RC Tracks of Las Vegas Grand Opening

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The much anticipated new Las Vegas off-road facility had its grand opening last week, and what a grand opening it was! You could really feel the excitement at the new facility. There was a ribbon cutting, awards for the workers who have been at it day and night to get ready, and of course, racing!

ribbon1Chris Tocco and his partner David Tally have built an amazing facility, and invigorated not only the Vegas RC community, but all the folks at the Sports Center of Las Vegas. They are already talking about upgrades to the other parts of the facility. There is no lack of things to do around the track, with a go-cart track, batting cages, and a food vendor inside the main building. This weekend there was a gun show at the facility and many racers walked through and even bought things. The track lighting is fantastic with great visibility provided by several large lighting fixtures on very tall poles. Other features include Direct TV on 4 large flat screens in the pits, first class pit spaces on new tables, a great sound system, one of the best hot pit lanes you can imagine with big screen race data…. all things have been considered in the brilliant plan to bring this facility to life.

The surface was really good. When the track is watered, it’s a nice balance of old school off-road with some bumps and good character without getting blown out. It holds water well at night and races really well without water. The tire wear is awesome. Cody used Proline M3 Holeshots all day and they still had tread after qualifying and his 30 minute main. He could have raced another hour on the tires easy. Some dry blue groove running has been done on the track over the past several months and the rubber gets laid down pretty quick. It appears at this early stage that the dry running is going to be really good. The surface is much better than any other track Vegas has had in the past.

The racing consisted of 2 qualifiers and a 30 minute main on Sunday. After an early race melee collected Cody and wadded up several cars at the start of the main, Cody managed to regain his stride and get into 2nd behind Ty before his first pit stop. I wanted to let him race and extend his first pit stop a little, but I extended it a little too far. He made it into pit lane and I fueled his car, but it sounded a little lean. I decided to throw the car down anyway rather than waste time, and he flamed out leaving pit lane. I guess there was air in the fuel line and the engine stopped. (this can be seen in the RC Insider video, at the 8:20 mark) I really wish I had held the car a little longer before setting him down, but I guess hind sight is 20/20. I really hate it when my mistake costs Cody an opportunity. By the time I got his car restarted, Cody lost a full lap and found himself in 10th position. He climbed his way back up to 3rd, but got tangled up with some other cars and dropped back to 5th at the end of the main. Ty Tessman had a pretty flawless run and won the race. Congrats to Ty on yet another win.

Congratulations are also in order for Cody’s Kyosho teammate Mikey Bustamante who TQ’d and won the 1/8 electric class. Well done Mikey!

For Cody it was pretty disappointing on the racing side of things, but the story here was really about the track. We learned a lot and Cody’s pace was good. We made a few set-up adjustments and it worked really well. We felt like Cody’s car was good. We have provided a set-up sheet in the photo gallery if you need his setting info.

Thanks so much to RC Tracks of Las Vegas, Chris Tocco, David Tally, and both their families. They have really put all their time and energy into this facility and it shows. The view of the Las Vegas strip ain’t bad either. Looking forward to the Kyosho Masters on December 12th!

Enjoy the photos:

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Summer School!

An Inside Look at the Cody and Paul King RC Workshop at RC Madness

by Erich Reichert

Stitched PanoramaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a kid I couldn’t wait for the end of the year to come around. Those last few hot June days where the heat would force the teacher to give up and go easy on us. With lights off in the classroom we’d phone it in that handful of end of the year days playing 7-Up and watching movies. I’d often dream about the summer, getting to stay at home all day and work on my RC cars, building a track in my parents backyard (sorry about that grass Dad) so that I could practice all day long and get my car super dialed in. School, for this writer at least, was but a mere obstacle that I had to get through in order to do what I loved more than anything else, race RC cars. I spent many of those summer days doing my best to figure out what those other mounting holes on the shock tower were for and why my car would always point up to the sky when I went off jumps no matter what I did. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, kids have it too easy these days. When I saw the flyer posted for a clinic coming to RC Madness featuring 2010 IFMAR World Champion Cody King and his Father and Master Mechanic Paul King, I couldn’t believe it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat a cool idea! Something us normal guys… the “Joe’s” of RC if you will… never get to do, pick the brains of a pro racer and gain the knowledge in a days time that took them years of testing and experimenting to learn. I showed up along with a few dozen of my fellow local racing buddies, pad, pen and buggy in hand ready to study. Now this was a school curriculum I could get with!

Pulling into the parking lot at Madness I could see that owner Chris Marcy and event organizer Paul Quartuccio had pulled out all the stops. A huge tent in the parking lot shaded three rows of tables and folding chairs; think outdoor college classroom. Up front a single table with Cody’s Kyosho MP9 TKI3 in full race livery sat on its car stand and setup board, a dry erase board behind,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA a table piled high with prizes from Kyosho, Reds, Pro-Line Racing, Byron Fuels, Absolutely Hobbyz and KO Propo (Cody’s sponsors) andOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA large flat screen monitors to either side which were used to guide us through Paul’s talk on setup and chassis dynamics, and then another on engine tuning after lunch. Oh that’s right did I mention lunch? More on that later!

Things kicked off easy with maintenance and track conditions, all the things that Paul will do to prepare Cody’s buggy for the coming race both at home and then when they arrive to a track. From there we tackled the ever elusive roll center, camber link positions, caster and kick-up and sway bars before moving on to shocks, differentials and arm mount positions and wheel angles. Sounds like a lot huh; it sure is! As I sat at my RC desk, I looked around to find some feverishly taking notes, others just listening and asking questions but one thing was on everyone’s mind for sure… lunch!

lunch50The smell of the smoker, cooking away, blew through our outdoor classroom and it became nearly impossible for so much pro racer info to overcome the sweet scent of pulled pork. RC Madness didn’t just grill up some burgers for lunch, they brought in the heavy hitters from Rub and Smoke. Everything from pulled pork and chicken wings to hot dogs, salads, beans and more, there was a TON of food! Finishing up lunch the electric racers that came to the workshop broke off for some one on one track time with Cody while Paul went into the second section of his program on nitro tuning. While he covered fuel choices and content, tuning, glow plugs, break in and a lot more, Cody helped drivers individually; taking their cars for a spin and then bringing them down to pit lane to talk about what they can do to improve the feel of their cars, what they want to look for in their setups and driving style for lines around the course.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It’s not everyday you get some bench racing with your car AND a world champion! The day ended with a Q&A session which covered student choices of topics including tire gluing, tire compounds and many other topics. As the day ended and school let out, racers took to the track again for some testing and hot laps to get ready for a full day of racing the following morning.

Unless you live in Southern California, what most would consider the hotbed of this hobby, you may never get the opportunity to talk to a pro, much less sit down with them and go through what you’re doing in your own race program. RC Madness and the Kings gave local CT racers the opportunity to not only hear what they’ve learned along the way, but get inside their heads and find out from them first hand what they do that puts them on the podium. Keep an eye out for Paul and Cody at a track near you, their workshops aren’t just the ideal summer school, they’re a complete experience.

Some words from the teachers:

From Paul:

chris_marcy“First thing I want to do is thank Chris Marcy at RC Madness for putting a ton of effort into this workshop. I also want to thank all the guys who came out. Everyone was courteous and engaging, asking relevant questions and making the workshop fun. Of course I have to thank all Cody’s sponsors that stepped up and sent prizes. Kyosho  sent the RT6 stadium truck kit, Reds a R5T TE2 top of the line engine, KO Propo sent a package including 2 RSx2 servos, Byron Fuels sent enough fuel to provide 3 quarts of fuel for every participant, Proline provided nearly a set of tires for every participant, glue and tire bags, and Absolute Hobbyz sent a box with heavy duty servo horns, more tires, fuel bottles and more. It was a great prize raffle and worth the price of admission for sure! I enjoyed our time in Connecticut and look forward to returning.”

From Cody:

alex50“Thanks so much to everyone that came out, and especially Chris and everyone at RC Madness. I really enjoyed being in Connecticut, I like it out here. Whoever cooked the lunch should get a plaque or medal, it was awesome. I had a lot of fun meeting everyone and it was fun to drive all the different cars and give guys my feedback about how their cars felt. I enjoy helping the guys. It was fun to run with everyone and share information. Congratulations to Alex Kosciuszek (easy for you to say) for winning the expert buggy class. Also shout out to Kyle Rhodes who was quick but had radio trouble. I hope to be back out soon to race sometime.”

 

Cody King ROAR Nationals Wrap-up

Stitched PanoramaWell, we are licking our wounds a bit after Nationals. We came into this race with high hopes and felt really good about our preparation, but to some degree it may have worked against us. We spent a lot of the time waiting for the track to come in like it did for the Lone Star race, but frankly, it never happened.

Truggy

In the truck class, we made a lot of progress with the truck to get on pace. Cody would start 5th on the grid, get into 3rd, and then run out of gas. I have really been scratching my head on that one, because our fuel economy had been around 11 minutes the entire time, and then ran out at 9:20. Even more confusing is making a 9:30 stop the first time and having 25cc of fuel remaining in the gun (about what I expected), then running out at 9:20 doesn’t seem possible. It was really disappointing. That’s the problem when you don’t have telemetry on the vehicles, just looking at the fuel gun to gauge the consumption. My guess is there was a bubble in the tank when I put fuel in and I thought it was full but maybe it wasn’t. We fueled pretty quickly the first time because normally I have confidence in my gun, but maybe it got me this time. If there is an air bubble on a fuel stop, it’s a double whammy because you think the fuel economy is good, but in fact the tank is low on fuel. It’s a slippery slope and a trap that is easy to fall into. Could the cap have opened up on the track, perhaps some fuel spilled out? We will never know, but maybe..

Buggy

In the buggy class, it was a mixed bag. After totally struggling during qualifying, Cody still managed to start 4th in the odd semi, which in my opinion was fantastic. I know there were some significant shortcomings on the set-up, and he had to wheel the heck out of it to get it done. 30I can honestly say now the track never got like it was at the warm-up race. It was unusually slick and loose, sort of polished but with dust around the edges. We made a few changes Saturday night, and just went into Sunday hoping for the best.

The first lap of the semi was a disaster, as another car spun Cody into the pipe and sent him to the back. Cody slowly worked his way through traffic passing some guys as they stopped for fuel. In the end Cody finished a strong 3rd, which would put him 6th on the grid for the final. We were really happy with Cody’s pace in the semi. He had second fast lap to Dakotah in his semi, and faster than the other top guys in the other semi as well by a fair margin. This is normally a good sign when the semi pace is good so we were happy. I honestly felt like Cody had a chance to win the race at that point.

27In the final it seemed like we lost a little pace from the semi. Not sure why, maybe just with the added intensity we dropped off a little? We had a number of mishaps that hurt Cody. We had a miscommunication where I asked him to stop for fuel and he thought I said conserve fuel. I feel bad about that one, I should have been more clear calling him in. He crashed trying to come in to pit lane and had to go a dangerous extra lap when he was low on fuel. Thankfully we had a nice margin for error with the Reds R7 Evoke and Byron Fuel not using a lot of fuel. In another incident, a corner marshal fell trying to get his car and it cost a little extra time. Without those two incidents perhaps he is challenging for 3rd. He kept going into 3rd place when the other guys pitted, but that got out of reach after the pit lane incident. Cody finished up the last few minutes probably watching the lead battle out of the corner of his eye, and finished 5th.

Wrap-Up

Anyhow, this race was a real grind.. hot, humid, and hard work to try and get on pace late after realizing our original settings weren’t going to work. We felt lost on Saturday with the set-up; so to get in the final, have a decent pace in the semi, and finish 5th isn’t totally bad. I thought we were really in trouble Saturday night, but our continued work and adjustments paid off. Truggy was totally disappointing. When you feel like you have a car that could win, but run out of fuel, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

In closing I would like to say huge thank you to Chris Allison and all the Thornhill Raceway guys for a great race. They really transformed their place into a venue worthy of a National Championship. The track was fair and designed properly to let the guys race and duke it out. I think that is obvious from the great racing in both classes. Also the air conditioned tent was amazing keeping it bearable in the humidity. Also, thanks to Joe Pillars, Jared and all the Team Kyosho guys for keeping it fun and making it a team effort. Last but not least, thanks to ROAR and the technical inspection team. They have a tough job and took on the gyro issue head on. Also, congratulations to Cody’s Proline teammates Ty Tessman and Dakotah Phend on their National titles.

That’s pretty much it.. Next stop Sicily for the Worlds in September. We have a bunch of smaller races leading up to that, and we will use those to get ready. See everyone in Connecticut for Cody’s Workshop!

Some pictures for your perusal:

The Dual is Kual ( not really, it was hot)

The second annual “The Dual” is in the books and it was a wild one. The race format is unique because the drivers are racing every time they get on the track. Its done in the Reedy Race format, with random combinations of drivers drawing numbered ping pong balls for grid positions. Every heat is a race, and each position is a point. For the invite class, each driver runs buggy and truggy, with 3 heats and one throw out in each class per day (6 heats per day). Adding yet another twist, the race is run on TWO tracks, the Proline track in Banning on Saturday, and Thunder Alley in Beaumont on Sunday. Each morning you get 5 minutes of practice in each class on the fresh layout, and then race. Pretty cool..

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pitI have to say, we limped into this race with being a bit sick, and ran some practice cars because our recent busy schedule has taken its toll on the cars. Cody’s stuff was pretty beat up from all the running at Thornhill. We had a decent practice buggy, and we freshened up his truggy from Texas, and away we went.

The first round Saturday was real rough with the chassis settings a little off, but in round two Cody won a tough buggy heat, so we felt good about the direction we were going. For round 3, they sorted the lowest points together, so all the fast guys were in one heat. After an early tangle in traffic, Cody was shuffled to the back. Our fuel economy was real good earlier in the day, so I decided to go the entire 12 minute main without fuel. It turned out to be a good gamble as Cody was battling for 3rd and took that position with only a few corners to go. It was impressive that his Reds R7 EVO went 12:10 on fuel and still had 10cc fuel remaining. Impressive. It was approaching 11pm when we left the track Saturday, and we had to be at Thunder Alley at 6:30 am Sunday, so we rushed to the hotel for 5 or 6 hours of shuteye.

CInvitePodium50OpenPodium50ody again started out slowly and improved, with 2 seconds in buggy, and a 4 and 1 in truggy. We had unfortunate luck in both 3rd heats with dnfs… Cody would finish 4th overall and collect $170 in prize money. Not too shabby. Big congratulations to Cody’s Proline teammate Ty Tessman on a strong performance and the overall win. I give those guys credit for traveling so far and being well prepared each time they come out. It’s tough to have fresh cars all the time for so many races, and their good preparation pays off. Big congrats to Cody’s Kyosho/Reds teammate Colin Herzig with the dominating expert buggy class win. He posted just 4 points each day to take the victory. Also, Kyosho/Reds driver Mikey Bustamante, hitting the podium in 3rd. Great job guys!

Big thanks to Proline and Thunder Alley putting on this race, and congrats to Rob Jackson for such a fun and different event. Levi Jackson outdid himself once again with two great layouts. All the drivers raved about how much fun they had and how race-able the tracks were. Great job to Jimmy Babcock and his tech crew as well, running things and keeping the program rolling.

Two more weeks of testing and then it’s Nationals! See yall in Texas!