Race report by Tom Erickson, photos by Kymm Thompson:
The second round of the season was held on November 26th, 2016 at the Washtenaw County Fairgrounds between Ann Arbor and Saline, Michigan. Conditions were great for a perfect day of racing on the indoor 10th scale off road track. Many of the racers were also interested in the big game between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University. So much so that one group brought a TV and Satellite dish so that they would not miss the action live. The atmosphere was electric and racing was fantastic.
The second round proved that the Novice program will be strong this season. It will also be competitive. Qualifying through three rounds culminated with Terry Bush on top. Terry’s skills are improving every race as he is racing a few classes to accelerate his abilities. Round #1 winner, Troy Wells, was able to secure the second position and Mark Kohler started third in the A-Main. The start of the main event was carnage through the option lanes Delaying Terry enough for Troy to get past him and never looked back. Terry did what he could to chase but the lead kept growing as the laps ticked off. Mark Kohler also had issues at the start falling to fourth place as Milo Spieth took over third place after starting from the ninth position. Milo is another one of the up and coming young drivers that has improved every race. Midway through the 5 minute main Troy had a commanding lead, Terry was securely in second place leaving Milo and Mark to battle it out for the third position on the podium. These two were evenly matched during the main. Mark was able to connect cleaner laps and get past Milo with two laps to go. When the race ended Troy crossed the line in 1st place, Terry in 2nd place on the same lap, Mark in 3rd and Milo in 4th both 1 lap behind. Ben Politz finished 5th after early lap trouble. We may see more from Ben the next round.
The Mini class is still growing this season. The Round#2 track modifications have made it easier for these little cousins. Lap times have shown this with Ben Belote, Joe Gates, and Milo Spieth improving over last event. The Mini main ran 5 minutes for these three drivers with Joe starting from the top spot. The first lap was the challenge for Joe flipping his Mini 8ight T allowing Ben to take the lead. Ben set fastest lap early on leaving Joe and Milo chasing. Ben was driving Joe’s Mini 8ight buggy and lead all the way to the finish. Joe held on for 2nd place and Milo cleaned up the rest of the podium in 3rd place. We can always add more Mini’s to this class. Any mini is acceptable.
The size of the Stampede class again grew in Round#2. With 11 large tired trucks on the track banging together and flipping over each other around the track. Great racing action is always a promise in this class with all drivers sporting large smiles as they raced. Qualifying was competitive again with Ben Belote and Matt Lemorie pushing each round to best each other. Matt was able to clear the dust and grab the Top Qualifier position for the A-Main and the extra point toward the season title. At the start, Matt and Ben sped through the first turn jumping through the option lane as the rest of the pack piled up behind them. Ben cut the sweeper on the inside setting up a drag race with Matt for the lead. Through the off-camber Ben was able to inch ahead of Matt and the two lept over the two single jumps leading to the hairpin before the six pack. Behind them the gap was already growing on the first lap as the group of trucks started settling in for the 7 minute A-main. C.J. Boka started third but as they crossed the line on the first lap it was Sean Carney ahead by only 1 second. Joe Gates was close behind in 5th place. The lead pair continued to put on a show with Matt looking to pass on every corner but Ben holding him off. The opening laps saw CJ, Sean and Joe swapping positions every lap allowing the lead pair to grow their gap. By mid race CJ has secured the third position leaving Sean and Joe to work out the fourth position. By the end of the race Ben had run a smooth and steady event setting top lap times and captured the 1st position. Matt was not far behind in 2nd place and CJ in 3rd place. Sean would end up 4th and Joe in 5th place. This class is getting more exciting each race.
Another large turnout in Stock 17.5 2wd Buggy stacked with top drivers from the area. The track conditions were changing each round and tire selection was challenging. Kenny Ferris chose the Jconcepts Flipouts to edge out Ben Belote for the TQ position after three rounds. Conner Stanley settled for third with Dan Dresselhouse behind him. With large turn out the field was divided into two mains. Tom Erickson was on top of the B-Main event and lead the field from start to finish. Mark “Peanut M&M” Thompson started fourth, crashed on the first lap sending him to eleventh, was able to battle through the field in his RC10 Worlds Edition Vintage buggy to cross the line in 2nd. Zach Kohler held the 2nd position for much of the B-Main event but was unable to hold back Mark and Steve Suriano who completed the podium in 3rd place. Uncle Bob finished 4th sending Zach back to 5th. The A-main was next starting very smooth through the first turn but luck was not there for Ben Belote crossing the finish line in fifth on the first lap. Ahead of him was Dan in second, Chris Peterson in third after starting from sixth, and Conner in fourth. Kenny’s car looked perfect on the track allowing him to begin early building a lead. Conner, Dan, and Chris were nose-to-tail through the opening laps. By mid race Chris settled into the second position. Conner and Dan then started to feel the pressure from Ben for the third position. Ben was able to win the battle and take over the third spot. This set the podium at the finish. Kenny winning wire-to-wire, Chris holding on for 2nd place only 6 seconds ahead of Ben in 3rd place. Conner edged out Dan for 4th and Forrest charged into 5th place just ahead of Dan.
Short Course classes are always strong at WRCR. The Stock Short Course Truck 17.5 class was well attended in Round#2 with fast drivers throughout the entire field. Stock classes always have close times on this technical track. Drivers that are smooth and maintain momentum often bare the top results. This round it was again Dan Dresselhouse taking hold of the Top Qualifying position in the first round and fending off Tom Erickson and Sean Carney. The start of the A-Main was smooth through the first section filing through in starting order. Dan and Tom entered the six-pack side by side with Sean close behind. The gap between these three drivers was always small as the laps clicked off. C.J. Boka settled into the fourth position early on getting ahead of Andy Dresselhouse on the opening lap. The track conditions were such that trucks were sliding in the corners. Sean was able to get by Tom through the off-camber turn as Tom would not able to hold his line. This pass would hold all the way to the finish. Dan crossing in 1st place, Sean in 2nd place, and Tom in 3rd place.
Conner Stanley was on fire in his TLR SCTE truck in Round#2 clinching the Top Qualifier position in the first two rounds. His truck was strong on the low traction track surface running faster laps than the first round. Matt Lemorie did what he could to stay ahead of the rest of the group of 10 trucks to secure the second starting spot. Andy Dresselhouse was able to capture the third starting position. The 7 minute A-Main started fast and furious and the top three drivers flying through the first lap. The opening laps were blistering fast with Conner building a gap starting on the first lap. No one could match Conner’s pace as he set the fastest lap of the day out of all classes. Matt ran a smooth race holding second position ahead of Andy in third. Half way through the main event Greg Shelton recovered from early lap issues to move into the fourth position. In the closing laps it seemed that this would be the finish as Conner’s truck stalled. He had exhausted his battery and began to try to limp the truck to the finish line. He had a large lead but not enough to keep Matt away from a 1st place finish. Conner limped across the line in 2nd place and Andy finished in 3rd place. Greg finished in 4th place with Steve Boster in 5th place.
This season the WRCR track has a number of detailed sections. The Option lane is a inside line heading to a S-Turn that is tight. In the Option lane are 4 wood strips with dirt smoothing them. This round most of the classes were using the option lane as it became faster after track updates from Round#1. The 4wd Buggy class is most impacted by the bumps but those willing to risk the trip through this lane may gain time on their competition. Conner Stanley was one of those drivers who took the advantage and was able to qualify into the Top spot. Ben Belote was the next fastest driver starting in the second position only a few seconds ahead of Tom Erickson. At the start of the A-Main, Conner took off with Ben and Tom close behind as the rest of the field laced through the initial section. On the second lap Ben stuffed his B44.2 into the tube right ahead of the option lane leaving Tom a shot at catching and even passing Conner by using the option lane. The rest of the pack was very close behind. Tom clipped one of the jumps wrong and flipped his buggy right in the middle of the option lane sending him to the back of the field and switching up the order behind Conner. The lead group settled after a few laps with Dan Dresselhouse in second place just ahead of Forrest Remington in third. Ben worked back up to fourth place. With a clear track between them Dan was able to put down some fast laps and close the gap between him and Conner. Ben was able to get past Forrest and pull up on the leaders. A three way battle began with Dan passing Conner for the lead. Conner then had to deal with Ben who pressed hard at the midpoint. Ben was able to get around Conner but stuck his nose into the tube just before the start-finish line letting Forrest and Conner by. Conner taking advantage of his position passing Forrest for the second place position. Dan had a substantial lead which reduced on the closing laps as Conner charged hard not accepting a second place finish. Time ran out as Dan crossed the line first grabbing the 1st place position on the podium. Conner was only 2.4 seconds behind as he crossed in 2nd Place. Forrest stayed on the lead lap in 3rd Place. Ben had to settle this time for 4th place just missing the podium. This class is one of the most exciting classes and the drivers are all very close in skills.
During Qualifying, Dan Dresselhouse drove his Team Associated T5M to another TQ. Conner Stanley pressed hard but was not able to best Dan’s runs settling for second starting position in the A-Main ahead of C.J. Boka and Andy Dresselhouse. The tone sounded to signify the start and the pack flowed through the option lane in starting order. Dan, fresh from the 4wd Buggy win, was leading the way on the opening laps with Conner close behind. One mistake and Conner was poised to take the lead. On lap#3 Conner passed Dan for the lead as Dan drifted too wide. Behind the two leaders CJ and Andy were in a battle of their own for third position. After a few more laps CJ and Andy caught Dan swapping positions for a few laps. Lap times among the top 4 drivers decreased as no one was ready to settle as they lapped the rest of the field. As the tone sounded Andy was caught at the line finishing in 4th Place. The top three had one last lap to solidify the podium positions. All Conner had to do is complete a clean final lap which is what he did. Conner finished in 1st Place, Dan in 2nd Place, and CJ in 3rd Place.
Modified Short Course Truck is a class that has a lot of power and not a lot of traction. The track conditions changed enough over the heats that it was a challenge to put down consistent laps. Gary Reiser was able to come out on top with the fastest qualifying round starting in the pole for the A-main. Matt Lemorie started second ahead of Anthony “Unkown” Wright and Kymm “Skittles” Thompson. In the open laps Gary drove smooth and steady with Matt close behind. Anthony and Kymm slipped back into a battle for 3rd right away. Gary amassed a large lead as the event crossed the midpoint. Matt mounted a charge as he settled into a grove and chiseled away the lead lap after lap. Just as the two leaders were on the same straight away Matt misjudged the six-pack and flipped his truck reducing the pressure on Gary. The finish order was solidified with Gary in 1st Place, Matt in 2nd Place, and Anthony in 3rd place.
The 2016-17 season is going strong with 101 entries for round#2. The race program was well run and finished before 6PM. Three full 5 minute qualifiers as well as the traditional King-of-the-Hill class allowed Dave Ferris to offer 7 minute A-mains. Dave even took the 100Grand on the King-of-the-Hill class. The atmosphere was warm and inviting with cheers and growns as Ohio State won in double overtime over home town UMich. The next points event is planned for December 3rd, 2016. Doors open at 8AM with racing starting at 10AM. Look for the season schedule at www.WRCR.biz or on Facebook.