The ROAR Fuel Off-Road Nationals uses a driver’s two best rounds, determined by assigning points per position, to seed the main events. The easiest way for a racer to take the pressure off of himself early in the weekend? Put in two solid runs on Friday afternoon and get locked into Sunday’s final. Several of the top pros in Houston, TX this weekend did just that with clutch drives to close out Day One at the Nationals.
TLR’s Dakotah Phend picked up where he left off in the first round, sprinting to a nearly-two second gap on the field to TQ the second round of Truck.
Following closely behind on the clock was Dakotah’s TLR teammate and former Buggy-class national champion Mike Truhe. Running in his first Nationals with new engine sponsor TOP, Truhe’s electric racing background is surely an advantage on the smooth clay.
With years of success in the Midwest and particularly at the CRCRC Midwest Winter Champs it’s no surprise to see Team Durango’s Ryan Lutz running up front. With teammate Carson Wernimont not quite on pace yet with the top ten (he was 15th this round) Lutz is the lone Durango up front.
TQ. Dakotah Phend (TLR/Team Orion) -16/7:10.833
2. Mike Truhe (TLR/TOP) – 16/7:12.616
3. Ryan Lutz (Team Durango/Alpha) – 16/7:13.356
4. Jared Tebo (Kyosho/Team Orion) – 16/7:14.361
5. Ty Tessmann (Hot Bodies/O.S.) – 16/7:14.374
6. Adam Drake (TLR/Novarossi) – 16/7:14.798
7. Ryan Maifield (Team Associated/Reedy) – 16/7:14.927
8. Steven Hartson (Team Associated/Reedy) – 16/7:16.105
9. Josh Wheeler (XRAY/O.S.) – 16/7:17.217
10. Ryan Cavalieri (Team Associated/Team Orion) – 16/7:17.538
11. Austin Blair (Kyosho/O.S.) – 16/7:17.680
12. Billy Fischer (TLR/Novarossi) – 16/7:18.149
13. Billy Easton (Serpent/Novarossi) – 16/7:18.457
14. Jeremy Kortz (Agama/Werks) – 16/7:19.896
15. Carson Wernimont (Team Durango/O.S.) – 16/7:20.716
16. Cody King (Kyosho/REDS) – 16/7:23.261
With three TQ runs in four chances on Friday it’s difficult not to label Dakotah Phend as the early favorite to win add at least one national title to his resume on Sunday. Dakotah’s Team Orion-powered TLR 8IGHT 3.0 was once again in a class of its own, winning the round by six seconds – more than the gap between 2nd and 8th!
Dakotah may have had the strongest overall performances on Friday but defending champion Tessman is not far off. The best of the rest on Friday evening, Ty backed up his 3rd-place finish in round one to guarantee himself an up-front starting spot and can now focus on going faster in the two rounds on Saturday.
With two top five runs on Friday, two-time national champion Adam Drake is also locked into Sunday’s final. With Dakotah, Adam, and TLR teammate Mike Truhe making it three 8IGHT 3.0 buggies in the top five it looks like Team Losi Racing has hit on something special.
TQ. Dakotah Phend (TLR/Team Orion) – 16/7:09.112
2. Ty Tessmann (Hot Bodies/O.S.) – 16/7:15.163
3. Adam Drake (TLR/Novarossi) – 16/7:16.403
4. Jared Tebo (Kyosho/Team Orion) – 16/7:16.995
5. Mike Truhe (TLR/TOP) – 16/7:17.348
6. Ryan Lutz (Team Durango/Alpha) – 16/7:17.987
7. Steven Hartson (Team Associated/Reedy) – 16/7:18.300
8. Cody King (Kyosho/REDS) – 16/7:20.449
9. Joshua Wheeler (XRAY/O.S.) – 16/7:23.246
10. Drew Moller (Kyosho/Team Orion) – 16/7:24.381
11. Carson Wernimont (Team Durango/O.S.) – 16/7:24.524
12. Ryan Cavalieri (Team Associated/Team Orion) – 16/7:26.088
13. Billy Easton (Serpent/Novarossi) – 16/7:26.771
14. Mark Pavidis (TLR/O.S.) – 15/7:01.346
15. Gunnar Rieck (Team Associated/Novarossi) – 15/7:01.211
16. Curtis Door (Kyosho/Team Orion) – 15/7:03.078