My location: United States
May 21, 2008

Over the weekend Team Serpent USA driver DJ Apolaro was in action in the ROAR Region 4 Championships where the Sedan star was also at the controls of a 960 \'08.

DJ sent us this account of his busy weekend where we think its fair to say he just started a love affair with 1:8 Gas Onroad racing -

This past weekend were the Region 4 Championships, being held at the Homestead/Miami Speedway in Miami, Florida. I decided to run both classes (Sedan and 1:8 scale). I wanted to start practicing for the 1:8 scale Nationals since I have no real experience with 1:8. I got to the track on Friday and started practicing with others that also showed up a day earlier for practice.

I am comfortable with sedan so I started with the 960 first. I had broken in two engines and started testing clutches with some advice from Paolo. His help will make it easier for me to learn quicker. I must say things seemed to look good as the 1:8 scale was easier to drive. With all that tire and body force it was heaven. Then I did it. Got ahead of myself in a practice session and nailed the car going through the fast esses. Lesson learned. These cars are really fast....WOW.

At the end of the day I put tmy 720 on the track and the car was great from the start. This was good news for me. I was not going to have to work on the Sedan at all.

Saturday came and we started qualifying. I ran the first round in Sedan and set a good TQ pace. This was great and allowed me to concentrate on 1:8. The first 1:8 round was not good for me. I got sideways and chunked a rear tire on the boards and pulled the car off. I decided not to run sedan for the second round and just work on the 960. In the second run my car was better and I was getting the hang of it. I was really fast and was in contention for the lead, but ran out of fuel on the last lap. In the third round I made some minor changes and my car was awesome. That 960\' 08 was on fire. I made a pipe/header change to make fuel and did a 25 lapper. This was a new TQ and the only 25 lapper so far. Meanwhile I was still TQ in Sedan and felt I did not need to run anymore and could maintain my TQ. For the last qualifier in 1:8 I decided to just run all out and see what I could do. I made a few errors but nothing major and was able to improve my time and keep the TQ. Paolo was also able to get a 25 lapper in and we were 1,2 on the grid for the main.

On Sunday we just had to run the mains. I decided not to practice and just work on my cars. I did a minor rebuild and made sure to redo my clutches for both motors. We helped locals with pit work, relaxed and had lunch. For the Sedan final I decided to take a chance on just one set of tires. I ran them big and hoped for the best. Things went well in sedan and I was able to have a clean run. I started on the pole and lead the whole race. 1:8 scale was a little different. My car was awesome in warm-up and when the race started my engine stalled. I did not get out and started a lap down. Then the motor just went down hill from there. When I went out it stalled after the first turn. I was out of the race. I went back to the pits and tried to fix the problem and went back into the race. I was able to run really fast times and recorded the fastest laps of the main and of the weekend. As for my result, oh well that\'s racing. I was very happy to have performed so well overall. TQ in both classes and the win in Sedan.

I would like to thank the entire Homestead crew for the great work they have done to the facility. To Doug for calling the race. Also to Tino, Wayne, Mark, Rafael, Kevin and Greg for the pit work/help over the weekend. Special thanks to all my sponsors for the awesome products; Serpent, Maxy\'s Fuel, Novarossi World and Twister Tires-USA. These truly are high level products needed to win races.

Till next race,

DJ Apolaro