After months of waiting and preparing, the 2017 ROAR 1:8th Fuel Nationals was a wonderful event that was filled with nonstop action from day 1. On Thursday, June 22nd, open practice was held giving racers their first taste of a very challenging track layout. This year, the Nationals was held at Stateline R/C Raceway in Fremont, Indiana on the Myers’ property, who did an exceptional job with the track build, pit setup, and overcoming the rain delay faced on Friday. The hard work was appreciated by all as the track was qual and race ready on Saturday.
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With previous Fuel Nationals, the race consisted of only 3 classes, the 15 and Under, 1/8th Buggy, and the 1/8th Truggy class. All classes ran 4 rounds of qualifying, but a special buggy format was used to sort the A-Main for the Nitro Buggies. Using best 2 of 4, the order was set for the entire class, but in order to qualify into the A-Main everyone raced their way up the ladder system of Odds and Evens bumping the top 3 cars directly into the next main until the semi-finals which took the top 5 into the A. Only the class TQ would jump directly into the A-Main, while everyone else would have to race into the A-Mains making it a much more exciting grid system borrowed from Motorcross. The 15U and the Truggy class took the best 2 of 4 to sort the Mains allowing for bumps much like your 1/10th scale qualifying system.
Thursday consisted of unofficial controlled practice that was utilized by everyone to maximize track time, setup and tire choice. Friday was official ROAR controlled practice but halfway through the day, Mother Nature paid a visit with a thunderstorm and rain showers. The track was quickly flooded and as the rest of practice was canceled for the remainder of the day. The Stateline R/C track crew did a fantastic job of building quick drainage routes and covered the track with a tarp to protect the surface as much as they could.
Saturday morning, the rain was still coming down and it looked like the event was going to be canceled, but fortunately, it stopped raining by noon. With filler and a lot of work, the dedicated crew did their thing and qualifying began about 2pm. It was unbelievable effort and kudos to everyone involved in getting the track race ready once again. The show was on!
After both the 30 min. buggy semi’s, JConcepts was able to qualify 7 drivers into the 1 hour A-main event lead by Ryan Maifield, Ryan Cavalieri, Alex Kosciuszek, Spencer Rivkin, Michael Paige, Cole Ogden, and Blake Pickett. As the tone went off, Mugen’s Cole Ogden would shoot to the front showing outrageous pace and surprised Ty Tessmann and took over the lead. With a mechanical issue suffered by Ryan Maifield and a flame out by Ty Tessman, the race was wide open. After a mistake on the dragon’s back by Cole Ogden, Kyosho’s Jared Tebo inherited the lead and built a steady rhythm for the remainder of the race. Minimizing his mistakes and delivering the most consistent drive, Tebo held off Tekno’s Ryan Lutz to take a well-deserved win. Lutz finished 2nd and Rivkin held onto 3rd with AE/JConcepts’ Ryan Cavalieri 4th and Cole Ogden 5th.
The 45 minute Truggy A-Main was a battle between three of the best Truggy drivers in the world between Xray’s Ty Tessmann, Mugen/JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield, and Tekno’s Ryan Lutz. These three would put on a show for the fans as they remained in striking distance from each other for the entire 45 minutes. Taking the checkered flag, Tessman edged out Maifield for the win by a narrow margin of 13 seconds, despite the tricky, rough trak conditions. Defending his 2nd place position from a hard charging Lutz, Maifield would take 2nd and only 1.5 seconds ahead of the Tekno driver. Lutz would take the final spot on the podium with a strong and impressive finish.
It would be HB Racing’s Camden Lime’s day as he earned the overall TQ in the 15 and Under Buggy Class and took an impressive win from tone to tone displaying his speed throughout the entire 30 minute A-Main. At the 2016 ROAR Fuel Nationals, Camden suffered a DNF and this year Camden goes on to take the win. Also congratulations to TLR/JConcepts’ Spencer Heckert for never giving up. Spencer had a rough qualifying effort but was able to seed himself 9th into the A-Main. Even after a bad start, Heckert was almost dead last and battled his way back up to take 2nd. Anothony Schumacher finished 3rd to complete the 15U podium.
Thanks to LiveRC for the stats and video and commentary.