2nd Annual March Mayhem Trophy Race
by Christian Blake
Fastlane Raceway, Blue Springs, MO • March 8th-10th 2013
Classes raced/results for Christian Blake:
Stock Spec Slash 2WD: Qualified 2nd - Finished 1st
2WD 17.5 Spec Short Course Expert: Qualified 2nd - Finished 1st
4WD Short Course Expert: Qualified 3rd - Finished 3rd
The weekend of March 8-10th, I made my way to Fastlane Raceway in Blue Springs, MO for their 2nd Annual March Mayhem Trophy Race. Fastlane ran a unique schedule for this race. They ran practice during the day Friday and had the first of four qualifier races on Friday night, followed by three more rounds of qualifying Saturday and then the mains starting late Saturday evening. I was not able to make it to practice on Friday, but I got there just in time to make the first qualifier race.
I used the first qualifier race to gain a little practice on the track and to get a feel for the race setup I would need for the weekend. The racing surface was smooth and fast, with lots of traction and a nice flowing race line. This race was a challenge for me as I was running against drivers that had been practicing and racing on the track for the last several days. Luckily, I had a great truck in the Traxxas Slash 4X4 Platinum and it was set up well for the track. I was able to hold my own as I got the feel for the best lines around the course during this first race. Friday night, I only had to make a few minor changes to my setup, with lighter rear shock oil. A final vehicles check and I was ready for a day of racing.
Saturday morning started early. The crew at Fastlane Hobbies had a full day planned for us, with several rounds of practice, qualifying, and mains. Racing three classes kept me hopping as I got track time with all three of my trucks in the morning. I made the final set-up tweaks to my Traxxas trucks, peaked all of my Traxxas batteries, and I was ready to qualify.
Qualifying went well. I was still learning this track as we raced, but with every lap, I gained experience and confidence and my lap times dropped. In Stock Spec Slash, I qualified second with my Robby Gordon Edition Dakar Slash. I was happy with this position and was confident I would be in the hunt for the podium in the mains as I TQ'd the last round of qualifying.
In 17.5 Short-Course 2WD, I ran my Slash low-CG conversion with Pro-Line M4 Ions and Traxxas batteries. With the time I had spent on the track racing Spec Slash, I was more confident as I had my line around the track calculated. I also qualified second in this class and TQ'd a round of qualifying.
In the ultra-competitive 4X4 class, I qualified third overall, with my best two finishes being second and third. The Traxxas Slash 4X4, running Pro-Line M4 Suburbs and a Traxxas 7600 mAh battery, ran perfectly all day.
The mains started about 8PM Saturday evening, late in the day, but the crew at the track had done a good job of moving everything along all day. I made all three A-mains, so I had plenty of time to socialize and bench-race with the other racers at the event. I especially liked talking to the Stock Spec Slash people because everyone in that class gets along so well. This is a race class that is all about having a good time. While everyone is competitive and wants to stand on the podium at the end of the day, this class is more about the fun of racing than it is about a trophy.
My first race was the Stock Spec Slash class. I started in the second spot, so my plan was to run clean and make my move several laps into the race. As with most race plans, they change with the starting buzzer. I made a bobble on the first lap, dropping back to third. I held that position for several laps until I found an opening and was able to fight my way around the other two drivers and move to the front of the pack, at least temporarily. James Flagg, Jamie Barker, and I had a great race from that point on. James and I both fought back and forth, as we had to deal with lap traffic. We switched position at least a dozen times during the race, both of us fighting back and forth to see who would come out on top at the finish line. In the end, I was in the lead on the final lap and came out with the win! Congrats to James Flagg, Jamie Barker, and everyone else in the class; they made this one an excellent race!
The next race was 2WD 17.5 Spec Short Course Expert. This was a competitive field and I knew I had to make a run on the first position early to have a chance of getting away from the pack. On the first lap, I found my opening and made my move. I cut inside on the top qualifier, and slid into the number one position. I ran the entire race clean, following my line, working around lap traffic and never making a mistake or having to be marshaled. The truck drove like it was on rails for me. I had the perfect setup of truck, suspension, tires, electronics, and batteries that let me finish over half a lap in front of second place.
My last race of the day was the 4WD Short Course Expert. I started in third position and thought I would be able to make a run on the leaders when the field opened up. The top qualifier that day was in a class of his own and ran away from the field. He TQ'd all four rounds of qualifying and he had his truck dialed in perfectly for this track. Early in the race, I was able to take over the lead position for a couple of laps, but I was just not able to hold off the TQ. I went wide in a corner to let him by so that we wouldn't be tied up together. I didn't want to hold him back or cause a pileup in lap traffic, so I let him take the lead and I just started putting in consistent laps and watched for a chance to retake the lead. I held on to the second place spot until lap 18 when third place caught me and made the pass. It was then a dash to the finish. While I held my own against these two great drivers, they just didn't give me the opening to pass and move up in the field. In the end, I was behind the second place finisher by about 2.5 seconds and 5 seconds back from 1st place. This was another great race, with a super competitive group of drivers.
Overall, it was a great race. Everyone at Fastlane Raceway is always very accommodating and helpful, and I look forward to the next race at this facility. If you can make your way to this track to race, you will not be disappointed. They have a good solid race program and lots of strong competition.