Moment with Mike: The truth behind dirt oval
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 10:55am
By Mike Garrison
I started racing R/C seriously in 2006 after a motocross crash paralyzed me, and since that time all I have really ever done is offroad racing. Our local track (Fastlane Raceway) has on-site an indoor 1/10 offroad, indoor carpet onroad/oval, outdoor dirt oval, and soon to be outdoor 1/8 offroad. Despite the fact that the local facility offers a wide variety of R/C racing, I have only spectated and/or heard stories of racing besides offroad.
This past weekend Fastlane hosted Round 2 of the MDRA Dirt Oval Series. Normally I wouldn't think much about it, however, offroad racers are always saying how "easy" driving in a circle is, and that it's just a laid back day of racing. I decided to stretch out the ol' vocal chords and announce the race, but also convert my two B4.1 buggies into oval cars to join in and see what dirt oval is all about. By converting I mean simply taking them from the offroad track, putting a late model body on one and a Mustang street stock body on the other.
With all of the offroad talk about how "easy" dirt oval was going to be I was pretty laid back, practiced 3 or 4 times, and charged up my batteries for round 1 of qualifying. My first qualifier was mod late model, and as warm-ups got under way in my mind I thought I was running awesome. I hit my lines, was flying down the straights, and was ready for the race start! We lined up for the rolling start, tone sounded, and off we went!
Suddenly I realized that what I thought was driving awesome, turned out to be a hazardous road block to the rest of the field. Guys were flying past me like I was Ricky Bobby sitting on the side of the track! Needless to say as the results were posted I was 5 laps down from TQ....that is 5 laps down from TQ of 21.5 Spec with my 7.5 mod late model.
Somehow by the end of the night I managed to work my way into both A-Mains, stay out of everyone's way, and had a great time all day long. I will be the first to say that for all of you offroad racers who think driving oval is so-called "easy"...you're WRONG. Never in R/C racing have I had to concentrate so hard, think so fast, and try so hard only to end up 5 laps down in a 4 minute race.
My hat is off to all dirt oval racers, and no matter what anyone may say, despite the track being shaped like circle, the TRUTH is....IT AIN'T EASY!
(The Fastlane Raceway dirt oval shown here with precision watering professional Big Chuck at work.)