Round 4 of the Team Associated/Reedy Summer Series took place August 16 at the HobbyTown USA Hobbyplex in Omaha, Nebraska. For some, the second half of the season is fresh start, and several drivers began their run to catch the current leaders. For a few of the frontrunners, Saturday was a day to put any question of their championship season to rest.
Plexspec has historically come down to the wire and 2014 doesn’t look any different. This year’s race is narrowed down to seven-year-olds Emerson Sturgeon and Chase Henriksen and eleven-year-old Aidan Olson. Emerson came into Saturday with a two point lead, but Chase closed the gap with his first TQ and win of the year. Emerson crossed the line in second place and Garret Darnall registered his first podium finish of the year. Emerson and Chase are now tied in points with Emerson having the better throwout. Aidan qualified for the A-main, but didn’t make the start for a school function so he will be three points back in third, but ready for round five.
Unlike previous seasons, the points battle for Stock Truck has been all over the map, and the TQ curse has struck all but one driver. For this round, young Zane Johnson would start first with another young Des Moines racer, Zach Edenburn second and Novak’s Brian Valles third. Zane got a good start, while Zach went from second to last. It was down to Zane and Brian for the win. Zane held Brian off for more than half the race before Brian got by. On that same lap, Zane made a brilliant move and took the lead back, but then bounced off a pipe before the last corner which let Brian take the lead for good. Zane finished five tenths behind him at the finish line. Zach Edenburn came all the way back to take third. Brian’s win makes him the first two time winner of the season. Jon Berding finished mid-pack, but holds on to a two-point lead over Zane for second place. Brian is looking for back to back championships, but will have to hold off the young guns from Iowa to do it.
Stock SCT is all but wrapped up for Cole Henriksen. He put down his fourth TQ in a row and then sailed to victory by ten seconds over Jay Fairchild and Todd Brewer. Cole only needs one more good finish and the title will be his. The points race is still on for second and third. Jon Berding, Mike Fuller, Todd Brewer and Adam Kohler are only separated by three points.
4wd mod had the most exciting finish of the day. Team Associated’s Chad Karstens and TLR’s Alex Sturgeon dueled for the TQ all afternoon. Chad captured his second TQ of the year by mere tenths. Serpent’s Dave Albarico, who made the trip from Kansas City, would start third. Chad caught an inside pipe halfway through the opening lap which let half the field by. Chad had to battle through Dave and Kyosho’s Dillan Voelker before moving back into second place. Alex paced the field for all but the last four laps of the race. A mistake of his own allowed Chad to retake the lead. On the last lap Alex literally jumped over Chad on the sketchy front double to retake the lead, which sent most of the Omaha crowd into a frenzy. Chad made a clean inside pass over the following double, which made the Des Moines guys go berserk. Chad finished off a great comeback win. Alex and David finished the podium. Chad’s win puts him back into the conversation after missing round three, but he’ll need to win out the rest of the year and get a little help. Alex Sturgeon leads the points with Kyosho’s Derek Wood and Dillan Voelker several points back.
After missing the first round for a school function, Team Associated’s Alex Vanderbeek has driven three consecutive TQ’s and wins to take a four-point lead over three-time Pro-2 champ Dillan Voelker. Dillan finds himself in familiar territory, having been in nearly the same situation last year. What neither of these two counted on was Tom Rinderknecht. Tom has steadily improved his finishing position each round and finally split the two frontrunners on Saturday. Alex can’t relax because Dillan will have to finish in front of him twice to have a shot at becoming a four-time champ.
17.5 Stock Buggy
If anyone was going to have a shot at cutting into Tom Rinderknecht’s points lead, Saturday was going to have to be the day. Dustin Hosick looked like he had the goods. He put his Kyosho first on the grid and earned the bonus point that comes along with it. Tom settled for the second starting spot, but it didn’t take long for Tom and Dustin to switch places. Three laps in, Dustin made an error and Tom never looked back. Dustin tried his best, but could never reduce the seven second margin. Behind them Adam Kohler just edged out Dave Smith for third and scored his best finish of the year. All in all, nothing changed in the points. Tom and Dustin broke even for the round, so Tom will go into round five with a six-point lead. Behind him, there is one point each between Dustin, Jeremy Heerde and last year’s champ, Mason Fuller. It looks more and more like another young driver from Des Moines will be crowned a summer series champ.
2wd Mod Buggy
On paper, the mod buggy class at the Plex should be full of parity. The entire A-main finished on the same lap, and each driver’s fast lap was only a few tenths apart. TLR’s Alex Sturgeon and Team Associated’s Chad Karstens continued their duel from 4wd. This time it was Alex getting the TQ, his third of the year, by less than a second. Chad started behind him with Team Associated’s Alex Vanderbeek third. The main event was about as straight forward as it could get. Alex Sturgeon held the top spot throughout, eventually finishing six seconds ahead of Chad. Alex Vanderbeek came back from a rough start and finished third. Alex Sturgeon’s win almost puts him out of reach. He’ll need one more top three finish to secure his third mod buggy title in a row. Chad clings to a two-point lead over Alex Vanderbeek. Derek Wood and Mack Vanderbeek round out the top five with a considerable margin over sixth place.
This just might be David Fast’s year. David qualified his Team Associated T4.2 into the top spot and held off Team Associated’s Bubba Boggs and Kyosho’s Dillan Voelker for his second win in a row. He holds a three-point lead over Dillan, with Bubba a few notches back in third. Dave has played second fiddle to Dillan quite a few times in the past. Their friendly rivalry goes all the way back to 2010 when the track was outdoors. It will be entertaining to see them square off for the final two rounds.
Tekno’s Josh Havens really wants to beat last year’s champ Dustin Hosick. At the start of the season it appeared Dustin was on his way to go back to back, but Josh has recovered nicely and closed to within one point. Dustin’s day started well with his second TQ of the day, but two laps in, Josh took the lead and held it to the buzzer. Dustin worked his way back to second, but had to get around Don Drozd to do so. Josh and Dustin broke even in the points. They will roll into round five still one point apart. 2012 champ, Mark Gengenbach is in a dead heat with Don Drozd for third.
The next round of the Team Associated/Reedy Summer Series at the Plex is September 13th. More than likely, several new championships will be crowned. Thanks to all the sponsors that make the series stand apart; Team Associated, Reedy, Jconcepts, Pro-line, AKA, RPM, MIP, Viper RC, Xpert Servos, Novak, Castle Creations and Orca.