Over Labor Day weekend, Silver Dollar R/C Raceway held the 2012 Labor Day Shootout. This was a special race for Kendall Bennett and the rest of the A Main Hobbies employees as it would be the inaugural race at their new 1/8th scale outdoor track. The facility goes above and beyond expectations. Everyone’s first reaction as they walked up the enormous driver’s stand was amazement. The track was described by everyone as being the perfect size. The dirt had so much traction that slick tires worked. It’s hard to put this facility into words. One of the best tracks in the world, and arguably the best track in the country, this is definitely one of those tracks that every R/C racer should go to sometime.
Because there were two other big races on the same weekend (Sidewinder Nitro Explosion at ARC, and Surf City Classic at OC/RC) the entry count was on the light side for this race at a little over 100 entries. That wasn’t bad for the racers, however, as it made it more of a relaxing event. The two-and-a-half hour drive for my dad and me seemed short compared to the seven-hour journey Chad Bradley, Marty Korn, and Mike Truhe had to make coming from southern California. Pretty much everyone got to the track Friday for a day of open practice. The last time I had raced 1/8th scale before this was the ROAR Nationals in Pennsylvania, so I was excited to run nitro again. It took me a while to get my cars setup right due to the high amount of traction. Tire tread pattern isn’t that important at this track, but compound is. Everyone was running M2 or Medium. I think that XTR would’ve worked very well, but I didn’t have any. By the end of practice, my buggy still had too much side bite. I just had to be very careful in certain areas of the track, especially the sweeper at the end of the straight.
Qualifying consisted of three rounds on Saturday, and one round on Sunday with two throw outs. We were finished with the first two rounds by about 4 P.M, and then took a four-hour break. This would give everyone time to go out and get dinner, or “proper dinner” as Kendall said. By the time we started the third round, we were running under the lights. The lighting was so good that there was almost no difference between day and night. The qualifying points in the top eight buggy were tight. After qualifying was all over, my points for buggy were TQ and fifth, putting me fifth overall, and for truggy I had a fourth and fifth, putting me sixth overall. I only finished one round of qualifying in truggy due to engine issues, so I was lucky to even make the A main.
Luckily there was plenty of time between the last round of qualifying and the mains because my dad and I had to do a lot of work to my cars to get them ready for the 45 minute A mains. We decided on running M2 Revolvers in the truggy main and M2 Knuckles (yes, you read that correctly!) in the buggy main. Both of my mains were pretty disappointing. Mike Truhe, Austin Blair, and I were battling for third, but that ended for me when someone hit me going backwards and ripped my body off. I lost close to two laps by the time my body was back on and I was out of pit lane. I ended up finishing fourth. In buggy I was in third until my tire came unglued. It turns out that the tires had been sitting out of the package too long and that meant that the glue didn’t bond. This race was just as disappointing for Ryan Lutz as he TQ’ed buggy and truggy, but didn’t finish either one. Hopefully we’ll both have better luck next time! Congratulations to Mike Truhe for winning buggy and Tyler Vik for winning truggy.
The Labor Day Shootout has been held at various tracks in northern California over the past few years, but this time was by far the best. Kendall Bennett, Ruben Benitez, and the rest of the A Main Hobbies crew did an amazing job with this race. I can’t wait for next year. Special thanks to Marty Korn for barbecuing and Kendall for the fireworks!