This year I attended the 2014 ROAR Fuel Off-Road Nationals at Thornhill Racing Circuit in Hutto, Texas. The crew at TRC worked very hard in preparation for this event to provide the nation’s best racers with an amazing track and facility!
Wednesday was the first day of practice. I used this day to just learn the track and didn’t worry about setup too much, knowing that the track would change a lot over the next four days. Thursday was seeding practice and my cars felt great. The track was changing rapidly, but it wasn’t like the warm up race. The groove was starting to form but it was still slick. For seeding, they took your best 3 consecutive laps in order to decide what heats you will be in for qualifying. My XB8 and XT9 were feeling great, both equipped with X3 Blockades! I put in some good runs and was seeded into the B in buggy and C in truggy.
In the first round of truggy qualifying, I started right in the middle of a pack of cars, and that did not go well. I got bumped around and got pretty frustrated. I ended up flying off the back of the track and hit the fence, causing my steering servo to break. In the second round, I had a clean safe run, for a 22nd overall. I was pretty happy with this based on how my day started. In the third round of truck qualifying, the track was still damp from watering the night before, and my truck felt awesome. I tried to push it a little bit too hard and that resulted in some costly mistakes. I had a bad run. In the final round, I knew I had to have a good run, so I just ran a safe, extremely cautious run for 30th overall. After qualifying, I was set to start 7th in the C.
In buggy qualifying, I was feeling pretty good at my chances of qualifying straight into the semis. My XB8 was feeling good rolling on X3 Blockades, and I was confident in my self and my driving! In the first round, I got a little bit too amped up, and made some mistakes, resulting in a bad run. In the second round, I had a clean run for 19th overall. In the third round, I had another good run, with a couple of small mistakes for a 25th overall. In the final round, I made a couple of changes to my car, and it felt really good. I was on a top 20 run, but made one costly mistake before the step up, and that cost me another good run, and possibly a spot in the semis. After qualifying, I was set to start third in the 1/4 odd main.
In the 20-minute truggy C-Main, I got hit at the start, which sent me to the back of the pack. I tried to fight my way to a bump spot, but I just made too many mistakes. I finished 9th, and 33rd overall, which I was pretty disappointed with, but I still finished better than last year!
In my buggy 1/4 main, I started 3rd, and got a great start. I stayed in 3rd up to my first pit stop. While my dad was refueling, it flamed out, he and Jason got it fired back up really fast, and sent me back out still in 3rd. While all that chaos was going on in pitlane, my fuel gun got hit by another car, and they called me in for a stop and go as a result. I came in, and came out in 4th. I was frustrated, so I made a couple mistakes, and was about 5-seconds behind 3rd. With about 1-minute to go, 3rd place came in for a safety splash and go, and I barely made the pass while he was coming out of pitlane. It was a race to the end, and I ended up coming out on top, and moved on to the semi! I was pumped!
In my semi, I had an alright start, and just wanted to run my race, knowing that anything could happen. I made a mistake after the step up, and my motor flamed out while on its lid. After that, I knew my chances were pretty low of making it to the main, but I still tried to come back. But it was to no prevail, as I flamed out again on track later in the race. We figured out that the flameouts were due to it being a little bit too lean on the bottom. I ended up finishing 14th, and 28th overall.
Overall, I was very happy with how my weekend went. I finished higher than I did last year in both classes, and accomplished my goal of making it to the semis! Hopefully I can make it into the big show next year!
I would like to thank Chris Allison and the whole Thornhill crew for the countless hours of hard work that they have put into their track. It is crazy to see how far it has come, and I can’t thank them enough for allowing us to race at their world class facility! I would like to thank my dad, mom, sister and whole family for all the support, I wouldn’t be where I am today with out y’all!
I would also like to thank my sponsors, Daniel Adams and Pro-Line for supporting me and equipping me with the best products on the market!
Till next time,
Cade “Young Gun” Whitenton
Lightweight Yellow Wheels