Race Report by: Tuning Haus
Welcome to the Tuning Haus End of Summer Party held at Tamiya America Raceway on Saturday 26-Sept-2015. Our Southern California “Summer Parties” introduced the Tuning Haus racing format to the outdoor on road scene and what better way to end a sizzling hot Summer than to party with over 70 entries, lots of pizza, cool prizes from some of the best RC companies in the industry and great racing with your friends all neatly wrapped up into a relaxed party atmosphere. So let the party begin with qualifying……
The Formula 1 cars took to the track first to set the times for their race heats for the day. Our unique system uses a three minute qualifying run to set your five best (non-consecutive) laps that will be averaged for your qualifying time. Jason Huang set the pace taking top honors with a TQ average of 15.508 in his new Tamiya TRF 102 , barely edging out 2014 F1 Tamiya National Champion Craig “Cuda” Hammon’s 15.590 also in a Tamiya TRF102. Mike (Mr. Exotek) Rydwell in his Exotek rounded out the top three at 15.614 with only .8 seconds separating the top 8 cars!
13.5 Touring Cars rolled out next. This is a special class added to our racing format just for the Tamiya track. However, in keeping with the Scale Series looks that is a key to this series, many of the TC drivers were running spoke wheels with headlights, taillights and grill markings required. Alan Hewitt would grab the extra TQ point today with his average 13.348 run closely followed by Team Associated’s Sean Cochran at 13.367 and Steve Weiss on 13.546. The top seven drivers were separated by just 0.4 seconds.
GT Sedans closed out qualifying and the top honors in this 40 car field went to Lee Passehl with the only sub 14 second runs in qualifying for this class. Lee’s 13.908 average set the mark in his trusty Tamiya. In hot pursuit and keeping Lee honest was Kevin Smith with a second best run of 14.054 followed by Kevin “Panda” Cole in third at 14.110. The qualifying was so tight that the top 22 drivers all qualified in the 14 second range or better. Crag “Cuda Hammon would start BQ with an average 14.483 and CQ went to Steve Allen at 14.959.
With qualifying completed, it was time to start the heat races. Qualifying would set your race group for the day but now speed AND consistency would be key. Every driver would run three mains today of 10 minutes each with one mandatory pit stop. Each main was scored like a qual points system so a driver from the lowest group had the chance to make a fast run and put themselves in the top 10 for that round. At the end of the day, all three runs would be totaled for final points. No throw outs in our format so you had to be fast and finish if you wanted to take home a top 10 award…
Formula 1 was out as the first group of mains. The top three spots each round would be dominated by TQ Jason Huang, Craig “Cuda” Hammon and Bill “Mr. Tuning Haus” Jeric with all three drivers tied on points going into the third and final round. Craig would take the win in A3 and top honors for the day with 298 points followed by Bill in second on 297 points and third to Jason also with 297 points. Bill took the tie breaker with a total best laps / time. Kevin “Panda” Cole would take 4th overall with three finishes in the number four spot and a total 291 points. Fifth thru seventh was up for grabs going into round three with Mike Rydwell taking fifth with 285 points. Finishing sixth also with 285 points but falling to the tie breaker was Mark Goldwater with Bruce Hickman just behind in seventh with 284 points. Rounding out the top ten was Charles Lightfoot in eighth with 280 points followed in ninth by our highest finishing B main qualifier Alex Movessian with 275 points and filling the tenth and final trophy spot was out of retirement and new to F1 Josh Tran on 271 points. This was only the second race for Josh and his first F1 race after a 4-5 year retirement from the sport and Josh thanked a number of his F1 competitors for their support and assistance helping him with his F1 ride. The final 15 were filled with newcomers and some old veterans that ran into trouble with Steve Hollstein leading the way in eleventh, followed by Carlos Ledezma, Hiro Kasuya, David Fregoso and Aaron Lane.
13.5 Touring Car followed the F1 drivers with a good mix of factory-sponsored and local amateur drivers mixing it up. The B Group Touring Cars rolled onto the track for their race runs. Ryan Constantino would head the class today setting the pace with two wins and a second that would earn him the tenth and final award position overall for the day. The battles behind Ryan were intense with Henry Szeto battling with Jarrod Kadonaga and Alex Tolmasoff. However, Henrys second and third places runs would be for not as a DNS in round three drop him well down the order allowing Alex to take second in the group and twelfth overall thanks to his win in his third main and Jarrod taking 3rd in group, thirteenth overall. Trevor Voss would put in three consistent runs to take fourth in the B group followed by Henry in fifth. Bryan “B-Ruff” Rutherford would finish sixth in Group B after a great third place finish in B1 but mechanical issues in B2 and B3 dropping him back. Wendra P. would come back out to blow the dust off his racing skills to take seventh in the group having had spirited battles with Danny Rijadi whose B2 race was cut short with mechanical woes dropping him to eight in class followed by Brian Harris whose mechanical problems early changed his focus to his GT Sedan car.
The A group in 13.5 TC showed qualifying was no fluke with nine of the drivers filling the top ten overall for their class. Local racer and young gun (as in he can’t even legally order a drink yet young) Julian Wong showed the veterans the fast way around taking first overall for the day with two wins and a second for 299 points. This 2014 TCS GT-2 Champion and B main finalist in the recent ROAR National On-Road Championships in Open Mod is showing he has some serious talent on tap. His win was hard earned as six other drivers also recorder a top 5 position in their three mains. Second in class and overall showing the importance of the extra TQ point was Alan Hewitt followed closely home by Sean Cochran in third overall on 294 points aided with his win in A2. Fourth and fifth overall fell to Steve Weiss with 290 points and Hiro Kasuya, having a better day in sedan than F1 with 286 points. Sixth thru ninth was a constant dogfight each round with Joven Madriaga’s strong fifth in A3 giving him the spot with 281 points edging out Oliver Clipper who used the tie breaker best total laps / time to take seventh on 280 points with Sean Williams in eight also with 280 points after two top 4 runs was battered with a mechanical failure in A3. Completing the group was ninth overall Bob Stellflue just behind with 279 points and Carlos Franco, slipping to eleventh overall with 271 points, just one point behind 10th overall and B group winner Ryan Constantino.
Final race group was the GT Sedans filling four full race groups today and there was plenty of action even from the lower mains with the top 6 drivers in Group D all posting a fifth or better finish in one or more of their triple mains. Terence Webster and Bill Tolmasoff where the top dogs in this group, neither finishing lower than third in each of their races. With his two wins and a second, Terence took top honors in group D today and a fine 26th overall moving up from his initial 31st qualifying position and four points over second placing Bill. Third overall in the group with his win in D3 was Todd Sincock helping lift him past fourth runner Brian Harris whose fourth place finish left him two points behind. The battle for fifth in group went to David Fregoso whose better total laps / time was the tie breaker with 6th place Tim Ruwe. Mechanical gremlins in various races thwarted the best efforts of the final finishing order of Steve Hollstein in seventh followed by Jason Tolmasoff (the newest of five Tomalsoff’s racing today) and Carlos Ledezma.
GT Sedan Group C would see a number of different drivers battling for second best in this group as Steve Allen used his CQ qualifying position and great runs in his first two heats to start from pole in all three C mains and yielding a fine 15th overall for the day, just 7 points (seven total places over three races) behind 10th overall. There was plenty of laughter and banter from this group with lots of passing and position changes as the top seven in this class had a finish of fourth or better in at least one of their races. Leading this group for second position in Group C was Kevin Burnham; his second place in C3 elevated him to 19th overall with 238 points. Just one point behind and third and fourth in the positions for their group were Jason Laurel and Tom Kahl. Tom’s third place finish in C3 tied Jason but Jason’s better total laps / time meant he would finish 20th overall with Tom right behind tied on 237 points in 21st. Just one more point behind with 236 points was Brian “B-Ruff” Rutherford locking down fifth in his group. Good friends and combatants on and off the track, Mark Goldwater would edge out Doug Rebal by one point to sixth and seventh in the C group. The field would be rounded out with Josh Tran, still cleaning the dust off his radio taking eighth in group by just one point over Don Natale with Don’s shortened run in C3 dropping him back. Rounding out Group C was Erik Denk who has to get noted for his determination, attitude and perseverance. Erik who has been out of racing for over a year returned to Southern California to race in a class and format that he loves so much, deciding it was well worth the 6 hour plus driver from Arizona to race with us. Even with mechanical problems in the first two races, Erik was still able to pull off the track, fix his car and be running at the end of the ten minute long race. Most would have thrown up their arms and walked away. Instead, Erik spoke of how great it was to be back racing, how much fun he had and how he was looking forward to coming back out in November to run in the Winter Series. It is the grass roots racers like Erik that keep our sport alive.
On to the B group and another heat with lots of passing and overtakes as the top five drivers in this class had at least a third place or better finish in one of their runs. After a third place finish in B1, Tamiya’s Fred Medel stepped it up to take the top spot in B2 and B3 to not only finish first in the B group but an excellent eighth overall while still helping with all the computer stuff, grid and heat sheets and postings. Thank you for your assistance Fred and job well done. Consistent runs would net Chris Widado second in the group and his second and two thirds earned him a fine ninth overall for the day. Fred and Chris were two of only three B main drivers that were able to move ahead of their A main counterparts in the final standings. Third through sixth saw tight battles within this group as Steve Tolmasoff, one of only two drivers in Group B to post a 41 lap run used his second place in B3 to take third in group, tying Torgeir “Torg” Hagland on 265 points but securing twelfth overall with the better lap / time combo. For his part, Torg’s fourth place finish in B3 allowed him to secure thirteenth overall, just one point ahead of 5th in group Craig “Cuda” Hammon who was our overall winner in Formula 1 class today. Next up with his sixth in group finish was “realistic” guru Charles Lightfoot who boldly hustled his shoe box shape BMW E30 M3 body that is about as aerodynamic as a brick to sixteenth overall. Finishing off the Group B field was seventh in group Matthew Tolmasoff, Steve’s youngest son followed by Mark Hinkley, Jeffery Fink and Ryan Constantino in eight thru tenth in group all plagued with a mechanical gremlin in one or more of their races.
Final Race Group in GT Sedan saw the fast guys in the A group take the track with lots of tight battles throughout the pack. Lee Passehl and Kevin Smith where the class of the field today with the two of them taking first and second in all three races and first and second overall with Lee earning the Tuning Haus version of the full size Formula 1 Grand Chelem by taking pole, all three race wins, fastest lap and best run of the day for a total of 301 points with Kevin Smith a threatening second, close behind each run to take second overall with 297 points. The final spot for the podium was a tossup with four drivers with a chance heading into the final round. Making the best A3 run of the group, Max Valles put in his personal best run of the day to take third to secure a third place overall finish for the day with 290 points, just one point ahead of Mike Molina whose sixth in A3 left him fourth overall on 289 points and Kevin “Panda” Cole fifth in A3 and fifth overall on 287 points. Having their own great battle in the first two Group A races, Dave Berger went into A3 just two points ahead of J.D. Ramsey. With his best run of the day in A3, J.D. pulled out a fourth just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Panda to move ahead of Dave for sixth overall with Dave taking seventh two points behind. Always finishing within one or two spots of each race, Tyree Phillips would take eighth in Group A and the final award spot in tenth overall over Calvin Simmons who tied in points but took eleventh overall on tiebreaker. After 30 minutes of racing, Tyree took the final award spot by just seven seconds total. Heartbreak of the day award goes to Mike Rydwell who going into A3 was sitting third overall. However, a mechanical failure just two and a half minutes into A3 netted Mike a 38th overall for the round dropping him down to seventeenth overall. A bitter end after two good runs.
Formula 1: Bill Jeric had fast race lap of the day with a 14.979 in round 3 just ahead of Craig “Cuda” Hammon’s best of 14.997, the only two F1 racers to record sub-fifteen second lap times. Best run of the day went to the Cuda with the only 39 lap run in A3 with a 39/10:12.141 run. Making 38 lap runs today were Bill Jeric, Jason Huang, Kevin “Panda” Cole and Mike Rydwell.
13.5 TC: Fast lap of the day honors run during A3’s “Happy Hour” conditions was Alan Hewitt with a 13.068 lap just ahead of Julian Wong’s 13.072 and Sean William’s 13.101, also in A3. All ten of the A main and three of the B main drivers would post 13 second fastest laps. Best run of the day was Julian Wong’s 45 lap 10:11.903 run in A3, the only 45 lap run of the day. Alan, Sean Cochran and Steve Weiss would lay down 44 lap best runs.
GT Sedan: Lee Passehl set fastest race lap at 13.3579 in round 3 with Kevin Smith right behind with a 13.474. Also posting 13 second fast laps were Mike Rydwell, Max Valles, Mike Molina, Kevin “Panda” Cole, J.D. Ramsey, Jeffery Fink and Tyree Phillips. Best run of the day also went to Lee with the only 43 lap run in A3 with a run of 43/10:05.683. Making 42 lap runs were Kevin Smith, Max Valles, J.D. Ramsey and the Panda.
Podiums and notable mentions:
The top ten in each class were named in their race recaps above. Consistency can make up for a poor run in qualifying but today’s qualifying rolled over into strong runs by the A group drivers in all three rounds as shown today with only Fred Medel and Chris Widado taking eighth and ninth in GT Sedan and Ryan Constantino taking tenth in 13.5 TC able to finish higher than their A main qualifying counterparts.
To see the final point standings as well as all the race results, pictures, videos and race report from today’s race, please visit our race page on RC Car Events http://rccarevents.com/event_details.cfm?event_id=2467.
From your party co-hosts Bill Jeric and the Panda, we would like to thank the following sponsors for their support with “party favors” for our event. Tamiya America, KO Props America, Schuur Speed, Hobby Wing North America, Protoform, F1 Paint Labs and Upgrade RC. Props to Joe Mac who has become the voice of the Tuning Haus series and keeps us updated on who is doing what in each race as well as entertained. Thank you to Fred Medel for his work with scoring and timing as well as sharing photo chores with Jason Huang, Tyree Phillips and myself, to Tyree and Bill for keeping tech running smoothly for 12 qualifying groups and 24 races and to Max Valles and Mark Hinkley for track prep. A final thank you to the 70+ invitees of our party for attending, we hope you will come indoors on carpet and join us for 2015-2016 SoCal RC Scale Series starting on Saturday, November 21st at TQ RC Racing in Chino, CA.