This past week was the 2020 Dirt Nitro Challenge held in Perris, CA. When we arrived on Tuesday we got the pits setup and took a look at the track, it looked like it would be a lot of fun and seemed to be packed very well and was smooth. Looking at the dirt I had a feeling that it would get rough and not hold together really well being that it was mostly sand. The weather was looking good even though there was a chance of rain on Saturday and I was looking forward to a good week.
Wednesday was two rounds of practice/seeding, my cars were working really well, and even though I seeded 4th, 5th and 7th, I felt I had good overall consistency and I was confident going into qualifying. The first practice runs were pretty loamy as the track was fresh, by the second round of practice the track was already starting to get rough, there were also a lot of blind spots on the track where you either couldn’t see your car going up the jump or couldnt see it landing the jump which I knew would be a factor and make it a lot more challenging when the track got even rougher towards the end of the week.
Thursday was truggy and ebuggy qualifying with three rounds for each class. In truggy as the grip came up and the bumps got bigger we struggled with speed, it felt like I was going fast but the results did not show that. I struggled to keep the pace with the leaders and after 3 rounds I would only qualify 11th. I knew we would have to make some changes in the truck to get back on pace for the mains on Saturday. Ebuggy felt much better and it felt like I could go around consistently, finding smooth lines seemed to be easier which was strange since it is usually easier with truggy than it is with buggy. It became very obvious that the amount of moisture in the track due to the watering schedule would determine the speed of each qualifier. The track felt different each time I got on it due to the amount of moisture and the roughness that developed in the track as the day went on. After the 3 rounds of ebuggy qualifying I was sitting 3rd going into the main on Saturday. Thursday night the track crew did some repairs on the track which helped but it became evident very quickly on Friday that the repairs would be only temporary.
Friday was nitro buggy qualifying, I felt confident going into qualifying in this class as my buggy felt very good in practice. Qualifying was extremely close especially considering how rough the track was, my car felt better on the dry track over the wet track, and knowing that the main would be on a wet track I knew I would have to make some changes. I would end up qualifying 3rd overall in nitro buggy.
Saturday was truggy and ebuggy mains, it had rained overnight a bit and there was more rain in the forecast for the whole day. They ran some of the lower mains but then we had a rain delay before we were able to run our truggy A main warmup. We ended up not running the truggy warmup due to the rain and went straight into the rest of the mains.
The ebuggy main was a little rough and I would only be able to finish 4th after a lot of battling on a very rough track. I knew the truggy main would be difficult starting from the 11th spot, we ended up starting the main at midnight due to the rain delay, which was not ideal, I think everyone was tired and was just ready for the day to be finished. We had made some changes to the truck for the conditions and the temperature and my truck was the best it had been all weekend. I made it up towards the front and was in 4th position when the front pinion bearing blew up, this is not something that has ever happened to me before, and put me out of the race which was disappointing.
Sunday was the nitro buggy mains, the track was even rougher now and I knew that the main was going to be tough. Learning from the ebuggy main we tried some stuff in the A main warmup, and I felt confident going into the main. I had a good start to the main, made my way up to first and made a mistake and fell back to 4th. The blind spots became even harder to get through as they developed more bumps beause you couldn’t see if someone had crashed in those sections, and I got collected by crashed vehicles a few times. I would drop down and then battle back a few times but in the end I would end up finishing a disappointing 7th. My car was good and I felt I drove good but it was very difficult to make my way through the bumps, I am going to have to work on my rough track driving as there is no doubt next year’s DNC will also be very rough.
Thanks to all my sponsors for allowing me to do what I love to do and giving me the best products to do it with Xray, RC America, Pro-Line, O.S Engines, Hobbywing, MKS, A Main Hobbies, HUDY, VP fuels, Protek Rc, EZ Customs, Stickit1, Lunsford, Avid rc and 110% Racing. Thanks to my mom, dad and sister for all their support and help and most importantly I would like to thank by Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, without him I would not be where I am.