The JConcepts Indoor National Series (INS) is celebrating its 10th year in 2020 and RC Car Action was there for the start of this popular series. INS10 is comprised of five separate race events around the U.S. that run at five different indoor, off-road dirt tracks. Each individual race consists of its own race results and awards, but drivers that make a minimum of three of these events are also in the running for overall class titles for the entire series. To help distinguish each individual race they have been uniquely named too:
Winter Indoor Nationals
Team Velocity Raceway – St. Charles, MO
February 7-9, 2020
Spring Indoor Nationals
TRCR – Tacoma, WA
May 1-3, 2020
Summer Indoor Nationals
Hobby Action – Chandler, AZ
July 10-12, 2020
Fall Indoor Nationals
RC Clubhouse – Warren, MI
October 2-4, 2020
Indoor National Finals
Indy RC World – Garland, TX
December 11-13, 2020
For the 10th year of this series coincidentally there are also now 10 classes to compete in, so there are plenty of options for all attending drivers. And at this particular event stop an 11th class was added, Mod 4WD Truggy:
- Modified 2WD Buggy
- Modified 4WD Buggy
- 17.5 Expert 2WD Buggy
- 13.5 4WD Buggy
- 40+ 2WD Modified Buggy
- 21.5 Independent Buggy
- Open 2WD Buggy
- 13.5 Stadium Truck
- 13.5 Short Course Truck
- Tuff Truck
- Mod 4WD Truggy
So the kickoff to the 10th running of this series was the Winter Indoor Nationals which ran February 7-9th, at Velocity RC Raceway (SmacTrac) in St. Charles, MO.
The event was sold out at 350 entries and on Friday morning the majority of the 146 registered racers began to setup up their pits for a long weekend of racing and wrenching.
The freshly rebuilt track consisted of an elevated chicane section, short straight, and a few double sections. The track flow was good and the smaller track size meant that the racing was really close so drivers had no room for error.
Naturally, JConcepts tires were the most popular brand that weekend, and many drivers competed with their Dirt Webs or Ellipses in either their Gold or Silver compounds. This race also marked the debut of the JConcepts Ellipse tires for Short Course Trucks which you can see pictured above.
Compared to past events at this track a taller pin was needed too since the track surface produced more dust with so many laps thrown down on it. So getting your tire’s tread height correct was critical all weekend long.
The lines for practice slowly started to stretch around the corner into the overflow pit area, but the Velocity race team led by Chris Baumgartner and Rod Rippee kept it running smooth so drivers had ample time to dial in their setups.
Practice ended shortly before 6pm that night and then a round of Seeding began for each class. Each Seeding heat consisted of three minutes and the goal was to group drivers together that are running similar speeds. The way this was determined was to take their top three consecutive fast laps in their seeding round for each class. Then for qualifying the next day they would be placed into a heat with other drivers that are already performing at the same pace out on the track.
Saturday morning the track opened at 6:30am and at 6:45am an hour of open practice was held for only drivers who couldn’t practice the day before. The race program that day called for three rounds of qualifying.
To determine an overall class TQ your best two runs were counted as we ran qualifying points. That meant if you TQed round one you got a 0 score for that round. If you finished 2nd in round two then you got a score of two, 3rd place got a three, and so forth. So the lowest score would win and if you TQed two out of the three rounds then you locked up the top qualifier spot for the entire weekend.
With 40 heats in each round, qualifying ran till just past 11:30pm. So drivers kept themselves busy by working on their cars, prepping new tires, playing old school Nintendo games like Excitebike, and of course watching Supercross that night.
Pitting More With Less
Drivers also made the most of their pit space too by coming up with some unique ways to store multiple vehicles in their designated pit spots.
The Tuff Truck class was a new addition to the INS for its 10th running, and based on your feedback on our Facebook page this was the most popular class among our readers that weekend. This class was based on the Traxxas Stampede and the only changes allowed were as follows:
- Tires / Wheels (2.2” treaded / cleated tires only)
Time will tell if this class takes off at more tracks around the country as a low cost, fun, beginner spec class.
For this race each driver received a free event t-shirt too courtesy of JConcepts.
Drivers could also purchase raffle tickets for a 50/50 cash raffle and door prizes.
One lucky driver walked away with $301 in cash and another won a new TLR 22SR 5.0 2WD buggy autographed by TLR/JConcepts pro driver, Dakotah Phend. Who says racing doesn’t pay the bills right? 🙂
On Sunday the doors opened once again at 6:30am, and at 7am the lower mains began. The biggest class of the weekend was 17.5 2WD Buggy with 72 entries! This class was deep enough to run an I Main, and the 13.5 4WD Buggy was nearly as big with 71 class entries as well.
In every class the top eight qualifiers would be locked into the single eight minute A Main event. But for positions 9 and 10, those drivers bumped up from the lower main. So the drivers that finished 1st and 2nd in the B Main would automatically transfer to the A Main. And in every lower main the top two finishers would bump up into the next highest main so in theory a driver could bump up into the A Main from one of the lower mains.
The only exception to this format was the Mod 2WD and 4WD buggy classes. In these classes the top 10 drivers in qualifying secured their place in the finals, and the winner of the B Main would transfer to the A as the 11th overall qualifier. But leading up to the B Main the top two finishing drivers from the next lower main transferred up to the next highest main. And instead of running a single eight minute main, these two classes ran a AAA Main format with each main consisting of five minutes.
The racing was close and exciting which is expected with so many fast drivers in attendance, so let’s recap how all the classes went down for the mains.
Modified 2WD Buggy
TLR/JConcepts driver Dakota Phend entered A1 as the favorite after TQing the final two rounds of qualifying. He would lead A1 for the entire 5 minutes with rising star TLR/JConcepts driver Mason Fuller moving up to 2nd and Team Associated/JConcepts driver Cole Tollard taking 3rd. In A2 Phend would again lead from the start but on the 9th lap he took a small tumble over the double in the middle of the track which allowed Tollard to take over the lead. Phend would apply pressure for the rest of the race but Tollard ran mistake free and secured the win with Phend in 2nd and Team Associated/AKA driver Dreighton Stoub finishing in 3rd. In A3 Phend would again lead for 4 laps before a small bobble allowed both Tollard and Stoub to sneak by. The three drivers started to pull away from the rest of the pack, and on the 8th lap the two Associated drivers would make contact after the double in the middle which allowed Phend to take back the lead for good. When the final points were calculated for all the mains Phend would take the win with Tollard in 2nd, and Stoub in 3rd.
Modified 4WD Buggy
Phend would also come into A1 as the top qualifier in this class for the weekend and would take the title after winning A1 and A2. So in A3 the other drivers battled for the final two podium spots after it was said and done Yokomo/Pro-Line driver JP Richards would end up 2nd with Fuller rounding out the podium.
17.5 Expert 2WD Buggy
Team Associated/JConcepts driver AJ Marasco dominated this class in qualifying by winning all three rounds. In the single A Main he would get off to a good start but on the 15th lap he would traction roll coming into the chicane. This allowed Team Associated/AKA driver Colton Kruse to take the lead. They would continue to chase each other in the same position for about another 10 laps before Kruse made a mistake coming out of the chicane which allowed Marasco to take back the lead and win. Kruse would finish in 2nd and Team Associated/JConcepts driver Brad Dean would end up in 3rd.
13.5 4WD Buggy
Marasco would also TQ this class by winning two rounds of qualifying. In the main he would lead from the tone and take the win. TLR/JConcepts driver Kaden Fuller would secure 2nd and Kruse would take 3rd.
40+ 2WD Modified Buggy
Team Associated/JConcepts driver Kyle Gannon was the top qualifier after three rounds and in the single main he lead from start to finish to take home the win. Team Associated driver Colton Kiefer captured 2nd and Team Associated/JConcepts driver Jason Ruona finished in 3rd.
21.5 Independent Buggy
Caden Sanders would capture the pole position after winning two out of three rounds of qualifying. After a rough start that dropped him all the way back to 7th place he showed why he was the TQ as he continued to click off fast laps and ended up taking the lead back after 14 laps. Sanders would go on to win with Zack Horton landing in 2nd and Steven Maxwell in 3rd.
Open 2WD Buggy
Team Associated/JConcepts driver Jonathan Burkhalter would secure the TQ spot by winning two rounds of qualifying. When the tone sounded he would go on to lead the entire race and JConcepts drivers Wesley Gifford and Conor Light would lock up 2nd and 3rd place.
13.5 Stadium Truck
Mason Fuller would dominate this class over the weekend by locking up the TQ after two rounds of qualifying and electing to sit out the 3rd round. In the A Main he would never relinquish the lead and put the entire field down two laps by the time the race was over. Raw Speed driver Nick Ricahrds would fill out the podium in 2nd and TLR/JConcepts driver Mitchell Brown in 3rd.
13.5 Short Course Truck
Team Associated/JConcepts driver Adam Rayls literally drove on “rails” that weekend in this class as he TQed all rounds of qualifying. He lead for the entire single A Main but fellow Team Associated/JConcepts teammate Chris VanRaemdonck made a late charge from 4th place to keep him honest. VanRaemdonck would end up in 2nd and TLR driver Lee Conley Jr. locked up 3rd.
David Wiechens would set the TQ time for this class over the weekend. In the single main he would lead for the entire race until a mistake with 2 laps to go dropped him 2nd and gave Tim Wiechens the lead briefly. But a mistake in front of the driver’s stand by Tim would let David sneak back into the lead for good. Tim would settle for 2nd and Pete Phillips in 3rd.
Mod 4WD Truggy
Tekno/JConcepts driver Braxten Culley would TQ rounds one and two of qualifying and elect to sit out round three. In the A Main he lead from start to finish and put the entire field down by two laps. Mike Marshal would end up in 2nd and David Wiechens in 3rd.
That wraps up a great start to INS10 and I look forward to seeing how this series grows more each year. Use the links below to view all the videos recorded from this event, plus all the images we posted on our Facebook page. Till next time!