Losi’s Dustin Evans has topped the opening round of qualifying for 2WD Modified at the fourth and final event on the Short Course Showdown Nationwide Tour which is taking place at the amazing Mikes Model Shop facility in Dallas, Texas. The US 2WD Buggy Champion took his Orion powered Losi XXX-SCT to the fastest time ahead of Team Associated’s Brian Kinwald and Randy Pike’s Tekin powered Losi.
Winner of the second date on the Showdown tour when it stopped off at Trackside Hobbies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Evans was the only driver to record 16 laps as he set the fastest lap of the opening qualifier. Not happy with the performance of his 2WD truck recently, the factory driver said yesterday’s open practice was very productive and he is really happy now with his set-up. Running AKA super soft Wishbones Evans will leave everything as is for the second of the four qualifiers. Asked about the track Evans said it worked well for Short Course and while it looked easy the centre double double was hard to pull off every lap.
The man with the most wins of the tour in 2WD and a legend of Off Road racing Kinwald described his run as ‘loose’. Running JConcepts Barcode tyres on his SC-10 the multiple former World Champion put the lack of grip down to the sauce he used on his tyres and plans to try a different sauce for his next run. Really impressed by the facility here at Mikes Hobby Shop, the ‘Dirtinator’ described the track as ‘pretty simple’ but hopes in Q2 he can mount a stronger challenge to Evans.
The team manager at Tekin electronics, Pike ran a fresh set of Panther tyres which he said took a few laps to come in but overall it was a solid first run. Looking to find a little more steering on his XXX-SCT, the racer from California is planning to add some extra weight to the front of his truck.
Also driving a Tekin powered Losi, local track hot shot Quincy Hughes set the fourth fastest time just 6/10th shy of Pike’s time. Making his Short Course Showdown Nationwide Tour debut, Hughes was happy with the performance of his AKA shod truck and says he has no plans to change anything for Q2.
Advising Kinwald on his tyre choices here in Dallas, JConcepts’ Paul Wynn took his Reedy powered Associated to the fifth fastest time. Also finding the track a little ‘slick’, the man responsible for body design at JConcepts has been an A finalist at all previous tour dates and is hopeful he will qualify directly this time round having had to bump up from the B Main at the last two events. Running his latest body creation, the Highflow, which features some nicely moulded air escape holes, Wynn said the size of the track doesn’t realise the full potential of the holes but instead the benefit is the lower weight helping to reduce body roll.
Completing the Top 6 for the opening qualifier was 18-year-old Cody Hollis. Driving a Kyosho Ultima SC, the Oklahoma driver said his truck was not great to drive but by keeping his run clean he was pretty pleased to take sixth. Lacking forward traction he hopes by lengthening the rear camber links he will have a better package for Q2.
In the other 2WD drive classes Kevin McCoy topped the Stock class from Brian Butts while Kent Everett and Ron Simpson set the pace in the Novice and Traxxas Slash Spec classes respectively.
It is fair to say that as a sport rc racing has not been great at finding ways to open itself up to new audiences but over in the US one class that is changing all that is Short Course. As a full size motorsport this form of off road truck racing enjoys huge popularity and TV exposure in America and in a trend started by Traxxas the r/c industry has been able to create a partnership with full size teams that has benefited both the team’s big brand sponsors and more importantly hobby shops across the States who now have a product that the general public can instantly recognise.
With the creation of the Slash, Traxxas opened the door for fans of the full size trucks to emulate their favourite drivers with a radio controlled scaled replica that was durable and fun to drive and came ready to run at a price that was affordable to the masses. Now title sponsors of the full size TORC Short Course Championship, Traxxas have created a hugely successful marketing program with a massive presence at each event which exposes the rc sport to a potentially huge new audience. Two of the pioneers of rc offroad racing, Team Associated and Losi have also realised the benefits of being linked with the success of 1:1 scale Short Course racing and have developed their own marketing programs with various teams.
While the manufacturers are enjoying strong sales of Short Course trucks, the big winner is the club racing scene. With the majority of Hobby Shops in the US housing their own tracks, attracting new blood into the sport is vital to their survival and many shop owners have hailed Short Course as one of the greatest things to ever hit the industry.
Looking to raise the profile of the class, well known international race promoter Scotty Ernst this year created the ‘Short Course Showdown Nationwide Tour’ and having heard plenty of hype about the racing Red RC have traveled to Dallas, Texas, for the fourth and final date. Arriving at Mikes Hobby Shop we were immediately blown away by the huge facility. A legend of the sport, Team Associated’s Brian Kinwald summed up just how impressive the place is by saying ‘I could live here’. Making his first visit to the track Losi’s Dustin Evans said the place just blew every other venue in the country away.
Having previously stopped off in Maryland, Wisconsin and California, with Mike Truhe, Steven Hartson, Evans and Kinwald among the winners, the tour has gone from strength to strength with this weekend on target to have over 200 entries booked in. In the premiere 4WD Modified class the large entry is set to make this the biggest Short Course race ever run. In addition to the top category there are also classes for Traxxas Slash, 2WD Novice, 2WD Stock and 2WD Modified. Having today to learn the superb track which shop owner Mike Darnell prepared especially for the Short Course Showdown’s visit, the event gets fully underway tomorrow with the first of three rounds of qualifying.
Supported by Horizon Hobby, Losi and Spektrum, we will bring full coverage of the weekends proceedings starting in the morning with a full round up of the action from the opening qualifier.