Report By: Ken Peterson
Leave your sun screen and EZ ups at home! When you go racing at Hobbytown USA’s “HobbyPlex” you won’t need them. Just off of interstate 680 tucked away in the Cherry Hills neighborhood in North Omaha you will find a racing mecca all undercover from nature’s elements. Last weekend the HobbyPlex hosted the RC Pro Series North Division round 1 racing event. The race drew 100+ entries with racers from all over the Midwest. For many it was their first time driving on the Nitro track that now, thanks to its owners, has a building constructed around it to prevent rainouts.
The track opened Friday at noon and immediately drew in drivers to test their Nitro cars on the now indoor facility. Many racers have been racing on this dirt for several years and were wondering what tire and tuning changes they would have to make now that the track is covered. The most welcoming news was many different types of tread patterns and compounds were hooked up, it was just a matter of finding the tire that suited your driving style best. Another benefit was tire wear, before you could never expect to run a small pin tire and have it last a full 30 – 45 minute main event, but now racers are running small pin tires like a JConcept Hybrid or even Double D’s in the mains with success.
The layout for this event was fast and flowing, but challenging. Drivers who demonstrated timing and patience usually ended up with the faster lap times. There was a section in the middle of the track that had a ski jump, to a table top to a triple single and drivers had to exhibit restraint because over shooting the jumps meant significantly slower lap times. To keep practice moving along, for a short time Friday afternoon race director Alex Sturgeon switched over to controlled practice which allowed for cleaner and more frequent practice runs.
After a short drivers meeting qualifying was underway. RC Pro is fielding a full lineup of classes and this event had them all, with 1/8 Nitro Buggy and Arena Truck as the biggest classes and 1/8 scale electric buggy and 1/10 scale short course rounding things out. At larger events like this, some racers are bringing their 1/10 scale short course trucks along to get in more racing during the weekend and shorten the down time in between races. Throughout the day qualifying went well and drivers kept things pretty clean. There were 4 rounds of qualifying using IFMAR qualifying and QualPoints to seat drivers into their main events. TQ’s for each class were as follows:
4wd Short Course – Jason Bloom
Intermediate Arena Truck – John Filkins
Open Arena Truck – Jason McAllister
Pro Arena Truck – Nick Gibson
1/8 Electric Buggy – Tony Bacon
Intermediate Buggy – John Filkins
Open Buggy – Ken Peterson
Pro Buggy – Alex Sturgeon
The beauty of having a Nitro track indoors is the consistency it brings to track conditions. While the HobbyPlex has multiple large garage doors open during the day to let lots of light in and the smoke out, the hot sun and rain are always kept at bay. At night track crews watered lightly and after a short time of practice Sunday morning it was main event time! Another great feature of the RC Pro Series program is A Main practice sessions. Peppered in between some of the electric classes and lower mains was practice for Intermediate, Open and Pro A Main qualifiers. Racers used this time to put final tunes on their engines and make some last minute tire and tuning changes before letting it all hang out in the mains. There were many close racing battles on main event day, but one of the main story lines was Taylor Timmerman in the Pro Buggy and Arena Truck classes who qualified 3rd and 4th, but delivered stellar driving performances to sweep both main events. Taylor’s greatest challenge came fending off Topeka’s Jason Porter who finished on the same lap with Taylor at the end of the 45 minute Pro Arena Truck main. Open arena truck also had a close battle with several lead changes that put Randy Romanik less than a lap down from former Motocross racer Jason McAllister from Hutchinson, Kansas. In intermediate Buggy Nick Rodgers put the hammer down finishing with a 4 lap lead over the rest of the field, however 2nd place was highly contested between Rick Hisel who finished just 3 seconds ahead of Randy Keesling. In Open Buggy TQ Ken Peterson lead most of the race and ended up in 1st place, but with about 9 minutes to go was challenged by Jason Bloom who lead the race for a couple of minutes. In Pro Buggy, Taylor Timmerman lead almost from start to finish and took 1st place, however during the last few minutes there was a duel for 2nd place between Nick Lyle and Dustin Thompson, but in the end Nick edged out Dustin by 3 seconds.
Full results can be found Here
Here are some videos of some of the racing action including the entire Open Buggy and Pro Buggy mains!