Throughout 2012 and 2013, BMiller Racing’s Brian Strange has been knocking on the door of RC racing’s elite group of drivers. At last week’s IFMAR World Championships at Sliver Dollar Raceway in Chico, CA, Strange proved that he belongs in the discussion when talking about the sport’s premier names.
He finished 22nd overall in 4wd buggy amongst the top 150 world qualifiers and was 36th overall in 2wd buggy. In combining the finish totals from the two classes, Strange finished 25th overall, a true breakout against the best RC drivers in the world.
Sponsored by Team Associated, Reedy, and DE Racing and supported by A Main Hobbies through BMiller Racing, Strange turned many heads in Round 3 of qualifying for 4wd Buggy when he posted the seventh fastest time in the round for the entire field. He would go on to qualify for the C main, where he finished second behind Switzerland’s Patrick Hofer. Strange placed sixth in the D main of the 2wd event.
The United States continued its RC off-road domination at the IFMAR World Championships with Jared Tebo (Kyosho) winning the 2wd title and Steven Hartson (Team Associated) taking home the 4wd championship.
In a continuing journey to present different ways to enjoy RC car racing, BMiller Racing hosted the first-ever BMiller Racing Stock vs. Mod Buggy Challenge on May 10 as part of the weekly Friday Night Nats program at LSR Speedway in Sacramento. Featuring many of the area’s top electric buggy drivers, the BMiller Challenge was a five-minute dash comprised of the top five qualifiers in both 17.5 Expert Buggy and Pro Mod Buggy, placed in teams of two based on qualifying position, and then positioned on the grid in inverted order. As a result, the TQ in Pro Mod Buggy started in the #10 spot on the grid and was matched up on a team with the slowest 17.5 qualifier, who would start on the pole.
After two rounds of qualifying in their respective classes, BMiller Racing’s own Justin Moon earned TQ honors in Pro Buggy and would start in the back of the inverted grid in the #10 spot. Brian Mincks was the second qualifier in Pro Buggy and started #9, followed by Sawyer Bruer in #8, Patrick Zhao in #7, and Nate Henry in #6.
Longtime stock standout Nathan Lavery TQ’d in 17.5 Buggy and was placed in the #5 position for the Challenge with Jace Tillman on the #4, Shon Wilcox on the #3, Craig Patterson on the #2, and Terry Wickum on the #1.
Each duo was asked to come up with a team name for the feature race, prompting a myriad of creative monikers: “Punch It” (Moon and Wickum), “Team Shadow” (Mincks and Patterson), “The Medical Militia” (Bruer and Wilcox), “Raider Racers” (Zhao and Tillman), and “The Nate Doggs” (Henry and Lavery). In the end, the object of the race was the team with the most combined laps (and fastest combined time) would win a pair of $50 A Main Hobbies gift cards provided by the folks at BMiller Racing.
Dropping the Green Flag…
After some warmup laps and driver introductions, the field went at the tone and threw it into the first turn full throttle. An immediate pile up collected four cars in the back of the grid, allowing the 17.5 guys to open up a little gap in the early going. Coming around for lap one it was Patterson on top with Wickum in second and Tillman in third. That group led for the first two minutes of the race, but it was Moon who was on the move after avoiding the carnage in the first turn collision that collected many of the Pro Buggy drivers.
Just before the halfway mark, Patterson and Wickum got tangled in the rhythm section, allowing Moon to jump to the front of the pack. Ultimately, it was all the help Moon needed, as the BMiller/A Main Hobbies/AKA/DE Racing driver dropped consistent 15- and 16-second lap times to open up a sizable advantage. Meanwhile, Patterson and Wickum continued their battle for the second and third spots along with Mincks and Tillman.
With four minutes down and one minute to go the running order was Moon, Wickum, Patterson, Tillman, Mincks, Lavery, Henry, Wilcox, Bruer, and Zhao. At the finish it was all Moon, who was the only driver to complete 19 laps. Patterson moved up to take the second spot and Mincks grabbed the third step on the podium, while Wickum and Henry finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
As for the team results, team “Punch It” took down the title as Moon’s dominate win proved to the be the difference while BMiller teammate Wickum stayed close enough to the lead pack for the duo to earn top team honors with 37 combined laps. The Patterson/Mincks “Team Shadow” contingent finished second with 36 laps and a total time of 10:05 while “The Nate Doggs” (Henry and Lavery) were third with 36 laps and a combined time of 10:13.
In the end it was another great night of racing at LSR Speedway. Class winners for the regular portion of the program included Eddie Bernal in 4wd Buggy, Bill Budd in Rookie, Chris Budd in 2wd Sportsman SCT and 4wd Sportsman SCT, Troy Hanson in Pro 4 SCT, Chris Havens in Sportsman Buggy, Lavery in 17.5 Expert Buggy, Moon in Pro Buggy, Rob Moots in 17.5 Sportsman Buggy, Scott Whitlow in Stadium Truck, and Wickum in Pro 2 SCT.
Special thanks goes out to LSR Speedway owners Scott and Heather Rowles and the entire LSR track crew for their continued hard work as well as Brian Crum, who provided the thrilling live-action call of the BMiller Racing Stock vs. Mod Buggy Challenge.
4wd Short Course proved to be the weekend’s premier class with 33 entries. Figueria earned the TQ with his Losi SCTE 2.0 but it was his teammate O’Connell, starting from the No. 2 position, who led the field through the first two laps. A bobble by O’Connell in lap four catapulted Figueria back into the top spot, where he stayed for most of the eight-minute A main. Figueria returned the favor with two minutes to go, suffering a hard crash in the big jump section in front of the driver’s stand that put O’Connell back in charge. That was all O’Connell needed, laying down a blistering final five laps for the win in his Losi SCTE with Tekin RX8 speedo and Pro 4 4600 motor, ProTek R/C Supreme Power 100c lipo battery, and super soft Panther Raptors mounted on white DE Racing Borrego wheels. Figueria held on for second despite suffering some electrical issues from the late-race crash and Jason Melfa was third.
O’Connell also found himself in an epic battle in Nitro Buggy with Schroeder, Brett Bowen, and Trevor Lund. The foursome went toe-to-toe for the first 10 minutes of the 20-minute main with the lead changing hands nine times before attrition starting taking its toll on the leaders. Bowen suffered servo problems right after the halfway point, and then O’Connell was forced to the sidelines while leading with three minutes to go, suffering a broken front end. Schroeder, who TQ’d, stayed steady throughout and earned the hard fought victory.
Other class winners included Red Patten in 2wd Mod Buggy, Greg Newman in 4wd Buggy, Melfa in 1/8 Truggy, and Tom Swaney in Novice. With a record number of entries, the race proceeds allowed the club to donate more than $2,000 to the neighboring Northern California Veterans Museum.
Built approximately five years ago by a strong local RC racing community, Rattlesnake Raceway (http://www.rattlesnakerc.com) is located at 3747 Meadowview Drive in Redding, CA and features both off-road and oval racing. Jason Schurig serves as club president, and represented the facility in a first-class manner as an outstanding race director for the NCVM Benefit Race.
When it was announced that Losi was releasing the SCTE 2.0, BMiller Racing’s Lou Figueria immediately went on his A Main Hobbies.com account and pre-ordered the kit. And when it became available a couple weeks ago, Figueria express shipped his pre-order and immediately starting building it with the hope to debut it at the March Madness race at CVR Raceway in Madera, CA. The rushed build and testing proved worthwhile, as ‘Big Lou’ came away with the March Madness victory in 4×4 Open Short Course. He also managed to finish second in eBuggy.
BMiller teammate Josh O’Connell actually earned the TQ going into the eight-minute main and led the first third of the race. Kyle Turner (who ended up finishing 3rd) grabbed the lead on lap 5 and paced the field for the next five laps before a bobble allowed O’Connell to recapture the top spot in lap 11. Meanwhile, Figueria, who was able to keep traction on the loose surface throughout the weekend using a combination of Panther Raptors and Boas mounted on white DE Racing Borrego wheels, stayed steady throughout and found himself right in the mix for the stretch run.
The final six laps produced an epic battle between O’Connell and Figueria, as the teammates and friends were never separated by more than two seconds on the sprawling, big-air layout. Running his fastest laps in the late stages, Figueria found himself right on O’Connell’s bumper with one lap to go. The decisive move came in the back section of the track when O’Connell maintained his regular line through the rolling triples while Figueria decided to square up off the turn and launch it and hold on. Figueria made the pass in the air and then it was a drag race to the finish line with Figueria winning by just over a second.
Other March Madness class winners included Phillip Atondo in expert nitro buggy and truggy, Brandon Curran in sportsman nitro buggy and truggy, Jacob Haas in eBuggy, Ron Kammerer in 40+ nitro buggy, Keith Henry in 40+ nitro truggy, and Jonathan Hernandez in the Dash 4 Cash.
BMiller Racing’s Cory Yoder came away with top driver honors at the recently completed Cheese City Xtreme Winter Off-Road Series, winning both the Mod Buggy and Stock 2wd SCT overall titles. Teammate Trent Hanson landed on the podium as well, placing third in 4×4 SCT. The series featured five rounds of racing with two drops, starting back in November and concluding in March.
The other series class winners included Matt Meyers in Rally, Justin Zaugg in 4×4 SCT, and Robbie Price in Sportsman. Cheese City Xtreme R/C is located in Monroe, WI and features year-round indoor/outdoor off-road and oval racing with a well-stocked hobby shop on site. For more information on the facility, check out their website (http://cheesecityxtremerc.com) or give them a call at 608-325-4502.
A Main Hobbies is putting Chico, California on the worldwide RC map in 2013, and the impressive slate of primetime competitions opened this past weekend with the running of the 4th Annual Outback Shootout at Outback Raceway. The BMiller Race Team made the short trek for the Shootout and came away with a banner showing, tallying four class victories and nine podiums overall.
Justin Moon, a former professional full scale open wheel formula BMW and champ car driver, has been on the verge of a breakout since returning to RC racing two years ago, and he may have gotten it at the Outback Shootout with a victory in Open 2wd Buggy. Driving a T2 Evo buggy from Team C with power provided by a Gen 2 9.5 motor and RS speedo from Tekin and the recently released ProTek R/C Supreme Power 100c Shorty Pack, Moon earned the TQ with four strong rounds of qualifying. In the eight-minute A main he led from start to finish and was the only driver to lay down 32 laps. 14-year-old BMiller Racing teammate Nathan Bernal registered the fastest lap of the race at 15.014 and made a strong charge at the end of the main to finish second just three seconds back of Moon, while A Main Hobbies pro driver Tyler Vik placed third.
Just prior to the Open 2wd Buggy main, the up-and-coming Bernal pulled out a dramatic victory in 2wd Stock Buggy with a borrowed Team Associated B4.2 that was built only hours before qualifying on Saturday. Starting from the No. 2 spot on the grid, Bernal (who also finished 3rd in Open 4wd buggy) trailed teammate Terry Wickum through much of the eight-minute main but strung together a series of impressive late-race laps with a Tekin Gen 2 17.5 motor and RS speedo and ProTek R/C Supreme Power 100c Shorty Pack to eventually take the top spot in the final minute and register a comfortable winning margin. Wickum held on for second while another standout Team Associated youngster, Tanner Matesa, finished third.
Open 4wd Short Course provided the most entertaining races throughout the weekend, and the eight-minute A main did not disappoint. BMiller Racing’s Josh O’Connell started in the second spot on the grid behind teammate Patrick Zhao, who led for the first two minutes. In lap seven, however, O’Connell took advantage of a Zhao miscue and never looked back, guiding his Losi SCTE in consistent fashion behind the power of Tekin electronics (Pro 4 4600 and RX8) and a ProTek R/C Supreme Power 100c Hard Case lipo. O’Connell had to stay aggressive and focused throughout because Team Tekno and A Main Hobbies factory driver Austin Blair was all over him before settling for runner-up honors. Zhao held on for third place, while BMiller drivers Wickum and Lou Figueria finished fourth and fifth, respectively. All four BMiller drivers in 4wd SCT were mounted on Borrego wheels from DE Racing.
Figueria and Zhao also provided an epic battle in Open 2wd Short Course with the top of the box undetermined until the final turn. Zhao earned the TQ with a borrowed Associated SC10 stocked with a Tekin 8.5 and RS speedo and ProTek lipo and led for most of the eight-minute A main. But Figueria, who was driving team owner Brad Miller’sLosi 22SCT with Tekin 10.5 Gen 2 motor and RS Pro speedo and ProTek lipo, was on a mission from his No. 6 qualifying spot. Hanging around in the middle of the pack in the early going, Figueria started to make his move up the charts at the midway point but still trailed Zhao by five seconds. With one minute to go he had closed to within three seconds and then found himself right on Zhao’s bumper with one lap to go when Zhao got tangled with lapped traffic. The two battled as the crowd amped up with Figueria making the hero pass on the final straight to earn the victory. Randy Pike of Team Tekin and Panther Tires rounded out the podium in third. All three podium finishers in Open 2wd SCT had their tires mounted on DE Racing Borrego wheels.
Additional class winners included Eric Albano (Open 4wd Buggy), Tyler Vik (Open 2wd Stadium Truck), Nathan Lavery (Stock 2wd SCT), Kendall Bennett (Stock 2wd Stadium Truck), and Clayton Buck (Rookie).
With two world-class facilities, A Main Hobbies will be the hub of RC off-road action in 2013. More than 10 premier competitions will be held in Chico at Silver Dollar R/C Raceway and Outback Raceway, highlighted by the JConcepts Summer Indoor Nationals in July (7/13-14), ROAR 1/10 Electric Off-Road Nationals in August (8/8-11) and IFMAR Electric Buggy World Championships in September (9/22-29).
BMiller Racing’s Brian Strange has only raced on the national RC stage a handful of times, but when he has the results have been impressive. With the goal of taking his driving to another level in 2013, Strange decided to open the year by making the trip to Southern California for the Reedy International Off-Road Race of Champions at West Coast RC Raceway.
Piloting an Associated B44.1 with white DE Racing Borrego wheels, Strange qualified sixth overall in 4wd to earn a spot in the double A mains. In the 10-minute A1 he drove a steady 31-lap race and bounced between the fourth, fifth and sixth spots before settling for fifth. In A2 Strange was an immediate factor among the lead pack, climbing to third place by the end of lap one. He battled in the third and fourth positions for the first one-third of the race before losing a bottom shock spring cup in lap 11 and falling off the pace. He stayed with it, however, and nursed the car around for a seventh place showing. Combining the two finishes, Strange ended up right where he qualified, placing sixth overall among a stacked field of factory drivers.
His efforts in 2wd were almost equally as impressive. Qualifying 19th, Strange was steady throughout the 10-minute C main and finished second to bump to the B main. It was in the B that he almost pulled off the unthinkable. Starting from the No. 10 spot on the grid, Strange gradually worked his way through the pack and was third at the halfway point but well off the pace of the top two transfer spots. But that did not stop him from putting together a huge surge in the second half of the race with his TLR 22 on white DE Racing Borrego wheels. Running his fastest laps in the final two minutes, Strange closed to within three seconds of second place but had to settle for third in the main and an 11th place overall finish.
“It was a tremendous experience to take part in my first Reedy Race of Champions event,” stated Strange. “The competition was outstanding, and it was a great test to see where I am at right now as I look to become a factor at the national level during the 2013 season. I can’t thank my sponsors enough, BMiller Racing, A Main Hobbies and ProTek R/C, Panther Tires, and DE Racing. Without their support this entire experience would have not been possible.”
Another great story for BMiller Racing at Reedy came via the efforts of young 14-year-old Nathan Bernal. After a tough four rounds of qualifying, Nathan found himself landing in the K main of 2wd. Starting from the eighth spot in the 10-minute main, Nathan drove though the pack to win the K and transfer to the J. He then went on to finish second in the J and I mains, and then won the H main to climb into the upper mains. He then placed second in the G main before finally ending the run with a seventh place finish in the F main, which earned him a Top 50 overall finish. When it was all said and done, Nathan raced 60 minutes of 2wd heads-up action with five bumps.
Nathan’s father, Eddie Bernal, also produced a Top 50 finish for BMiller Racing, placing fourth in the 4wd F main.
More than 125 entrants hit the track for the first-ever Outback Raceway Fall Brawl on the A Main Hobbies campus in Chico, California. With many of the top drivers from Northern California taking part in the two-day extravaganza, the action at the world-renowned indoor facility was fast and furious on a flowing layout comprised of extremely high-bite clay.
BMiller Racing’s Brian Strange won the premier Open 2wd Buggy event as well as the Open Stadium Truck title, and teammate Patrick Zhao took home the 4wd Short Course crown. In all, BMiller Racing grabbed seven podium finishes.
Coming off Top 30 finishes in 2wd buggy, 4wd buggy and stadium truck at the ROAR SuperNationals back in August, Strange has only gotten faster as the calendar inches towards what promises to be an eventful 2013 for the Sacramento, Calif., resident. Facing a number of the area’s top buggy drivers at the Fall Brawl, Strange lapped the entire field in his Losi TLR 22 powered by a ProTek R/C Supreme Power 70c shorty pack. With Panther Burner Slicks mounted on white DE Racing Borrego wheels, Strange started in the second qualifying spot but was in the lead by the end of lap one. He ran the first 12 laps in nearly flawless manner, laying down either a 17 or 18 second mark in each of those laps, and never looked back. BMiller Racing’s Justin Moon posted one of his finest career showings to finish second in the feature race, while Team Associated factory driver Eric Albano was third.
BMiller Racing’s other podium finishes came from Terry Wickum’s second in Stock 2wd Buggy and Open 2wd Short Course and Eddie Bernal’s second place showing in 4wd Buggy.
Other event class winners included Nathan Lavery in Stock 2wd Buggy, Chris Jarosz in 4wd Buggy, Moberly in Open 2wd Short Course, Chris Ularte in Stock 2wd Short Course, and Raysen Chunn in the Kids Class.
Justin Moon recently made the switch to Team C, and the change has agreed quite well with the 24-year-old BMiller Racing driver. Piloting the TC02 Evo Buggy, Moon led a BMiller Racing sweep of the pro buggy class in the final points standings for the LSR Speedway Fall Series, winning three of the six series legs (Rounds 1, 5, 6) and taking second in his other scoring round (best four finishes were counted towards final points).
Eddie Bernal finished second in the final pro buggy standings and his 14-year-old son, Nathan Bernal was third overall. The elder Bernal won Round 3 and was second in the first two legs, while young Nathan took the top spot in Rounds 2 and 4.
BMiller Racing was also represented on the top of the box of Pro 4 short course with team drivers Patrick Zhao and Lou Figueria taking first and second, respectively. Zhao won Rounds 1, 2, and 5 and Figueria took Rounds 3, 4, and 6. But the final overall one-point difference came from Zhao earning three TQ bonus points to Figueria’s two bonus points.
Other class winners included Nathan Lavery in 17.5 NR Buggy, Jace Tillman in Sportsman Buggy, Jeff Lorenzo in 2wd Open SCT and Stadium Truck, Craig Patterson in 17.5 NR 2wd SCT, Frank Deaver in 2wd Sportsman SCT, and Tom Sores in 4wd Sportsman SCT.
Patrick Zhao has only been RC racing for a little over a year, but his dramatic improvement has made the BMiller Racing standout a factor anytime he makes his way onto the driver’s stand. His latest accomplishment during the rapid rise came at the recent Off-Road Kings event at Nor-Cal Hobbies in the Bay Area when he TQ’d and won the pro 4×4 short course event.
BMiller Racing’s Brian Strange had an impressive showing in 2wd invite open buggy and 4wd open buggy, finishing third in both classes. Strange was consistent throughout the weekend, finishing in the top three in each of the eight rounds in mod invite buggy, including victories in three of the heats. Team Losi Racing’s Phillip Atondo came away with the overall victory and former IFMAR 2007 World Champion Hayato Matsuzaki was second with Strange rounding out the podium.
In triple A mains for 4wd buggy, Strange was third in A1, second in A2, and third in A3 to finish third overall behind Eric Albano and Derek Stephansen.
Another closely contested battle came in 17.5 invitational buggy, where BMiller Racing’s Terry Wickum and Sawyer Bruer battled a tough field to finish second and third, respectively, after the eight scoring heats (top 6 races count toward final standing). Wickum actually won all seven races he competed in (missed one race due to a practice lap mechanical failure), but lost to Nathan Lavery on the time tiebreaker.
Wickum also was fourth overall in 2wd open short course.