Factory Team / Race Events

Tanner Stees Reporting From the U.S. Open Fuel Championships

Last weekend was the first annual U.S. Open Fuel Championships at Fear Farm Raceway in Arizona. Since this was the first time the event was being held, they had a little different format than usual with betting going on in the main events. That not only allowed for the winner to get some of the money but the person who was betting as well. Plus the fact that if you were able to win all three classes there was a minimum cash payout of $1,000 and could go up to $3,000 depending on the amount of entries.

The track was also very good straight from the start. Levi Jackson put in a really fun and awesome layout and the best part was that the track was ultra-smooth and packed in and held up the entire weekend.

Friday was the start to the event and only being practice that day allowed for the people to get 4 runs per class with the third and fourth round being seeding rounds.  They took your best three laps out of either rounds and then put you into runs with other people that where the same or close to your times for qualifying. Saturday was the start of actual racing and I was able to get into all the A qualifier groups for both Nitro Buggy and truggy as well as E-buggy.


For all of qualifying I ran either M3 Hole Shots or X3 Hole Shots depending on what the water schedule was and how dry or wet the track was. Even though this is my home track the track is actually never like it was at this event it was more like what it would be like at Nitro challenge where the track gets packed in and has a groove through it so tire choice was kind of questionable as to what to run for most local guys. I think the best was the Hole Shots as there really wasn’t much fluff on the track so the tire really performed well with all my cars and was extremely good in the groove. In qualifying both my nitro buggy and my E-buggy were really good and did not really need any changes after practice. As for my truck, I changed a thing or two to try and get some more steering for it. After qualifying was finished I had qualified 7th in truggy, 3rd in the even semi for nitro buggy, and 6th in E-buggy.


As for Sunday day which was main day everything kicked off pretty early with E-Buggy where I started 6th for the 10-minute main. As for the start everything seemed to go pretty well for me and I was able to stay in the position I started and was battling with some of the guys in front of me and behind me as well. Overall my car was extremely good and handled the track really well and I had good grip using M3 Hole Shots which was a good choice for tire on the damp track and I was able to get finish right where I started with a good battle for most of the race.

The next race was the 30-minute semi for Nitro Buggy and with it being a longer race, tires were now a larger pin as something small wouldn’t last too long on the dry track conditions. My choice was the between the X3 Suppressor and the X3 Blockades so I went the extra safe route and chose the Blockade as I knew it would last the 30-minutes for the semi and hour long in the main later on. I also ran the Blockade just to be use to it for when the main came around as well. It was a pretty uneventful race my car, tires, and engine were all great and I finished right where I started which meant I would start 6th in the hour long main and was really looking forward to it as my buggy felt really good.

As for truggy I decided to run the X3 Hole Shots as I knew some people ran them in the main at nitro challenge in truggy and they lasted the whole run.  The main in truck was pretty good I was able to run hard right from the start with Hole Shots and had a good battle in 6th until people in the front of the pack started having problems or breaking which allowed me to move up more and more and able to finish in 4thI also still had tread on my tires after the run and was extremely happy that they could make the 45-minutes and will take it into consideration for big races with long mains in truggy at Fear Farm.


The final race of the weekend was the hour long buggy final. The start was pretty horrible for me I gave a little tap to the guy in front of me and had to slow way down and then got taken out from behind over the step up and was pretty much in last place after the first corner. But I made a hard charge and was able to get myself all the way back up to 6th before I had a problem with my car at the 50-minute mark and had to go back to the pits and fix it real quick and jump back out to finish out 10th after not being on the track for a few minutes.

Unfortunately the start really didn’t go the way I wanted to and I wonder what would happen if the start didn’t go the way it did and the problems with my car had not happen as my car felt really good and I think I would have been able to do better. During the main everything was great my car and the setup felt awesome, tires felt really good, and my engine was awesome as well I just had some bad luck.

Overall the whole weekend was a success and learned a lot about the track when it is packed in like it was and hopefully the knowledge will work out for some bigger races held there like Nitro Challenge in February.

I would also like to take a second to say thanks to HB/HPI Racing, Pro-Line and O.S. Engines for the support on and off the track and all my products worked great the entire weekend.

Tanner Stees