Race: 2018 Valley Champs
Track: Rain-Man's Hobby and Raceway

June 30th - July 1st: With temperatures hitting 100 plus degrees Fahrenheit in Bakersfield California. The weather wasn’t the only thing heating up. Despite lower than expected entries, the competition was high and racing was close. For this event, I ran both the Yokomo US YZ2-DTM2 and YZ4-SF in their respective stock class.

Coming into practice with my current setup for Nor-Cal Raceway, my YZ2-DTM2 wasn’t as hooked as I wanted, the setup was too specialized for Nor-Cal. Spending the day of practice searching for a comfortable setup. I ended up with a pretty neutral setup that was closer to kit. With a setup out of the equation, I started to focus on gearing. Settling on a 26/72 for the SchuurSpeed V4 Extreme Spec. I now felt that the car as a whole was at its best.

With my confidence high, I was ready for qualifying. Q1 was a decent run but had a couple mistakes. I would start with a five for the round. Q2 and Q3 was my best runs for qualifying. With each run my times were getting better. I was able to take the TQ in Q2 and Q3. The day was over for 2wd buggy qualifying and Q4 would pick up the next day. In Q4 I would take a two and was edge out of TQ by less than a second to Steve Godwin.

Sitting TQ in 2wd stock buggy. I knew all I needed to do was drive smooth and clean. With the top three running so close to each other, I knew I needed to keep the inside line as closed off as possible. I clipped a pipe after the five-pack, and caused a bit of chaos. 2nd and 3rd tangled into me as well. I would come out of the wreck in 2nd, Steve Godwin went from 2nd to 3rd and Tanner Ashmore went from 3rd to 1st. Steve and I would go 4 laps battling it out for 2nd. When everything was said and done, I would end A1 with a three, Steve a two and Tanner a one.

Going into A2, I changed my strategy by making a shock oil change to the rear and went out with a fresh set of JConcepts Inc Gold Dirt Webs scuffed into a low tread. Tanner and I pulled away early on. But an early mistake had me in the hunt. Keeping the pressure on Tanner, I knew I would need to time an attack at the right moment. Tanner opting for the safer double-double line before the straight-away, I went for the pass with the optional quad line. The pass was smooth, clean and stuck. I would end A2 with a one and the best overall time in stock buggy mains, Tanner a two, and Steve a three.

With only a couple practice runs with my YZ4-SF, My car was pretty dialed and I felt that it didn’t need any changes. Q1 resulted in a four, Q2 a two, Q3 a 3, and Q4 a five. My inconsistency was showing in 4wd. Despite knowing I had the equipment to do well. I struggled to hit my lines and ultimately would start 4th in the A-Main.

Going into the mains, I knew I needed to be aggressive and get into 2nd early on. If not, Chris Wesson would pull away and be untouchable. A1 and A2 could only be described as Deja-Vu. Each main had the same result, almost identical times, and same tactics. One the first lap, I would double-triple the five-pack. Each time I would go from 4th-3rd. Then on the same lap. The double-double section. I would pick up 2nd by taking the optional quad line.

With Chris in 1st and me in the hunt, I would get around him and would lead the mains for the majority of the race. Each main at exactly the same section and the same lap, I would get the quad wrong and Chris would get by. A1 and A2 would end with Chris in 1st and me in 2nd.

Ending the event with a pair of deuces. I am happy with the speed that I demonstrated but feel unsatisfied with my results. Arguably, I have the best equipment in the industry, and there is no reason for these results other than driver mistakes. My performance showed the ability to bring home the top podium spot in both classes. In the end, Chris and Tanner out drove me.

Congrats to Tanner Ashmore and Chris Wesson on their victories. On to the next one, JConcepts INS round three at Hobby Action July 13th.

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