My location: United States
Apr 12, 2010

The Florida State Off-road Series round #6 was to be held at Out of Control Raceway in Ocoee, Fl. This year Andy and his crew built us one of the best tracks I have seen them build. It was a fast track with a variety of obstacles from a huge long double to a nice double triple section. Let’s not forget the 30 foot or so of rumble strips. Out of Control is one of the tracks that in terms of challenging reached a good mark. The surface gets extremely abrasive, but also gets very sandy. So, in the beginning of the heat you will be grip rolling and practically pulling wheelies, however, as the run goes on, the dust/sand will build in corners and begin to be quite a challenge.

The weather for the event though was to be the best we had all season. It was 80 and sunny, so this made for a nice time outside. I showed up to the race mid to late day on Friday to set up my car, tune the engine and prepare for the following day of qualifying. During Friday I ran into so many problems, they were not car related but engine related. I was having a problem getting my engine to rev out fully and could not determine if it was the tank, pipe, plug, carburetor or well anything, I was just mystified. I placed another engine in my car and the problem seemed to go away. So, with the engine problem behind me I could now focus more on the car itself and how it was handling. During the practice on Friday it was difficult to tell, the track was not really that clean and was very slick from the sand. So, we would have to really wait and see what would happen on the following day during qualifying. Many good drivers showed up to race to it would be a competitive outing. Leon McIntosh, Gene Hickerson, JR Mitch, Jason Ruona, Ryan Eckert(had a wedding on Saturday, showed up on main day), and my new Florida team mate Josh Talmidge. So, its hard to say how things would really go, everybody wants to win.

Come Saturday the track crew worked hard to keep the track in the best possible condition and we were set to race. The first heat went off, and there was a bit of computer issues that would put a very interesting twist on how the day would turn out. Not only were transponders not counting, they also had the minimum lap time set to high. In this case some drivers would have extremely long laps and or not count at all. Although the best thing would have been to re run the first race, they went ahead and posted the times. I would go as far as saying some of the peoples times in the first race were not exactly what they should have been. In any event, they took care of the computer problems and had them ready for race #2. I put in a good fast run, and won my heat. Although I feel I might have actually TQ’ed the first round of qualifying it will never truly be known due to the heat 1 computer mishap.

In the second round, with all computer problems out the window, I posted yet another 11 lap run and TQ’ed that round legitimately. No other driver made it for 11 laps. This would now be my second 11 lap run of the day, and actually it was within a second or so of my first.
In the third round I decided to test out my Neo buggy car and also a different set of tires. This proved to be a bad idea. The car itself was good, but the tires I chose were just too hard and did not perform at all the way I would have expected them too. I felt as if I had a loss of front and rear traction. In any event JR Mitch would go on to set a TQ run similar to that of my first and second round. However, since JR’s mysterious first round TQ, he would be top Qualifier. I would have to settle for second and hope for a good race during the main event.

The main event was set, and we were ready to go. The track was freshly blown, and it was the middle of the day. The sun was beating down on the track pretty good. I opted to go for m2 tires in the main, while all the other drivers had gone with softer compounds. I figured they would be fast in the beginning, but as the race went on after the 15 minute mark, I would be able to excel in the later minutes. So, the challenge was to stay as close as possible if in 2nd and stay within striking distance in the later minutes. It was a good plan but it back fired a little on me. My tires seemed to be a little to hard and kind of choppy in the main. Although you could run fast you could not drive the car very hard. I made a big mistake off the main straight which would allow JR to have a small lead over 2nd place Jason Ruona. I fought my way through the pack, in the mean time, within the first 5 minutes JR managed to break his car, which then put Jason in the lead followed by Leon, by this time I was now in 3rd catching the leaders. Leon gave me a little room to pass and then I set my sites on Jason. A few laps later, I took over the lead and was set to run a constant 20 minutes to secure a victory. I basically needed to win this race to put a lid on the series. So breaking my car was the last thing I wanted to do, easy driving, was on the agenda. With no problems, no flame outs, no broken car parts, I crossed the finish line 1 lap clear of second place. With 2 more state races to go, I just have to sign up make a decent showing and I should be able to take Victory in Florida for Serpent with our new S811 Cobra.

Thanks to Andy and his track crew for a good track and Scarecrow for his announcing.


Billy Easton
Team Serpent