By Tyler Hooks
Thumb RC in Gagetown Michigan, took a lot of the old school racers back to our roots with a good ole farm dirt race track. Owner Tom Claerhout put together a fun but challenging track that would get blown out quickly. With rain again in the forecast, entries were still high, 222 to be exact. Based on entries we were again forced to only run two heats and the mains. As expected the track would quickly change every race. The jumps thou held up very well throughout qualifying and all the way thru the mains. Great job to Tom and his crew on keeping the track as best as it could be.
As always we start out the mains with THE Future Champions. All the way from Canada, Nathan Ross would steal the TQ in the secon round of qualifying with a little help from a friend. Someone saw what tires he ran in the first round and loaned a different pair to him. With an early bobble on lap one, second place qualifier Evan Ciresi would take full advantage and lead every lap and go on and win his first main event. Nathan would recover quickly and secure a second place finish. Third place was a back and forth battle between Evelyn Max, Joey ‘Bones’, and Alexa Latta. Alexa started third but would get caught up in a massive pile up and after one lap would be all the way back in twelfth place. Half way thru the race she would make her way all the way up to fourth and would overtake Bones and secure third place. Bones would finally get on the podium in fourth and close behind was Mason Hughes.
Next on the line would be our Powder Puff main, where we would pack all twelve ladies on the line. When the tone went off, Patti McElwee would take an early lead, but after lap one she would fall back to fourth place. Third off the line Adelle Max would take over the lead and hold it for a few laps until a hard charging Patti would recover and take back the lead. Adelle would stay on Patti’s bumper for a few laps. Patti would take the win with Adelle only 9 seconds behind to take second. With Fantom team driver Kendre Girard having a bad start and battle back and take third, followed by Alexa Latta in fourth and Kat in fifth.
After all the lower mains and all the bump ups, here we are with the A Main for 13.5 Blinky Stadium Truck. TQ Jeff Mieske took full advantage of his TQ, by leading every lap and taking the win by almost 10 seconds. Runner up would be a battle between second qualifier Ryan Veltman, Josh Salewsy and Matt Petrowski. All three would take over second place at one point, but in the end Ryan Veltman would take over and finish on the podium in second place followed by Josh in third.
As the track is getting rougher and rougher, it’s time for some 4X4 Short Bus action. TQ holder Tyler Heavner would take the lead from the start and would end up leading the whole race and take the win, but not without controversy. More on this later. Thomas Buckley and JJ Green would battle back and forth with Thomas making a bobble handing second place over to JJ. That’s how they would finish, JJ in second and with his best finish of the year, Thomas in third. Tyler would find out that his wheels were too wide and that we follow most of ROAR’s rules. This young kid took it upon himself and got in touch with THE Series crew and asked to be DQ’d for the race. With one tace to go Tyler still holds a 3 point lead.
13.5 Wheeler, as Bill Murray said it in Caddyshack, a Cinderella story outta nowhere. All the way from the bump position, last place on the grid Mike Kirk would come outta nowhere and take over the lead just before half way. Mike would lose the lead for a lap with just over a minute to go to Tyler Heavner. TQ Toecutter would lose the lead after two laps and would fall back but then end up taking fourth. From back in the pack Adam Russell would take over third place on the last lap and hold on to finish there. While Tyler and Mike would fight it out with Mik taking the win by just under one second over Tyler.
Modified 4wd sponsored by RC Clubhouse would see Team Losi team driver Jeff Abler leave it all out on the track after starting fourth on the grid. Jeff was the only one to give Tekno team driver Mike “Chedda” Legue a run for his money. Just like the last three races, Mike would TQ and win again, but just by 2 seconds over Jeff. Ryan Hughes would make his way into third but not after a few DNF’s by Richard Holtzman and Michael Girard.
Nankin Hobbies sponsored Vintage 2WD Buggy was another thriller. TEam Associated team driver Kris Norlock would TQ and start out with the lead for the first third of the race. Kris would stuff it in a corner and hand the lead over to Jason Land. Jason would then lead the next third of the race, but would also lose his wing while in the lead. Losing a wing on a buggy makes it hard to drive. Mike battled it out wingless but would end up in third. Battling back from fourth would be Joe Montross. Kris took back the lead from the wingless wonder and took the win by 6 seconds over Joe. Side note, the Vintage class is also running spec tires. Everyone has to run Pro-Line Hole Shots and 4-rib fronts at every track, from Indoor clay to the loamy farm dirt.
Up next 2WD 13.5 Blinky Short Course, Trinity driver Russ Bryant wasn’t happy with a second place finish last month. So Russ just went on and TQ’d both rounds to secure the front spot on the grid. Russ would also lead every lap and take the victory. Last month’s winner Josh Salewsky would stay behind Russ every lap and take second. Bryan Boucher started on the grid in fifth and would slip a spot off the start but would battle his way back up and take third for his best finish of the year.
Blinky Stock Buggy, TQ William Knaggs decided to sit out the main, giving Bryan Boucher the pole position. Bryan took full advantage and held off Factory Tracks driver Tom Tanner to take the win by a mere .875 seconds. From the ninth position on the grid, and your TQ from last month, John Drawe would end up third, for his best finish this year.
MODX Modified 2WD Buggy would turn into a fun story. Yokomo Team driver Kyle Gough would TQ round one by over 7 seconds over Fred ‘Step Stud’ Baumgartner. Kyle lives close by, so he had to go to work for a few hours. Kyle missed round two and came back just in time for the mains to start, still holding that TQ position. Kyle would lose the lead right off the start to Jeff Abler, but Kyle would take the lead back after three laps and cruise on for the win. Abler would stumble after giving up the lead and fall back to fourth. Meanwhile, Mike Legue from way back in the pack charged up and took second place. Jeff would mount a comeback and charge past Russ Bryant for third.
Final race of the night, 1:8E Buggy tied for biggest class with Stock Buggy, tie goes to the bigger car, Right? This month’s TIRE STACK $50 TQ was TLR Driver Bradley Rippee. Bradley, took the early lead, but must have been thinking of that $50, and lost the lead to Tekno team driver Mike Legue. After Mike took over the lead he would go on to take the win and the only one to go 11 laps. Hard charging Nathan Betley from deep in the pack over took Bradley for second, with Bradley taking third.
See you all next month at Stateline R/C for the last race of the 2018 season.