Michael Schoettler and Steven Hartson took comfortable wins in the opening legs of the main Buggy A-Mains at the JConcepts Spring Indoor Nationals, Top Qualifier Schoettler dominating Mod Buggy while Hartson came out on top in the 4WD Buggy which saw three lead changes. Behind Schoettler Luke Smith finished as he started with Ryan Matesa making up one place to complete the Top 3 of the 2WD class. In 4WD, World Champion Hartson was followed home by one time race leader JR Mitch and John Walentia while Top Qualifier Tyler Vik had a tough race eventually pulling off to save tyres.
Winning by a 6-second margin Schoettler described his drive to victory as a ‘smooth clean race’. Helped by an early bobble by the similar B5M of Smith, the 18-year-old said this allowed him to get a gap on the field and from there he was able to ‘control the race’. Never forced to push over the 5-minutes he said his Reedy powered buggy was like in this morning’s Q4, very easy to drive and for A2 his plan is to just try and ‘repeat’ A1.
Switching to the tyres he used to TQ Q3, Smith said the fronts were too far gone leaving him with an aggressive car. Trying to just pace himself so as to not to traction roll he said after an early mistake he tried to push to catch back up with the leader and ended up traction rolling. Happy to come away with second for the race, the 20-year-old will run a larger pin AKA tyre for A2 which he hopes will allow him to mount a challenge to his fellow local racer Schoettler.
‘Went good’ was how Matesa summed up his race. Planning to be patient, he said that paid off and he was able to get by the No.3 buggy of JC Johnson when the TLR driver went wide on lap 3. Closing in on second he said the only flaw of the race was when he over jumped his Kyosho over the double just before the loop and flipped his Orion powered RB6. Fitting new front tyres for the race he said this helped and he was happy with the consistency of the car. For A2 he said the plan is to drive a little more aggressively.
Finishing fourth from sixth on the grid Brent Thielke was the best of the visitors but the Associated team manager said his B5M was ‘better than fourth’. Running a set of front Barcodes tyres JConcepts’ boss Jason Ruona had been using on his B5M, Thielke said his Reedy powered B5M was much smoother to drive than in qualifying due to the bigger pins with a different insert also contributing the improved performance. While he cant match Schoettler he is confident he now has the car to race the others starting ahead of him.
Running a new set of tyres on hisB44.2, Hartson said this was the best his buggy has felt all weekend but it took a bit of getting used to at the beginning of the race. Running JConcepts Dirt Webs on the rear and Barcodes on the front he said it was so easy to drive that even when he had control of the race after Mitch’s delays he still pushed it hard.
Despite rolling out of the race lead which he held for 9 laps, Mitch was happy with second saying it was a good start. Benefiting from a mistake first by Hartson and then Vik, he said he just drove his own race. Rolling over his TLR22-4 on the table, something he said was due to him ‘turning a little too much’, this allowed Hartson to the front but as he tried to recover from the roll a tangle with Thielke ultimately ended his chances of re-challenging for the lead. Really happy with the buggy, for A2 he said all he plans to do is ‘charge the battery’.
2WD Mod Buggy A-Main Leg 1 Result
1.(1) Michael Schoettler – Associated – 21/5:06.045
2.(2) Luke Smith – Associated – 21/5:12.107
3.(4) Ryan Matesa – Kyosho – 21/5:13.683
4.(6) Brent Theilke – Associated – 20/5:00.283
5.(3) JC Johnson – TLR – 20/5:00.408
6.(9) Mike Brown – Schumacher – 20/5:03.588
7.(5) Steven Hartson – Associated – 20/5:05.325
8.(10)John Walentia – Associated – 20/5:08.588
9.(8) JR Mitch – TLR – 20/5:10.532
10.(11)Marty Barnes – Associated – 20/5:12.619
11.(7)Tanner Denney – Associated – 19/5:09.322
4WD Buggy A-Main Leg 1 Result
1.(2) Steven Hartson – Associated – 21/5:02.338
2.(3) JR Mitch – TLR – 21/5:06.124
3.(5) John Walentia – Associated – 21/5:08.677
4.(9) Luke Smith – Associated – 21/5:11.845
5.(4) JC Johnson – TLR – 21/5:12.332
6.(6) Brent Thielke – Associated – 19/5:01.184
7.(10)Tanner Denney – Associated – 19/5:01.611
8.(8) Anthony Honstain – Associated – 19/5:03.785
9.(11)Evan Margeson – Associated – 19/5:04.250
10.(7)Chris Gould – X-Factory – 19/5:05.709
11.(1)Tyler Vik – Xray – 18/4:25.618
With Tyler Vik dominating yesterday’s three rounds of 4WD Buggy Qualifying securing the overall TQ with his Xray, Q4 was about deciding the order of the rest of the grid behind the RC America team driver. Having recorded two 2nd and a 3rd fastest time yesterday, World Champion Steven Hartson finally pulled off a TQ run with the fastest 5-minute time of the weekend. The result sees the Associated driver start the triple a-Main from second on the grid ahead of JR Mitch, the Team Losi Racing driver also completing qualifying with his best run of the weekend with second in Q4 ahead of Vik.
With the local’s dominating proceedings in 2WD buggy, locking out the Top 4 spots on the A-Main grid, in 4WD JC Johnson will head up the local challenge as he lines up fourth with his TLR22-4. Local Associated driver John Walentia completes the top half of the grid ahead of Associated team-manager Brent Thielke while team driver Tanner Denney just scrapes it through as a direct qualifier in 10th position behind top 2WD Mod contender Luke Smith who DNF’d the final qualifier.
4WD Buggy A-Main Grid (B-main winner bumps up)
1. Tyler Vik – Xray – 0 pts
2. Steven Hartson – Associated – 2
3. JR Mitch – TLR – 5
4. JC Johnson – TLR – 5
5. John Walentia – Associated – 8
6. Brent Thielke – Associated – 11
7. Chris Gould – X-Factory – 11
8. Anthony Honstain – Associated – 11
9. Luke Smith – Associated – 12
10.Tanner Denney – Associated – 16
4WD Buggy Qualifying Round 4
1. Steven Hartson – Associated – 21/5:08.207
2. JR Mitch – TLR – 21/5:14.568
3. Tyler Vik – Xray – 20/5:01.259
4. John Walentia – Associated – 20/5:02.289
5. JC Johnson – TLR – 20/5:03.093
6. Anthony Honstain – Associated – 20/5:06.451
7. Brent Thielke – Associated – 20/5:06.957
8. Chris Gould – X-Factory – 20/5:09.669
9. Thomas Tran – Kyosho – 20/5:12.741
10.Nathan Lovelace – Associated – 19/5:05.663
Michael Schoettler is the Top Qualifier of 2WD Mod Buggy at the JConcepts Spring Indoor Nationals. The talented Tacoma teenager secured pole position for this afternoon’s three A-Main encounters with his third & fastest TQ run of the weekend in the final of the qualifiers at the Tacoma R/C Raceway event. The second round of the JConcepts Indoor National Series, Schoettler has stamped his authority on the class with only fellow local racer Luke Smith, who will start second, heading his Associated all weekend when he TQ’d last night’s third qualifier. Of the visiting drivers it is 4WD World Champion Steven Hartson who is the highest qualifier with his Associated set to start 5th just in front of his team-manager Brent Thielke.
The only driver to post a 21-lap run, topping Q4 ahead of JC Johnson, Schoettler was clearly happy at taking the overall TQ honours at what is the biggest event to be hosted at the track of former World finalist Scott Brown. Changing the front axle trailing from 3 to 4mm on his Reedy powered B5M for the closing qualifier, the 18-year-old said this was the best it has been all weekend, the adjustment helping to calm the buggy down. Looking to the finals, he said he is ‘just going to try to drive a clean race and see what happens’ but added that following his Q4 set-up change he is now ‘more comfortable with racing it’.
Changing to a set of tyres that looked very similar to those he used to top Q3, saving those for the finals, Smith said they were not very good and he struggled. The only driver who could challenge Schoettler for the overall TQ honours the 20-year-old would as a result manage only the 6th fastest time. Considering raising the rear ball cup stud for the finals to try make his B5M a little more predictable, he said on his Q3 tyres he knows the buggy is good and he is confident he can have a good race with Schoettler. Happy to wait behind the Top Qualifier for the first few laps he said hopefully the can break away from the pack after which he can then pressure the No.1 car into a mistake.
Enjoying his best qualifier in Q4 with 2nd for the round, Johnson starts the final fourth. The TLR driver feels he is slower than his rivals but got the result because he ‘didn’t wreck’. For the finals he said his plan is to just drive a race that puts him a position to capitalise on any mistakes by the two in front of him.
Having gone up in shock oil on his Kyosho, Ryan Matesa said this made his RB6 more settled but running a worn set of front tyres the pins were too low leaving it aggressive to drive. Posting fourth for the round, that is where the 18-year-old will line up for the final. Going to fit a front tyre with more pin on it for the opening final, he said due to the tight track passing is going to be impossible without errors and he is going to be patient at the start and go from there.
With local’s locking out the Top 4 places on the grid, Hartson heads the challenge of the visiting drivers this being the first time for the JConcepts Indoor National Series regulars to race at Tacoma RC Raceway. The full factory backed Associated driver said his LRP powered B5M is fast but he has not been able to come to terms with the height of the drivers stand. Struggling with jumping out of line through the triple directly below the drivers stand he said he expects a tough race.
Completing qualifying with his best run of the weekend setting the 3rd fastest time, Thielke said relative to Schoettler he has been getting faster every run. Feeling he made a slow start to Q4 losing further time as he started thinking about passing traffic rather that his driving, he said from 3rd to 8th on the grid all the drivers are ‘virtually tied on pace’ and he expects a pretty intense three races.
Starting directly behind Thielke will be Tanner Denney. The 18-year-old was the winner of the opening race of the series, the Winter Indoor National in St.Louis, but has found himself struggling this weekend. Getting off to a slow start in Q4, he said this saw him have to run behind Schoettler for a number of laps and this was very benefical in terms of showing him his lines. Taking 5th for the round, he said while his B5M is fast starting from so far back it going to be hard to do much in the race.
2WD Mod Buggy A-Main Grid (B-main winner bumps up)
1. Michael Schoettler – Associated – 0 pts
2. Luke Smith – Associated – 2
3. JC Johnson – TLR – 6
4. Ryan Matesa – Kyosho – 6
5. Steven Hartson – Associated – 7
6. Brent Theilke – Associated – 8
7. Tanner Denney – Associated – 8
8. JR Mitch – TLR – 12
9. Mike Brown – Schumacher – 14
10.John Walentia – Associated – 15
2WD Mod Buggy Qualifying Round 4
1. Michael Schoettler – Associated – 21/5:14.030
2. JC Johnson – TLR – 20/5:05.909
3. Brent Theilke – Associated – 20/5:07.234
4. Ryan Matesa – Kyosho – 20/5:08.755
5. Tanner Denney – Associated – 20/5:09.338
6. Luke Smith – Associated – 20/5:09.463
7. Mike Brown – Schumacher – 20/5:12.666
8. Steven Hartson – Associated – 20/5:13.464
9. Marty Barnes – Associated – 20/5:14.617
10.John Walentia – Associated – 19/5:01.264
Today’s schedule at the JConcepts Spring Indoor Nationals kicks off with the fourth & final round of qualifying, the best 2 of the four rounds determining the grid for this afternoon’s finals at Tacoma R/C Raceway. Drivers making the A Final will run triple mains with drivers from the lower finals getting the chance to bump up from single mains to become the 11th car on the grid of the main race for each class.