I had a great club-racing day this past weekend, and it got me thinking: what makes for a great day at the track?
Here’s my suggestion for a simple RC checklist you can print, take with you to the track, and mark as each event occurs.
RC RACING CHECKLIST
1) Arrive at RC track. This means you’re not at work; today is already a great day.
2) Unpack your gear and find everything there; you didn’t leave your radio 50-miles behind at home this time.
3) Stare at your clean car and imagine how great it will run after that 6hr wrench session 2 days ago. Run some practice laps.
4) Narrowly avoid shearing the entire car in half as beginner drives 14lb monster truck backwards down the straightaway; regain composure.
5) Sign up to race.
6) Walk back to pits to write your personal transponder number on your hand in Sharpie marker.
7) Actually sign up to race this time; pay with money earned by selling off that old 1/10-scale you didn’t want anyway.
8 ) Sit at pit table, notice how busy everyone else is, and act like you’re wrenching on your car even though you’re certain it doesn’t need it.
9) Say hello to that guy who’s just arriving and hauling all of his stuff into the pits. You race with him every week…what’s his name again? “Hey man!”
10) Try to start up your nitro buggy and look stupefied when it doesn’t start on the first, second or tenth attempt.
11) Toss car underneath your pit table in disgust; discreetly fill the fuel tank with fuel, making sure no one sees you.
12) Clean off your pit table and slowly push that guy’s huge hauler bag out of your pit personal pit area.
13) Check out the heat sheets to see which race you’re in.
14) Walk back to pits, relax. Talk to some friends about what tires you’re using today, or which set up you downloaded from the interwebz.
15) Ask which race you’re in again, since you’ve already forgotten.
16) First qualifier; just get a clean run in and then try to go fast in the second round.
17) Second qualifier; a clean run would help, since that marshal totally screwed you over in the first round.
18) Marshal the next race; feign energy and enthusiasm as you imagine that jerk marshal’s car flipping in front of you and you calmly sitting there, staring at it, refusing to marshal it.
19) Prep your car for the Main; find screw half way out of chassis and temporarily “fix” stripped hole with CA glue until you can get a new bulkhead.
20) Hope those other 7 temporary fixes from previous weeks hold through just one more main.
21) Start the main & feel the adrenaline pump as the tone sounds.
22) Wonder if your adrenal gland has exploded after backmarker jumps the start and pulls a PIT maneuver on you in first corner.
23) Work your way through traffic from last place; scream out “LEEEEADER!” as you pass each competitor, whether you’re leading or not.
24) Pull in for pit-stop at 7-minutes; regain composure again as rookie pit man fumbles, drops fuel bottle and attempts to fuel car on the ground in pit lane.
25) Blast through lap traffic, justifying unsportsmanlike conduct by convincing yourself “it’s just payback” for that time that guy took you out, 3 weeks ago.
26) Act like you didn’t take anyone out by high-fiving each driver on the stand after your race, smiling and saying “Dude, awesome race!”
27) Walk back to pits, drop car on pit table, check your cell phone.
28) Hear announcer calling you out by name for not marshalling immediately after your race.
29) Sprint to the track, waving hand and mumbling “I’m here!” to avoid lap deduction from your main.
30) Clean your car, pack up your gear, and avoid that marshal you’d like to give a piece of your mind. Does he realize his laziness just ruined your entire day?!
31) Drive to In & Out with your racing buddies, replay the day’s events, and scarf down a double-double, animal style. Forget all about that stupid marshal.
32) Wrench on your car for several hours and do it all again next week.