The 2015 Winter Series at the Plex wrapped up its final race of a five-round series Saturday at the HobbyTown USA Hobbyplex in Omaha, NE. The Hobbyplex is one of the few indoor tracks in the Midwest capable of safely running nitro year round and racers put it to good use this winter. Strong turnouts in all classes and some awesome giveaways from class sponsors TLR, Serpent and Novak highlighted the series and delivered exciting points battles.
TLR 1:8 Nitro Buggy
When the season started in November, it was clear Kyosho’s Derek Wood was a favorite to win it all. The first two rounds belonged to him. It wasn’t until after the Christmas break a familiar challenger emerged. Kyosho’s Sam Anderson has yet to finish outside the top three of the winter series since its inception in 2012. His outstanding fuel mileage and smooth driving style paid off in January and February which lead to Saturday’s winner take all showdown. Derek simply had to finish in front of Sam. Sam needed Derek to have a bad day. Derek landed the first blow when he secured the TQ while Sam started mid-pack. During the beginning of the 30-minute A-main, Derek had his hands full with Hot Bodies’ Seth Van Dalen, and bounced between first and second until the last half when he drove away and lapped the field. After a horrible start, Sam progressed to third, making his fourth podium in a row. Derek earned his first nitro buggy championship by three points. Sam Anderson finished runner up again and 2013 champ, Tekno’s Tony Bacon, grinded out a third place finish.
Novak Pro-4 SCT
The Pro-4 SCT class at the Hobbyplex is a thriving community full of Tekno fanatics and TLR supporters. Clayton Wittmayer and his devotion to the Durango brand may be a local oddity, but there’s no denying his domination of the class. Clayton TQ’d and won the first four rounds, earning him the right to sit out Saturday’s race and focus on his eighth-scales. The rest of the podium was up for grabs between David Fast, Don Drozd and Taylan Schoen. Don Drozd picked up the TQ in the first heat and then led the field on the first lap of the main before David Fast took over. Taylan Schoen and Dan Stevens pushed hard and finished less than a second behind David. David’s win secured second overall in the points and Don Drozd had the better throwout over Taylen Schoen for third.
TLR Nitro Truggy
This year’s truggy championship was unpredictable. Five rounds with five different winners. Through the chaos emerged the familiar faces of Tony Bacon, Gil Haugan and Josh Havens. All three series veterans had a shot to win. Tony’s year started off rough, but a much needed recovery win in round two, followed by consistent top five finishes, propelled him to the front. Gil Haugan’s series started out with lots of promise, but a busted second round sidelined his run. Josh’s year was full of ups and downs but there were enough ups, including a surprise win in round three, to keep him in the running. The three of them finished third, fourth and fifth on Saturday. Tony finished in the middle which was more than enough to hold onto the championship. Gil Haugan’s TQ and third place finish leapfrogged him over Josh Havens for second overall.
Serpent Electric Buggy
Derek Wood’s momentum from nitro buggy carried over to his electric car. Derek posted three consecutive TQ’s and wins and then reached the magic number in round four. Derek is the first person to have back to back winter series championships in the same class. The runner up position shaped up in much the same way. Dustin Hosick stood next to Derek on the podium for the first three races and had enough of a lead to coast the rest of the way home. The only thing left to decide was third place. Clayton Wittmayer, Gil Haugan, David Fast and Alex Sturgeon all had a chance to make the series podium. David’s race ended with a broken car on lap two. Gil and Alex needed Clayton to have a bad day, but Clayton would have none of it. His third place finish secured the all important final podium spot and topped off an impressive season for the eighth-scale rookie.
TLR, Serpent and Novak
A long standing series tradition is the grand prize giveaway. Every racer that made four of the five races in their class are eligible to win no matter how badly they may have done in the points. This year’s class sponsors were TLR, Serpent and Novak. Tony Burton, who travelled almost five hours each way every month won a brand new 8ight 3.0 buggy. Tony Bacon, who won last year’s buggy, walked away with a brand new 8ight-T 3.0. Todd Brewer started building his brand new Serpent Cobra 2.0 electric buggy as soon as he got home, and Travis Hizer Jr. received a new Novak Crusher 4-pole system for his Pro-4 truck.
Thanks to all of the racers for making this season the biggest and best one yet. Thanks to the class sponsors TLR, Serpent and Novak, and to the door prize sponsors Hobbico and Byron Fuels for their constant support.