My location: United States
Nov 10, 2009

Hello fellow racers,

This past weekend was the 3rd round of the Florida State Series and it was held at the Kissimmee track in Orlando Florida. This race was different since the track owner had many many changes to the track and it was new for all the racers. No one racer had any advantage, as no racers have been allowed to use the track since the renovations. It was a new layout, fresh sealer and all records were to be new for this weekend.

I decided to go Friday and break in motors for both classes to see if I could also race both classes this weekend. I have been running only the sedan class so far for the season, so I wanted to run some 1/8 scale, as this track is big and fun for the larger cars. Saturday morning came and the track was ready to go. I first started in 1/8 scale and got in a decent run with my Serpent 966. I set the track record for the day and what would eventually be for the event. I turned 18 laps with 5:01, this all while doing a fuel stop. I definitely see 19 laps the next time out. I also had the fastest lap and the only racer to get into the 15 sec range with a 15.9. By the end of qualifying I was TQ for the weekend and my 966 was looking good.

In sedan may 733 was ok at the beginning and I played more with this chassis. The 1/8 scale I did not really work on my 966 all weekend, but the 733 I kept trying to get the car better and better. I was able to also TQ this class for the weekend and ended up doing the only 17 lapper with 17 in 5:13 and had the fastest lap with 17.9, again the only 17 second lapper in the event. I definitely see a possibility to go fastest with the sedan also, but not sure is 18 is possible. Maybe 17 with 5:05 or something like this. I felt good come Sunday for the mains, having TQ'd both classes and looking good for the finals.

For the finals I tried to make some changes for the 733 and for the 966 as well. First up was the sedan and the car was really easy to drive, not quite as fast, but good for the final. Being easier proved more important, as I was tired from running both classes all weekend and helping pit people for the finals and knowing I had to run 2 mains back to back. I ended up winning the sedan final by about 1.5 laps, even though I was out of the race for 2 laps, due to a steering linkage that popped off. Thanks to my pit guy Mark Harrison for the great effort to get me back on the track in time to make up for time lost and take the win. This win is as much his as mine.

For the 1/8 scale final I changed some things on the car in hope to make it easier to drive for the final, but in the warm up I was having issues with the car shifting. I had to come down 3 separate time and never seemed to get the car to shift and actually never got to test the car to see how the changes affected the performance. At the start of the final my car was all over the place and I was driving very erratic. I could not seem to get the car to settle down and to add to the problems the car was still not shifting correctly. It would shift at different points on the track or sometimes not even shift at all. At the beginning of the race Scotty was in second and on the first lap I pulled wide to let him by. I wanted to try to figure the car out and did not want to mess either one of us up. I stayed behind him for a few laps and then I ran a burm and flipped over. This allowed him to get distance and I just stayed back in second. I tried to get used to the car and drive as safe and consistent as possible. Not sure at what point, but towards the beginning he had a problem and I was able to take the lead and keep it for the remainder of the race. In the end, with the help of my painter (paintin Pete) as my pitman for the race, we crossed the line first and brought home a DOUBLE WIN for Serpent and the rest of my sponsors.

I would like to thank Kevin Hutchinson and his crew for all the new improvements to the track, I loved the layout and had a great time. Also to the Forgass crew for the tech work and race program. Karla hurt herself while helping turn marshall and still teched for the rest of the weekend. Special thanks to Mark Harrison for the pit work all weekend including the sedan final and to Paintin Pete for the pit work in the 1/8 main. Last but not least to my wife for supporting my time away for my hobby and to all my sponsors for the great products. Serpent, Serpent America, Xceedrc, Novarossi World, Twister Tires USA, ATS, Airtronics, Faskolor, Parma and Paintin Pete (next race my bodies will be ready).

Both set-ups in the set-up section, under racing or in the car-page.

Till next race,

DJ Apolaro