A quick 1.5 day turnaround sent us South this time to Cullman, Alabama for the 8th annual Alabama Manufacturers Shootout. The event under new ownership this year being run now as one of the 4 big races by RaceTime Entertainment. The track this time around was built just a week in advance of the event vs. in the past they started about a month in advance. This always leaves up the air the tire choice as it’s unknown if the track would be prepared the same, so bringing the full range of tires was a must.
The first time on the track I chose AKA SS chainlinks and they were decent and easy to drive overall. For my second run I decided to try out clay compound which had worked well in practice the year before. Sure enough they were a second a lap faster than the SS and more stable as they didn’t balloon at all. So clay it was to be until further notice so I proceeded to run the rest of my practice on the clay chainlinks in buggy. In truck I tried primarily impacts as the track was very smooth and had a groove of sorts with dust outside the line. The groove would gain more traction as the week went on and it was always a choice of running SS LW or Soft or Soft Long Wear each run. One cool thing about this track was that even though it’s ‘indoor’ and 1/10th scale esk in nature, it seemed like there was no clear cut best tire or tread or compound for the surface. People were running SS, Soft, Clay, Soft long wear, M4, M3, X3, yada yada, basically every compound out there and for the most part everything and ever tread was reasonably competitive on the surface.
This race is usually one I struggle with a little bit for some reason. I’m not a great indoor groove with outside dust racer as I run more erratic lines you could say. haha. The race this year had 5 top 25 drivers in attendance and 6 in the top 28 as well as a crop of fast guys from the South East and Midwest region. There were 475 entires in total and we got underway with the first qualifier on Friday afternoon around 4:30pm. My qualifying efforts were middling for me and I just never felt like I was able to put in a great run. I would basically finish 2nd – 5th in pretty much every qualifier. Nothing great but still showing the consistency that I have developed this year of always being in the picture. At the end of qualifying I would see myself starting 3rd in the Nitro classes for the 30 minutes A-mains and 5th in E-buggy for the triple 10 minute A’s.
E-buggy A1 would start us off at around 4pm on Saturday (Saturday is main day at AMS). Starting 5th I just wanted to be sure I stayed with the lead pack and not make any mistakes to put me back in to the fray. I was able to accomplish this and slowly worked up position by position as those in front of me made mistakes. I soon found myself in 3rd behind Rivkin and I pressured him for a few laps until he also made a mistake. I was now in 2nd about 3 second behind teammate and E-buggy TQ Joe. So as we were running Tekno 1-2 I felt good about that and just wanted to finishing out the remaining 4 minutes clean. With a minute to go however Joe got caught in some backmarkers over the back left doubled and had to be marshaled. This allowed me to slither through the carnage of wrecked cars and into the lead and to come home with the A1 win and Joe 2nd for Tekno 1-2.
Next was the 30 minute Nitro Truggy final and I was feeling pretty good about it. I was going to be on Soft Long Wear Impacts as the traction had really come up and it’s the same thing I ran last year. At the start I tailed behind Joe and Spencer until they collided coming onto the front straight. This allowed me into 2nd behind Spencer and I stayed close for a few laps until he crashed and I got into the lead. I then went to work on staying clean and trying to find a couple faster 1/10th’s here and there on the track. Laptimes were just 20 seconds and so the pace was fast and furious. I would extend out to a couple second lead only to see it slip away and he to be back on my bumper again. With about 11 minutes to go I made a mistake allowing Spencer to get racy and over the double triple he landed on my inside momentarily taking the lead but I cut back under him and we went over the table top where he tagged my wing and we both got tangled but he got the worst of it letting me get out to a second or two lead again.
45 seconds later I made a mistake landing on the pipe and did a cartwheel after the back right hip jump. This put us in a drag race coming down the straight away for the lead with just over 10 minutes to go:
Spencer had the run and beat me down the straight and through turn one. But he left me a truck width on the top left drop down and I snuck under him to regain the lead again!
Just a couple corners later though after that double triple he landed inside me and pushed me out into the dust as he regained the lead:
He though got up on the pipe and jumped the table poorly which sent him out into the dust on the next corner and I threw it in hard and drifted into the line underneath him as we set up for the top right hip:
As we went over the table I gunned it and whipped it tight and over the pipe and landed perfectly on the other side of it and thus regained the lead:
I highly suggest watching the liverc video of this race here from the 11 minutes to go mark. The announcer was going nuts and the action was intense. After that action though I was able to stay out front and hold on for the hard fought victory!
Next was A2 of Ebuggy and I was looking to do the same thing as I did in A1. Things were going well overall and I again found myself moving up position by position and soon was in 3rd behind Joe and Tebo. Joe was taking off as the 2-4 drivers were in a battle with some mistakes in front of each other causing us all to slow a bit and let Joe sail into the sunset. It was a tight 3 way battle between Rivkin, Tebo, and I and with 30 seconds to go Tebo who was in 2nd crashed after the right hip allowing Rivkin and I past and I thus would take a 3rd for the round.
Nitro buggy was up next with a 30 minute A-main. I had good hopes as I was running AKA Soft long Wear Zips for my kicks for the race. At the start I got into a groove behind Rivkin and Tebo but they were absolutely on it and I started to loose touch. Then throughout the race I seemed to be magnetized to every back marker crash I could find. Nearly all my major mistakes were getting tangled with and running into crashed cars and it cost me dearly on this 20 second lap track. I would basically just cruise around in 3rd the entire race, never really a threat and I feel I was driving a little to hard for the track as well. Overall though I would come home in 3rd with another solid podium finish.
E-buggy A3 would be the final race of the night as we neared midnight. For me it would be over quickly as I accidentally tagged Phend early on and it just ruined my mindset and I made some mistakes and caught caught up with other and on this quick track soon found myself way out of the running. I would need a 2nd or better to improve my position and it wasn’t going to happen being a lap down so soon so I pulled it off as to not affect anyone else. I would still come home with 2nd overall with my 1st and 3rd place finishes and Joe would run a stellar A3 to take the win for a Tekno 1-2 finish in Pro E-buggy.
Overall Tekno had another great showing at the A.M.S. 8.0. I was able to finish 1-2-3 in Truggy, E-buggy, and Nitro buggy. Joe was able to finish TQ,1-TQ,4-4 in E-buggy, Truggy, and Nitro Buggy. For the event at the Teammate Challenge, even though it was looking good for Joe with the two TQ’s he would finish the event with 7 points and I would finish with 6 for +1 for me. So overall on the season I am now +40 points and Joe has some work to do. But I think he still has the potential to really turn it on at any point now so i’m still building up my points while I can!
Next up is the ROAR Nitro Nationals at Stateline R/C next week!
Tekno NB48.4, EB48.4, NT48.4
Tires for mains: AKA Soft Long Wear Double Downs for buggies, AKA Soft long wear Impacts for truck.
Electronics: Tekin RX8 Gen 3 with Tekin Redline Gen 2 1900 motor.