Thursday, November 13, 2014

TRF101..... better late than never

So I have had a TRF 101 sitting around waiting to be completed for a few months.  It's been out for a while, and there is now the TRF 101W as well, though it's 200mm.  The biggest change is the front end in comparison to the F104 front end.

I was a little unsure on the new front end in that I was used to the parameters I could use to tune the F104 front end.  The TRF setup is a lot like the old F103 standard front end or an Associated "old school" front end.  About all you can really change is the camber, spring, and the amount of flex.

Tuesday I was headed up to the local track (fresh rug ..yeah!) for a little practice time, and I was waiting on parts for my other car.  The TRF just needed to be finished off, so I decided to bring it and get some time on the track.  The setup was pretty standard to what I have run on Tamiya link cars, possibly outside of angling the links which was not possible before.  The front of the link was all the way to the inside, the rear in the middle hole with the spring on the rear of the link.

As far as the front end, I set it for max camber just to see what that would do.  The car was lifting tires all over the place.  It really didn't want to traction roll too much, but it was losing drive off the corner.  The track was medium traction, so I knew it would only get worse.  I switched to the lesser camber setting and that was just right.

I also wanted to test what would happen with o rings under the upper suspension screws.  Potentially it could add some steering, or affect the feel of the car.  Using some soft clear o rings and setting the screws to put a moderate squeeze on the o rings, the car was less reactive, but at first I thought it lost some bite on the front end.  Going back to a "bolted down" front end definitely brought the reaction back, but not necessarily the steering.  I think I was thrown by the fact that it had a mellow steering feel.  The added flex has a little more steering, at least in the conditions at my track.

At the same time, I wasn't wholly satisfied with the the way the car was working.  Don't get me wrong, it was actually incredibly good for having been set on the track for the first time.  Lap times were right where they should be for F1.  I felt like I wanted to get between a solid front end and the soft o rings, so I replaced what I had with the hard black O rings that come with Tamiya kits.

Back on the track, this was just what I was looking for.  The steering was there and it was pretty easy to drive.  The lap times came consistently without pushing hard.

At the other end of the car, I just wanted to see what could be done with the links. Normally, the angled link is a bit more stable getting on the power but will help the car wrap the corner.  The car was very stable overall, so I thought straightening the link might help get the car through the corner a little more on power.

So with both ends of the link in the middle hole I went back out on the track.  Oddly enough, the car felt much the same getting on the power, but it did not get through the middle of the turn as it had before.  Straightening the link killed a lot of the wrap and didn't take away any rear grip.  This was somewhat contrary to what I had found on other cars, but I couldn't deny what this car was doing.  Most of the time straightening the link frees the car up, but in this case the angle link was better.

On the whole I was really impressed with the TRF101.  Right out of the box it felt as good as anything I have had on the track lately. Stable and easy to drive, I didn't feel like it would have needed much to be competitive in any situation.  One of my buddies came up and asked if it was as easy to drive as it looked, and I said "YEAH".  He was impressed with how smooth it looked and it drove just the way it looked.  I hadn't been sure what to expect, but it was a nice surprise.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween Meltdown

Didn't have a good time with the SP-1 at the Halloween Classic at The Gate in Cleveland OH.  Qualified 9th finished 10th.

    Other than Bill Jeric's VBC, everything at the front was CRC.  I think a lot of that has to do with the CRC cars ability to steer without wanting to traction roll, at least most of the cars I saw.  The VBC car was pretty stable as well.  

I went into the race with the same setup as I had the last time I was out there.  Traction was up as you may imagine.  Initially, the car had a lot of off power steering, but needed more on power.  Not a big problem.  One thing I was noticing, contact with boards was changing my trim.  If I touched a board it was making the steering go 7-8 clicks one way or the other. (note I replaced the ball cups on the steering links at this point)   I had the front suspension plate mounted direct to the chassis with 5mm spacers under the suspension arms.  I noticed the cams that set the width of the lower arms looked cock eyed.  Figuring that being raised off of the suspension plate, the arms could move, I instead raised the plate on the spacers and mounted the arms directly on the plate.  Everything should be fine, but when I went out for the first qualifier, the car felt broken.   It felt like when the foam on the steering wheel of your radio jams against the radio body and the wheel won't return (I DID check this LOL).  The car was actually good, but it was hard to determine exactly where it was going or how much to turn the wheel. 

I did add a set screw in the unused hole on the cam to try to stabilize the arm by putting another point of contact there.  I'm not sure how much it helped.

Anyway, I rebuilt the front end, checked the football and links, etc. etc. Same thing next round!  Now I was really confused.  I went through everything again.  The only thing I could figure was maybe I needed more preload on the side springs?  I added preload, but I'm not sure if that cured it.  This time I had also flattened out the upper arms to try to make sure it would not tip, but it was just pushy.  Bleh.

Looking back, maybe something on the steering was touching during suspension travel, as was suggested by one of my friends.  

In the final qualifier, I dropped that arm back down and added front droop. This helped but it was touchy.  Driving very easy, it was actually decent, but wanted to roll if pushed.  It was all for naught anyway as I had a crash and I popped off an upper arm.

In the main I set up the car with an Exotek upper am and Tamiya knuckle combo, mostly to ensure the front end would not break.  I didn't have enough new plastic with me to replace the front end parts.  6* caster and 1.5 camber.  Car drove ok, and I was fighting with the back end of the field until I crashed again...yay

One mistake I think I made was being wide on the suspension links.  Looking at the CRC car, the links are extremely narrow, which upon reflection of the last few weeks, may be the way to go.  I think it brings more steering to the car by allowing the rear end to work with the front end.  Being wide on the links I think that may contribute to the lifting/traction roll by limiting travel. 

Also, talking with a buddy he did bring up one interesting point among a lot of other things: a bunch of the 1/12 cars are moving the spring as far inboard as they can.  I have to look into this as far as how true it is but the theory is that it is working the spring more for the amount of pod movement.  Intriguing.

I am also looking at cutting a new front suspension plate with a hole to bolt the lower arm down with the unused hole near the  suspension ball.  Maybe this would keep the arm from moving in a crash and help with high traction stability.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Just some commentary on the race...Carbondale was a 1/12 layout. Grip medium, came up as the day went on but nothing special.

There were several new CRC cars in attendance, and they looked very good. Jim Piersol won the overall with the CRC , so they have a very solid package.

SO I did do changes throughout the day. I tried the angled links first as I know it also helps put a little traction into the car too, and the track was a little green in the morning. To me, the car was a little tight on exit as the grip came in, and it may be because I tend to drive the car out of the corner on power. I didn't get all the rotation I wanted, but maybe I am getting a little ham fisted on exit.
I did move the links to the extreme outer position, parallel. On this point, the car was still pretty stable in the morning, and I didn't change this during the day. Looking at Skip Starkey's SP-1 car, he was all the way in, parallel as directed in the instructions. HE did let me try his car, and I think I could take a little grip out of the front end with the narrower setup. That might be helpful if a traction roll is coming on. After the last race I put my car back on the track this way, and it actually turned much harder this way. At the same time, while ideal for this track, it may twist up a little too much and become inefficient. I think you have to go to the next side spring with this kind of change. I think it may be a track dependent setting wide for more open tracks and narrow for twisty tracks. I will try this out at the Halloween Classic.

On the steering knuckle, I went to the middle hole. This was a little more reactive. Looking at the CRC car, I also wanted to straighten the links out a little so I took spacers off the rack making the ball stud shorter. This helped keep the front from chattering, and it seemed to get through the turn better as well. Normally on Tamiya front ends I like to be all the way back but this car liked the middle hole. Good change.

I went up and down on the front of the upper arm. Especially early in the day the car was a little twitchy, so I raised the arm up 1mm, lost a little steering so I added front droop (2mm) to get the car rolling. That worked pretty well, and as grip came in I went down again 0.5mm, and finally back down to where I started at the beginning of the day. I did keep the added droop. I didn't change the rear of the upper arm, but with the links set differently, it might be better with less reactive caster. I noticed the car screeched the front tires mid corner.

Cut lower arms seemed sort of vague, I didn't get a feeling one way or another. I probably changed too much during the day to concentrate on this, which is probably subtle. Maybe it might help tire life.

I am now fully narrow on the front end. It did help to get more steering.

I also have the shock in the antenna post hole (most forward). If you keep the spring the same the car will loosen up late in the run, but you do get the steering. I'm not sure if I like it though. I upped the oil 5wt and that helped. Going to a tamiya silver spring (kit spring on cheap cars, similar in rate to HPI silver oddly enough) bound the car in the twisty stuff, but good on power. Went back down to the tamiya blue linear (a couple steps above the blue mini car spring). I will go back to the middle hole on the chassis for the shock.

Overall, the big problem with the car is a push. I think it's way closer after this weekend and being able to see what it does on a track like this, especially in comparison to the CRC car with a good driver. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Speed Passion SP-1 carpet setup medium to high bite

Link to my setup for The Gate on the first UF1 weekend

The long and the short of it, Part 2

This goes along with a future post I will put up on setting up the Speed Passion SP-1 for higher bite carpet, but I felt like I wanted to focus on the subject of the long battery.  

This last weekend, I went to the first UF1 MIDWEST race at The Gate outside Cleveland.  After a bunch of changes to my car, I had something I could work with.  One of the changes was going to a short battery.  I as well 'm always willing to look at things that I think are or aren't working for me, and I wanted to see if I was missing something on the battery.  I think everybody else had a short pack installed, and I was still a little off, so I went with a shorty as well.  

The lap times seemed to be better with the short pack, at least initially, so I left it in. I was throwing a bunch of stuff at the car and I let that part of the setup ride.

Fast forward to just before the 3rd 15 minute main.  The car was right there, and I was looking for a little bit more speed.  I noticed my car get a little soft deep into the 15 minute runs, and it was running out of front bite  as well.  I threw the long pack in just to see what it would do.

Hot lap all weekend was a 9.3 by Brian Wynn of CRC.  I know I got down to 9.4, but that is just the hot lap.  The car with the long pack reeled off 3-4 9.5 second laps in a row, and felt awesome, so I knew it was on. The car was planted yet felt a little free in the corner due to the pendulum effect of the added rear weight.  On top of all that, traction roll was reduced to the absolute minimum.

I started 3rd in the mains, and while Wynn was gone I was able to get past the second place car and hold that position until about a minute to go.  I basically roasted the fronts off at about 13 1/2 or 14 minutes in, which was much better than 5 minutes in.  Part of this was probably over driving the car, especially with the confidence I had going into the last race.  It was also hard to say exactly what I needed to do as I had been changing the car so much.  That said, my car was great when I left the track, and  I feel like I have proven, at least to myself, that the full size pack is the best choice.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 TCS Finals videos!

Videos courtesy David Weir

PS - Congratulations to Nathan Weir TCS 2014 GT1 National Champ!!

Tamiya TCS 2014 North American Finals thoughts Part 2

Continuing on with setup issues for the Tamiya track, one thing which I may have overlooked in the past was the tightness of the diff.  I generally set my diff tight enough that it will not slip, but still has good diff action.  I was told that the best way to run the diff is as tight as possible, but still having smooth action.  This was something I never tried since I subscribed to a "1/12" theory of setting a diff, which is to have it just about as loose as it can be without slipping, and then leave it alone.

Well, I tried the tight diff, and I think that it's more an arrow to keep in the quiver when you need it than a hard and fast rule.  What it seemed to do for my car was to make corner entry very stable. This came at the cost of mid corner rotation, and maybe some corner speed, at least for my setup.  There is a 180* at the end of the big sweeper at the Tamiya track, and at that 180* with the tight diff the car gets into the corner with a lot of control and stability.  The down side is that if you don't enter the right way, or have the brakes right, the car may push some here.  I also felt like it was not quite as fast through the carousel type corners.   It appears that locking up the rear end is creating stability.  On my car, this may not have been the way to go for a couple reasons.  I run a full size pack unlike most guys who run shorties.  My car tends to be more stable in the first place, but with a short pack the car is a lot more lively especially in terms of the rear.  I would imagine if you run a short pack, this would be something that would help calm the car down.  The other issue is that I tend to like to drive the car on throttle as much as possible.  I'm not much of a point a shoot driver, and having a car that will turn on power is key.  Locking up the diff is going to make the car steer less on power, so it hindered my setup.  There is a place for it as an adjustment, however.  I do remember some of the guys from the UF1 MIDWEST series who had just clamped down their diffs.  They ran on the ultra high bite Toledo track, and having a car that was not twitchy on corner entry would make a big difference.  Their line of thinking makes a lot more sense now.

In the end, I was very happy with the car.  It would drive very well over the whole run, and I felt like I could push it as much as I needed to without it wanting to spin or roast the rears off.  A second place finish was not bad at all, and I felt good about that considering I get about 2 weekends at the Tamiya track to try to dial the car in versus the untold laps guys who live locally can get in.  A few people told me I could have used some more motor, and that probably was true.  I don't worry about motor most of the time, since I feel like you can't launch a cannon from a canoe, as the saying goes.  Better to have a good car, motor is way easier to get a hold of in most instances.  That being said, I am putting more time into making sure that I have a better motor program.

To sum it up:
-Make the car work in the heat of the day, over the whole run

-The car needs to be able to rotate in the 180* and carousel turns

-Your best results occur at any race when you are only making minimal adjustments...tire prep, adding or reducing a small shim, etc.  Ripping the car down to the chassis is a last ditch effort.

(photos from Tamiya USA web site)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tamiya TCS 2014 North American Finals thoughts

Now that I have had a little time to get back to normal and collect my thoughts about the 2014 TCS NAF, I'd like to review some of the themes that I thought emerged with car setup (F104W GP) and the track.

For the first time that I have been out there, I feel like I got the rhythm of the changes in the track.  Most of the time in the past I have been chasing the setup so hard that I never was comfortable enough to just make the small changes like tire doping strategy and other slight adjustments between rounds.  In the past, I was ripping the car apart trying to get something that would work.  I attribute a lot of this to keeping much better notes on the runs I made in practice.  Being able to refer back to previous days sessions made it a lot easier to see what I was missing or what I should keep.

The best way to attack the setup for the car is to get the car to work in the midday heat, from about 1pm to 3pm.  We saw track temperatures of 140*F at this point and the track could get greasy.  I found that a combination of Paragon FXII (white can) and a thick oily sauce like Tire Tweak or SXT 2.0 worked best overall.  I would bake the FXII for 10-15 minutes @50*C and then put on the Tweak and bake the same way- rear tires only.  The fronts were simply cleaned with Buggy Grip and then re sauced with Buggy Grip shortly before going to tech.  The fronts were pretty sensitive to saucing, too soon and the car was edgy, too late/too little and the car pushed until the tires heated up.  Generally, 5 minutes before tech was good.  I also wiped the rears down with Buggy Grip before going to tech to ensure the car was ready to go without waiting for the tires to "come in".

Front tires were a hard choice to make.  At home I had been trying a number of front tire setups, from kit front tires to TCS  fronts (Pit 571).  I had been able to get the car setup with enough rear traction that I eventually had to use the TCS front with a bead of glue on the sidewall.  I had been ready to use the kit fronts, but even with the belt removed, I wasn't quite comfortable.  TCS fronts with a large firm insert proved best for me, with the amount of track time available.  Sometimes you just have to "pick a lane" so to speak and go with it.  I think that with more time I would have gone with a kit front in some configuration.  I think that the kit tire is more forgiving, and probably has a little wider setup window.  At the same time, the TCS front offers more steering, and with the right insert is pretty consistent across a range of temperatures.

One other area I wanted to mention is front end droop.  Normally, I have run quite a bit of droop, like 3mm+.  This can be especially helpful on curb tracks so the car doesn't get upset and rides the curbs easily.  It also helps the car keep steering if you want to run a low roll center on the front and a minimal amount of dynamic caster (high front ballstud / low rear ballstud for upper arm).  This is good for a big track or a track with a lot of sweeping turns.  Tamiya, however, has a couple 180's and some carousel turns where front end grip is needed to get cornering power.  To get this type of steering, I used a tall ballstud on the rear of the arm.  This generates more steering center of the corner, but also makes the car less stable on the brakes and on corner entry.  During the morning practice on Sunday,  I took 2 turns of droop out of the front end and suddenly the car was much better to drive with the amount of steering I was looking for. I wound up with 1-1.5mm of droop depending on how much steering I was looking for.  Before this the car rolled across the front end too much at times, getting on the outside front.  Along with the droop, a generous amount of Tamiya A/W grease  on the kingpins settled the front end down.  I checked the grease every other run at a minimum.

On the rear, I had been running a somewhat tight t bar and a lighter grease in the tube.  I had both the large and small o ring on the center screw.  I noticed the car did not have the rotation in the center of the corner I was looking for.  Again, and my home track which is large and flowing, this was probably a better answer.  to get the car to rotate, I was lowering the grease on the damper tube in the 20k-30K range.  The car was still not what I wanted, and I was going back up on the damper tube to get a more stable feel.  What did the trick was going to a single blue o ring (soft) and 100K in the tube along with a fairly loose center screw setting on the t bar.  Now the car was able to articulate and pivot to generate the rotation I wanted with the proper dampening to create a stable feeling.

The center shock is also an area that provided strange results in terms of what I would normally expect.  In trying to generate more on power steering, I kept upping the rate on the spring.  On carpet I have gone very stiff, which can sort of lock up the car mid corner, especially on a link car.  That actually seemed to work the same way here, with minimal effect on rear traction.  What it did seem to do was cause the front end to overheat the tires or at least blow out the traction on the front of the car.  Going super stiff made the front end lose traction as the race went on, and as I reduced the rate on the center spring, the longevity of the fronts increased.  I had been about everywhere from the 9-10lb gold miatat spring all the way up to the purple super stiff spring.  I wound up with the blue mini car spring.

I'll have to continue these thoughts in another post as this is all I have time for right now.  I'll post again soon.

(photos from Tamiya USA web site)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The long and the short of it.

Watch this video, but skip to about 2:50 in to see the interview, and at about 5:50 TRUTH SON!!:

It's probably heresy to a lot of people running a short pack, but when Masami says "More traction, more power", I tend to listen.

I saw this video about a year ago and I went out and tried the short pack versus the full sized pack on a weekend, and the full sized pack was better.  Every time I have tried it, with one exception, it was better.  I'm sure that on a hot lap, on a perfect track, the short pack may come up on top, but over a run the big pack has always been better for me.  We are racing 2wd pan cars on rubber tires, in many cases on asphalt, so traction is at a premium.  Any time you can get grip into the car is usually helpful, as then you can then dial in more steering, instead of trying to tame a car that wants to do donuts.

It's not like I am against light cars at all.  When F1 foam was more popular, and 540 brush motors were the norm, I ran mini revo 1800 mAh packs, which weighed about 100g less than any other normal lipo.  It worked with the lower amp draw motors and the high grip of foams.  Now, not so much..
In my experience, the full size pack is easier to drive, and sticks the car a lot more. You can leverage the traction into a car that steers more, and leaves the corner faster since you don't have to baby the throttle. Mistakes are not as costly..I know, I make enough of them....

The one situation where the short pack was better was on the infamous Pardus tires.  The break away characteristics of the rears was such that with the big lipo, the car wanted to keep turning , over rotating.  The added weight toward the rear of the car was swinging the back of the car around.  As soon as I went to a short lipo mounted closer to the front of the car, this tendency went away and the car was just the way I wanted it.  On other tires, like Pits, this is not a problem.

Maybe you don't agree with me, but just try the two different packs back to back, and see what you think.  Pretty soon, you may be trying a steel axle, too, but that's another post.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The V2 Thing

The V2 Thing...I ran the F104V2  or almost a year.  There was always a bit of dissatisfaction with how it worked.  I wanted it to have more stability getting on the power, in fact a little more stability overall.  Going to different races, I saw some really great V2 cars.  Some made a bunch of traction, or at least looked that way.  Personally, I didn't seem to be able to find the compromise that I was looking for, so I sold one of the cars I had but I hung onto the other for whatever reason.

Along the way I looked at a lot of oval pan cars.  The link cars all had a similar rear end setup.

 I tried a SpeedPassion SP-1 with the links toed all the way in, as that happened to be an option.  The car had a ton of stability and was much better on the parking lot surface than my Tamiya car was.

That experience, along with seeing the SpeedMerchant Rev8 gave me an idea.

The SpeedMerchant car has very long side links and a lot of the comments about the car related to the amount of traction it had.  So with a lot of ideas floating around in my head, I decided to carve up my F104V2.  

The side links wind up being about 4" long (100mm).  I used some captured ball ends meant for 4-40 screws that I was able to tap to 3mm so I could bolt them down to the chassis.  The pod plate came from the RM-01 1/12 car.  It moves the links much further out, but also requires the side spring be moved out further to accommodate the new pod plate . I used the V2's mount for side spring as a template to make a new mount which moved the side spring further out.  The chassis had to be cut down to allow for the articulation of the links.  I added a 1mm spacer under each ball end as well.

The car has to use a short pack since the only room for electronics is inline with the battery.   Not a problem as that setup is pretty popular anyway. 

I ran the car a few times on carpet, and one race which I was able to win.  It ran extremely well in my opinion. It seemed to have the traction I was looking for.  Since that time, I have not had a chance to run the car but I do want to try it outdoors just to see how it will wok on asphalt.  Mostly, I need more time...too many cars and not enough time!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuning Haus Party @ The Gate

I went out to the Tuning Haus Party at The Gate outside Cleveland Ohio.  Most of the summer I'm racing outdoors, but it was an opportunity to race F1 at a great facility in the UF1 format with  a good crowd of cars.  The race called for TCS spec tires (Pit 571 and 572) on Tuning Haus rims which is perfect for carpet.

Normally, I have been running my Tamiya F104 WGP outdoors in preparation for TCS events, but I brought out the Speed Passion SP-1 which I had been running on carpet on Pardus ties for some of the UF1 MIDWEST events.  The setup is definitely different for Pardus tires vs. the Pits.  I always felt you wanted to try to keep the rears happy with the Pardus tires, so rear traction was paramount. The Pit tires balance the cars a lot better and don't have such a big sidewall.

I ran my car at the local carpet track the week before to see what changes would be good for the Pit TCS tires.  Mostly I added some more droop front and  rear, and changed around the ball stud heights on the front end.

When I got out to the track the car was pretty good to start.  The layout was new at The Gate, so traction was just building up.  My home track tends to be lower traction in the summer, so I'm sure that worked in my favor at the beginning of the day.  As traction came up, my car was still good, and I didn't change too much going into the 3 minute qualifying period.  Mostly I was trying to figure out how much dope I could use on the front tires.  2/3 to 3/4 appeared to be what I could cover on the tire.

Anyway, I was able to qualify 3rd for the race.  I felt like my car had a little push during the qualifier, which I think may have been either traction  improving or my tire prep.  I might have wiped off the tires a little early, but I can't say 100%..  I think my best lap was an 8.5, but TQ and Tuning Haus proprietor Bill Jeric went 8.4 and I believe Mike Wise in the CRC rent-a-ride went 8.3.

The race was for me, a total FAIL.... In the first leg my transponder stopped working on the starting line, and though I was able to get it working at least momentarily, it only counted 5 laps in the 15 minute race.  Unfortunately, the format counts every race's results, so I was toast more or less. The bad part was that I was probably in 3rd place or so by my own reckoning.

Figuring I didn't have much to lose , I tried to put some more steering into the car by adding some camber and changing the arm angle on the front.  I lowered the front ball stud and raised the rear.  This was a bit of a mixed bag.  I also went farther with the front dope and wound up with a car that wanted to traction roll at the start of the race, and pretty severely at that.  I tried to manage the car, but it wanted to flip a lot for the first half of the race.  As the race progressed into the second half, and the dope burned off the tires, my car actually came in really well.  With all the flipping, I was was off the pace, but my car could run good lap times.

I went back to the pits and changed the front end around again.  I wanted to raise up the front of the arms to get the car to roll a little more so the car would get through the sweeper, and not have as much camber change.  I did keep some of the height on the rear ball stud.  On the SP-1 suspension, the rear ball stud height seems to control a lot of the overall amount of steering.  The car got onto the nose more as I raised the rear ball stud, but did seem more prone to traction roll.  One thing I did not do is glue the sidewalls of the front tire.  Normally that is a first step and I did not do it here.  With the Pardus tires I glued both sides of the tire so that I could get enough steering  without traction rolling.  With the Pit TCS tires, I think that I should have glued them as well, so the front end was a little less sensitive to traction roll.  I felt like it was hard to find the right setup for the front end - it was too much or too little.  I think I could get more steering out of the car if it didn't want to flip.  The only thing the car seemed to lack was a little steering and corner speed along with it.

For the third race I actually had a small bit of luck, at least enough to finish the race.  Traction must have come up even more, as on the first lap or so both the 1st and 2nd place cars traction rolled, allowing me into first place for a little while.  I was doing well until the first stop, when I caught a dot a little after I came out of the pit and rolled the car.  Mike Wise got into first, and I was in second, with Bill Jeric in tow.  I tried to hold off Bill as long as I could, but his car was definitely faster.  After a couple attempts, he was able to get by me.  By now Mike had a good lead, but near the end of the race, he had a side link go loose and he could only limp the car around, letting both Bill and myself by.  Bill Jeric wound up first in the final leg and I was able to get second.

1. Bill Jeric
2. Mike Wise
3. Ron Mick

Overall, it was a really fun race with an excellent layout by The Gate dudes.  VTA and USGT were also well represented.  For an indoor carpet race in the middle of summer, it was a big success and it sounds like it will be on the calendar again next year.