My location: United States
Mar 29, 2009

Back in November, I talked to Paul Ciccarello about getting a new car for the ROAR Nationals since the car that I had been driving was not well suited for brushless motors. He showed me the Serpent S120 that he was testing at the time. This car had some really nice features! After talking with Paul numerous times about the car, it seemed that he was really happy with the way that it performed on the track.

Fast forward to February, I asked Paul to order a car for me. The car arrived while Paul was at the Snowbirds and he said we would get together to build it. Well, with all of the things that he was trying to get done for the race, and my crazy schedule that never happened! So, about two weeks before the Nationals, Paul just built the car for me. I got the car one week prior to the race and was able to practice a little on the Sunday before everyone arrived in Strongsville at the Holiday Inn.

I arrived at the Holiday Inn on Wednesday evening to help put the finishing touches on the track and get my car ready for Thursday\'s controlled practice rounds.

When Thursday came, the order of the heats had the 1/12th Super Stock class up second, and the 1/12th Stock class up later in the round. I used the car exactly the way that Paul gave it to me, with Parma Magenta front tires, Yellow rear tires, and a Parma Speed 8 HD body. I could tell in the first few rounds of practice that this car was very fast in both the Stock and Super Stock classes. The Fastlaps scoring system at the race allowed us to print our laptimes and compare. I didn\'t change anything on the car all day, as the track began to build grip the car just kept getting faster and faster.

Friday morning was the beginning of qualifying and I was optimistic about how the car would perform, but not sure that I would perform as well as the car. The car was very good in both classes! I made some mistakes in Super Stock, but still had a solid run and in Stock I was only 3 seconds off of the TQ pace after round 1. In the second round, I improved my time in Super Stock by about a lap and would be in the A qualifier for the re-sort. In Stock, I was faster than the TQ pace for most of the race but had some troubles near the end. Again, I was in the A qualifier for the re-sort.

As Saturday began many people were optimistic about improving their times because they would all be racing with people of equal speed and there would be less traffic. I still didn\'t make any changes to the car, the same set-up was working very well in both classes! As round 3 of Super Stock qualifying began, I realized that the track had a little more traction than we had on Friday and the car was responding well to it! I was able to run some faster lap times and began working my way up to the top of the qualifier. Nearing the end of the race, there were still 4-5 guys that were faster than the TQ pace and I was one of them. The car handled great and I was able to keep posting fast lap times, good enough to take over the TQ position after 3 rounds of qualifying! In stock, I ran into some problems with other cars crashing in front of me, and then in an effort to make up time I started making mistakes. My qualifying time was slightly better, but not good enough to stay in the A main. For the 4th round, I noticed that the traction we gained in the 3rd round wasn\'t there anymore and not too many people were going faster than their previous times. Mike Dumas was not one of those people as he challenged my TQ time for most of the race. He didn\'t fall below the TQ time until two laps from the end. I was able to hang onto the TQ time by about one tenth of a second! In stock, I just made far too many mistakes and ended up qualifying 12th, about 0.9 seconds out of the A main.

Although I missed the A main in Stock, I was really excited to TQ the Super Stock class! Time to get ready for the triple A mains on Sunday...

The Super Stock A1 was the second race of the day, and there looked to be a decent amount of traction from the morning open practice. When the race began, I took the early lead and then realized that there was not as much traction as I had anticipated. The car was decent, but lacking rear traction. I just made too many mistakes and finished 7th. In A2, I switched to Parma Magenta rear tires from the Yellows and the car was excellent again! I lead the race for the first 5:30 until I brushed the inside corner of the turn onto the straight and this shot my car out to the outside wall breaking it. What a costly mistake, as I went from leading the race to finishing 10th. In A3, the traction was back down a little and my car was pushing, so I had to give up the lead early and never was able to get it back finishing 7th again.

Overall, I had a great weekend finishing 9th in Super Stock and 12th in Stock. I would like to thank DJ and Melvin for the comedy in the pit area, and huge thanks goes out to Paul Ciccarello for building the car and figuring out a very good starting set-up... one that didn\'t change with the exception of tires all weekend!