The long awaited, long anticipated, and long day’ed PNB 2017 is in the books. My head is pounding, and just 6 hours after I went to sleep at 3am, I’m up and ready for my 8 hour drive home to prepare to leave for NeoBuggy on Wednesday. I can still hear the sounds of announcers and Nitro vehicles in the silence of the hotel room. Fortunately the event is full of good memories for me and some great results. Let’s get to the action.
I packed up the rental GMC Yukon XL with my race equipment and a good part of my LutzRC business and headed south to pick up Joe and head to White Pine Tennessee. The plan was again to by Psycho and run 5 classes while Joe ran 4 and we filled that Yukon nose to tail. Practice would start at 5am on Friday morning and continue with a couple breaks until 5am Saturday morning. We arrived for practice at just after 5 am and put in some laps to learn the track before it got to busy around noon. We then worked on our cars to prepare them for we early morning practice. The Tekno team also built a EB48.4 kit for a customer getting pretty much a rolling chassis done in 1.25 hours. He ended up running the car over the weekend and last report was he loved it over his previous ride.
Well after we took off around 5pm for a nice dinner we tried to force our bodies to sleep around 8pm as we were to wake back up at 1:30am to head back to the track in hopes of some more good open practice. It was a little busy at first but by 4am the drivers stand was very minimal wait and we were getting some quality runs in. Then in the last session we took the Tekno MT410 monster truck and did a little exhibition doing backflips and sending it high off the big wall! Hopefully a video will come in the future out of that fun!
So it was finally time to start qualifying and the grouped all the classes together. Meaning even though there was 54 heats we ran all the pro heats within 10 races basically. So you would have plenty of preparation time then it was mass rushing to do all the racing, pitting, and marshaling in a very seemingly short timeframe. They kept the program moving very quickly with just one lap of warmup and marshalls doing a good job to get off the drivers stand and on to the track fast.
First round of qualifiers saw me taking a lot of 2nds coming up just short for one reason or another. I got 2nd in Ebuggy, nitro truggy, and Nitro buggy. My etruggy I made a mistake and didn’t have a transponder in my car so I didn’t count, and I took TQ for 4wd SC. The 2nd and 3rd rounds resulted in continued decent rounds. I would take TQ in Q2 and 3 of Nitro Truggy to take the overall TQ. I would also TQ rd 2 of 4wd SC to take the overall and allow me to leave around 1am instead of having to run my last round at around 4am Sunday morning! With nearly 900 entires the days were nothing short of very long. We spend 24 hours at the track from arriving at 1:30am to practice on Saturday morning until we left just after 1am on Sunday morning after our 3rd qualifiers. I would also manage to qualify 2nd in E-buggy and E-truggy behind Joe and a little bit disappointing 5th qualifier in Nitro buggy but Joe got TQ which gave Tekno a clean sweep of the TQ positions in the classes we raced!
E-buggy A-main – This was the first main that we had and it was up just after 6pm. At the start I followed Joe around for a lap and he made a mistake I think after the triple going wide letting me get by and into the lead. I would then lead out ahead of he and Cavalieri. They would both close the gap but then make mistakes and I would get out to a 4 second cushion on Joe for much of the second half of the race. But on the last lap I didn’t line up properly on the slick concrete section and I missed inside and landed off track. I tried to get over the pipe but got hung up for a second. Joe was coming in fast and by the time I got loose he was right on my bumper with just a few obstacles and corners to go. I held him off until the back double where I knew he would try something to get by. Well I pulled a little to much trigger and tried to get to fancy and pushed out a little wide on the top right corner and he slid underneath and we were side by side but he had the inside line. Halfway down the short shoot before the final corner we touched tires and my car went cartwheeling off the track and Joe went on to win the race. I was pretty upset with myself for giving up such a lead on the last lap. It was entirely my fault but I still was happy for Joe for being there and for the Tekno 1-2 finish!
4wd SCT A-main – Starting on pole I just focused on staying clean and out front. No one had attempted the big 60ft triple that I know of in Short Course yet so we were all doing double single through that section. I really wanted to jump it though and that was in my mind throughout the race. I started to find a groove about halfway through the 10 minute final and worked up to an upper teen’s lead and on the last lap I decided I was going to go for the triple to see if I could do it. I didn’t feel like I was going to have the speed but I was on a victory lap so I just gave it a go. I came around the corner hot and held full throttle. I hit the jump in the place that launched the car the best and held throttle for the first 10 feet to keep the nose up and noticed it was flying beautifully. I watched in awe at the beauty of the truck flying perfectly through the air and finishing the jump on the perfect downside. It was a thing of beauty and I was able to come away with the victory as well! (Feel free to check it out on the last lap on the liveRC video of the race.)
Nitro Truggy A-main – The Nitro truggy A-main was our next race and it was to be a 30 minute race. I started on pole again for this one and led out from the start. I quickly worked a few second gap on the field but made a mistake a few laps in doing a pirouette and shrinking my lead to a second or two. But I regained my composure and my line and got back into about a 5 second lead. That’s pretty much where the lead would stand for the next 15 or so minutes until the final fuel stop. Cavalieri was in pursuit but sometime around his last stop he broke his shock and began to fall off pace. This gave me a huge cushion by the end of the run by over 20 seconds and the victory in Pro Truggy!
E-Truggy A-main – The E-truggy A was just another battle between Joe and I. Or at least that is what I was hoping it would be. Instead in the first couple laps he worked out to a 4 second lead which is pretty much where it stayed for the rest of the race. Joe would come away with the victory as I took another 2nd. When we were done though we did a backflip over the kicker jump and then tried to rail grind the top of the wall. On my second try I went over but it landed it and I drove it back to the pit lane. We had a good time and that class is a lot of fun with the trucks being so powerful!
Nitro Buggy A-main – The Nitro buggy A-main was the final race of the day and it started just after Midnight. I was starting 5th and at the tone just wanted to keep the car clean to start to feel my groove and see how things would shake out. Dakota put in a pass and I conceded the position and we soon got by someone who crashed. Then over the next couple laps another and another would crash and I was soon in 3rd and then into 2nd behind Joe who was leading! I caught up to Joe and over the center kicker I took it slightly harder than he did and mid air we touched and sent us both crashing. We got out with the lead still and I trailed behind him for another couple laps. Then I put in a good run on him around the huge sweeper and misjudged my distance as our cars turned to come towards us and I tapped the rear of his car and sent him tumbling. I was so mad at myself for making contact. I waited for the marshal to get him but it put us in a 5 or 6 way battle for the lead. Everyone else came in to pit that next lap and it seemed most of them had some sort of trouble. I stayed out an extra lap with my Blok fuel mileage and had a clean pit lane. Matt and Red were super quick and got me out and I came out right in front of Dakota suddenly in the lead! Soon thereafter he wrecked and I was alone out front with an 8 second lead!
The fortunes changed so fast in this one and about halfway into the race with the lead intact I decided to start to double single the huge triple to save my equipment. I kept my lines tight and as the rest of the field battled behind I just kept clicking off clean consistent laps and in the end came around with another big victory! Wow it was such a great day of racing for me and I was very happy with the result. Everything is really coming together and working well right now!
Just completed my 8 hour drive home and now have a day and a half to regroup, repack, and head to England for the Neo race! Looking forward to another great competitive week of racing!
I want to thank Matt, Mike, Jamie, Joe, Red, and Jeremy for all the help with various things throughout the weekend. Congratulation to Joe and Tekno for a complete sweep of the PNB with Joe and I taking TQ and Victory x 5 classes! Awesome to be a part of!
Tekno Teammate Challenge: (Joe started to play catch up during qualifying with his 3 x TQ’s to my 1 x TQ in classes we both raced. But my final results of 1, 1, 2, 2 gained me points over his 1, 1, 4, 13.) So we came in with me at +18 points and now after PNB I am at +31 pts!