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.


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.

Powered by a ProTek 70c lipo battery from A Main Hobbies and Tekin electronics, Zhao had his Losi SCTE were dialed all weekend. After winning A1 in the triple A main format and finishing second in A2, Zhao was on rails in A3 with Panther soft Rattlers mounted on white DE Racing Trinidad wheels to win by more than seven seconds and take the overall victory. Team Tekin driver Jason Moberley finished second and Tim Martens was third.

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.


BMiller Racing’s Brian Strange captured a pair of the coveted WWF-style belts awarded to the class winners at the Northern California Electric Off-Road Championships at Nor-Cal Hobbies. Strange won both the 4wd buggy and open stadium truck titles and finished third in 2wd open buggy.

Sawyer Bruer continued his recent hot streak in 4wd short course, piloting his Losi SCTE to a second place finish in the class, while placing fourth in 17.5 stock buggy. Teammate Lou Figueria was in the mix as well in 4wd SCT, coming home in fourth in the AAA main format. Continue reading “STRANGE LEADS BMILLER RACING AT NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAMPIONSHIPS”