After a frustrating opening qualifier this morning at the JConcepts Winter Indoor Nationals in St.Louis, Tanner Denney made amends for his traffic woes by TQ’ing Q2 of 2WD Buggy at the SmacTrac event. Driving his new Associated B5, the Arizona driver took the round with a 21-lap run finishing 3.8-seconds ahead of Team Losi Racing’s JP Richards with team-mate Taylor Larsen third on a 20 lap run.
Describing conditions as ‘getting loose out there’, despite this Denney was happy with his run adding that all he did between runs was wash his tyres and charge his battery. While organisers starting blowing off the track for the start of each class for Q2, Denney said with 9 heats of 2WD by the time they get to run the track is again very dusty with there being a very narrow groove line. The only driver to run a 13-second lap and planning to again leave everything as is for the third & final qualifier, the 18-year-old said with a 3rd & a 1st he will ‘go for a little more’ for Q3.
Switching to a taller pin tyre for Q2, Richards said it made a ‘huge improvement’ to his mid motored TLR22. Switching to JConcepts Dirt Webs, the Reedy Race Open Champion said they suited the loose conditions, which left him only 16th in Q1, much better. Having a few issues with traffic, which he said on a track of this size is ‘kind of expected’, he said his own driving was not perfect. Planning to run his car as is he will try to clean up his driving in the hope of improving his chances of another strong run to secure a place in the A-Main.
Fitting a new diff to his rear motored TLR22, Larsen said this made it easier to drive. Only tenth fastest in Q1 after some early & costly mistakes, he said he just focused on staying ‘smooth and not wrecking’ for his second run. Feeling the track had come around more due to the blowing off of the track, he said he will just stay the same for Q3 adding a ‘Top 5 would be nice’.
Having TQ’d the first qualifier, Steven Hartson had a ‘rough run’. Crashing a number of times, he said a change to a taller pin ‘didn’t really work out’ with his B5 feeling ‘really loose’. Only 11th fastest, the Californian driver will switch back to the same set of tyres he ran in Q1 for his final heat. Only ninth fastest in Q1, Hartson team boss Brent Thielke enjoyed a strong run to set the 4th fastest time with his Reedy powered B5.
Having suffered ‘a few wrecks’ in Q1, 19-year-old Kyosho driver Mitchel Gardner said his second attempt was better allowing him to set the 5th fastest time. Making ‘a lot of changes’ to the set-up of his mid-motor RB6, he said it was ‘a little better’. Feeling the buggy is starting to get there for this final run he plans to adjust his rear roll centre.
Completing the Top 6 with a ‘solid run’, JR Mitch said while Tanner had one very quick lap he was pleased with his lap times which were comparable to his rivals. Having not had a good timed practice, the Team Losi Racing driver said a reseeding of the heats for the final qualifier should benefit him and he hopes to improve on his 5th & 6th points hauls.
Unfortunately for young Daimon Borkowicz he was unable to repeat his strong opening performance of Q1 when he was fourth fastest in both 2WD & 4WD. Leading his heat a series of errors would leave the JConcepts protege only 18th fastest.
In 4WD Buggy Hartson backed up his Q1 run with another fastest time in Q2. The World Champion set the pace two & a half seconds clear of the Kyosho of Gardner with the Associated of local racer Chris Baumgartner completing the Top 3.
Having kicked off qualifying at the JConcepts Winter Indoor Nationals in St.Louis with a TQ in the opening round of 2WD qualifying, Steven Hartson doubled up by topping Q1 of 4WD Buggy. Driving his Reedy powered B44.2, the World Champion set the pace at the small SmacTrac by a comfortable 3-seconds over TLR’s JR Mitch who was in turn 1.3 seconds faster than Xray’s Josh Wheeler.
Setting the fastest lap with a 13.356, Hartson said he had a few bobbles at the start which set him back a bit but after he found his rhythm it was a clean run and he was able to claw back the time. Describing his buggy as ‘fast’ he plans to leave it as is for Q2.
Driving his TLR22-4 Mitch said the buggy was ‘probably right there’ to be able to stay with Hartson but ‘a few mistakes’ cost him time. Running JConcepts Barcodes on the front and Dirt Webs on the rear, the Florida driver said the tyres were getting better every run not just due to wear but also due to the continuous saucing, the sauce becoming more effective with each run.
Debuting a new race trailer he has just had built for the 2014 season, allowing him to pit outside away from the high smelling tyre additive being used by some drivers, Wheeler said compared to yesterday the track was really loose. Only racing 4WD Buggy, he said at the start of the qualifier he tried sliding his XB4 around to try and heat up his AKA Slingshots but all it did was result in him over driving the 5-minutes. Hoping the track gets better for Q2, the organisers now blowing off the track after each class, he said he will not change anything in terms of tyres & set-up for the moment.
Backing up his strong opening performance in 2WD, Daimon Borkowicz again set the 4th fastest time with his Associated B44.2 being the only other driver to run 22 laps. Behind the 15-year-old was Will Cushing with TLR Taylor Larsen completing the Top 6.
For Tanner Denney and his Associated team manager Brent Thielke they will be hoping Q1 turns out to be their dropped round. Starting the top heat ahead of Wheeler & Denney, Thielke hit the roof supporting pole in the centre of the track. Landing back out on the racing line, he was first hit by Wheeler who in turn was hit by Denney. While Wheeler survived the double impact, Denney popped a ball cup ending his opening qualifier. BT managed to finish the run but ended up only 31st.
Steven Hartson has TQ’d the opening round of 2WD Buggy at the JConcepts Winter Indoor Nationals, the Team Associated driver taking his new B5 to the fastest time in the first of the three qualifiers at SmacTrac ahead of TLR’s Cody Hollis. Having set the pace in yesterday’s timed practice, Tanner Denney looked on target to continue where he left off setting the TQ pace until he came across traffic that would hamper his run leaving him drop back to finished a slightly frustrated 3rd.
Hartson was happy to kick off qualifying at the St. Louis event with a TQ run but like all the top drivers found conditions a little more tricky today compared with practice. Describing the track as loose and dusty, the Californian driver said after a slightly slow start having being balked twice by his out of shape team-manager Brent Thielke, the rest of the 5-minute run was clean. Running the same set of JConcepts Rips fronts and Barcode rears on his Reedy powered buggy, the 4WD World Champion said the pin of the rear tyre was too low for today’s noticeably different conditions and for Q2 he will sand a new set of Barcodes. In terms of chassis set-up he said he will leave his B5 as is confident the taller pins will give him the extra rear grip he looking for.
Describing the track as ‘slick’, Hollis put his run down the fact he ‘didn’t wreck’. Running in the B heat, the Oklahoma driver fitted a swing rack steering to his mid motored TLR22 for Q1 which ‘smoothened out the steering’ as well as giving him more turn in. Asked if he planned to adjust the car for Q2 due to the loose track conditions he said overall he’s happy with how the car is working and the plan is to ‘try get another good one’ in the books.
Denney said after his traffic issues he ‘blew’ it. Describing his Reedy powered B5 as ‘awesome’, the Arizona driver said the first half of the race was great. Claiming one bobble as his own doing, the 18-year-old said he tried to be patient in traffic but ‘kept getting screwed’. Adding to his troubles with traffic he said the track changed with the groove being just the width of the car meaning if you had to get out of it you were in trouble in the dust. For Q2 Denney said the only thing he plans to do is just charge his car adding he hopes he has better luck with the traffic second time round.
Driving an Associated B4 Centro, JConcepts backed Daimon Borkowicz set the fourth fastest time. Running in the C heat having struggled with set-up in practice, the 13-year-old said heeding set-up advice from Denney had given him a much better car today. Targeting a Top 5 finish, he said he was pretty happy with his time adding that the change to a stiffer shock set-up really helped.
A ‘Good start’ was how JR Mitch summed up his 5th fastest time for the opening round. The Team Losi Racing driver said he kept his run consistent although he said by the end of the run the dusty track conditions made his mid motored TLR22 start to get loose by the end of the 5-minutes. Set to leave everything as is for Q2, he said he just plans to drive a little harder.
Completing the Top 6 was local driver Chris Baumgartner. Also sixth fastest in timed practice he said his prediction that today’s slightly warmer conditions would bring increased traction was ‘completely wrong’. Driving a B4 Centro, he said he had a lack of rear traction but keeping the run clean he was able to get a decent result. After chatting with Denney, he said for Q2 he will try a few set-up changes the factory Associated driver suggested.
Setting the 9th fastest time behind Luke Richards and Michael Twilling, Thielke said his B5 was well balanced and smooth to drive but crashes on the first two laps cost him any chance of a good run. Loosing a further 4-seconds when he tangled with a slower car later in the run, he said as this is the first race weekend for Associated’s new 2WD buggy platform he will make a few adjustments for Q2 adding its important to see how changes affect the car even though in Q1 he was really happy with the car’s performance.
TLR young gun Taylor Larsen, who was 3rd fastest in timed practice, did not have a good start to qualifying, his rear motored TLR22 completing the Top 10.
Day 2 of the opening round of the 2014 JConcepts Indoor Nationals Series, the Winter Indoor Nationals, will see 3 rounds of qualifying at the SmacTrac in St.Louis. With each driver counting their best 2 qualifiers, the large entry has resulted in 37 heats meaning it will be a late finish to proceedings.