker over the years. Without his help, we would not be as successful as we are at these races. Thanks Driva!