Welcome to round 4 of the SoCal RC Scale Series Presented by Tuning Haus, held on January 24. In a switch from round 3, GT Sedan numbers were back up and Formula 1 numbers were down. The good point of scoring your 4 best race days of the six race series is it allows drivers to miss a race or two for family or business reasons and still have a shot at a top spot.
Race Report by SoCal RC Scale Series:
Sedans cars were again up first for round 4 and the average of your best five laps over three minutes of qualifying once again produced tight qualifying times for the A group today. Today’s qualifying saw new to the series Victor Garcia take the initial TQ time as the fastest car in the first qualifying heat. In the end, the top 7 drivers would all qualify with 9 second times insuring a fast A Main group. Breaking the stranglehold on TQ, Dave Berger took the top honors today with a 5 lap average of 9.760 edging out Johnson Thai who was second on 9.834 average and Kyle Goodwine third with an average of 9.873. In Formula 1, Kevin “Panda” Cole took his second TQ of the series with a top qualifying average of 10.516. Second thru fourth was like watching a real F1 qualifying round with Craig Hammon taking the second spot with an average of 10.623, third to Jason Huang on 10.634 and fourth was Charles Lightfoot on 10.647. These three separated on their average of their 5 best laps by only 0.024 seconds! Craig Hammon, known for having the “monkey car” on asphalt was looking like he is finally getting the monkey off his back in carpet racing.
First race of the day in round 1 was GT Sedan. Tom Kahl started from pole like he did in round 3 and made his trademark pit on the second lap. This allowed new to the Series Victor Garcia to take the lead with Matt Sui battling followed by a good scrap with Jacob Dee, Doug Harding, Ronald L., Elias Schablowski and Jeremy Dee. Jacob would fall out first with a wheel failure, his Achilles heel for the day. Victor would hold the point for the first three minutes with Tom Kahl moving back up and Tom taking over the lead when Victor made his pit stop, the last in the group to do so. Sadly, Victor had his day end early while running in second with a suspension failure just before the 5 minute mark. A seventh place finish not deserving of his effort. This allowed Matt and Ronald to battle over second with Elias a short distance back followed by Doug and Jeremy. In the end, Tom would navigate traffic well to take the first win of the day with Matt pulling away from Ronald to win the battle for second. Elias would finish fourth with Doug eventually pulling out a gap from Jeremy to take fifth with Jeremy sixth.
Race two would see pole sitter Sean Park not able to make the start. His mechanics quickly rushed the car back into the garage where they would thrash and get Sean back out by many laps down to finish seventh in his group. Phil “the thrill” Goodwine made a great start to lead the first lap with some early bobbles mixing up the pack. Jason Laurel would take the second spot with Mark Goldwater in tow while Charles Lightfoot had an early battle going with Toby Zhang, also new to the series Martin Upchurch and Steven Vines. Steve had his run cut short at the three minute mark with a steering failure. Luckily his steering fluid leak did not affect the other drivers but an eight in the first race was a hard way to start the day. Phil choose to go for the late pit handing the lead back to Charles with Jason Laurel now in the mix followed closely by Mark and Toby, the top five all with a shot at the win. Mark’s day ended at the eight minute mark dropping a possible podium finish down to sixth at the end. Charles used traffic to his advantage to open up a lead just past the six minute mark that he would hold to the end. The battle for second was intense with Jason grabbing second with less than one minute left and held off Phil the Thrill who took the third spot with just under a minute with Toby have the bad luck at the end dropping from second to finish up fourth with Martin taking fifth.
Third and final sedan race of round 1 saw the fast qualifiers hit the track. Dave Berger would jump away from his pole spot running qualifying lap times early and pitting late to lead all but two laps of the race and take the only 60 lap sedan run for the day. Johnson Thai, starting an unfamiliar second in the first race kept Dave honest the whole race, leading for two laps until he took his pit stop. Having fallen back to fourth, Johnson drove a great race to work back up to second at the finish less than half a lap behind the leader with half of that gap lost on one bad lap. The race for third was intense between Kyle Goodwine, Paul Dabao, Calvin Simmons, JD Ramsey and Albert Benavidez. With just under eight minutes left. Paul Dabao ended his race with a transmission full of neutral rolling to a stop while in third relegating him to an eight finish for the group. The battle for third through sixth was finally settled with Kyle taking the final podium spot in third just ahead of JD with Calvin fifth and Albert sixth. These four separated by only 6 seconds after their ten minute race. Fighting a push, Kevin Cole settled for seventh behind this pack.
First round of Formula 1 saw Elliott Miyashiro lead the first lap ahead of Alan Rollo with Chien-Hwa Chen, Don Stearns and Jason Laurel in hot pursuit with a gap back to Jeremy and Jacob Dee. With the Formula 1 cars having to make two pit stops, things pretty much were jumbled around with Don taking the lead over Chien-Hwa and Alan with the early pitting Elliott charging back up to fourth with chants of “out of towner” coming from the crowd and drivers stand for the driver from San Jose. Elliott would take the lead as others made their stops, a position he would hold for the last seven minutes of this fifteen minute race. In the tussle for second, Don would come out ahead by just a couple of seconds over a third place Chien-Hwa with Alan just behind in fourth. Jason would take the next spot in fifth with dad Jeremy besting son Jacob for sixth.
Final race of round 1 and Kevin Cole got the early jump from pole with Craig “The Cuda” Hammon hot on his tail followed by Jason Huang and Charles Lightfoot. Cuda’s improved qualifying pace came to tears just three laps in with a failed front suspension. This now left a hotly contested battle between Tom Kahl, Mark Goldwater and Matt Sui. With pit stops out of the way, the Panda took the point back that he would hold for the final 9 minutes but it was no walk in the park as Charles would make numerous runs on Kevin only to find the pole turn his bane for the race dropping him back each time. The Panda drove a smart race with no mistakes to finish just 0.512 seconds ahead of the hard charging Lightfoot. Jason would take the final podium spot with the fourth place battle going to Tom less than a second ahead of Mark with Matt taking sixth.
Sedans returned to the track to start round 2 to again see Tom Kahl jump to the lead….and pit on lap two. Tom and Matt Sui would have a good early battle for the lead pulling a slight gap on Victor Garcia, Ronald L. and Elias Schablowski with Doug Harding heading Jeremy and Jacob Dee. Victor had moved up from the last starting position to second by lap 6 only to have mechanical troubles on lap 10. Losing almost four laps, Victor was back out but had to pull it in at the three and a half minute mark with terminal suspension issues leaving him to finish eight in the group. Back up front, Tom would retake the lead on lap 6 and show his dominance leading every lap to the finish, showing all he had more talent than a five minute driver in a six minute race. Matt would again take a solid second in his heat with Ronald just taking the final podium spot ahead of Elias in fourth. Doug would drive a steady race, even with a rear wing dangling behind his car to settle the battle for fifth with Jeremy and Jacob rounding out the top seven.
Round 2, race 2 and again Charles Lightfoot would lead but this time with Toby Zhang pressuring for the lead with Phil Goodwine and Sean Park making great progress from the back to battle for third. Steve Vines would lead the mid pack battle over Mark Goldwater, Martin Upchurch and Jason Laurel. Martin would be the first and only victim of the mechanical bug in this race dropping out just short of the seven minute mark to take the eight spot. Charles, Toby and Sean would take turns leading during pit stops with Charles regaining the lead to hold onto first with Toby a few seconds behind in second. Sean was happy to make a full run this race taking third, less than one lap separating the top three. After some early troubles, Jason would put his head down and make a great drive to take fourth ahead of Mark in fifth and Phil in sixth, just six seconds separating the three. Steven Vines was also another driver to be happy to make the full race this time coming home in seventh.
Race 3 of sedans and Johnson Thai would take advantage of a rare bobble by Dave Berger to take the lead until he pitted on lap 38 but came out still in second with Dave taking the lead. What looked to be a great battle to the end ended just three laps later when mechanical woes again side lined Johnson at the seven minute mark. The early battle for third was fierce between Kyle Goodwine, JD Ramsey, Calvin Simmons, Paul Dabao, Kevin Cole and Albert Benavidez with all eight drivers on the same lap for the first half of the race. Dave would take advantage of Johnson’s troubles to lead the rest of the race taking his second win of the day. The battle for second through fifth went down to the wire with JD taking the second spot just ahead of Paul in third. Calvin would take fourth just ahead of Kevin in fifth, with less than four seconds separating the four drivers. Kyle would come across the line in sixth at the end with Albert seventh.
Round 2, race 1 for Formula 1 and Elliott Miyashiro would jump to an early lead but mix things up taking both of his pit stops in just the first eleven laps dropping him back to fifth. This would move Chien-Hwa Chen to the point with Don Stearns, Alan Rollo and Jason Laurel battling for the lead with Jacob Dee leading dad Jeremy, Jacob running a low downforce configuration (no rear wing as it broke off early in the race). With the other drives taking their pit stops, Elliott would regain the lead around the five minute mark where he would remain the rest of the race to take the win. Jason had his race end early just before the nine minute mark leaving him to take the eighth spot. Chien-Hwa would have a good mid race battle with Alan and Don eventually creating a gap to take second with Alan taking the third spot. Close behind this duo was Don for fourth followed by Dad Jeremy who would get around son Jacob for fifth and sixth.
Last race of round 2 and Kevin Cole would take a quick lead but a drive train change did not have the desired result and the Panda would struggle later to keep pace. Another car exiting the pits on lap six got into the Panda while leading, forcing him wide and off line and an easy pass for Charles Lightfoot who would take the advantage to pull away each lap. This left the battle for second between Kevin, Mark Goldwater, Jason Huang and Craig Hammon. The Cuda happy to make it past lap three and in racing contention with Tom Kahl and Matt Sui just behind. With Charles out front and stretching his lead, he only gave up the top spot under pitting and would take his first overall race win of the series. Jason Huang would come out on top of the battle for second just a few seconds ahead of third place Mark, the Panda in fourth and Cuda in fifth. Second thru fifth all finishing on the same lap. Just behind was Tom in sixth with Matt finishing seventh.
Start of the final round saw the sedans line up and Tom Kahl running the new Tamiya NSX GT – Concept take the early lead only to pit on lap 2. (Seriously Tom, you are getting too predictable). The battle up front would now be between Elias Schablowski in his seventies Porsche 911, Victor Garcia charging up from the back in an Audi R8 and Ronald L. and his 350Z with a small gap back to Matt Sui running a Lexus SC430, Doug Harding and his Subaru BRZ and Jeremy and Jacob Dee with a Camaro and NSX 2007. No doubt the greatest variety of machines of all the races. Jacob’s race would come to an end early with another wheel failure before the eight minute mark to leave him eighth at the end. Elias who led some laps early would see his final race end at the eight and a half minute mark dropping him to seventh. Finding a cure to his mechanical issues, Victor would take the lead with Tom pushing hard but Victor would hold on for a well-deserved win. Tom Kahl would take the second spot holding off Ronald in third with Matt close behind in fourth. Jeremy was able to win the battle with Doug this race taking fifth with Doug, new rear wing attached taking sixth.
Sedan race 2 and it was an early battle between Charles Lightfoot, Sean Park and Toby Zhang with Jason Laurel and Mark Goldwater battling hard just in front of Steve Vines, Martin Upchurch and Phil Goodwine. Sean and Charles would slowly pull a gap on the field but never each other with Sean taking the checkered flag just 0.26 seconds ahead of second place Charles in their race long battle. Third thru eighth would see many changes with pit stops with Jason claiming the final podium position just a few seconds ahead of Toby in fourth with Mark only 0.621 second back in fifth. Phil would come out ahead of his battle with Steve for sixth with Martin just behind in eighth. Third thru seventh separated by less than one lap.
Final race of the day for sedans and it was Dave Berger determined to take the sweep and he did just that in great fashion. Taking his usual late pit stop, Dave was able to lead every lap in route to a 301 point sweep taking TQ and all three wins for sedan today. The battle for second was again heated with Calvin Simmons leading early over Johnson Thai, Paul Dabao and Albert Benavidez with the final group of JD Ramsey, Kyle Goodwine and Kevin Cole charging. Johnson Thai would run second most of the race but an engine failure on the last lap dropped him back to fifth with some assistance from the turn marshals to cross the line. From the back early, Kyle would charge up to take second, just 2.5 seconds ahead of Paul Dabao to round out the podium with JD Ramsey another 1.3 seconds behind in fourth. The battle at the back would be won by Calvin taking sixth over Albert in seventh and the Panda in eighth.
Final races for the Formula 1 cars saw Elliott again pit early on laps 3 and 4 (maybe he is watching Tom too much ?) to scramble the order again. This would allow Don Stearns, Chien-Hwa Chen and Alan Rollo to fight for the lead with Jason Laurel ahead of Jeremy and Jacob Dee. Both Dee’s would not see the end of the race with Jacob falling out first to take seventh and then Jeremy running into trouble just before the fourteen minute mark to take sixth. As the other drivers would make their pit stops, Elliott would finally return to the point at the 6 minute mark where he would not look back to take his third race win of the day. Don would lead a number of laps until taking his final pit stop, vocally helping the announcer call traffic to take a strong second over Chien-Hwa who would battle Don all race and come up short in third. This would leave Alan to come home fourth ahead of Jason in fifth.
Final race of the day and Charles Lightfoot would lead from pole but with Jason Huang hot on his heels with Craig Hammon, Mark Goldwater and an ill handling Panda up next followed by Tom Kahl and Matt Sui. Jason would take the lead but an unfortunate mix up in the pits lost Jason time as there was already a car in the pits but the timer was not started to alert him. This would be critical as the four seconds lost on that lap was most of the gap at the end. Charles would take advantage of this to regain the lead he would hold to the finish. Jason would come home second 4.993 seconds behind wondering what could have been. The Cuda took a well-earned third, his best finish of the series as he has been getting his carpet set-up closer every round. This would leave Mark to take fourth ahead of the Panda in fifth who was just 0.715 seconds ahead of a close finishing Tom in sixth with Matt rounding the field in seventh.
Round 4 of the series saw a drop in Formula 1 this weekend but an increase from last round for the GT Sedans. To date, 26 different Formula 1 drivers and 41 GT Sedans drivers have now taken the green flag as two new sedan drivers joined us for round 4. With two throw out rounds for the six round series, some drivers will have to make the final two rounds to get their four point races in for a chance to finish in the top 10.
- Formula 1: Kevin “Panda” Cole set fastest race lap at 10.423 in round 2 closely followed by Jason Huang with a 10.442 also in round 2 and Charles Lightfoot with a 10.445 in round 1. Best run of the day was Charles with a 82 lap 15.01.334 in round 3. Also making 82 laps was the Panda with an 82 lap run at 15:06.292 in round 1 and Jason with an 82 lap run at 15:06.327 in round 3.
- GT Sedan: Johnson Thai set fastest race lap at 9.734 in round 2 just nipping Dave Berger with a fast lap of 9.764 in round 3. Albert Benavidez went 9.887 with the other 5 drivers in the A group going 9.9 fast laps. Best run of the day went to Dave Berger with a run of 60 laps in 10:08.564 in round 3 and the only GT car to go 60 laps today.
Podiums and notable mentions:
- Formula 1: Having a great day in his first race day with his new X-Ray, Charles Lightfoot took the win today with 299 points. Jason Huang took second with 296 points in his Tamiya F104 v2 machine and third in a VBC Lightning F was Kevin Cole with 294 points. Sportsman drivers Mark Goldwater and Tom Kahl cracked the “Top Eight” A main barrier finishing in fourth and fifth respectively. Both now have three round finishes in the top 8 so both are now bumped into the Expert or “overall” point standings. Mark Santa Ines, who missed this round, is on the bubble still with two top 8 finishes.
- GT Sedan: Dave Berger in his Yokomo BD-7 earned his second overall win in a row, this time taking the “sweep” by taking TQ and winning all three races and setting best race run for the GT Sedans earning 301 points. Making his return after missing the last two rounds also running a Yokomo BD-7, JD Ramsey had a strong day taking second with 293 points. In third was Kyle Goodwine in his X-Ray taking his second podium of the series with a day total of 291 points, the sole Detroit Iron machine running a Protoform Camaro in a sea of Tamiya and HPI NSX machines in the A group. Sportsman Albert Benavidez also had his third “Top 8” round finish today coming in seventh and like his F1 counterparts above, has now been moved to the Expert group with Jeff Gacula, missing this round, on the bubble with two top 8 finishes.
From Bill Jeric of Tuning Haus and the Panda, we thank you for attending round 4 of our series. For those drivers who have missed one or two races, expect to see some movement in the standings as their points start to balance out against other drivers who have made all four rounds to date. The SoCal RC Scale Series will return for round 5 next month on Saturday February 14 with an all new layout at TQ RC Raceway.