Round 2 of the SoCal RC Scale Series Presented by Tuning Haus, held on December 27th saw an increase in participation with a total of 36 racers making up 45 entries in the GT Sedan and Formula 1 classes. There were some new faces present for round 2 and a few from round 1 missing. Even with the additional two heats over round 1, the program ran smooth and finished around the same time. With Christmas just two days earlier, it was time to get to the racing action and see just who was naughty and who was nice.
Race Report by SoCal RC Scale Series
The qualifying format of average 5 best laps over a three minute qualifying run again brought intensely close qualifying times to set up the day’s heats. For round 2, GT Sedans started the day. Willie Sanctivores had the honors to set the first TQ time of the day being tops in qualifying heat 1. Johnson Thai repeated his round 1 performance again taking the TQ time with an average time of 9.686. However, the rest of the field stepped up and rather than just two drives qualifying in the 9 second range, the top 9 drivers all qualified with sub 10 second runs. Johnson bested Kyle Goodwine by just one tenth of a second with fourth thru ninth separated by just 0.086 seconds. Formula 1 took to the track next and Bill Jeric again took the top honors in the F1 class with an average time of 10.430 just nipping Kevin Cole by 0.047 seconds for that extra TQ point with the top 6 drivers qualifying under the 11 second mark.
GT Sedan racing started the day. The entire first heat was made up of racers making their first appearance in the series. From his pole position, Willie S. jumped into the lead closely followed by Ronald L., Jacob Dee and Jason Ross. Willie had a bad second lap but took over the number 1 spot on lap 4 only to have trouble around the three minute mark. Ronald and Jason took over the battle for the lead with Marco Laroya moving up to third with Elias Schablowski in 4th. Jeremy Dee started late due to his mechanics thrashing to get the car to the grid and would run to fifth at the end. Jacob Dee who had run high early retired before the half way mark with mechanical woes. All pit stops were completed in the first three minutes and all drivers settled into their race groove with Ronald finishing first in the first race of the day followed by Jason in second, Marco in third and Elias fourth. Running at the end but many laps down after two stops for repairs was Willie in 6th.
Race 2 for GT Sedan saw Steve Vines lead after the first lap, then pit. That left Albert Benavidez, Jeffery Fink and Eric Epp battling for the lead with Mark Goldwater and Doug Rebal in their own battle close behind. Matt Sui also pitted early hoping to follow fast guy Steve Vines back to the front. By the two minute mark, most drivers had already made their mandatory pit stop so the order shuffled putting Steve back to the lead where he would stay to the end taking his first heat win of the series. The battle for second thru fifth was fierce with Mark taking second just a couple of tenths ahead of Albert. Eric held on with his battle over Jeff to take 4th. Second thru fifth was separated by less than 8 seconds after 10 minutes of racing. Matt would come home in sixth followed by Doug in seventh.
GT Sedan race 3 was a mix of Expert and Sportsman drivers with Sportsman Jeff Gacula jumping to the early lead with Phil Goodwine and Tyree Phillips in close tow. The three would have a race long battle for the lead until three laps from the end when Phil’s fly-by-wire throttle system would malfunction putting him into the wall and an eventual fifth place finish. Kevin Cole and Brian Rutherford would have an early battle for fourth. A few bad laps and B-Ruff would fall back from the Panda who whose solid run in fourth was elevated to third at the end after Phil had his troubles. Mark Barden making his first appearance of the series ran solidly to sixth. TQ Raceway owner Sean Park would have electrical issues in the first minute but the crew changed out the coils, plug wires and computer boxes to get him back on the track running to seventh at the end. And that battle up front ? Enormous would be an understatement with Jeff desperately trying to hold off Phil and Tyree. With Phil’s exit, Tyree went into overdrive but fell short at the end with Jeff taking the win just 0.279 seconds ahead of Tyree at the end of ten minutes of racing.
Race 4 and the final round of GT Sedan saw Johnson Thai jump to an early lead hoping to not have the same troubles he had in round 1. Fast clean laps and a late pit stop meant Johnson would lead every lap of the race, running fast lap of the day on lap 4 and finish with the win with 61 laps, the only sedan driver to turn 61 laps this round. This left Kyle Goodwine, Dave Berger also making his first appearance in the series and Paul Dabao to challenge for second. Roel Espina and Calvin Simmons had a great mid race battle for fifth with Joven Madriaga close behind. Instead of slowing each other down, Roel and Calvin pushed each other hard enough to close the gap to Paul but Paul held onto fourth just 0.124 seconds ahead of Roel with Calvin close behind in sixth followed by Joven in seventh. Kyle and Dave could not keep the pace with Johnson but battled all race with Kyle coming out ahead in second with Dave third.
Race 5 brought the first heat of Formula 1 cars. Doug Rebal would set the early pace with Eric Epp from Protoform showing off the new Protofrom 14 F1 body in second. These two would pull away but Willie S., Jeremy Dee and Jacob Dee would have a great battle for third. With the Formula 1 cars running 15 minute races and two pit stops, Doug choose to wait until almost the eight minute mark to take his first stop and then his second pit stop a few laps later making sure to make both stops before the mandatory ten minute mark. Doug was still able to maintain his lead until a bad lap allowed Eric who was following closely behind to take the lead. Eric making his first appearance also in the series ran smooth under pressure and was able to fend off Doug’s attacks to take the first Formula 1 heat win of the day with Doug right behind. The battle waged hard for third with dad Jeremy Dee taking third just ahead of Willie S and his son Jacob Dee in fifth, all on the same lap.
Formula 1 race 6 saw pole sitter Mark Barden jump to the early lead with Alan Rollo, Mark Santa Ines and Alex M. hot on his heels with Don Stearns and matt Sui close behind. Mark B. would make his first pit on lap 9 and took just a few laps to get back to the lead where he would stay for the rest of the race leading from lap 12 to the finish. Alex, Alan and Mark S fought for second with Mark S. returning to Formula 1 after almost a year absence pulling away slightly to take second at the checkered flag. Alan would finish third with Alex less than a second back in fourth with Don edging out Matt also by less than a second for fifth.
Race 7 and the final round of heat 1 would see Bill Jeric start from pole and pull away in what would be a dominating run in Formula 1 today. Bill would lead every lap even when pitting setting fast F1 race lap of the day on lap 9 and finishing the race with a comfortable lead turning 85 laps, they only Formula 1 driver to do so all day. Kevin Cole stayed close to Bill early but could not keep the pace and the Panda dropped back to as low as fourth after going off course coming into the pits but worked his way back up to second at the end. Jason Huang, Mark Goldwater and Steven Jackson had a good battle through most of the race with Craig the Cuda Hammond in close tow. Jason would take over third place after the final pit stops were made and maintain there to the finish with Steven, Mark and Craig rounding out the field.
With things running smoothly, we jumped right into round 2 races with no break. The sedan cars were back up and Ronald L. and Jason Ross picking back up with their battle, this time Jason taking the early lead on lap 2. These two would swap the lead while pulling away with the blood red Ferrari 458 driven by Jason cutting through traffic. Ronald took over the lead when around the seven minute mark, the Prancing horse of Jason came up lame. Smoke billowing from all 8 cylinders as the pride of Maranello had an internal melt down. The race behind these two for third was fiercely fought by Jacob Dee, Elias Schablowski, Marco Laroya and Jeremy Dee. More sorrow for Willie Sanctivores as his race came to an end early. Front end damage to his Lexus Sustina RC-F on lap 3 forced him to the garage for lengthy repairs. The team got him back on the track to complete a lap at the end hoping the car would be okay to start round 3. Jacob’s race also came to an early end with drive train issues leaving him stranded on track with no power on just lap 26. This left a three way battle behind race winner Ronald and Elias came out on top for second just ahead of Marco in third and Jeremy fourth at the checkered flag. Jason and his smoldering Ferrari would finish fifth.
Race two round two saw Albert Benavidez, Mark Goldwater and Eric Epp battle early for the lead after Steve Vines made another early pit from second on just lap 4. This left a second pack of Jeffery Fink, Doug Rebal and Matt Sui battling over fourth. Three minutes in and Albert pitted from the lead but was back in front on the next lap after Mark also pitted from the lead. Albert was on fire, bettering his first run by 2 laps to finish 10th overall for this round. Mark could not match the pace of Albert but also had a strong run to finish a solid second. This left a three way battle for third with all three finishing on the same lap with Steve finally taking the number three spot a few seconds ahead of Jeffery in fourth and Eric in fifth. Doug and Matt would battle on track the full ten minutes with Doug edging Matt for sixth.
GT Sedan race three and Tyree Phillips, Kevin Cole and Jeff Gacula jumped out to the early lead. Phil Goodwine and Sean Park moved up from their starting positions at the back after round 1 trouble to attack for the fourth spot with Brian Rutherford and Mark Barden close behind. Tyree was able to hold the Panda at bay by a couple of seconds and after all pit stops were completed Tyree took the lead back with Kevin close behind and Jeff on the Panda’s tail. As race announcer Joe Mac asked, do Pandas have tails ? An error with just three laps left by Kevin gave Tyree the breathing room he needed to clinch the first spot with Jeff taking advantage to snatch second at the end. The Panda held onto third with a race long battle for fourth being taken by Phil but less than one second ahead of Sean at the end. This duo was followed home by Brian, aka “B-Ruff” and Matt Sui.
Final race of round two for sedans saw Johnson Thai pick up where he left off. A well timed pit stop and good work through traffic meant Johnson would lead every lap in route to the race win and setting best run of the day for sedans bettering his first 61 lap run by three seconds. Kyle Goodwine and Dave Berger continued their battle from the first round this time with Dave getting the edge over Kyle for second tying them in points and setting up the podium battle for round three. The mid-field pack took turns swapping positions and at the end, Roel Espina took the fourth spot ahead of Paul Dabao with Calvin Simmons in sixth just ahead of Joven Madriaga who was struggling to find his Race Series 1 pace that took him to a podium finish.
Race five brought the Formula 1 cars back to the track and Eric Epp and Doug Rebal continued their battle for bragging right s for their race. Eric took the early lead with Doug taking the point on lap 20. Meanwhile, dad Jeremy Dee was just ahead of son Jacob Dee and Willie Sanctivores in hot pursuit. Willie would keep his mechanics busy doing double duty on his Lexus sedan and F1 car as his race came to an end at the ten minute mark with a suspected ERS failure in the car. It looked like another fight to the finish when just three minutes from the end, Doug’s power unit shut down and Eric sailed to the win. With the mechanics on the pit wall frantically analyzing the issue, they had Doug reboot the system on track that brought his car back to life to salvage second at the end. The father and son battle was won by dad at the end with Jeremy taking fourth over Jacob.
Race six saw Mark Barden assert his strength on his race group by again jumping to an early lead and giving up the lead for only three laps after his first pit stop. However, second spot was hotly contested by Alan Rollo, Mark Santa Ines, an improved Matt Sui who was getting the feel of his F1 ride again after a few months absence from the class, Don Stearns and Alex M. A long pit stop just after the half way point dropped Alex many laps back but he was able to make repairs and finish the race. Important to do in this series as your points are scored by your overall finish each round and this enabled Alex to gain a few more points. Back to the battle for second and Mark S. was able to pull out a slight gap to take the second spot over Alan Rollo. Improving on his first round was Matt in fourth ahead of Don in fifth.
Final race of round 2 saw Bill Jeric have to work harder this time to gain the victory. A front suspension change between rounds saw Bill drop from first to sixth on the second lap allowing Kevin Cole to take an early lead with Steven Jackson and Jason Huang close behind. Behind this group, Bill found himself in a battle with Mark Goldwater and Craig Hammon. Craig’s run came to an end after eleven minutes with an ill handling car and with Steven Jackson also pulling into the pits around the same time with what turned out to be a tire failure on his Pirelli shod car leaving Steven in fifth and Craig in sixth. After making adjustments to his sway bars and brake bias from the cockpit, Bill was able to claw his way back to second just behind the Panda who was running a very tight defensive line. But Bill saw his chance in the sweeper and when Kevin went wide, Bill jumped on the opening to take the lead back and continue on for the win. With the Panda struggling with a severe push from his blistered front Pirelli’s, Jason closed onto the back of the Mild Seven car but came up just short finishing third, just 0.681 seconds behind Kevin with Mark coming home in fourth.
Round 3 and the GT Sedans hit the track for their last races of the day. Jason Ross did not make the start for this race. The mechanics could not salvage enough of the Ferrari’s V8 power plant to get him to the grid. Looking to cement his grip on race 1 group, Ronald L. again jumped to an early lead and built enough of a gap to maintain the position after pitting and lead every lap to the finish. After two bad earlier races, Willie Sanctivores finally put his troubles behind and was able to work his way from last starting position to second place on just lap four and held that spot to the finish to reward his mechanics hard work for the day. Jacob Dee moved into third early but again had transmission troubles that left him with a revving engine but no forward drive and stranded him on track to finish sixth just before the half way mark. This left Marco Laroya, Jeremy Dee and Elias Schablowski to battle over third place. With pit stops shuffling the order, Marco was able to pull a gap out to claim third in his final race of the day with Elias just behind in fourth and Jeremy rounding out the runners in fifth.
GT Sedan race 2 and Albert Benavidez was on a tear again with a run that would put him in the top ten overall for the day. Leading early and dropping to third after his pit stop. Albert was able to gain back the lead on lap 24 and stay there to the finish. Try as he may to keep Albert honest, Doug Rebal would have to settle the day finishing second in round three. Steven Vines and Eric Epp, both having good runs earlier succumbed to mechanical woes that cut their races short. Eric would take the sixth spot dropping out with one minute left and Steve’s day ended with a rear tire letting go after running over debris with two and a half minutes left to claim the seventh spot. This left Jeffery Fink, Mark Goldwater and Matt Sui to battle for the final podium spot for their race. Mark was holding down third in the middle of the race until a meeting with a barrier in a bad location lost him time and dropped him to fourth. Jeffery took advantage of this to move up to the third spot with Matt taking fifth.
Race 3 for the sedans saw Tyree Phillips once again get in a battle with Jeff Gacula, Kevin Cole and Phil Goodwine. A bobble by Jeff on the third lap that caught up Kevin and Phil allowed Tyree to get some breathing room to stretch out a lead. Kevin pitted from second and that allowed Phil and Jeff to fight over second with Sean Park now in the mix with Brian Rutherford and Mark Barden to battle behind this pack with Kevin working his way back up from his early stop. Unfortunately for the Panda, his luck ran out when an upside down B-Ruff in the sweeper was unavoidable and the half lap loss put him out of reach of the top three. Tyree ran trouble free to clinch the top spot at the end while Phil was able to grab second just 1.2 seconds ahead of third place Jeff. After two troublesome rounds, Sean was happy to finish fourth in the race with Kevin just behind in fifth. Mark and B-Ruff both pulled off after tough races to finish sixth and seventh.
Final race of the day for GT Sedan and Johnson Thai has his sights set on the sweep and sweep he did. Again by running fast with consistent high 9 second laps, Johnson was able to build enough of a lead and the last to pit to lead every lap and finish his final race atop the leader board. Dave Berge gave strong chase and kept the pressure on Johnson but had to settle for second at the end of his ten minute run but locking up second overall for the day. With another strong run and staying within striking distance, Kyle Goodwine crossed the line in third to lock up third overall for the day. Calvin Simmons had mechanical issues at the mid race point dropping him a number of laps down so that left Paul Dabao and Roel Espina to battle again for fourth with Joven Madriaga this time in the hunt with them. Paul used traffic to his advantage and stayed out of trouble to finish fourth while Roel took fifth place honors just 0.769 seconds ahead of Joven after ten hard fought minutes of racing.
Final round of races for the Formula 1 cars and it was no surprise to see Doug Rebal and Eric Epp again jump out to the early lead. Eric made his two pit stops on lap two and three falling back to fourth position but worked his way back up to second. Doug was not to be stopped this time and put his bad luck in the first two rounds behind with a great run to take the win ahead of Eric in second. Jeremy Dee would run third early and then stretch the gap out by midway to lock down third at the end with Jacob Dee not able to match his dad’s pace this time to finish fourth ahead of Willie Sanctivores in fifth.
Mark Barden was having a better day in Formula 1 and finished his day with a dominate run in his race group. After pitting early on lap 5 and dropping back to third, Mark regained the lead on lap 9 never looking back with his best run of the day to take the win. Second was a race long battle between Alan Rollo, Don Stearns and Matt Sui. Alan was able to maintain his second place spot to the end but by just a couple of seconds as Matt made the pass on Don with just 7 laps remaining for third with Don holding on for fourth. Mark Santa Ines and Alex M could not find their pace this round finishing fifth and sixth.
Final race of the day brought out the heavy hitters in Formula 1 but there was no stopping Bill Jeric today as he took the early lead with Kevin Cole in tow. After making his first stop early on lap 8, and his second stop on lap 20, Bill would regain the lead on lap 26 and lead the rest of the way with another strong 85 lap run. The battle for second was full of action when the Panda made a bobble and a slow pit stop dropped him behind the Marlboro liveried pair of Jason Huang and Steven Jackson. A bobble by Jason forced Steven wide that allowed Kevin into third putting the Mild Seven car of the Panda in a Marlboro sandwich. When Kevin missed his braking point on a tight turn, the ensuing tangle allowed Steven to get by both into second with Kevin and Jason again in hot pursuit. Steven was able to hold onto second by just over a second with Kevin third and Jason fourth. Craig Hammon and Mark Goldwater had a spirited battle with Craig getting a better handle on his car to take fifth with Mark coming home in sixth.
After just two rounds of this new series, 21 Formula 1 drivers and 37 GT Sedans drivers have taken the green flag and round three should have a few more new drivers make their first start. With two throw out rounds for the six round series, new drivers starting at round 3 will still have a chance to make the top 10 and earn an end of series award.
- Formula 1: Bill Jeric set fastest race lap at 10.320 in round 1. Kevin “Panda” Cola was only other driver to be in that range with a 10.354 in round 2 with Steven Jackson a best at 10.486 in round 3. Best run of the day was Mr. Tuning Haus himself, Bill Jeric with an 85 lap 15:10 in round 2 and the only F1 driver to run 85 laps.
- GT Sedan: Johnson Thai set fastest race lap at 9.485 in round 1. Johnson also had best run of the day in round 2 with 61 laps 10:03 and the only GT car to go 61 laps today.
- Formula 1: Bill Jeric took the overall win and a full sweep of the day of TQ, all three wins, fastest lap and best race run for 301 points in his Tuning Haus prepared VBC. Second with 296 points was Kevin Cole also running a VBC and third was Jason Huang in a F104 Ver. 2 with 293 points. Sportsman drivers Alan Rollo, Mark Goldwater and Mark Santa Ines cracked the “Top Eight” A main barrier finishing in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
- GT Sedan: Johnson Thai took the overall win and also making a clean sweep like his Formula 1 counterpart taking TQ, winning all three races and setting fastest lap and best race run for the GT Sedans earning 301 points with his Associated TC 6.2 running the new RSD chassis and upper deck and Tuning Haus rear axles. Dave Berger, well known for his twelfth scale skills showed the he can wheel a sedan with second overall and 296 points with his Yokomo BD-7 and final podium spot went to Kyle Goodwine and his X-Ray T4 2015 edition with 295 points. Jeff Gacula and Albert Benavidez broke into the A group top 8 as Sportsman drivers finishing sixth and eight for the day.
- Jason Ross made the driver down from Nor Cal Hobbies in San Jose this weekend. This was his first time at TQ so he chose to focus on his GT Sedan and park the Formula 1 car for Saturday’s race. We hope to see Jason back for round 3 with a few other Formula 1 regulars from Nor Cal Hobbies that plan to make the series in January.
From Bill Jeric of Tuning Haus and yours truly, the Panda, we thank you for taking a break during this holiday season to join us today and wishing you all a safe and happy New Year’s celebration. The SoCal RC Scale Series will return for round 3 on Saturday January 10 with a new layout. TQ Raceway will change the track configuration on Wednesday January 7 for those who want to come out to practice on the new layout and find your groove.