Cody King Wins Mugen Series Round 1..

TQ and Win for Cody in Chula Vista, CA

Stitched Panorama

This weekend marked the first round of the Mugen Grand Prix in Chula Vista, California. There were plenty of local fast guys in attendance including Cody Smith who won the Hi-Tech race on this layout, and track manager Don Vinkemulder. With only 20 minutes of practice Cody went to work right away with a TQ run in round 1 of qualifying, which would stand giving Cody the pole position.  On the first lap of the 30 minute final, Cody bobbled over the “wooden wash board” and surrendered the lead to 2nd qualifier Cody Smith. The two Codys would freight train around the track nose to tail for the first 6 minutes, separating themselves from the rest of the field. It was obvious King wanted the lead, but he was patient and not making any aggressive moves. King would finally pass Smith in the pits and maintain that advantage for the rest of the race, as the two battled through traffic for 20 more minutes. King would hold on for 1st, with Smith 2nd and Vinkemulder 3rd. Don DQ’d himself as track manager, allowing hard charging young gun Mason Elliott to receive the 3rd place award. The JBRL series will roll into Heritage RC Park next weekend, and looks to be an interesting line-up with King, Drake, Maifield, Moller, and likely others in attendance.

Cody used the following equipment:

  • Kyosho TKI3 Buggy
  • Reds R5T TE Engine, Reds 2104 pipe with XS header and TS-4 plug
  • Pro-Line X3 Lockdown tires, Proline rims and glue
  • Byron Fuels Worlds Blend – 25% Nitro/8% Oil
  • KO Propo EX-1 radio and RSX2 power servos

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..

trackpano1

Stitched Panorama

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!

 

Neobuggy 2014 – Not a win, but any bridesmaid would be proud. :)

Another Neobuggy in the books, and what a race it was. Another brilliant production by Neobuggy’s Philip Mortstead and his DXR track crew. It’s really incredible how they come in and transform the Harper Adams University “Soil Hall” into a racing venue. We can only hope it continues for many years into the future.

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The Track

The layout broke through yet again with previously unseen obstacles. This year featured a cleverly placed dip in the track going onto the straight which would provide options; either a punched high flying style, or keeping the wheels planted and putting down power.  Very race-able with no washboard and less chicanes than last year.

Practice

Weather was cooler this year over last, so we anticipated some set-up adjustments, especially tire compounds. We began with last year’s set-up with some mild modifications, and the car was ok, but we adjusted the shock damping a bit. Cody was on pace and able to seed in the top group, so we weren’t too worried. We still weren’t totally satisfied, but good enough to go into qualifying.

Qualifying

Tire choice was difficult with the changing temperatures. The temps were wavering from day to day between the 50s and 60s, and for tire selection, that means a lot. Cody’s qualifying was riddled with crashes and problems with traffic. Here is a summary of each round for Cody:

Round 1 – lap times were slightly off, but nobody was real fast.. sitting decent mid pack but then a mistake on lap 5 dropped down to 13th..

Round 2 – fast lap this round with 29.6.. again looking ok  early and pushing the pace, but another mistake on lap 5.. drivability was an issue and need to soften the clutch.

Round 3 – pace was still good, but another crash (this time on lap 3) dropped back to 14th. Cody did a couple 29 second laps and clawed his way back up to 8th. Not everyone did 29 so that was pretty good. This would be his best points in qualifying.

Round 4 – (day 2) slow.. disappointing after finishing the day fast yesterday. Tires too soft.  The car was still too punchy and we went to .95 clutch springs to smooth things out.

Round 5 – 29 second lap was really rare as the track slowed down. Cody battled a little but had a couple bad laps and traffic related issues. Not a great round result-wise, but we learned some things and still had a positive feeling for semis and mains.

This year was quite the contrast to last year, as Cody TQ’d two rounds last year, and didn’t TQ any this year. We still felt good about his pace and fast laps in round 2. We ended up with the standard shock set-up after trying the angle hole pistons we ran last year. This track was quite different with the off-camber corners. If you set-up the car for the off-camber sections, you can make up a lot of time. During the course of these struggles, we made some changes to the car to make it more consistent and easier to drive. This was especially true after it was obvious Cody was not going to TQ. We used the remaining time to make choices what he would do in the semi and main. The entire time we didn’t get discouraged and we knew he still had the pace and experience to get it done. That was an important part of this, to stay confident you can win. We always felt he had a good chance to do well in the final.

Semi

On Monday, the temp was up to 65f, and it made our tire choice much easier. We would be on Pro-Line X-4 Suburbs the entire day. After some careful shock preparation, and a small camber link test in the semi warm-up, we were ready.

In the semi, Cody knew what he needed to do and drove a steady race. He had one less pit stop than many of the guys, so he knew that was working in his favor. It just allows you to relax a little more. Cody finished 4th in his semi and it was much faster than semi B, so he would grid up 4th for the final. That was a goal of ours to grid in the top 5. You really need to be near the front to have a chance.

Main

For the main, Cody quickly got into third and then battled with his teammate David Ronnefalk for the 2nd place spot. David cased the catapult jump and Cody went inside to get 2nd, and then went after Ty. Cody took the lead and the crowd cheered their approval, but Cody cased a jump a few corners later and gave back the lead. On the first pit stop, Ty and Cody came in together, but Cody crashed coming in and lost time. Adding insult to injury, he also crashed going out and surrendered 8 seconds to Ty in one lap! This lead would remain the same most of the following 30 minutes, with Cody battling through traffic. tycodyIt wasn’t until the last 6 laps that Cody realized he had a chance to win the race. Realizing his pace was quick, he really pushed and did two 29 flat laps to shave 5 seconds off the lead and nearly caught Ty in the end but came up short. Cody’s Kyosho teammate David Ronnefalk would hang on for 3rd, with Jared Tebo 4th and Elliot Boots 5th. It was a Kyosho logjam at the top of the results, with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

Wrap-up

We got close but didn’t close the deal this time. With the fastest laps of the event, and especially the last 6 laps, doing TWO 29 flat laps that shattered anything that had been done, and 28.9 in the middle of the final, that was pretty special. It’s a good confidence builder for the other very important races coming up this year. Big thank you to all Cody’s sponsors for the great support. Also, the Neorace crew and all Cody’s team mates and friends in England for a fun time. Cheers!

1/8 Electric Nats next.. no glow plugs needed! Enjoy the pictures and video:

Final Day Video

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Cody semi:

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Final:

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