RC Car Action arrived at Scottsdale R/C Speedway for Thursday’s controlled practice for the 27th Annual Cactus Classic, and the overwhelming talk of the pits were the near asphalt-like track conditions generating more grip than almost any other race we’ve ever seen on U.S. soil – with pounds of sugar poured on the track before it was sprayed down with water in order to help reduce dust, stop the track from breaking apart, and maintain a consistent racing surface, the texture of the dirt is akin to something like 60-grit sandpaper. The racers spent all day Thursday scrambling to adapt their cars and figure out how to navigate the course’s high speed corners without traction rolling.
Thursday’s practice rounds were not only the last chance to make adjustments before qualifying began this morning, but each racer’s fastest three consecutive laps were used to seed the qualifying heats to ensure that everyone is competing with 9 other drivers of a similar skill level. We watched many drivers put in two great laps and have a crash on the third, which meant they had to start the process all over again. Those crashes were sometimes spectacular, as the track’s abrasive drag coefficient (ha!) stops the cars from sliding very far.
Though originally capped at 375 entries, the organizers of the Cactus Classic decided to open up the event and with 491 names entered in the computer at the completion of practice the 27th annual Cactus Classic is the biggest ever. With 51 heats scheduled per round, famed race announcer Scotty Ernst has his work cut out for him this weekend!
Thursday evening interviews:
Team Durango nitro racer-turned-factory flashlight hotshoe Ryan Lutz on what it’s like racing at Cactus:
The first round of qualifying is under way, and we’ll be reporting as each round of the pro classes finish to bring you to the fastest names of the weekend. Stay tuned to RCCarAction.com!