Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield pulled off another overall TQ at the JConcepts Indoor National Series Finals posting the fastest time in the third & final round to secure pole position for tomorrow’s 4WD Buggy A-Mains. His second TQ of the day, having earlier wrapped up the honour in 2WD Short Course in Q2, the Arizona ace will start the triple Main ahead of fellow Associated driver Nick Gibson who starts from the no.2 spot.
With the heats reseeded for Q3, this was the first time all the top drivers ran together and in the first TQ to be decided 4WD, it was a close run battle between the similar Reedy powered B44.2s of Maifield and his World Champion team-mate Steven Hartson. Hartson looked on target for a 15-lap run until a mistake on lap 8, which allowed Maifield to the front. After a 25-second lap on Lap 2 which left him running 8th, Maifield would work his way to the top of the timing screens, posting a new fastest lap of the day with a 20.795 on lap 11.
Despite getting hooked up on the piping on the penultimate lap Maifield would hold on to take the final qualifier from Hartson, the only other driver to post a 20-second lap over the day, with JR Mitch third and Q1 pace setter Nick Gibson fourth. With 17-year-old Gibson set to line up second on the grid, Hartson will start third with Mitch, the first non-Associated car lining up fourth. Unfortunately for Dustin Evans a blown rear diff in the warm-up put him out of contention for a competitive round. Although he completed the run he finished outside the Top 10 and will line up 5th on the grid.
4WD Buggy A-Main Grid
1. Ryan Maifield
2. Nick Gibson
3. Steven Hartson
4. JR Mitch
5. Dustin Evans
6. Matt Gosch
7. Aydin Horne
8. Chad Due
9. Carter Flotron
Having suffered a ‘hurting’ opening qualifier in 2WD Buggy at the JConcepts Indoor National Series, Team Associated’s Ryan Maifield produced the fastest time of the day around the HobbyTown USA Hobby Plex track in Omaha to top Q2 from Q1 Top Qualifier Taylor Larsen. Having failed to make the Top 10 in Q1, Maifield topped the second round by 2.365 seconds with team-mate Hartson completing the Top 3 who were the only drivers of the weekend’s biggest class to run 14-lap times.
Improving his mid motored C4.2 by sanding down his Barcode tyres to ‘almost slicks’ for the run, Maifield said a change of driving style was a big factor in his improved performance. Having ran a point & shoot style of driving in the opening heat, the World Championship podium finisher adapted a more fluid style for Q2 which he said suited the track layout, helping to eliminate getting hooked up on the piping. For his third & final heat Maifield plans to continue that approach along with going a little more with the sanding of his front tyres.
15-year-old Larsen said his second run was ‘almost the same as the first one’. Going into the run with the same mind set of ‘do not wreck’ he said other than a few bobbles it again work out for him. Very happy with the performance of his Orion powered TLR22, he believes he is right there in terms of pace and the plans to leave the cars as is and just cut out the bobbles.
Only seventh fastest in the opening qualifier, Hartson said his C4.2 was the best its been since arriving in Nebraska in Q2. With a ‘super twitchy’ buggy first time out, a change of tyre combination gave him what he called a ‘really good’ feeling. Going for a higher pin on the front and less pin on the rear of his Gold compound Barcodes he said it was really good and only for one mistake he was really pleased with the run. Planning to leave things the same for Q3 he said he wants to do this to gauge how much the track changes between rounds thinking ahead to tomorrow’s Mains.
Fastest of the drivers on 13-lap runs to take 4th for the round was TLR’s Cody Hollis. Having made ‘too many mistakes in Q1’, he said he drove better second time of asking with his Orion powered 22 very consistent. With his young team-mate Larsen in contention for the overall TQ honours, for the last round Hollis will copy his set-up and run a longer wheelbase for Q3.
For Team Losi Racing’s two lead drivers it was a frustrating Q2. Second fastest the first round, JR Mitch was at a loss to why his 22 was nothing like he had expected, leaving him to struggle and finish well down the order. Like team-mate Dustin Evans, he ran the same tyres as he ran on his TLR22-4 which both drivers were very happy with in the earlier Q2 of 4WD Buggy. ‘Expecting something else’, the Florida driver said the tyre ‘just did not work’. Planning to revert to his Q1 tyre set-up he said he hopes this puts him back in contention to challenge for a spot at the sharp end of the A-Main grid. Evans suffered similar issues but these were compounded by a collision on the main straight as he came up to pass another car. Put out of his rhythm by the incident, the former US National Champion had a series of mistakes resulting in him finishing outside the Top 10 and leaving him to need a good final qualifier.
Completing the Top 6 just behind Kyle Skidmore, was Spencer Rivkin. The Associated supported teenager said after a less than perfect start to the run with the first half containing many mistakes he was able to get things together for the final 2 minutes and claw back some time to repeat his 6th from Q1. Running the same set of tyres he started with in the opening qualifier he said the black rear/front gold combination of Barcodes is getting better and better each run as the wear down.
Round 2 of the 3 scheduled qualifiers saw the overall TQ honours of 4WD Short Course get wrapped up by MIP team driver Matthew Olson. Having topped Q1 the Calfornian Short Course specialist repeated the feat again and will start on pole position in tomorrow’s three leg A-Main.
Having suffered a non-finish in the opening round of 4WD Buggy qualifying, Ryan Maifield bounced back at the JConcepts Indoor National series Finals in Nebraska to set the pace in Q2 ahead of Dustin Evans and Steven Hartson. The second of the three rounds of qualifying at the HobbyTown USA Hobby Plex track also saw the Arizona ace set back up his Q1 topping run in 2WD Short Course to secure him the overall TQ honours for tomorrow’s finals.
Changing to a combination of Black compound rear and Gold front JConcepts Barcode tyres, with the rear pin considerably sanded down in the centre, Maifield said his B44.2 felt really good and was probably capable of more. Having went out in Q1 with a broken drivetrain, he said he had to put in a safe run. Planning to leave his car as is for the third & final qualifier he plans to push a little harder but adding that the Omaha track leaves little room for error making it very easy to push too hard. Despite securing the TQ for the triple A-main of 2WD Short Course by topping Q2 from MIP driver Matthew Olson, he said he ‘got lucky’. Crashing on his opening lap he said it was only due to Evans crashing that he was able to take the round. Not happy with his SC10, for Q3 he will try a different tyre combination to try and give himself a more competitive car for the finals.
Only fourth in Q1 after losing 9-seconds on his opening lap, Evans again had a bad start but this time when he got stuck in the pipe he wasn’t as heavily punished. Making the same tyre change as Maifield, he said his Orion powered TLR22-4 was ‘a lot better’. In 2WD Short Course, in which he posted the 3rd fastest time, he said the start of the run was ‘awesome’. After a mistake it would go downhill for him with his tyres, which are great for the first half of the 5-minute run, fading badly in the last minute.
Running a much more heavily sanded front tyre on his Associated B44.2, World Champion Steven Hartson said the buggy felt much better. Suffering one mistake, the Californian driver describing the rest of the run as ‘pretty good’ claiming a much needed 3rd having DNF’d Q1. Asked if he planned any changes for the final qualifier he said he will ‘probably’ leave everything as is, having to play safe to book himself a place in the A-Main. Unable to repeat his 2WD Short Course Q1 Top 3, Hartson said his truck was ‘terrible’ in Q2. Suffering ’10 mistakes’ he said he just had an overall lack of grip.
Behind the Top 3, Kyle Skidmore set the fourth fastest time ahead of TLR’s JR Mitch with Matt Gosch completing the Top 6. For Q1 pace setter Nick Gibson he struggled with the set-up on his B44.1 combined with the nerves of leading away the top heat leaving the 17-year-old to finish well outside the Top 10.
Another overall TQ to be settled in Q2 was the Mod Truck class with TLR’s Cody Hollis backing up his Q1 topping run to take Q2 ahead of team-mate Taylor Larsen.
Team Losi Racing’s Taylor Larsen TQ’d the opening round of 2WD Buggy qualifying at the JConcepts Indoor National Series Finals in Omaha, setting the fastest and only 14-lap run around the HobbyTown USA Hobby Plex track in front of team-mate JR Mitch. Once again it was not a good round for the series main contenders with Dustin Evans only able for fourth, Steven Hartson seventh and Ryan Maifield not even making the Top 10.
‘Great’ was how Larsen summed up his run, the 15-year-old ‘really happy’ with the performance of his TLR22 which he said coped really well with the track which has started to get very bumpy. Having added weight to the car for the final round of practice last night, he said this helped the car absorb the bumps but he said the key things was avoiding mistakes. Having watched many drivers ‘wreck’ he said his focus for the run was to just put in a clean rather than super fast 5-minutes and that approach would pay dividends. Running a mixture of tyres with Gold compound JConcepts Barcodes on the front and Black on the rear he will continue with that for Q2 adding that the Golds give him very consistent steering.
Backing up his 4WD Buggy run, in which he also took second, JR Mitch said his TLR22 was ‘really neutral’ in its set-up but this allowed him to put it in the same spot of the track lap after lap. Admitting it is not the fastest car out there he said he was able to steer it to a clean run and he is happy to take the end result. Planning to ‘stick to (that) programme’, for Q2 he will try running a set of Green compound JConcepts Barcodes on the rear of his buggy that have a lower pin height.
Driving a mid motored C4.2, Kyle Skidmore would complete the Top 3 for the opening qualifier. From Oklahoma City, he said he ‘got lucky’ but only his fifth time to run the car he said he was pleased with his own performance. A clean round with just a few bobbles over the 5-minutes, he plans to make a few small set-up changes to a little more rear side bit. Running Proline M4 ION tyres all round he said he said they worked well and he will run them again for his next run.
Posting the fourth fastest time, over 5-seconds off team-mate Larsen, Evans said he had work to do on getting his TLR somewhere nearer to what he would like. The winner of the ‘Fall’ round of the series, he said he doesn’t know what to do to get the car to work on a track surface that is leaving a number of the top drivers scratching their heads. Evans said getting the combination of tyre compound and then pin height is a real challenge adding that maybe a rear motor configuration might be better.
Completing the Top 6, behind Store Manager & the man who built the track for the event Alex Sturgeon, was up & coming Arizona talent Spencer Rivkin. The protege of Ryan Maifield was happy with his run having come back from what was a less than perfect number of laps halfway through the run. Making a couple of mistakes, the 15-year-old said he had to settle himself down and get back into his rhythm. Running Black compound V1 Barcodes all round on his C4.2, he said he plans to leave everything as is for Q2.
Maifield describing his run as ‘hurting’ emphasizing how hurting it was by starting the comment with the use of some french. The Arizona ace said the ‘Driver was bad and the car was bad’ adding he needs to find a better tyre combination for Q2. His team manager Brent Theilke didn’t fair out much better also finishing outside the Top 10 after a run that contained ‘way too many crashes’.
Setting the seventh fastest time Hartson said his run was too inconsistent leading to a few crashes. Happy that his Reedy powered C4.2 is good he will try running tyres with less thread for Q2.
17-year-old Team Associated driver Nick Gibson was a surprise pace setter in the opening round of 4WD Buggy qualifying at the JConcepts Indoor National Series in Omaha, Nebraska, setting the pace from TLR’s JR Mitch with young talent Aydrin Horne completing the Top 3. For the series main contenders it was a bad start to the day as World Champion Steven Harston broke, Ryan Maifield suffered a drive train failure and Dustin Evans had the ‘worst first lap of (his) life’ that cost him 9-seconds.
Driving the older Associated B44.1, Gibson said going into the qualifier he was very nervous as he lined up alongside some of the best drivers in the world but once the 5-minute run started he was able to overcome that. Having a few bobbles on the left side of the track in particular on the down hill section after the main straight he said his car was ‘really good’. Planning to run the car as is for Q2, he said his main focus will be to ‘fix’ his driving and try get another strong run and lock himself into tomorrow’s A-Main.
Mitch, was pleased with his points haul for second but said his TLR22-4 was a little pushy over the run. Using JConcepts Green compound Barcodes all round for the second of the three scheduled qualifiers, which he will again use in Q2, he will remove his front sway bar to try improve the car’s steering.
Only 11-years old, Horne was very happy to open his event with a run to the 3rd fastest time. Running an Associated chassis, he said he was very happy with the feel of his set-up. Describing the track as ‘really fun’, he sad he had a few bobbles but nothing that required marshaling and for his next qualifier he will run the car as is.
Driving a Kyosho, 19-year-old Mitchel Gardner set the fourth fastest time despite ending the run with a stripped diff. Summing up the run as ‘not too bad’ other than one pretty big mistake, apart from fitting new gears to his diff, he will leave everything as is and just work on tidying up his driving.
Team Associated’s Chad Due completed the Top 5 ahead of Dustin Evans. A former Open Class Champion at the Reedy International Off Road Race of Champions, Due said his B44.2 was ‘pretty good’ adding that he needs to work on his front tyres’ pin size. Running JConcepts Green Barcodes, he said it took a while for them to come in leading to a few small mistakes.
Evans said his TLR22-4 was ‘good’ but it was impossible to recover the 9-seconds lost on his opening lap. Crashing again later in the run he said the car is there but he just needs to cut out the mistakes. In 2WD Short Course, which is one of the key classes this weekend along with 2WD and 4WD Buggy, the Colorado driver was second fastest behind Maifield but he said the Orion powered 22SCT was not very good. Feeling very loose to drive, he said he’s not sure whether its because of his choice of tyres or down to the set-up he is running.
Maifield said his Reedy powered RC10 SCT starts off a little pushy but other than that felt ‘alright’. In 4WD Buggy, he said his B44.2 was ‘super good’ adding he was ‘impressed how good it was’. With the drive train fixed he is confident for Q2. Team-mate Harston, who posted the 3rd fastest time, reported his truck as being ‘OK’ but a couple of mistakes cost him time. Describing his 4WD Buggy as a little pushy, before a slower driver pulled out in front of him resulting in his Reedy powered B44.2 breaking, for Q2 he hopes to cure the understeer by sanding down his Gold compound Barcodes tyres more.