The final day of the opening round of the 2014 JConcepts Indoor National Series has arrived but before the Mains get underway there is one final round of qualifying to complete. With the original schedule for the Winter Indoor Nationals at SmacTrac in St.Louis set to consist of three rounds of qualifying, yesterday evening it was announced that a fourth would be added. With two from the four rounds to count the addition of the extra round opens things right back up in terms of the grids although Tanner Denney has already wrapped up the overall TQ for 2WD buggy.
Tanner Denney has claimed the first major TQ for Team Associated’s all new B5, the 18-year-old taking the honour of Top Qualifier in 2WD Buggy at the opening round of the JConcepts Indoor National Series in St.Louis. Having TQ’d Q2, the Arizona driver backed up his 21-lap run with another in Q3 to put the pole position beyond reach of his only potential rival for the top spot, team-mate Steven Hartson. Despite a late decision by the organisers of the Winter Indoor Nationals to add a fourth round of qualifying at the SmacTrac, Hartson’s 20-lap topping Q1 pace means that if if he was to TQ the final qualifier he would loose on tie break a 22-lap run needed is beyond even the World Champion.
Pleased at being the driver to claim the B5’s first significant achievement on what is the new platforms debut race weekend, Denney said he couldn’t have asked for more from it. Running a fully stock kit, the Arizona driver hasn’t changed anything since first laying it down on the track yesterday morning adding that he has tested its strength a number of times with it passing the test with ease. Commenting on his Q3 run, he said he made a couple of mistakes early in the run but able to ‘regroup’ he was able to take the round. Despite feeling the groove had got even smaller and describing the conditions as ‘very loose’ he was able to set a new fastest lap in the round with posting a 14.233 lap. Looking forward to the finals, the rest of the grid set to be determined in the morning’s newly added fourth qualifier, Denney said TLR driver JP Richards who again finished second fastest to him in Q3 is ‘fast’. While Hartson had a rough Q2 & 3 he said his team-mate is always going to be factor no matter where he starts the race from. With the winner of the B-main set to bump up making for an 11-car grid, he added on such a small track that everyone is going to be a factor. Predicting that they will catch traffic within a minute he said he has to be patient but joked ‘everyone knows I not the most patient driver’.
Having led Q3 for a time from Denney, Richards said his TLR22 was ‘great’ but again traffic was an issue. Coming up on 6-cars at the log section he said they wrecked in front of him and this cost him ‘a lot’ of time. Finishing the qualifier within a second of Denney just missing out 21-laps, the 20-year-old said for the final qualifier he hopes to have better luck with traffic as his buggy has good pace and is really easy to drive. Commenting on the 11-car grid for the final, the Ohio driver said it was going to be ‘a little hectic’ and like Denney believes they will be lapping just after the 1-minute mark.
Team Losi Racing’s Taylor Larsen made it a repeat of the Q2 Top 3 as he again took his TLR22 to the third fastest time. The 15-year-old had one crash which he said ‘cost him a bunch’ adding the track had got really ‘slick’. Happy with his rear motor configuration, his team-mates Cody Hollis and JR Mitch running mid motor, he said with two 3rds the plan for the morning’s final qualifier is to ‘try and squeeze out a TQ run’.
After starting the day off perfectly with a TQ run in Q1, Hartson could only manage 6th in Q3 behind Trevor Nault and Hollis. Having struggled after switching to a larger pin tyre for Q2 believing it would better suit the dusty conditions, he reverted to his Q1 tyres for Q3 but he struggled adding he is a little lost now in terms of his tyre choice for the dusty conditions.
In the third of the 4WD Buggy qualifiers JR Mitch took his first TQ run of the weekend, his TLR22-4 just .262 faster than Denney’s B44.2 with Hollis third. Changing to Gold compound on his Barcodes/Dirt Webs combination he said it was more down to consistent driving rather than the change of tyre that helped him to take the round. For Q4 he said he will revert back to the green compound feeling they offered him slightly better traction. Having taken the first two qualifiers, just like in 2WD it was a rough third 4WD qualifier for Hartson with the World Champion only 10th fastest. The result means the honour of overall TQ will be decided between Hartson and Mitch in the morning’s fourth qualifier.
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.