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.