Hello from Chicagoland! This past weekend, The Track located @ Harbor Hobbies in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois hosted the 2nd annual Vintage Trans Am Nationals. The shop and track site is http://www.harbor-hobby.net/
Vintage Trans Am (VTA) has become a very popular spec racing series. It's based on a spec 21.5 Novak brushless motor, spec battery, spec HPI rubber tires and wheels, and a set list of bodies to choose from. Any 1:10 4wd touring car chassis can be used. A fellow racer from this area helped to drive home a centrally located set of rules to help this class grow on a national level. Check out http://www.usvintagetransam.com/ for more specifics.
While the paint schemes can't really be tech'd, era appropriate schemes are encouraged. The event even had a concourse competition to determine the best looking paint schemes. I painted up an HPI '68 Camaro. I don't consider myself much of a painter, but these cars with these wheels look HOT!
It has been several years since I raced rubber tire touring car. The last time was one of the multi-day Novak events at Trackside up near Milwaukee. I had nearly everything to race VTA, but I'd never done it. With many things filling up my days (caring for 2yr old twins is fun, but hard!), I found myself with much of the preparation at the last minute. This really isn't the way I operate. Normal M.O. would be to prep the car, race it on the track the weekend before, and go into it prepped and ready. Instead, I found myself trimming decals and finishing the body at 3:30 Saturday AM. Not ideal, especially given that Collin from HPI was meeting me at my house at 5:45 AM.
So with a solid 2 hours of sleep, we make the hour drive north to the track. The Track is a pretty cool facility with a smallish shop attached to a descent size onroad carpet track. The event was initially planned to be a two-day event, but with lower reregistered number, the compressed it to a single day. After setting up our pit space, I put the car on the track to get a feel for the car. It wasn't too bad, but a handful of adjustments made it much better, very quickly. Boy, it had been a while since I smelled the wintergreen scent of Paragon. Some people hate it, I like it:)
The race would be Reedy style, with three 5 minute qualifiers followed by triple mains for everyone. Basically, you get points in the qualifier based on your finishing spot. This would determine which main, and then the mains are also run the same way.
Chip Bello is the manager of the R/C department at Al's Hobby Shop in Elmhurst. I've known Chip for his entire 10+ years of working there, but I've never witnessed him at an R/C event. Collin and I were successful in getting him there, and on the drivers stand. Chip was like 'Factory Honch for a Day', as Collin and I managed all the wrenching duties on his full factory HPI Cyclone. Chip did do some amazing paint work on several cars prepping for this race. He not only took top honors in the Concourse event, but he also took third place, too. He did an amazing job taking a 68' Camaro and made it into a convertible complete with interior. Chip had a good time racing and running, too!
I qualified in the middle of the C main. Not bad given everything. There were 51 drivers which made enough for an F main. I found it interesting to see that out of 51 people, everyone but about 5 were using DSM radios.
I ran the triple mains, and finished about where I started in 6th place. A group of us went out to dinner, and I finally pulled into my driveway around 1:30 Sunday AM. Definitely the longest day of R/C with the least amount of sleep I've had...and hope to ever have!
I had a great time. Spring is nearly here, so we're anxious to break out some onroad action! Til next time...
It is that time of the year again, the time for all racers and Trans-Am'ers to meet back at The Track @ Harbor Hobbies for the second annual USVTA Nationals! If you missed out on the action last year, you missed out on some of the best, and most intense vintage racing action around! The best of the best showed up at this premier facility. The event was run extremely well, and the concours department was even better. There were times you almost forgot that you were driving a 1/10 scale vintage machine and not the real thing.
This years event will be a 2-day event, held on the weekend of April 4th-5th, 2009. The entry cap that was enforced last year will be removed this year, leaving it open to as many people as possible.