Nitro Challenge – Sunday Report

by Rich on February 28, 2011

Sunday update from Jon -

After a spectacular Truggy main Saturday night, most people couldn’t wait to get back to the track Sunday morning for the buggy mains. The threat of rain had been on the back of everyone’s mind the entire week, and for once we thought that we were going to be able to have a entire Nitro Challenge week with no rain. In the early hours of the morning, a rainstorm moved into the valley, dropping over an inch of rain on the track. Instead of a perfectly groomed track ready for great side-by-side racing, drivers were welcomed to the sight of torn tents and a flooded track. The Dirt track crew got to work, trying to get as much of the water off the track as they could. As cars rolled off for the lower mains, the mudfest was about to begin. After just one lap on the track, most cars were unrecognizable and struggling to make it to the end of the seven-minute race.

As night fell on Sunday, the bright lights turned on signifying it was time for the A main to get underway. The first Pro main to hit the track was electric 1/8th scale buggy. JConcepts Team Driver Steven Hartson was the man to beat all week long. Hartson used JConcepts new Hybrid tire to capture the pole over the highly competitive field. For the main event Hartson decided to stick with the Hybrids for their superior traction on the still tacky track surface. Steven would use his pole starting position to avoid some big pile-ups on the first lap. As the field began to spread out, Hartson would find himself in many intense battles from the likes of Taylor Peterson, and Adam Drake. Continuing to put down fast smooth laps, Hartson was able to distance himself from Peterson and Drake with just over three minutes to go. With time winding down no one in the field would have anything for the JConcepts driver as he took his first ever win at the Nitro Challenge. Steven stated after the race that his JConcepts Hybrids were not only fast but also easy to drive on the rough track.

As the temperature continued to drop into the high thirties, there was only one race remaining to cap off the 2011 Nitro Challenge. Standing at the back of the drivers stand was fifteen of the best drivers from around the world, waiting for driver introduction. JConcepts Team Drivers Ryan Maifield and Jeremy Kortz had both used JConcepts Hybrids to capture top ten starts in the competitive field. Due to the rain drivers were given an extra five-minute warm-up to get their cars prepared for the long forty-five minute final. With warm-up over it was time for the mechanics to make their way to the front stretch for the start of the race. At the sound of the horn, the only word that can describe the first lap would be chaos! Cars were being turn marshaled in almost every turn. As the field came by the line to complete the first lap, Ryan Maifield would find myself out front from his fourth starting spot. Three laps into the long main Maifield would enlarge his lead to seven seconds over second place Mike Truhe. After multiple crashes pole sitter Jared Tebo would find himself in the middle of the pack. At the first round of pit stops, Maifield was on a mission stretching his lead over Truhe to a unbelievable thirteen seconds, further back in the pack Tebo had worked his way up to third showing that he was not out of the race yet. Continuing to put down consistent laps, Maifield would be able to hold a comfortable ten second lead over Tebo and Truhe. Twenty minutes in to the race, Maifield would make his first mistake allowing Tebo to close the gap to less then a second. For the next five minutes, Maifield and Tebo would swap the lead multiple times until another crash from Maifield would split the two. With Tebo three seconds up on Maifield, the crowd started to wonder if Maifield would be able to close the gap like he had the night before. Just before Maifield’s fourth pit stop, a tangle with a lap car would break the left front shock end of Maifield’s car knocking him out of the race at the thirty-minute mark. With only fifteen minutes to go and the field spread out Tebo would be able to cruise and collect his second win of the weekend.

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