It’s always thrilling to be a part of something new. The excitement, the anticipation, and the energy are turned up to the max as there will never be another 1st time once it’s already happened. With the popularity of artificial surfaces still on the rise, JConcepts teamed up with carpet track specialist, Northwest Hobbies, to present the 1st ever JConcepts Carpet Nationals event in Albany, Oregon. With Northwest Hobbies being one of the first tracks in the nation to go carpet, the local race scene has developed some extremely fast drivers that span from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. Mix in 2 World Champions, an AE designer who placed 2nd at the Worlds Warm-up at Yatabe, with the fast locals and you have one of the most competitive fields in US off-road carpet racing history.
The atmosphere was fantastic and there was definitely some magic in the air as racers dialed in their cars and the pace just kept getting faster throughout the weekend. The JConcepts control tire of Swaggers and Pin Downs provided awesome grip, very good wear, and a peace of mind not having to worry about the whole tire game. As Kody Numedahl put it, “No sanding, no saucing, just racing,” and we couldn’t agree more. We can’t thank Casey Vitale and his crew from Northwest Hobbies for all of the hard work and the awesome facility.
This year’s layout was ultra fast and tight. Utilizing all the space, the track featured drastically sharp turns that required cars to be planted and stable. The challenge was nailing the setup right so that you could rotate around 180’s without traction rolling. The double off of the wall ride was extremely tricky and the elevated pie-turn to tabletop was another feature that kept you on your toes as getting on the straightaway was crucial to carry the maximum amount of speed across the start/finish line. As with any layout, it’s always easy to get around the track, but hard to get around going fast and with carpet’s high-speed characteristics, made it an extremely adrenaline heavy challenge.
First, thanks to all the rookie drivers who came out to take part in the JConcepts Carpet Nationals. All of you did awesome! Class TQ, CJ Smith threw down the hammer with excellent performances in A2 and A3 with 2 wins giving him the overall. Happy as can be, Cody Schatz, moved up from his 8th qualifying spot to win A1 and place 3rd in A3 to take 2nd overall. Robert Herrick rounded out the top 3 with David Minner 4th and Angela Conway 5th.
17.5 2wd Privateer
New for 2018, the privateer class has been a hit during the JConcepts Super Cup and Indoor National Series. Proving to have a place in racing, the 17.5 2wd Privateer class was also popular at the Carpet Nationals as it gives people with like speed and situation a class of their own to race in. Showing the speed to take the top spot on the podium, Jacob Lauterio, won A1 and A3 to win the overall with Mike Lauterio 2nd and Lyle Parsons 3rd. Lincoln Conway came home in 4th and Richard Stobert 5th.
17.5 Expert 2wd
The 17.5 Expert 2wd class is always competitive no matter where you go. The racing is always top notch and taking 1st in this ultra-competitive field was the local speedster, Phil Vitale, with a win in A1 and A3 to seal up the overall. Xray’s Devin Patterson delivered a great effort to finish 2nd and Jeff Jenkins Jr. also showing some great speed to win A2 and finished 3rd. TLR’s Luke Unis made the trip from TRCR and found himself in the mix with a 4th place finish and Michael Archdeacon 5th overall.
13.5 Short Course
It was wildly popular win for Cole Mueller in the 13.5 Short Course class as wrapped up the overall in just 2 mains. After taking his win, the locals cheered the youngster on and you can see he was all smiles. Tom Cox went on to finish 2nd, Scott Dyche 3rd, and Lance Hopkins 4th.
13.5 Stadium Truck
It was the highly anticipated debut of the Team Associated T6.1 Stadium Truck and who better to showcase the speed of the new pick-up than Spencer Rivkin and Kody Numedahl. The two AE/JConcepts stars went back and forth multiple times putting on a terrific show during qualifying and triple mains. It looked like Kody was going to take the overall win, but Spencer Rivkin bounced back to win A2 and A3 and took the overall as Kody finished 2nd. Local speed demon, Justin Hall put in a great effort finishing 3rd, DieHard RC’s Brett Wilson finished 4th and TLR’s Luke Unis 5th.
It was a terrific race in the 13.5 4wd class as the top 3 were very close in pace. Xray’s Devin Patterson converted his TQ effort into an overall win by emerging victorious in A1 and A3. Jeff Jenkin Jr. and Yokomo/JConcepts’ Thomas Tran put up a good fight and finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Capping off the top 5 was Michael Archdeacon finishing 4th and Wesley Cipriotti 5th.
40+ 2wd Open
This weekend’s King of 40+ was AE/JConcepts’ Rhett McNair as the Texas native made the trip and found the pace he needed to take wins in A1 and A2 and the overall. As it was his first time racing at Northwest Hobbies, Rhett showed tremendous speed and consistency that ultimately gave him the win. AE/JConcepts’ Jack Leighan was only able to show up on Sunday morning and got up to speed quick enough to get himself into the main and remarkably finished 2nd overall. Phil Vitale went on to finish 3rd, Jeff Phelps 4th, and Shannon Houfek 5th.
The premier class of 2wd Modified didn’t disappoint with two world champions going head to head. With track position being so crucial on a small, tight track, AE/JConcepts’ Spencer Rivkin was able to utilize his TQ starting position to set the pace. With Spencer taking A1 and Yokomo/JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield winning A2, the showdown was set for A3. The 1st mistake came from Maifield dropping himself back to 3rd and having to play catch up. Without pressure, Spencer delivered a flawless run to take the win and the overall. Maifield finished 2nd, AE/JConcepts’ Kody Numedahl 3rd. Showing some serious speed and improvement over the years, Yokomo/JConcepts’ Brandon Foote placed himself 4th and AE/JConcepts’ Casey Vitale 5th.
4wd Modified was a completely different story than 2wd, as Yokomo/JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield came out in dominant fashion and drove like the World Champion that he is. Not losing a single round of qualifying, Maifield completed the perfect weekend in 4wd by winning A1 and A2 to take the overall. AE/JConcepts’ Spencer Rivkin would take the 2nd spot as Yokomo/JConcepts’ Brandon Foote once again showcasing his much-improved speed and consistency to finish 3rd. AE/JConcepts’ Casey Vitale would take home another impressive 4th place as Yokomo’s Tanner Day finished 5th.
Video Playlist –
A1 Playlist…. 4wd Mod, 40+ 2wd Open, 13.5 Truck, and 2wd Modified.
A2 of 4wd Modified.
A2 of 2wd Modified.
A3 Playlist…. 4wd Mod, 40+ 2wd Open, 13.5 Truck, and 2wd Modified.