Wow what a week…..actually 8 days from California to Indiana and Back. I made it a mission this year to get to as many big races as I possibly could and well this was the biggest in the US this year, The ROAR 1/8 Nitro Nationals. For those who aren’t into RC this race was the gateway to the WORLDS in Australia in 2018. ROAR gives the top 30 drivers the ability to sign up to go the worlds to compete for the USA. Anyways onto the trip. Daniel Adams of Proline picked me up in the newly wrapped PL van and we headed off on our 8 state journey that included California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and finally Indiana. Heck we only missed our 9th state by about 500 yards as we were right on the border of Michigan. The drive was a long one pulling anywhere from 12 to 18 hours just to get there in time. Hats off to Daniel for keeping us safe and well-being able to do that kind of haul. Neither of us had been down the I-40 much past Albuquerque so it was all new sites to see and well smell–Thanks Texas… For much of the trip it was the same thing, Flat fields, windmills and roadkill. We made it into Amarillo the first night and were welcomed with the wonderful smell of cattle–just about made us sick-WOW. After a few hours of rest it was onto our final destination. ST. Louis was cool as we ended up right at the ST. louis Arch which was quite a sight. Who knew the railroad went right under it and the mighty Mississippi right by its side with all the river barges. Earlier that day we had checked out our route and calculated it would get us in around midnight..Unfortunately we hadn’t accounted for the final time change once in Indiana so we got in after 1am. It wasn’t until the next day when I texted my wife that she said I texted really early…Woops@! The next morning we headed to the track where it was already busy with the sound of cars on the track. We were greeted by Kevin Meyers the owner of Stateline who got us settled in with a space for the tent and the truck. After getting setup I took a little stroll around the place. What a beautiful area with lush green grass and trees. The track is nestled right along the freeway so anyone driving by can see the place. The place was pretty spread out with most pitting out of trailers or motorhomes. This kinda made it tough to find people. Stateline did have a tent setup for drivers that didn’t have anything setup which was great for most of the guys that flew in. The next day started official practice when ROAR would take over. The pace of the day was fast as drivers had to tech their cars before a run etc. Once again the track would go through some major changed during the day from wet to dry to ? depending on how they were watering it which frustrated many of the drivers.
On Friday here came the dreaded RAIN! Everyone woke up to dark and gloomy skies in the morning. Many racers opted to stay at the hotel and catch some extra sleep while it rained. Overnight the track crew covered the track with one very large tarp, which helped to keep much of the water off the surface. On our arriving the track crew were pumping water from the pits and some of the track into their drain system all of which ended up down at the Mugen pits….OOPS. Luckily it didn’t take long for the area to dry out. Seems like that place eats water for lunch. During our down time we decided to have a little fun with the Proline team having them pose with the PL umbrella….What elese are you to do when it raining and we can’t race.We finally started racing around 3pm that day and ROAR or the track decided to do a full round of just practice to help the track. I think this was a bad plan as we were already way behind schedule. Seeding runs went late into the night and with poor track lighting made for some interesting runs.
Saturday saw sunny skies again. The track was still together but taking a beating from the weather and the almost 400 cars on it. Once again the track/ROAR would have another practice round before 4 rounds of qualifying would start. They started quals based on the 1 round of seeding that really happened instead of the 2 scheduled rounds. This frustrated some as it would put them in lower heats. ROAR did make the decision to do re-sorts after the first round of Quals to help those effected by the rain. Stateline and ROAR made the decision not to water for the rest of the event which might have been a good thing to announce to everyone trying to make decisions on wha tires to run. Maybe they did but nobody ever heard it because they really didn’t even have a PA system. The day went late into the night around 1am under the lights as lower mains had to get done in order to end Sundays A-Final at a decent time.
Sunday saw mostly sunny skies with some very very light drizzle first thing in the AM. Once again Stateline/ROAR would do another controlled practice pushing us even further behind schedule with everything that needed to happen. Lower mains would get the day rolling with many drivers not feeling they got to where they should be because of weather or track conditions and some would have to play the bump up game. Unfortunately during the day ROAR would do a Concourse competition which I totally missed standing 20ft from the track because I didn’t even hear it was going on. Congrats to the winner whomever it was?
Truck Finals was very exciting watching Ty Tessmann give X-Ray the first ever national title in offroad against some strong completion like Ryan Maifield from Mugen and Ryan Lutz who was on it with the Tekno truck.
Anyways some other exciting racing would ensure during the day one of which was the 1/2 simi finals which saw Cole Ogden come from starting a full lap down because of a penalty to putting himself into the main event.
Before the Buggy Final they would run the finals of the Under 16 class. I would witness a stellar run by Camden Lime who is a regular force here on the west coast take the win and some really disturbing meltdowns by several of the other young drivers. Not sure why the ROAR officials let these drivers get away with all the yelling and cursing (yes curing like sailors/truck drivers) that was going on during the race but also the parents whom were down below pitting for them. Very sad to see these kind of people infiltrating our sport.
It was finally time for the Finals of Buggy which is what we were all here for. This is the one Race that say’s you’re the best in the US and the race that gets you to the Worlds. Maifield would get the early jump only to get tangled into a pipe allowing many to get by one of which was Ty Tessman. Ty would start to stretch out his lead a bit until Cole Ogden who started near the rear would once again be on it and would pass Ty and start to pull away… after a few min into the main Ty would start to suffer an electrical problem causing him to lose control of the buggy and making him do an unscheduled pit stop putting him a lap down to the field. Cole would soon have Tebo knocking on his door and whom would eventually take the lead. At around the 15min or so mark we would see Tebo starting to drop in the standings yet the car was still making laps. A transponder failure would have the team scrambling up to the announcers booth to discuss. After a few min corrections were made and they were hand counting Tebo. Ryan lutz would charge hard to be within striking distance of Tebo a few time during the hour-long main but it was Tebo’s time to shine. Taboo would win in commanding fashion with his whole family watching followed by Ryan Lutz and Spencer Rivkin.
During the weekend several people I talked to mentioned how Tebo’s car looked good, although he wasn’t what seemed the fastest on the track all week. Tebo is always a factor but as the years go on it gets harder for these guys and it had been many years since his last nationals win and many weren’t counting him as a factor to win. Although Tessmann and Maifield dropping out might have played into his winning there is no denying that Tebo kept everything together (Except his transponder) and drove a great race ahead of the competition. I think this one will probably be his most special as he was able to share it with his wife and kids looking on.
After the race it was get everything posted to the World Wide Web, say our goodbye’s and get out of dodge. Daniel and I heading on our long trip back to California again for the next 2 day’s.
It was sure fun hanging out with everyone at the event. The people at Stateline are second to none when it comes to hospitality, from the Dinner and breakfast to games and hanging at the fire pit at night thank again for being willing to put up with all of us for the week. It was also great meeting lots of what I hope to be new friends in the RC industry too.
I want to thank everyone who helped make this trip happen for me this year. TeknoRC, Proline Racing, Neobuggy, Absolute Hobbyz. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do bringing everyone the over 1200 pictures and video from the event. Please make sure you guys pay them a visit by clicking the links and to purchase any pictures in a Full Resoluiton digital download–(Its like getting the digital negitive), or to purchase prints please visit my website RUGSPIN GRAPHIX