Go fast, turn left!
Recently the guys up in our customer service department decided that they wanted to start racing a spec class during lunchtime and breaks as a way of blowing off some steam. No tire wars, no battle of the hop ups, just some fun racing. Since Steve Baker, our customer service manager, is a big stock car racing fan there really is no space near the HPI building large enough to build a proper parking lot road course, what better series than one that is built upon competitors being as equal as possible?
The rules are simple: take a stock Nitro RS4 RTR kit, replace the side muffler with a rear exhaust can muffler, use 4541 Super Compound V-Groove tires with our 4679 Rounded Pro Molded Inner Foam Hard mounted on 3741 Stock Car Wheels, and run a stock car body such as the 7417 Ford Taurus and 7430 Chevrolet Monte Carlo or one of the street truck bodies like the 7401 Chevrolet Silverado, 7051 Ford F150, or 7050 Dodge Ram. The only other thing the drivers can change are gear diff tuning options, springs, shock oil and shock pistons.
Slixx Decals was nice enough to send over some decal sets for our new series so that our cars will look authentic as possible. First out was Thad Garner with his rendition of Jeff Gordon's #24 Dupont Monte Carlo and he was quickly followed by Wes Mott in his #5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo. Rounding out the Customer Service team was Steve Baker's #17 DeWalt Tools Ford Taurus.
A small oval layout behind the HPI offices provides our very own version of a stock car short track. The flat, dusty surface with tight turns makes it a very challenging track even if we are just turning one way. During the first few runs it was found that the 4.6mm carburetor that comes on the .15fe engine was just too much power for the small amount of traction available. It was decided to "restrict" the carburetors by replacing the 4.6mm barrel with the 4.0mm barrel from the .12e engine that was in our original Nitro RS4.
After the customer service group started running, other HPI Staff members began to get cars together. Next out was Troy Lyman with the #22 Caterpillar Monte Carlo and Matt Kearny. Matt, along with Scott Roberts, are our graphics guys and are responsible for the cool looking decal sheets that come with our new bodies. Since they can't be like the rest and use pre-made decal sheets, they looked through a bunch of NASCAR photos and came up with a very unique paint scheme from the Truckworld Online website, the Big Daddy BBQ Sauce and Spices Ford Taurus and Chevy Silverado (Matt has the Taurus while Scott did the Silverado). This car has almost all of the graphics painted on with the exception of the trim and small sponsor decals! Erik Shauver was next with his #6 Valvoline Taurus and Ito, designer of our new Pro 3, with his #27 Hooters Taurus. Frank McKinney, our web master uses the #99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus and Kent Clausen, our marketing director, has his Tide colors in the works as well.
The original goal of close racing was achieved and if you've ever been in a very close race you know how exciting this is. Most of the guys are running kit springs, pistons and oil while others have only changed the rear springs to our 6839 Purple Progressive Spring and increased the weight of the shock oil to between 65 wt and 95wt. Almost everyone though has been using our new 72215 Gear Diff Adjustment Spring Set to tighten down the front diff and gain some rear traction. No one has a real advantage in power or handling so a clean consistent line is the key to winning. However, so far there has been too much fun bumping, rubbing doors and racing this close that no one has yet to start counting laps.