This past weekend I raced the Dirt Nitro Challenge in Phoenix, AZ, this year’s race had the most competitive field of drivers that I can ever remember. This year the Track was very challenging to start off with, with a good rhythm section in the front. The track got extremely rough from all the vehicles on it and it became even more difficult. We got 2 seven-minute rounds of practice for each car on Wednesday and this was used for seeding. My cars felt good but we continued to work on the setup throughout practice to get more pace, after practice I ended up seeding 3rd in truck, 6th in nitro buggy and 10th in E-Buggy.
Qualifying was difficult and very intense with the high speed layout and the tough competition. Thursday would be qualifying day for Truggy and E-Buggy. I was able to qualify 5th in E-Buggy and 4th in Truggy, my cars felt good and I felt I should have qualified better, but I was excited for the mains. Friday was nitro buggy qualifying, this was the most difficult because everyone was so close in speed and 1 small mistake would put you from 1st to 8th or worse. I was able to tq the first and third rounds to take the overall TQ for the Main on Sunday.
Saturday we had the a main warms ups around noon, my E-Buggy and Truggy both felt fast and easy to drive in the warmups, even though I didn’t qualify well I felt I had a good chance in the Mains.
The E-Buggy Main started off pretty good I made my way through the field and got up to second but in this time Maifield had already created a big gap so I was pushing hard to catch him and made a mistake which put me down to 5th. In the Truggy Main I would start 4th, and I was able to make my way to 2nd pretty quickly, my truck felt easy to drive and I could push it hard. I caught up to Maifield and we had a good battle until just after the 1st pit stop, we bumped into each other on the bridge and when my truck landed it mysteriously flamed out, after checking it out after the race we found a deep gouge in the flywheel which told me that it hit a rock and that is what caused it to flame out. After re-firing the truck I went out and tried to recover the best I could, I could push the truck really hard, somehow I lost a rear shock cup so at the next fuel stop we tried to replace the shock cup and do a quick fuel stop and the tank didn’t get full which caused me to run out of fuel early before the next pit stop. That pretty much ended my race.
Sunday was the Buggy Main, the weather was much better, we had the warm up around 2pm, again my car felt very comfortable to drive and it was fast, I felt very confident going into the Main. At the start of the Main, I got a good clean start. The 2 drivers that started behind me quickly fell back which allowed David into the 2nd position, David was pushing hard and I did my best to keep him behind me but this allowed Maifield to get in the mix as well, the 3 of us battled for most of the Main. At one point I had a 9 second lead and I made a couple of major errors which I was very frustrated with myself with as this allowed the others to catch up and pass me, and while I was able to stay within striking distance, David and Robert drove well and I wasn’t able to get back to the front and I finished a disappointing 3rd. For me this was one of the most frustrating nitro challenge races, my cars were much better than my finishes showed, all my equipment worked flawlessly, I just seemed to have bad luck and made some mistakes.
I want to thank my sponsors for giving me the opportunity to race with amazing products, Xray, RC America, Pro-Line, OS Engines, Hobbywing, MKS, VP Fuel, A Main Hobbies, Protek RC, Hudy, Lunsford, Avid, StickIt 1, Darkside Designs, 110% Racing, MR33, Live RC, Red RC.
Thanks to my family for always being there for me and supporting me, and most importantly I want to thank my my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t be here without him.