2012 Nitro Challenge

by Jason Ruona on February 22, 2012

We are on our way to the biggest and baddest Nitro race of the year. John Piant and I are full steam ahead to the Dirt Nitro Challenge at the Fear Farm in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s been quite a long flight so far coming from Florida. It just seems for some reason we’ve been traveling too long already. Maybe it’s just that we are arriving so early compared with other races where we have been flying in on a Thursday for Friday practice. It must be a big race when you are flying on a Tuesday.

Just finished watching the movie Senna which put me in a racing mood. Great movie and really brought me back to many years ago. Before I watched the movie I was well aware of when Senna died while on the race track. It was 1994 and every year we would spend the last month of April at the Georgia State Championships in Savannah, GA. We had arrived early to the track and started preparing for main day when Bret, Brad and Jeff rolled up and started setting up their racer picnic tables. All 3 guys had very low energy and their body language was telling me that something was wrong. Bret was the one I noticed seemed most affected and I believe it was Jeff that said they were a little late getting to the track because they were watching Formula 1. As I wrenched on the RC10GT I casually asked what had happened in the race. Jeff, always the one to speak up, noted they had just watched Senna hit the wall and the reports looked as if he had died.

Brad broke down the details on what he thought had happened and Jeff delivered the bad news. Later that night, I saw the footage of the incident and it really stuck with me for some reason. That camera angle and impact is really embedded into my memory. Seeing the movie really brought back that moment. I admit that I’m not a huge 1:1 racing fan and more a casual viewer but I could read a reaction and it was pretty real. Even though it was a bad moment, I’d like to thank those guys for letting me know what was going on and giving me that track memory I’ll never forget. The point is its a good movie and I recommend checking it out.

I’m not going to turn this blog entry into a downer any longer. We are headed to Nitro Challenge. This is probably the most difficult and one of the strangest events all year long. The track layout is always wild and with Joey building the track you never know what to expect. 2 practice runs is all you get and it’s race time. Having your vehicle flame out or not finish a practice run is damaging to your track time and potential speed. Guys really hang their hat on this event and no matter what they say it’s probably one of the most important on the calendar. I came to the race to debut JConcepts racing tires in 2007 and I was back in 2008 for a follow-up year. In 2007 we brought the Double Dees to the table in 1/10th truck which Maifield used to win the first time out. We also debuted a very small pin 1/8th buggy tire which was also the Double Dees. At the time there were no tires on the market with that small a pin so I’d say we brought something to the table during that event never seen before.

Fast forward to 2009 and Maifield wins in dramatic fashion over Tebo with only several laps to go in the Final. Ryan Cavalieri dominated in 2010 and Jared Tebo dominated in 2011. As you can see its the big 3 guys at the top of the field for the past 3 years so that should tell you something.

This race previously kicked off the new racing season but now that the Reedy race is back in January, this race now more so kicks off the nitro season.

Follow us this weekend as the JConcepts Racing Team hits the track at the Fear Farm. We have some new products and new drivers for 2012 and we hope to bring a little of everything to the blog this weekend. Stay tuned!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

P1 Brand February 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Great entry. Interesting to hear your recollection of Senna, especially while at SCORE with Coco and Jeff. Good luck this week!

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Ander Rivera February 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

It’s great to find someone who shares the same feeling as i do for this movie. I was just 11 years old wen Senna left us but i remember that day as if it was yesterday. I saw the movie about 3 months ago and been watching it the night before a race ever since. It just gets me in the right mood for doing what i do best, racing. I remember a quote from him, when he won his first GP, that said “t’s like a drug. It is something so strong, so intense, that once you experience it you keep searching for it all the time” and i felt really identified with it. But back to business.. The race is gonna be huge with all the top guns in attendance. Ill be following you guys during the race so keep us posted.

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