Mugen Challenge 2020 @ LCRC
On August 21-23 I made the drive across Pennsylvania to probably the most popular outdoor track in the North East being LCRC raceway. It's a very large track and the layout for this event was a lot of fun. An onroad feeling fast left side and some big jumps and elevation on the right side kept us busy. This years program saw the most top drivers ever for the event. (This was supposed to be the location for the ROAR Nationals this year which was cancelled.) So the competition was pretty fierce though it did turn out to be primarily a one man show.
Tires were what we were really looking to nail down at this event. Even with temps approaching 90*+ I was still often trying to run ultra soft and super soft compounds. The track is generally lower grip though it did start to come up on Sunday. We are finding the AKA Scribble to be a very long lasting tire and it also allows you to run it in compounds softer than other tread patterns. I think it was the fastest tire on the left high speed section of the track. The struggle came when balancing out it's speed in the groove with the amount of dust that was developing from some small holes throughout the track. In qualifying I ran primarily the ultra soft scribble along with SS and ultra soft P1's. The P1's handled the dust better for sure but when the wear started coming up you could toast a set in a run if you ran the softer compounds.
Qualifying went ok. We only had two of them due to the huge turnout of over 400 entries. My first run with my Agama A319e netted me a 3rd for the round and would seed me 4th overall for the A main. In Nitro buggy I got caught in traffic in Q1 and it cost me 3 positions on the last lap in the tight field. I would settle for qualifying 8th overall for nitro buggy into the A.
Come main day the nitro and electric A's were the 3rd to last and last race of the day. With rain on the horizon they pumped through the program quickly. The Nitro buggy main had a good start. I moved on up through the field up to 3rd by the 10th lap. I would hold that position until it was time for stop #2 where I was ran a bit long and did what I do and ran out of gas. Lost 2 laps in the process and fell to 12th. Through issues for others and such I would move back up to 7th by the end. The missing 2 laps putting me potentially in 3rd but that's why we race! I also had chose to run SSLW Scribbles for the main and I think they were a good choice overall. They wore very good and I just had to be careful in the dust. But they were fast in the left side and handled the higher traction that had developed.
Lastly was the ebuggy main. Starting 4th on the grid I moved into 3rd on lap 2 and into 2nd on lap 4. Then it was all about trying to track down the man of the weekend Maifield. He had a good lead but made a crash allowing me to get within a second of him. I kept him honest staying within 2.4 seconds the rest of the race but I couldn't quite get close enough to put more pressure on. Still a solid 2nd place finish was a nice consolation after Nitro buggy. I had opted to run SS catapults right before the race as they were my only fresh set of tires and I thought they may be good through the rough and dust that had developed. I think for sure their positive was not catching any rough spots and being decent in the dust. But they didn't quite have the drive on the groove section so it was a balance.
Overall though I had a great time. The event was a huge success and we finished just minutes before the big rains came! Hats off to the LCRC crew for making it happen and putting on the great event and to Maifield for his Hat trick of success!