This past weekend hosted Round 3 of the growing So Cal RC Scale Series presented by Tuning Haus. This realistic series of racing and replica cars has taken off, providing some great racing in a new an unique format. Round 3 saw a record number of F1 entries so far in the series, and the racing did not disappoint.
Race Report by So Cal RC Scale Series
Sedans cars were again up first for round 3 and the average of your best five laps over three minutes of qualifying once again produced tight qualifying times at the top of the charts. Today’s qualifying saw Elias Schalowski take the initial TQ time as the fastest car in the first qualifying heat. However, the final qualifying group saw all five drivers qualify with sub 10 second times and for the third round straight, Johnson Thai came out on top with a TQ average of 9.792. Not far behind was Dave Berger in second and Tyree Phillips third. Second thru fourth were separated by only 0.037 seconds and less than 0.2 seconds separating the top 5. In Formula 1, Kevin “Panda” Cole finally put a stop to Bill Jeric’s streak with a top qualifying average of 10.417 followed closely by Tony “Nemo” Tam at 10.489 and Bill Jeric rounding out the top three at 10.550. Tony has only been back into F1 for about one week after being away for almost two years but this past USA Tamiya National Champion and TITC winner has the driving skills and with some tuning help from his friend the Panda, will be a force to contend with the rest of the series.
The emphasis of this series is to be a competitive but fun racing series for the realistic scale looking cars. To maintain the integrity of the series and ensure a fair playing field for all, in addition to tech inspection prior to every qualifying and race heat, it was decided to do an unannounced motor tear down of both TQ drivers today. The drivers removed their motors and disassembled them under the watchful eye of Bill Jeric who inspected both motors that were found to be legal stock spec 17.5 and 21.5 motors. Thank you Johnson and Kevin for taking the time to tear down your motors after qualifying and congratulations on your TQ runs.
First race of the day in round 1 was GT Sedan. Tom Kahl started from pole but did what is becoming his trademark pit on the second lap. This allowed Elias Schablowski to take the lead followed closely by Dough Rebal with Doug Harding having a mid pack battle with the father / son due of Jeremy and Jacob Dee. Young Jacob bowed out just past the half way mark with a rear suspension failure. After all pit stops cycled, Doug Rebal had an electrical issue that cost him several laps ending his battle with Tom but he now found himself racing for second against Elias. Tom Kahl would make a smooth run to the end to take the win with Elias taking the second spot to a closing Doug Rebal. Doug Harding would pull out a gap from his battle to take fourth with Jeremy in fifth and Jacob in sixth.
Race two would see Charles Lightfoot make his debut to the series and take the BQ honors. However, it was Albert Benavidez who would lead after the first lap with Paul Dabao, Charles and Carlton Duty in hot pursuit. Master of F1 Tech inspection, Steven Vines was not able to make the start of race 1 and Toby Zhang was missing from the grid with a drive train failure but would rejoin many laps down. Charles and Albert were having a great battle up front until Albert had a bad lap that dropped him back. Charles was able to maintain the first spot even when pitting around the 6 minute mark to take the race win that would put him seventh overall for the first round. Albert would come across the line second just ahead of Carlton in third. Getting the drive train fixed. Toby reentered the race many laps down but in this series, all three races combine to make your days total so it is important to complete as many laps as you can. If not for his troubles, Toby had the pace to run with the leaders. Paul Dabao had his race end early at the two minute mark to take fifth with Steve in the final spot a DNS.
Third and final sedan race of round 1 saw the fast qualifiers hit the track. Johnson Thai took the quick lead from pole but troubles on the second and third lap lead to a long stop at lap 6 that put him laps down. Johnson tried to get back out for laps but his day ended just shy of the half way point in what would be a very long day for the top qualifier. Up front however was a great battle with Dave Berger and Tyree Phillips at the point and Kevin Cole close behind in third with a small gap back to Calvin Simmons, Sean Park of TQ Raceway and Jeff Gacula. Tyree did all he could to pressure Dave into a mistake that just would not happen with Dave taking the win with Tyree a close second. Calvin made a late race charge and was all over the back of the Panda who did not flinch allowing Kevin to take third with Calvin just 0.569 seconds back in fourth after ten minutes of running. Sean would take fifth just ahead of Jeff in sixth and Johnson seventh.
First round of Formula 1 saw another new entry to the series, Chien-Hua Chen starting from pole. Chien Hua was also a Tamiya National Champion in Formula 1 way back when they ran F103 chassis on foam tires and is trying out Formula 1 on rubber with assistance from Nemo. Doug Rebal would lead the first lap with a good battle brewing between Doug, Chien-Hua, Jeff Smith and Matt Sui with Jacob and Jeremy Dee battling just behind. Jeff Smith had transponder issues mid race and would eventually be hand scored to finish the race but a few laps back in fifth at the end. Chien-Hua, Doug and Matt were having a great battle for the lead until one of the ERS units in Doug’s car lead to a total engine failure at the thirteen minute mark leaving him to finish fourth. Jacob also had his day come to an end with an electrical failure with just a minute left that left him sixth. Chien-Hua was able to keep the gap to take the win with Matt in second and Jeremy Dee finishing in the third spot.
Race 2 of Formula 1 and new to the series Elliott Miyashiro from San Jose started from the pole showing up the SoCal guys with his NorCal Hobbies liveried Formula 1. However, Mark Goldwater beat him to the line on lap 1 with Mark Santa Ines and Ton Kahl in tow and a small gap back to Alan Rollo, Don Stearns and Craig Hammon. Different pit strategies mixed up the field and after all the tire dust settled, it was still a five car battle for the lead. In the end, Elliott took bragging right for NorCal drivers taking the win. Tom and Mark G. had a great race long battle with Tom taking second by just 0.861 seconds after their fifteen minute battle. Mark Santa Ines would finally settle the battle for fourth over Craig “Cuda” Hammon who moved up from his early battle with Alan and Don who would take sixth and seventh. The top 5 drivers separated by just a lap.
Final race of round 1 and Kevin Cole got the early jump from pole with Bill Jeric and Tyree Philips not letting him get away with the pack of Charles Lightfoot, Jason Huang and Mark Barden in pursuit. Tony Tam was a DNS. After a couple of warm up laps, issues to Nemo’s car were determined to be a faulty wiring harness in the steering loom, leading him to pull out similar to Nico Rosberg’s disastrous race last year. Clean laps by the Panda and strategic pitting allowed Kevin to maintain the lead every lap to take the win. However, it was no easy win with series points leader Bill finishing second just 1.8 seconds behind and Tyree in third another 3.9 seconds behind. Charles was able to settle in for fourth at the finish with Jason just nipping Mark for fifth with Mark just 1.6 seconds behind after their fifteen minutes of action.
Round 2 up and sedans returned to the track to again see Tom Kahl jump to the lead. Doug Rebal was not able to make the start, his mechanics just not able to get the necessary parts to put his Formula 1 back together and after a tough morning, they closed up the garage. This would allow Tom to lead for all but three laps when he pitted to take the race win. Elias Schablowski had another good run to finish second again with Doug Harding taking the final podium spot in third just ahead of Jeremy Dee in fourth and Jacob Dee in fifth.
Round 2 and race 2 and this time it was Charles Lightfoot leading Albert Benavidez to the line after lap 1. Carlton Duty and Toby Zhang making the start this race would take up the next battle with Paul Dabao and Steve Vines just behind with all drivers making the start this race. Carlton Duty however would have a suspension failure but would get the car fixed and return to the track to gain valuable laps. With all three races adding to your days points, it is important to make every lap possible and with ten minute races, you will see drivers try to fix their cars to get back out rather than just pull off and end their run. Back to the front and Charles was fighting back the advances of Albert with Toby putting pressure on Albert and Paul and Steve in their own tussle. In the end, Charles would take his second win with Albert in second just 2.1 seconds ahead of Toby in third while Paul would win his battle with Steve to take fourth.
Race 3 of sedans and more bad luck for Johnson Thai as he had a drive train issue on his warm up laps only to see his ride roll to a stop, not able to even take the green flag. Dave Berger would now take the pole spot to jump to an early lead with Tyree Phillips, Calvin Simmons and Kevin Cole close behind. Trouble hit the Panda on lap five as his car slowed and he pulled off on lap 6 with a seized rear wheel bearing. His mechanics knowing every lap could mean a point, thrashed to replace the seized bearing returning about 22 laps down but the hard work would pay off. Next to fall off the leader board would be Sean Park who after four minutes would retire with a suspension failure only to see Calvin drop out after five minutes with a drive train issue also. A great drive and excellent pit work allowed Dave to lead every lap to his second win of the day and also best run off the day. Tyree would again finish second not far behind with Jeff Gacula taking third and the Panda fourth.
Round 2, race 1 for Formula 1 and another battle between Chien-Hua Chen and Matt Sui for the lead with Jeff Smith battling with Jeremy and Jacob Dee. Doug Rebal would not make the start. Matt Sui would make early pit stops and that allowed Chien-Hua to lead every lap to take the win with Matt running a solid second just 5 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Jeff Smith again would have transponder issues showing very erratic lap times and would have to settle with fifth in this run. Jacob Dee would have a suspension failure after eleven minutes that would leave him fourth and Jeremy ran a good clean race to come home third.
Race 2 of Formula 1 and the early battle for the lead was between Mark Santa Ines, Mark Goldwater, Elliott Miyashiro and Alan Rollo. The next group would be lead by Tom Kahl, Don Stearns and Craig Hammon. The Cuda having problems on lap three, would make repairs to get back out only to have problems again two laps later. The crew did get the car back out for a few more laps at the end to make sure it would be ready for the third and final race. Back up front, Elliott would pull out a gap to take the win but what a battle for second between Tom and Mark G with Tom taking second by just 0.274 seconds after fifteen minutes and Mark Santa Ines finishing fourth on the same lap. The final battle would see Alan take sixth ahead of Don.
Last race of round 2 and Kevin Cole would take a lesson from his VBC partner Bill Jeric in trying to take the sweep for the day by jumping to the early lead leaving Bill Jeric and Tyree Phillips battling for second. This left Charles Lightfoot, Jason Huang, Mark Barden and Tony Tam to argue over fourth with Nemo making the start this time. However, his race would not last long as Tony dropped out just after the five minute mark saying something about a broken fin ? Up front, the Panda would pit late timing the traffic to lead every lap in route to his best run of the day and fastest lap to take his second win. The battle of the race that had the crowd on their feet was between Tyree and Bill for second with Tyree taking the position just 0.07 seconds ahead of Bill. Mark would take fourth ahead of Charles and Jason.
Start of the final round saw the sedans line up and Tom Kahl made sure to take the sweep in his race heat taking the final win in dominating fashion leading all but one lap when he pitted on lap three, confusing all as he usually pits on lap 2, and also had a very respectable fast lap of 10.113. Elisa Schablowski continued his consistent runs again claiming the second placed honors for his race group. Jeremy Dee hit trouble just after the two minute mark and a suspected gear box full of neutral left him stranded on the track to finish fifth. Jacob Dee also rolled to a stop just after the eight minute mark with a wheel failure. Loose wheel, you picked a bad time to leave me. This allowed Doug Harding to make a consistent run to third in the final race with the honors of leading a lap when Tom pitted.
Sedan race 2 and it was an early battle between Charles Lightfoot, Toby Zhang, Albert Benavidez, Paul Dabao and Steve Vines. Carlton Duty not able to make the start, his crew being very quiet about the mechanical issues under the hood of his menacing flat black Camaro. This group would be one of the closet heat battles all day with Paul and Albert both cracking into the 9.9 second bracket with their fast laps. Albert would lead most of the race after the half way mark and all pit stops completed with Charles and Toby breathing down his neck. Charles would take the lead with just five laps left when Albert went wide and just when it seemed he could wrap it up, Toby made the pass on the last lap to steal the win with Charles in second just 0.629 seconds behind with Albert in third another 2.55 seconds behind. Paul would win his battle with Steve taking fourth a few seconds ahead of Steve in fifth. All five drivers finished just over one lap apart. With their consistent runs in all three races and troubles for some of the A group guys in their heats, Charles and Albert were able to finish second and third overall for the day.
Final race of the day for sedans and it was Dave Berger out front but Tyree Phillips and Calvin Simmons just behind knocking on the door. An early lap error dropped Kevin Cole to the back to chase Jeff Gacula and Sean Park. Johnson Thai must have upset lady luck as he pulled off on lap 2 of the race with more mechanical woes losing 18 laps to make repairs. He would return to the race and with a vengeance setting fastest race lap of the day with a 9.671 time. Tyree would see his certain podium day slip away as he pulled off just shy of the seven minute mark to finish seventh but still enough to hold onto fourth overall for the day. After his round 2 troubles, Calvin was putting the pressure on Dave all race but came up short at the end settling for second just 1.4 seconds behind Dave and his winning machine. Behind this duo, the Panda finally was able to pull a gap to take third and with his troubles in round 2 left him seventh overall for the day. This would leave Jeff Gacula to take fourth ahead of Sean Park in fifth. Another fine run by the Sportsman driver Jeff that would give him a fifth overall for the day.
Final races for the Formula 1 cars saw Jeff Smith finally get his transponder issues corrected with AMB apologizing for the issue he had today. Chien-Hua Chen would take the initial lead with Jeff moving into second on lap six followed closely by Matt Sui with a small gap back to the battle for fourth between Jeremy and Jacob Dee. Jeff would make his move on lap 14 to take a lead that he would hold to the end and putting in his best run of the day. Overall a good performance from Jeff who when asked, said the last time he ran his Formula 1 car was at the IIC race in Las Vegas in October 2013. Glad to have you back out for Formula 1 racing Jeff. This would leave Chien-Hua to battle with Matt Sui for the other podium spots with Chien-Hua taking second and Matt completing the podium in third. The final battle would see dad Jeremy best his son Jacob for the battle for fourth.
Race 2 for Formula 1 and Elliott was looking to sweep his race group but not without a fight from Mark Goldwater. Mark Santa Ines, Alan Rollo, Craig Hammon, Don Stearns and Ton Kahl would then battle for the third spot in the early stages. Elliott would eventually pull a gap slicing through traffic to take the win with his best lap of the day breaking into the 10.4 mark with a 10.488 fast lap. Mark G. made a clean run to nail down second at the end. The battle for the podium would finally be won by Mark Santa Ines with a fine third position with Allan leading the next pack to take fourth ahead of Don and the Cuda. Tom Kahl was having a great run moving into second by the six minute mark take the challenge to Elliott only to have it come apart when his car limped to the pits just past the twelve minute mark as the team wheeled him back into the garage and closed the doors.
Final race of the day and the Panda was out to try to take the sweep in Formula 1. Kevin Cole again jumped to the early lead with Tyree Phillips and Bill Jeric in close tow and the next group lead by Mark Barden hounded by Charles Lightfoot, Tony Tam and Jason Huang. Traffic was not on the Panda’s side and with cars pitting on lap two and three pulling out right in front of him got him off stride and a bad lap four dropped him to fourth. This would allow Tyree to take the point with Bill Jeric sniffing his exhaust fumes. These two put on another great battle just like in round 2 staying within seconds the whole time. Charles would move up to second with his early pit stop strategy just before six minutes and was maintaining the position until his day came to an end just after nine minutes. Mark Barden would see his day come to an early end also just before the three minute mark with a suspected suspension issue. Tony “Nemo” Tam would now take up the second battle with the Panda and Jason. Kevin would take back third place running on the lead lap after ten minutes but with two and a half minutes left his shock came off in a roll. Trying to stay in the points hunt, the Panda would finish the race dragging the chassis the rest of the race losing laps overall. His efforts netted seventh overall for the run and salvaged third overall for the day. This problem allowed Jason to move up to third for the race and Tony settling for fifth. Up front, the battle for the race win was now also for the overall win and Bill tried every move he could make but Tyree never flinched to take the race win by just 0.20 seconds but also the overall win for the day. Bill’s second place finish would move him up to second overall for the day.
Round 3 of the series saw a drop from round 2 with a number of GT Sedans drives absent. However, 26 different Formula 1 drivers and 39 GT Sedans drivers have now taken the green flag. With two throw out rounds for the six round series, we will see who makes it to round 4 as some drivers have already used their two throw outs and need to hope for good luck over the final three rounds.
- Formula 1: Kevin “Panda” Cole set fastest race lap at 10.283 in round 2. Tony Tam, Bill Jeric and Charles Lightfoot had best laps in the 10.3 range. Best run of the day was the Panda with an 84 lap 15:08 run also in round 2 and the only F1 driver to run 84 laps today.
- GT Sedan: Johnson Thai set fastest race lap at 9.671 in round 3 followed closely by Dave Berger with a fast lap of 9.674 in round 2. Best run of the day went to Dave Berger with a run of 60 laps in 10:04 in round 2 also and the only GT car to go 60 laps today.
Podiums and notable mentions:
- Formula 1: Showing how important it is to have good runs in all three races, Tyree Phillips took the win today with 297 points in his TRG F1. Bill Jeric took second with 296 points in his VBC machine and third also in a VBC was Kevin Cole with 295 points. Bad luck in round three spoiled the Panda’s TQ and first place finishes on rounds 1 and 2. Sportsman drivers Mark Goldwater, Mark Santa Ines and Ton Kahl cracked the “Top Eight” A main barrier finishing in fifth, seventh and eighth respectively.
- GT Sedan: Dave Berger in his Yokomo was todays GT winner winning all three races and setting best race run for the GT Sedans earning 300 points. Taking second with consistent finishes in his first race of the series was Charles Lightfoot in an X-Ray at 291 points with Sportsman Albert Benavidez also putting in three good trouble free runs to take third in his ARC with 285 points. Other Sportsman drivers to crack the A group Top 8 were Jeff Gacula in fifth and Toby Zhang in eight.
- This round Elliott Miyashiro made the drive down from Nor Cal Hobbies in San Jose. This was Elliott’s second time at TQ for a race and he rounded his weekend out with a visit to the local Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Expo in Ontario compliments of Bill Jeric. Carlton Duty also made the drive down from “The Valley of the Dirt” as he calls it, Central California. We hope to see their return for round 4 of the series. Las Vegas resident Steven Jackson who calls TQ Raceway his home track missed the weekend due to illness but will be back for more series action.
From Bill Jeric of Tuning Haus and yours truly, the Panda, we thank you for starting your 2015 with round 3 of our series. The SoCal RC Scale Series will return for round 4 in two weeks on Saturday January 24 with the same layout as round 3.