Despite the best efforts of defending Truggy Champion Ty Tessmann, Dakotah Phend completed the TQ double at the US National Championships in Hutto, Texas. Needing to take the final qualifier, Tessmann did just that but on tie break the HB driver, who is chasing a hat trick of titles in the class, lost out by 3/10ths of a second to Phend. A rough round for Phend, the Q1 & 2 pace setter only 4th fastest, it was Kyosho’s Cody King who would post the second fastest time behind Tessmann. Also enjoying his best round of qualifying, Xray’s Josh Wheeler completed the Top 3.
Phend was understandably happy to do the double, their being some confusion when Tessmann was originally announced as having taken the overall TQ. Posting the fastest lap of the final qualifier, the Team Losi Racing star said going to a harder compound of Pro-Line’s Holeshot tyre made his 8ight T easier to drive with it ‘not as on edge in the corners’. Suffering a couple of small bobbles he said in the end it was traffic that ‘messed up’ the qualifier with him losing over 3-seconds on the penultimate lap. Looking to the 45-minute A-Main, the Michigan teenager said with the track making everyone very similar on pace starting out front was a big advantage and his aim was not to make any mistakes. Happy that his truck is well set-up for the longer race he said the only change will be his tyres to Pro-Line Blockade, deciding the compound nearer to tomorrow’s final.
Despite coming so close to repeating his 2013 TQ, Tessmann was happy with his final qualifier. Describing his truck as ‘good again’ like in Q3, he said he ‘found a clean way to get around the track’ with the run being free of any mistakes. ‘Not going to change anything’ for the final on his namesake edition of the D8T, he will run a different tyre, switching like Phend from Holeshots to a set of Blockades.
King said they have been working hard on their set-up and making a ‘shock package change’ for the last qualifier the difference in his Reds Racing powered STRR Evo was ‘night and day’. Very happy with how the truck felt, the Santa Ana driver said he was really looking forward to the final saying other than going to a bigger pin tyre he would run the track as is.
Posting the 9th fastest time in the morning’s Q3 after driving ‘a little too conservative’, Wheeler said his P3 run came simply from pushing harder. Happy with the performance of his OS Speed powered XT9, he said he can easily drive the truck a long time at a good pace and so he is pretty confident for the final. Asked if he would make any changes for tomorrow’s final he replied he was going to ‘ride the horse that brought (him) here’.
Fifth fastest in Q5 would go to Ryan Lutz with Kyosho’s Jared Tebo completing the Top 6 just 4/10ths off the Durango. Lutz described his truck as ‘loose’ with the rear end keeping wanting to come around on the exit of the corners. Having made a change to the diff oils for Q3, he said for the final he will revert back to the set-up he ran yesterday.
Q4 Truggy times – Top 10
1. Ty Tessmann – HB/OS Speed – 10/7:37.678
2. Cody King – Kyosho/Reds Racing – 10/7:41.723
3. Josh Wheeler – Xray/OS Speed – 10/7:41.927
4. Dakotah Phend – TLR/Orion – 10/7:42.759
5. Ryan Lutz – Durango/Alpha – 10/7:43.692
6. Jared Tebo – Kyosho/Orion – 10/7:44.153
7. Austin Blair – Kyosho/OS Speed – 10/7:45.680
8. Adam Drake – TLR/Novarossi – 10/7:46.372
9. Josh Glancy – TLR/Novarossi – 9/7:00.966
10.Jeremy Kortz – Agama/Werks – 9/7:01.584
A-Main Truggy Grid (3 to bump up from B-Main)
1. Dakotah Phend – TLR/Orion – 0 pts
2. Ty Tessmann – HB/OS Speed – 0
3. Carson Wernimont – Mugen/OS Speed – 6
4. Josh Wheeler – Xray/OS Speed – 8
5. Cody King – Kyosho/Reds Racing – 8
6. Ryan Lutz – Durango/Alpha – 9
7. Ryan Cavalieri – Associated/Orion – 9
8. Ryan Maifield – Associated/Novarossi – 9
9. Michael Truhe – Serpent/TOP – 12
10.Jared Tebo – Kyosho/Orion – 13
11.Jeremy Kortz – Agama/Werks – 17
12.Austin Blair – Mugen/OS Speed – 18
Dakotah Phend literally rolled his way to becoming Top Qualifier at this year’s US National Championship taking the third qualifier at Thornhill Racing Circuit despite running out of fuel coming out of the final corner. Benefiting from the hill off the last corner’s step down, the Team Losi Racing star would take the penultimate qualifier from Q1 pace setter Ty Tessmann by 1.255 seconds, the HB driver himself having problems with a late mistake. With the tie-breaker being the combined times of the two best runs, even if Tessmann was to take the final qualifier his running out of fuel in Q1 which cost him from going 10 laps means Phends two 10-lap TQ runs can’t be beaten. Behind the two early title favourites, Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield backed up his Q2 performance by again completing the Top 3.
‘That was a crazy qualifier’ was how Phend summed up the run that sees the 17-year-old Top Qualifier of the premiere class for a second year in succession. After a ‘rough first lap’ and not getting into his groove right away, the Michigan driver said for the rest of the run he ‘just drove the best (he) could’. Describing his 8ight as ‘really good’ he could not believe it when the engine cut 5ft before the line but thankfully he was able to roll it across the line to complete that all important 10th lap. Asked about the short coming in fuel for his Orion engine, he put it down to the pace being so high and as a result the buggy spinning its tyres alot more. Having TQ’d last year, also in Texas, he said it was ‘awesome’ to repeat the result adding for the Semi Finals his approach would be to make a ‘smooth start’. Last year in Houston, the talented driver who is in search of his first nitro title never made it to the Main retiring during his Semi.
Tessmann said his run ‘was going good’ until he rolled over his D812 on the second last lap. Happier with conditions today, feeling the track has more grip than yesterday, the 2012 Champion said his buggy was good but for the next one they will work on improving the consistency of his OS Speed engine. Setting the fastest lap, towards the end of the 7-minute run he said the engine was leaning out and for the final qualifier they will change their Nitrotane fuel to a higher nitro level. Having switched to 25% nitro so as to have less power to make the buggy easier to drive in the loose conditions he said they will revert to 30% so they can run the engine slightly cooler.
‘At least it getting more consistent’, that was Maifield’s reaction to this third for the round. Finishing 1.3 seconds off Tessmann, he said the run could probably have been a little cleaner but in the end it was ‘not too bad’. Running JConcepts blue compound Crossbow tyre on his Novarossi powered RC8.2, he plans to make a rear end change to the buggy to get ‘some extra forward bite’.
Setting the fourth fastest time after a not so good day yesterday with a 10th in Q1 and a DNF in Q2, Team Durango’s Ryan Lutz said ‘I finished and didn’t crash so that was good’. Making a ‘wonderful start’, he said his Alpha engine started to go lean and in the end this resulted in the DNX8 Prototype becoming difficult to drive. Happy with how the buggy ran early on he will leave it as is for the final qualifier and just focus on getting a better tune on the engine for the hot Texas weather.
Using Q3 to start working on a set-up for the finals, Carson Wernimont said his Mugen did what he wanted it to do. While it started off slow he said it got faster and faster until he ran out of talent and spun under braking which he added probably cost him a Top 3 which would have improved his overall ranking. For Q4, he will use the track time to test tyres for the final switching from AKA’s soft Enduro to medium Impact.
Austin Blair would complete the Top 6. The A-Main Hobbies team driver said his improvement in performance, yesterday netting him ‘nothing good’, came from him driving ‘a lot slower’. Changing the diff oils on his OS Speed powered Kyosho, he said this gave it less steering and made it more calm to drive. The 19-year-old plans to leave it the same for the final qualifier hoping he can repeat his Q3 performance through his driving.
Setting the seventh fastest time Kyosho’s Jared Tebo said it ‘was a really clean run but just not fast enough’. The 2010 Champion said he is having a hard time pushing in the track conditions and he is not sure what to do in terms of finding overall pace. Behind Tebo, Josh Wheeler took his Xray to the eight fastest time followed by the Serpent of Mike Truhe with new TLR signing Taylor Petersen posting his first Top 10 run.
Defending US National Truggy Champion Ty Tessmann claimed his first TQ run this morning at Thornhill Racing Circuit when he narrowly outpaced yesterday’s qualifying dominator Dakotah Phend in Q3. With the two drivers running almost identical lap times, Tessmann with a 44.764 compared to Phend’s 44.778, the pair where separated by 1.2 second at the end of the 7-minute qualifier. The championship’s most successful driver, Ryan Maifield, who has been Truggy Champion 3-times, enjoyed a good start to Day 2 of qualifying after a disappointing day yesterday as he completed the Top 3.
‘Didn’t make any mistakes this time’ was how Tessmann summed up his TQ run making reference to yesterday’s qualifying when he made more mistakes than usual. Having had trouble with the tracks centre jump he said he was ‘getting the hang of it’ now. Describing the pace of Q3 as ‘super close’, he said his OS Speed powered D8T and Pro-Line X2 Holeshot tyres worked well and he will run everything the same for the fourth & final qualifier. Set to decide whether he or Phend are the overall Top Qualifier, the Canadian said his plan is try to ‘do the same thing only in a faster time’.
‘Really close’, that was Phend’s reaction to the run. Feeling the track was better than yesterday when he TQ’d both runs, he said it was down to who was more consistent between him & Tessmann as on outright pace there was nothing in it. Running X3 Holeshots on his Orion powered 8ight T, he said the truck felt good and for the last one he will continue to run it as is.
Maifield called his run ‘not too bad’. The factory Associated driver said while the ‘two guys are a lot faster, the rest of the field is really tight’. Outpacing his team-mate Ryan Cavalieri by just a 1/10th of a second he said Tessmann & Phend have a distinct advantage from their trucks as the nature of the track layout means that the driver is less of an element. Changing to a harder rim for Q3, he said this made the truck more precise to drive. Also changing to a stiffer front shock along with making a roll centre adjustment he was much happier with how the truck was running today. For the final qualifier the JConcepts driver will switch from the company’s Stacker tyre to the smaller pin Hybrid again fitted on a stiffer rim.
Exchanging banter with Maifield about their close times, Cavalieri, who was 4th fastest, said he ‘just left it and drove it’ and it was ‘pretty good’. Missing his lines a couple of times, he said towards the end of the run he was able to run a number of consistent laps adding the track was starting to deteriorate a little. For Q4, he will again leave his Orion powered RC8T CE the same unless the track changes significantly after the third round of Buggy qualifying.
Setting the fifth fastest time Ryan Lutz said the run was ‘a little better’, the Team Durango driver ending yesterday with a poor Q2 run. A ‘decent’ result, he said he started the heat ahead of Jeremy Kotrtz with a good gap between them but a ”blistering’ first lap from the Agama driver meant he had to let him through. Once he went passed Lutz said ‘it was like he forgot how to drive’ and he struggled behind him for three laps before Kortz had a big off. Having changed to a lighter oil in the DNX8T’s front diff looking for more off power steering in the corners he said he maybe went a little to light and for Q4 he will ‘split the difference’.
‘Not as good as I had hoped’ was how Carson Wernimont summed up his run to the sixth fastest time. The Mugen driver said he hit traffic and then at the end made a mistake that saw his OS Speed powered MBX7T get hooked up on the piping for a time. Without that he said he had the pace for a Top 3 time. For his final qualifier, the 17-year-old will make a number of changes with a view to working on a set-up for the Final. Planning to change diff oils he will also try a different AKA tyre.
Q3 Truggy times – Top 10
1. Ty Tessmann – HB/OS Speed – 10/7:32.289
2. Dakotah Phend – TLR/Orion – 10/7:33.483
3. Ryan Maifield – Associated/Novarossi – 10/7:39.231
4. Ryan Cavalieri – Associated/Orion – 10/7:39.355
5. Ryan Lutz – Durango/Alpha – 10/7:39.504
6. Carson Wernimont – Mugen/OS Speed – 10/7:39.728
7. Cody King – Kyosho/Reds Racing – 10/7:40.163
8. Michael Truhe – Serpent/TOP – 10/7:40.707
9. Josh Wheeler – Xray/OS Speed – 10/7:41.611
10.Billy Fischer – TLR/Novarossi – 10/7:41.969
Yet another overcast but hot & humid morning at Thornhill Racing Circuit, today’s schedule sees the conclusion of qualifying at the 17th running of US National Championships. Two rounds of qualifying are on the cards for Day 4 of the event with the best 2 of 4 of the qual points rounds to count towards the starting order of tomorrow’s finals. Yesterday saw an impressive performance from TLR’s Dakotah Phend as he took both Truggy qualifiers and the second of the Buggy qualifiers with HB’s Ty Tessmann taking the first round.
Chassis – Serpent 811 Cobra 2.1 Engine – TOP Fuel – Byron Tyres – ProLine Blockade X2 Radio/Servos – Futaba Body – Stock<
Remarks – At his first ROAR Nationals since signing for Serpent, Mike is here running the latest 2.1 version of the Serpent buggy. His car is pretty standard, although it features some aluminium options such as the servo saver and the steering knuckles, and titanium shock mounts and pins.