After a few more agonizing hours of track maintenance to return the Silver Dollar RC Raceway course to its pristine condition ahead of the first round of practice (we even watched track builders Kevin Jelich and Mike Maxwell using a blow torch to dry the track!) we finally got to watch buggies circle the track! Today’s schedule of ten practice rounds was shortened because of the additional delay this morning, with six rounds of free practice giving drivers a chance to learn the track layout, a seventh round of timed practice used to seed the heats, and an optional eighth round run late at night The talk of the day was the search for the best front tire, which is not controlled like the Pro-Line X2 compound Suburb rears. We even saw ribbed front tires being tested today!
Most of the U.S. drivers commented that the track had more grip than last month’s ROAR Nationals, which had more grip than the pre-Worlds event earlier this summer, and that left many of the drivers chasing setup changes to make their cars easier to drive at the limit on what is still a bit of an inconsistent surface. The track layout itself seemed universally liked by drivers from all countries, though many of the international drivers commented that they felt the U.S. drivers have a bit of an upper hand given the unusual track conditions and size of some of the obstacles. That sentiment seemed to be reflected in the results of the seventh round, in which each driver’s two best consecutive laps were recorded in order to seed the qualifying heats – four of the top five, and seven of the top ten, drivers after official seeding are U.S. drivers, with 2011 ROAR National Champion and Team Losi Racing driver Dustin Evans at the top, 2012 winner and reigning World Champ Ryan Cavalieri’s Centro mid-motor conversion for the Team Associated B4.2 landed in the fifth spot, and newly crowned Dakotah Phend sitting ninth.
Here are the overall timing sheets from tonight’s seeding practice. (Click to enlarge)
Stay tuned tomorrow for exciting qualifying action, as the first runs that truly matter begin at 10 AM local time. We’re just two days away from a new world champion!