My location: United States
Feb 15, 2010

Hello fellow racers,

This past week was the annual Winternats held at the traditional Fort Myers track. Last year I won the sedan class and was hoping to repeat. I showed up on Sunday for the first day of practice. Myself and Paolo got there and started running in motors and just getting a feel for how the traction was going to be. For the first day I decided to start with just the 1/8 scale and would save the 2nd day of practice for the sedan. That way there would be more traction and I could start working on the chassis. From the start of the week I felt like neither of my cars were getting as good as I wanted. My 1/8 scale was fast, but very inconsistent and my sedan was pushing going in and loose on power. I worked on this for the first 4 qualifiers and finally just set my 1/8 scale to be drivable and for my sedan I just kept working on the chassis. My power was good in both classes and I just needed to find a comfort zone.

I tested some things in 1/8 scale and found a good balance with a change to some roll centers and a softer suspension in the front. This allowed me to have a smoother car and get the rear end to carry the speed I was looking for at the apex. In sedan I search for a setup most of the week and did not find it till the final. My car was at its best for the final. I guess that is a good thing and the best time to find it.

For the first final it was sedan and I felt good. In the warm up I was able to drive easy and still be really fast. I just knew it could be a repeat for sure. At the start of the final we all got a clean start and half way through the first lap I made a move on the inside of the 5th place car. We both came out of the turn together and we bumped and I did not have a good line and did not want to crash, so I backed off to follow to the next turn. I guess from the bump I had the steering linkage pop off and the car just went straight in the wall. My pitman got the car and it took about 3 laps to get it fixed. At this point I was dead last and just gave it all she had from that point on. I started turning some fast laps and made my way through the field. That combined with some racers making error or having issues, I was able to get to 4th place on the same lap as Paul Lemieux.

Then I heard he had a problem and I was now in 3rd and getting some of my laps back on Burch. He made an error in tire choice and I was making up ground fast. At a last attempt to keep in position towards the end of the race he made a tire change on one tire in hopes he could hold on. I made a hard push till the end and ended up about 1.5 seconds short. I would have needed about 1 more minute and maybe could have caught him, but that's racing and its was exciting for sure. In 1/8 scale my qualifying struggles continues and in the warm up I was tired mixed with a car that was not really good. The changes I made for the final did not work to well and at the start of the race my car was shifting immediately into 2nd gear and my timing was all off. I ended up clipping a flapper and it sailed my car into the board opposite of the flapper. It broke the front bulkhead and that was the end of the my 1/8 scale final. It was a less than great finish to the end of a very long week. Happy in the end with the lessoned learned for 1/8 scale and the chassis changes for the sedan. My sedan was great in the final and I just had some bad luck.

I would like to thank the entire Fort Myers crew for holding a great event and I look forward to the shorter version for next year. A special thanks to the 2 main people that pitted for me all weekend. Ronnie in sedan and Chris in 1/8 scale. also to my sponsors who make my racing possible. Serpent, Serpent America, XceedRC, Novarossi World, Twister Tires USA, ATS, Airtronics, Faskolor and Paintin Pete.

Till Next Race,

DJ Apolaro

Setup for the 966 can be found here:

Setup for the 733 can be found here: