We just got back from the 2009 On-Road Carpet Nationals, and we had a blast.
The Gate (in Cleveland) was originally going to hold the race, but it was flooded during a Winter storm. Instead of giving up on the event, the Gate crew put in a ton of work, and moved the race to the Holiday Inn in Strongsville, Ohio. Just a few minutes from the Airport.
Talk about turning Lemons into Lemonade, these guys turned Lemons into Long Island Ice Teas!
The facility turned out to be great, with by far the most friendly hotel staff I think we've ever dealt with. The hotel was clean and they served food.....real food until 1:30AM! That might not seem like a big deal, but if you haven't been to a big race before, eating at Denny's or the McDonald's drive thru at midnight after a 16 hour day isn't as glamorous as it seems.
The Gate crew with help from Terry Rott (and others I'm sure), laid down a super track. It had a few bumps, but nothing that we haven't raced on before, and as the week went on, the track smoothed out quite a bit. we were also lucky enough to have John Cattracala from Fast Cats up in Canada come down and share his technical expertise as well as two projectors that helped the on-lookers follow the racing action.
Because this was a ROAR National, the ROAR race team came out to help run the race. Ruben Benitez got behind the mic, Billy Bowerman made sure the racing was clean and fair, while Bob Ingersol helped out in tech which was both fast and efficient. Our ROAR president Dawn Sanchez even flew out, which was great. A lot of us had never met her, and it was nice to see her at an On-Road race. All in all, ROAR did a superb job, and really gained a lot of respect with a lot of on-road racers and Mfg's.
To top the weekend off, we had some of the funniest and most entertaining announcing ever done at a Nationals by the Gate's own Chris Goetz. I'm not sure if Chris belongs in an asylum or in the gay porn industry, but either way he made the Nats just that much better.
A big Congratulations to Chicky, the Gate crew, ROAR, and everyone else who made this race possible. You all did a super job!
How'd the race go for SpeedMerchant??? Just great.....we won our 25th National title with Mike Dumas piloting his Rev.5 to the win in the 13.5 class. Mike also had a top 3 finish in World GT. We were hoping to defend Mike's Modified title (he won Mod in 2007 & 2008), but we had speed control failures in 2 out of 3 of the A-Mains. The one A Main he did finish was a great battle between him & Blackstock for the win.
Donny Lia also had an excellent showing at the Nats. Donny has absolutely dominated the 17.5 class this season. He won EVERY big race there was, including the IIC in Vegas, the Indoor Champs in Cleveland, and the Snowbird Nationals in Florida. Usually when a driver moves up from 17.5 Stock to Modified, it takes a season or two to break into the A-Main at a National level race. Not Donny...... his 1st modified race, and he put his Rev.5 solidly in the Modified A-Main in one of the most competitive fields in a long time. Donny also made the A-Main in 13.5 class as well as World GT! Just a great job by a very talented racer.
RCCars.com has some really great race coverage of the 2009 R.O.A.R. Nationals. Check it out HERE.
As always, thank you to all of our sponsors that help make our cars the quickest on the track.
Jaco = http://www.jacoracing.net/
SMC = http://www.smc-racing.com/
Protoform = http://www.pro-lineracing.com/protoform.html
Parma = http://www.parmapse.com/
JR Radios = http://www.jrradios.com/Default.aspx
Spektrum Radios = http://www.spektrumrc.com/
Xenon Racing = http://www.xenon.ne.jp/english-index.html
Tekin = http://www.teamtekin.com/
Avid Bearings = http://www.avidrc.com/
Have a great Spring and Happy Racing! - Bruce