Bill Jeric and Tuning Haus have been ramping up their racing series out in SoCal, combining Formula 1 and GT-Series classes into a fun, affordable program. They just wrapped up their first Summer Party which was run at the beautiful Tamiya America Raceway. Bill was nice enough to send over the race report from that event, which I’ve posted here as well as a few pix from the race.
Welcome to the report for Tuning Haus Summer Party #1 held at world-renown Tamiya America Raceway on Saturday 13-Jun-2015. After our successful Winter Series indoors on carpet, we decided to throw a party outdoors, invite 70 or so racing friends, supply a BBQ lunch, sizzling action on the track, cool prizes and a relaxed family atmosphere. So let the party begin with qualifying…
Formula 1 cars took to the track first to set times that would determine grid positions for the mains. Our unique format uses a three minute qualifying session used to set a driver’s five quickest (non-consecutive) laps that are averaged together to post a qualifying time. Tyree Phillips set the pace taking top honors with a TQ average of 15.860 with his TRG, just edging the TRF101 of reigning Tamiya TCS F1 National Champion Craig “Cuda” Hammon’s 15.927 seconds. These two drivers would be the class of the F1 field today and only qualifiers in the sub 16 second range. John Christensen would line up third after massive improvements to his Tamiya F1 chassis from previous races. The qualifying format creates excitement as the top 8 drivers were separated by just 1 second. Better than even better than 1:1 scale F1 qualifying!
The GT Sedans rolled out next and top honors in this 39 car field went to Rod Canare with the only sub-14 second runs in qualifying for this class. As a past two-time Tamiya National Champion and Reedy Race Champion, Rod is comfortable at Tamiya Raceway and posted a 13.987 second average with his Tamiya chassis. However, hot on his heels and keeping Rod honest was another past two time TCS Champion Lee Passehl with a second best time of 14.057 in his Tamiya followed by the ARC of Albert Benavidez in third with a 14.093 second average. Qualifying was so close that the top 18 drivers all qualified in the 14’s or better.
Final qualifying group of the day was 13.5 Touring Cars. This was a special class added to our racing format just for the Tamiya track. However, in keeping with the Scale Series looks that is a key to this series, many of the TC drivers were running spoke wheels with headlights, taillights and grill markings required. Team Associated factory drivers came out in force for this class but it was the Serpent driven by Sean Williams taking the top spot with an average of 13.531 followed closely by a pack of Associated cars lead by Sean Cochran at 13.616, Steve Weiss on 13.623 and Rick Hohwart at 13.634. The top four qualifiers were separated by just over a tenth of a second and the top 10 all in the 13’s. The top twenty three drivers were separated by just one second.
With qualifying completed, it was time to start the main races. Qualifying would set your race group for the day but in the mains speed AND consistency are vital. All drivers run 3 ten minute mains with a mandatory pit stop each race. Each round is scored individually with the fastest run of the round scoring 100 points, second-fastest run 99 points, etc. regardless of race number. A driver qualified in a lower group retains the chance to make a fast run and put themselves in the top 10 for that run. At the end of the day, the three mains are totaled to determine final points. No throw outs are used in our format so a driver must be fast and consistent to take home a top 10 award!
Formula 1 was on track as the first group and just like in qualifying, Tyree and Craig were the top dogs. They ran first and second in all three races and occupied the top two podium steps today with Tyree running the table with a perfect score of 301 for his TQ and wins. Craig would come home in second with a final score of 297 points, always within seconds of Tyree’s red Ferrari. The final podium spot for the day would be a tossup between Bruce Hickman, Charles Lightfoot and Kevin “Panda” Cole, all three running mostly in the top 5 all day but Bruce’s two third-place finishes gave him a final tally of 293 points to take third overall over Charles Lightfoot’s 291 points haul for fourth leaving the Panda in fifth with 288 points. Sixth and seventh was a battle all three races between Elliott Miyashiro traveling down from Northern California who stepped up his pace from qualifying and local John Christensen with Elliott taking the 6th spot with 285 points to John’s 283. Mark Goldwater in his traditional green painted Caterham took a solid seventh with 279 points with Carlos Ledezma and Mark Hinkley trading mechanical issues back and forth to allow Carlos to seal the ninth spot with 275 points to Mark’s 274.
GT Sedan had four race groups and there was no lack of action with the D group drivers taking to the track. Matthew Tolmasoff (whose father Steve was in the B group) set the pace in each of his races and take a respectable 30th overall. Biboy Angeles, confusing some by running a paint scheme similar to the Pandas would pressure Matthew in the first two races to take second in both but some hard luck in the third heat found him off pace and ninth in that run to drop him down in the final order. The pack of Jack Deanda, Tim Ruwe, Tigran Martikyan and Carlos Ledezma would entertain the crowd with their constant battles each of the three rounds, usually finishing just a few seconds apart from each other. Jack would come out number two of the group with his 2 thirds and a second just ahead of Biboy and Tim. Tigran would take fifth in the group just ahead of Carlos who after just returning from his battle with cancer to start racing again this year, pulled the iron man running both GT Sedan and Formula 1 today. The final spots for this group would be rounded out by Jesus Chavez, Mike Sedacca who as part of the Road Runners RC Club in Camarillo will be helping us with our Summer Haus Party #2 and Jose Monge making his return after what seemed like a year (or more ?) absence from racing. Usually a Tamiya regular, it was good to see Jose join us today.
GT Sedan Group C would see a number of different drivers taking the top three spots in each of their three races. First heat winner Paul Dabao would have mechanical gremlins attack his car in round 2 to drop him down in his heats order so his race long shadow in heat 1, Anthony Fung would be the only driver in this class to podium all three heats and take the win in this group and finish 14th overall. Chris Widado would put in three consistent runs using a third, first and fourth to net him the second overall spot in this group with Tom Kahl putting in a strong third run, hounding Anthony all race long to miss the top spot by less than two tenths of a second to take third overall in this group. Eric Epp, debuting the new Protoform Cadillac ATS-V in the factory Chevrolet racing colors would improve each race from a low in race one of ninth to a third in his final race to net fourth for the group. Paul would get his car repaired to make his third race to take fifth for this group with Bensi Lopez taking sixth in a very up and down day. Tenth in heat one did not deter Bensi from a fine second race run finishing less than a second behind heat winner Chris only to struggle to match the same pace in heat 3. The final spots in this group would be rounded out by Brian “B-Ruff” Rutherford, Mark Goldwater also pulling the double in GT Sedan and F1 and Kevin Burnam. The three constantly trading places during the race to finish within a lap of each other in every run.
On to the B group and it was Haus Party co-host Kevin “Panda” Cole who was one of only 9 drivers pulling double duty running two classes today using his BQ spot to full advantage to jump out to an early lead and take all three B main heat wins. With consistent 41 lap runs in all three races, the Panda would tie for fifth overall but lose the tie breaker to take home a 6th place plaque with a total tally of 286 points. Three different drivers would push Kevin in each race but none harder than Steve Tolmasoff in heat three who held the lead late in the race forcing the Panda to make a late race charge. The two second gap to Steve was the closest of the three races and Steve’s strongest run of the day that would yield him a 271 point total. Steve was one of three drivers in the B group to celebrate in the top 10 award ceremony at the end of the day coming in ninth overall with 271 points. A fine second finish is his round two heat added to two top five finishes allowed Torgeir “Torg” Hagland to take third honors in this group and round out the top 10 overall with a combined 268 point total. Torg also managed to find time to set up his “eye in the sky” camera to provide great video of every heat for today’s racers to enjoy over and over. Thank you Torg! Fourth and fifth were a battle every race between Craig “Cuda Hammon, our number two finisher in F1 and Tamiya’s Fred Medel. Craig used his third in the first heat to Fred’s ninth to hold on to the fourth spot despite Fred’s efforts with a fourth then third in his final race. Craig just missing the top ten by 1 point for eleventh overall to Fred’s twelfth overall run. Rudy Rico would use a second in his first run to take sixth in his group followed closely by Charles Lightfoot. The final spots were filled by racers Phil “The Thrill” Goodwine, Calvin Simmons and Jason Laurel. Phil was able to survive to finish in heat 2 after getting t-boned while upside down at the start / finish line by the Panda and Calvin’s good finish in his first two runs was hurt by a mechanical issue that stopped him short of the checkered flag in the final race.
Final Race Group in GT Sedan saw the fast guys in the A group take the track. Rod Canare would jump to the early lead in the first race only to make a few uncharacteristic errors allowing Lee Passehl to get by and pull away for the first round 1. However, starting from his number 2 spot in the second round, Rod wasted no time to jump back into the lead on lap 2 and maintain that spot the rest of the day to take the A group win and the overall win for the day and his TQ netting him 300 points. Pushing Rod each race, Lee was able to finish the day with a win and two seconds to secure second overall with a tally of 298 points. Going back to his roots running his familiar Nemo paint scheme in a new body painted by his friend the Panda, and a motor and batteries also borrowed from said friend, Tony “Nemo” Tam put in three solid runs, at times pushing Lee for second to take three thirds and third overall with a points haul of 294 points. Improving from his eight place qualifying spot, JD Ramsey put together three top five runs and at times running nose to tail fin with Nemo to net fourth overall with 289 points. After finishing right behind the Panda in the 17.5 TC Class at the Reedy Race of Champions, Albert Benavidez reversed the tables this time as he took home fifth overall winning the tie breaker also on 286 points. Battling all three races together and swapping positions each race, Kyle Goodwine finished sixth in class and seventh overall with 281 points to Dave Berger’s eighth overall run with 273 points. Finishing eighth in the group and 13th overall was Toby Zhang followed by Tyree Phillips who missed race 2 building a new car between rounds and Doug “Smoke House” Rebal who disappointed his loyal fans by NOT smoking a motor the entire day. Arguably one of the least expensive race days for Doug and one of his most fun.
Last group of the day was 13.5 Touring Car that was stacked with a number of factory and sponsored drivers from Associated and HPI. A number of racers could be seen running their “Reedy Race” marked tires with some running their cars untouched from the Reedy race a few weeks earlier.
13.5 TC Group C took the plunge with most of the drivers in this class new to our racing format. The 10 minute races with pit strategy was something to come to grips with. Carlos Franco and Jarod Kadonga, both from Camarillo had no problem adapting to the format as they battled all three heats with Winter Series regular Brian “B-Ruff” Rutherford. The three would take the top three spots in all three heats within seconds of each other. Carlos would tally two wins to take the first spot in their group and a fine 13th overall with B-Ruff just behind taking second in class and 14th overall, leaving Jarod to take the final podium spot for their group in third. The battle for fourth on down was strongly contested by Paco Mendoza, Ray Harp, Ivan Dickson and Trevor Voss. Paco would combine two fourth place runs to take fourth for the group with Ray taking fifth just two points behind. Ivan would parlay his consistent runs to a sixth in class with Trevor taking seventh after mechanical woes knocked him out in heat one just shy of the seven minute mark. Kevin Smith would round out the field after a mechanical issue just before the 9 minute mark in race 1 proved terminal and ended his day.
The B Group Touring Cars waded into the waters next and HPI’s Hiro Kasuya showed how you can have a mediocre qualifying run and still finish strong in the races. Hiro qualified 15th overall starting fifth in the B group but laid down fast laps when it counted to capture the group win with two firsts and a second and finish an excellent fourth overall with 287 points for the day. Great runs Hiro ! Oliver Clipper equally impressed with his fourth starting spot in the group and drove what he admitted to be a much better car than he is used to running at Tamiya to capture second in his class and a fine eighth overall with a day’s score of 282 points. Third overall in the group with consistent top four finishes was Ken Luc who joined Hiro and Oliver as B group runners to crack the top ten today with a ninth overall placing with 272 points. BQ qualifier Carl Feltro had disaster strike early not even making the three minute mark in race 1 but came back with strong finishes in his last two races to take fourth for the group and twelfth overall. The mid pack battle was closely contested in this group between Mark Santa Ines, Matthew Chavez, Brian Cross, Johnson Thai and Max Valles as they spent the day swapping fifth thru eight spots all day. After a promising 3rd place finish in heat 1, Marks race would come to an explosive end in race 2 after a car crossed into his path on the straight. With nowhere to go, Mark’s car shed battery and a few more parts right at the half way point to end his race. With repairs made, Mark made the final race to take fifth in class wondering what might have been. Matthew would prevail for the sixth in class position just three points ahead of seventh finishing Brian. Max Valles, after missing the first race completely would put in two solid runs in heats 2 and 3 to take eighth and Johnson, after pulling off track just after three minutes in the first race would make repairs to make the final two runs for ninth in class. Mitch Stratford, after a sixth place finish in his class in heat 1 would have problems with his car that kept him out of the final 2 heats.
Final group of the day saw the fastest cars in the 13.5 TC “A” group take to the track. After trading the top 2 spots in the first two races, first overall for the day came down to TQ Sean Williams holding a one point lead over Rick Hohwart but with Rick starting on the pole for the final race. Mayhem at the start would leave these two eighth and tenth at the end of the first lap and now it was a battle to see who could claw their way back to the top to take the win. Sean and his Serpent put up a good battle but in the end, Associated’s Rick Hohwart would take the race win and the overall with a final point count of 299 points. Sean would not have similar good luck in traffic and would end up a well earned second in class and second overall for the day. Running under the radar with his TC6.2, Associated engineer Bob Stellflue would take his three top four finishes to a third overall for the day with 291 points with fourth in class and fifth overall honors going to Sean Cochran. Paul Dabao, who led briefly in the third race bringing fellow countryman and announcer Joe Mac to his feet screaming “I never thought I would ever be saying Paul Dabao is leading Rick Hohwart”, crushed Joe’s dreams by quickly diving into the pits for his stop but still impressed with a fifth in class and sixth overall for the day in his ARC on 285 points. Steve Weiss with a couple of mid packs finishes in the first two races got it together in round 3 for a third overall finish to land seventh overall for the day with 283 points. Two good runs to start aided Joven Madriaga as a mechanical problem put him out in race three after just two minutes. However, it would be enough to put him in a tie with team mate Jeff Gacula with 265 points but Joven’s fourth place finish in race 1 was the better tie breaker earning him the tenth and final award spot with Jeff having to settle for eleventh. The final pair in the group would battle each other each race with Mark Dawson coming out ahead by just two points to take ninth in class with Albert Benavidez tenth.
Formula 1: Bruce Hickman set fastest race lap at 15.307 in round 2 closely followed by Kevin Cole with a 15.309 also in round 2 and John Christensen with a 15.394 in round 3. Best run of the day was Tyree Phillips with a 38 lap 10:09.470 in round 2. Also making 38 laps was Craig Hammon with a 38 lap run at 10:11.071 also in round 2.
GT Sedan: Rod Canare set fastest race lap at 13.565 in round 2. Nine drivers total broke into the 13’s today that included Lee, Tony, Albert, Doug, JD, Tyree, Dave, and Toby. Best run of the day also went to Rod with a run of 43 laps in 10:09.336 in round 3. Lee Passehl also went 43 laps in round 3 with a time of 10:13.275.
13.5 TC: Rick Hohwart set fastest race lap at 13.069 in round 3 with Sean Williams just behind at 13.081 also in round 3, the only two drivers in the 13.0 range. Best run of the day was also Rick Hohwart with a run of 44 laps in 10:02.235 set in round 3. Four drivers went 44 laps including Sean Williams and Steve Weiss from the A group and Oliver Clipper from the B group.
Podiums and notable mentions:
The top ten in each class were named in their race recaps above. Consistency can make up for a poor run in qualifying and puts an emphasis on making three good runs over 10 minutes and using pit strategy wisely. This was shown today with three drivers each in the GT Sedan and 13.5 TC class B groups making the top 10 awards celebration with Kevin “Panda Cole taking sixth in GT Sedan and Hiro Kasuya taking fourth in 13.5 TC, only 4 points away from a podium spot in 13.5 TC.
To see the final point standings as well as all the race results, pictures, videos and race report from today’s race, please visit our race page on RC Car Events http://www.rccarevents.com/event_details.cfm?event_id=2406.
From your party co-hosts Bill Jeric and the Panda, we would like to thank the following sponsors for their support: Tamiya America, KO Propo America, Schuur Speed, Hobbywing North America, Protoform, F1 Paintlab and Upgrade RC for the terrific TQ and Top Ten awards. To the 70+ invitees of our party, we hope you had a good time and will join us for the Tuning Haus Summer Party #2 in Camarillo on Saturday 11-July.