By Tyler Hooks
Press Release from JConcepts:
February 8th – 10th, 2019, kicked off the Winter edition of the JConcepts Indoor National Series in St. Charles, Missouri at the facility formerly known as SmacTrac. Under the same management, but a new name, Team Velocity R/C Raceway still embodies its rich racing heritage along with the fun and friendly atmosphere from before, making the highly anticipated Winter Indoor Nationals a sold out event with 353 total entries.
With minor tweaks to the event classes for 2019, the JConcepts INS formula has been improved to better accommodate new racers looking for the awesome big race experiences. The Independent class is still dedicated to the Zero Sponsor racer, but we’ve backed down the power to a fixed timing 21.5 handout motor (free of charge) to be used during the event. Also, the inclusion of the hot new 4×4 Mini Truggies that have recently hit the scene, a brand new class was added to highlight the event with the fastest trucks out there.
The racing is always tight and very close on the smaller tracks and this track was no exception. The times were very close among the top drivers as the track really limits their speed differences making it a great equalizer. The hidden upsides to small tracks make for close racing and often races that come down to the final lap to decide the winners. The racing action was great and the audience on hand and online were treated to some of the finest racing so far in 2019. A3 of 4wd Modified was crazy good!
The other notable at this event was all the smiles and fun people were having during the Winter INS9. Racers were not only excited to race in the event but also had a great time hanging out in the pits with friends and family. The spirit of the INS was in full effect and we can’t thank Rod Rippee and Chris Baumgartner enough for all the hard work in organizing, building, and executing a very fun and success Winter INS race!
The layout was very fun. Despite being a small track, there’s a lot of elevation changes going on making it very challenging to be consistent over the course of the added quick laps. The flow was excellent as lining up the highlight double proved to be one of the trickiest parts of the track to master. The uphill elevated turn was also another nail biter that ultimately made the difference to the outcome of many races. The left side of the track required awesome brake timing as well as natural ability to keep the rear under control as you whip around the tight turns as fast as possible. Overall, the layout bunched up the best drivers and forced them to play the patient game before attempting a pass as contact resulted in lost time and dropping valuable spots.
Independent 21.5 2wd Stock Buggy:
With an attempt to help grow racing at ground zero; the avid and beginner racers had a class to their own. The Independent Stock 2wd class guidelines were tweaked for 2019 and with the support of Ron Schuur of Hobbywing, JConcepts decided to make the Independent 2wd class run a 21.5 fixed timing handout motor that was free of charge to use at the event. Along with the Independent Class’ Zero Sponsor policy, handout tires, and a very limited FDR (to counter battery charge rates), allowed the racers to compete on a fair playing field without having to race with the fully sponsored “Pro Stock” racers that usually fill out the 17.5 2wd stock class.
The turnout was great as the class maxed out at 30 racers that were skeptical at first, but once they got on the track with other Independent 21.5 2wd cars they really started to have fun and enjoyed the class like it was intended. Taking home the win was Lee Conley Jr. who kept it steady and minimized his mistakes during the single 12minute main. Matt Welch stayed on Conley’s tail the entire 12 minutes but wasn’t able to close the 2-second gap and took home 2nd. William Gonzales made a huge leap from his 8th place qualifying position to finish 3rd on the podium. Unfortunately, William had to leave early to make the journey home and wasn’t able to stay for his photo op.
17.5 2wd Stock Buggy:
The action was hot in the 17.5 2wd Stock Buggy class as the top Midwest drivers were going all out for the win. With a lackluster qualifying performance, Magic Matt Cline put it all together when it mattered most and took over the lead halfway through the A-Main and took it down for the win. 2nd place qualifier, AE/JConcepts’ Austin Wick showed great speed and composure throughout the weekend and was able to land himself 2nd on the podium after a very awesome 8 minutes of focused driving. AE/JConcepts Kyle Gannon held his own against some of the fastest stock racers in the region and put himself 3rd on the box.
13.5 Stadium Truck:
It was a two truck battle in the 13.5 Stadium Truck class as Motiv’s Nick Richards and AE/JConcepts Adam Rayls went head to head in the single 8 minute main. Nick took over the lead 1/3rd of the way into the race with Adam playing chaser, but on the final lap Nick’s truck lost power and was unable to finish allowing Adam pass on the last lap and took the win. With the extra lap already accounted for, Nick finished 2nd with AE/JConcepts’ Mack Vanderbeek 3rd overall.
13.5 Short Course:
Once again, AE/JConcepts’ Adam Rayls was the racer to beat in the 13.5 SCT class as he led the field from the pole. Rayls showed great patience after giving up the lead early to Jake Ellingsworth. Unfortunately for Jake, suffered a mechanical and was unable to finish. This gave Adam back the lead and from there he was trying his best to check out from the field. However, Coyote Hobbies’ Davey Batta was on the move and closed the gap to within a second that led into an exciting drag race down the straight for the win. In the end, Adam held on and won by just .374 over Davey while 7th place qualifier, Scott Scarvelli, remarkably moved up 4 spots and finished 3rd overall.
In 13.5 4wd, “Super D” Dreighton Stoub, wasn’t to be denied as the young speedster set the TQ and took a relatively easy win. Nick Richards moved himself up 2 spots with clever driving to land himself in 2nd. Once again defying the age barrier, AE/JConcepts’ Kyle Gannon was able to finish where he qualified, 3rd, showing great speed against a very fast and young crowd.
4×4 Mini Truggy:
New to the 2019 Indoor National Series, we felt that the 4×4 Mini Truggy class could bring a lot of fun and excitement to racing and it definitely did. With a few racers running custom Velocity conversion trucks, FTR conversion truck, Tekno ET410 trucks, and a total of 35 total entries proved that the new class has its place. Using his TQ to his advantage, FTR’s Aydin Horne, was on fire from start to finish and won with great driving. FTR’s Austin Horne gave it his best to beat his brother, but traffic was unkind to him and finished 2nd. Wrapping up 3rd place was Colton Keifer, who took down a few big names along the way with his fast, consistent style.
The 8 minute Modified Truck A-Main was action packed as class TQ, AE/JConcepts’ Spencer Rivkin, made an uncharacteristic first lap mistake that saw him slip back to almost dead last. This gave the lead to Yokomo’s JP Richards for a short time, but a hard-charging AE/JConcepts Cole Tollard and TLR/JConcepts Mason Fuller had a different ending in mind. Cole closed the gap and a timely mistake by JP saw Cole in command with Mason Fuller in tow. On the final lap, Mason was on Tollard’s wing as Cole got hung up with a pipe that allowed Mason to sneak by for the win. Cole finished 2nd and Spencer Rivkin remarkably battled his way back through the field to finish 3rd overall.
40 + 2wd Modified:
The battle of the 40+ title was once again on the line and to no surprise, undefeated in St. Louis Al Horne took the win in Al Horne fashion. Smooth, calculated, and patient, Al waited for his opportunity and halfway through the race, found an opening on an Alex Sturgeon bobble over the double. Al took the win with JConcepts’ Alex Sturgeon 2nd and making his 3rd podium appearance of the weekend was the talented AE/JConcepts’ Kyle Gannon.
Yokomo’s JP Richards was on rails in the 2wd Modified division as he set TQ and went on to win A1 and A2 to finish it in two mains. With already great results from A1 and A2 scoring a 3rd and a 2nd, TLR/JConcepts’ Mason Fuller was destined for the podium. As usual, A3 decides the final order for the rest of the competitors. Delivering a huge run, Mason finished out A3 in 2nd giving him 2nd overall. Taking a much-needed win in A3, AE/JConcepts’ Spencer Rivkin moved up the ranks and finished 3rd overall.
Much like in 2wd Modified, Yokomo’s JP Richards was the racer to beat in 4wd Modified. Nearly picture perfect from the pole position, JP made it extremely difficult for his competition. Once the main came, JP took the win in A1 and A2 to wrap up the overall. Raising their game throughout the weekend, TLR/JConcepts’ Mason Fuller and AE/JConcepts’ Cole Tollard went head to head in A3 for 2nd place. Mason edged out Cole by taking the win in A3 to seal up 2nd place. Impressively enough, Cole wasn’t able to attend practice because of school commitments and still found a way to make it happen for 3rd. Outstanding!