HPI Challenge at Nifty Fifty's 2009, Turnersville, New Jersey
Thank you to everyone for coming out to the event and a giant thanks to Ray Murray for making it all possible! Congratulations to all the racers and the winners!
Andy H, hpi racing
Race report from Ray Murray the Man himself:
The HPI Challenge once again landed in New Jersey for the third leg of the 2009 series!
Ray Murray and the SJCCR Racing Club secured another outstanding location, Nifty Fiftys in Turnersville New Jersey, to hold this great event! Nifty Fiftys is a "retro" themed restaurant, which tied in nicely with the classes the HPI Challenge has to offer! All of the Vintage and RCGT classes were a sure hit with the hundreds of spectators that witnessed this weekend event! Between the R/C racing, and the Nifty Fiftys food, Arcade, and Miniature Golf Course, everyone kept themselves entertained all weekend!
Ray Murrays "Pimped Out" sound system was also back in FULL EFFECT all weekend, so the Jams kept coming non stop, adding a whole new flavor to an R/C race! Whether it was Funk, Classic Rock, Oldies, or even Heavy Metal, there was something for everybody! Nothing like blasting Funkadelic, AC/DC, Kid Rock, and Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne at 7am!!!!!
The weather for this Challenge was Sunny and in the low 90's all weekend, so it made for some hot action on and off the track! Everyone made the best out of it, and kept cover under canopies and drank plenty of water to stay as cool as possible.
The race day on Saturday started with a 7am practice. As racers started to pile in to Nifty Fiftys, you could tell that this would not be just any HPI Challenge. The various license plates told the story. Tags from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and of course New Jersey could be found throughout the lot!
During the controlled practice sessions, you could also tell that the competition would be evenly matched throughout all of the classes! The biggest classes were Electric Vintage, Nitro Vintage, and Electric RCGT, with other classes still showing good support like Monster Truck, Cup Racers, Nitro RCGT, Rally, TC Open, and Micro.
Before the qualifying began, the Concours Competition brought out some of the most amazing paint jobs I have ever seen! The details on these cars were just simply amazing and it was a very difficult job to pick the top three out of that group! After a lot of detailed scrutiny, the Concours winner was Rodney Davis, with Kregg Kerr finishing second, and Greg Green finishing third!
After two rounds of qualifying, on Saturday, Sunday morning again started with a 7:30am practice session, followed by a re-schuffled round of qualifying. There were some of the closest racing to be found on Sunday in all of the classes! It was just amazing how close the competition was, and any mistakes made the difference in finishing near the front, or near the back of the pack!
In the Electric RCGT "A" Main, Jay Franz had everyone's number, and put on a driving clinic to take home the win, with an impressive 27 lap run! Teammate Sean Lauer tried his best to track him down, but managed a second place finish, with Maryland's Chase Chandler finishing in third! Kevin Bojarski finished fourth, and John Miga finished fifth.
In Nitro RCGT, longtime Challenge racer Joel Williams was really impressive and drove the wheels off, to take the 2009 title just ahead of two other Challenge veterans, Todd Marshall and James Denmark. They all finished on the same lap!!!! Ho Leung finished fourth and John Miga again finished fifth.
The Electric TC Open class saw two local veterans Fred Perkins and Jeff Jones in a classic R/C Shootout, in a highly unusual racing situation. It was determined that we would be running five minute mains, but a slight oversite, changed this race to an eight minute race after the race was started. Instead of re-running this race, they attempted to race for eight minutes instead of five. You could see the racers change their race strategy by instantly conserving energy for last the additional three minutes.
As Fred and Jeff played an R/C game of cat and mouse, the last 30 seconds turned into the most intense race I have seen in a long time! Jeff Jones just squeaked by Fred at the line by 3/10th of a second! Alex (no sleep till Brooklyn) Valdez and Quinn Moon took third and fourth respectively.
Cup Racers saw a FULL HEAT and was an absolute blast to watch these "scale" cars ripping around the track! James Denmark showed no mercy and took his Toyota Corolla nearly wire-to-wire to lap the field, and take home the Cup Racer Title over Sean Lauer and Paul Miller! John Miga broke his streak and finished fourth this time, with Rodney Davis in the fifth spot.
I can see the popularity of Cup Racers rising quickly this upcoming indoor season with their cool looks and their smaller size.
Stock Micro only had four entries, but still a lot of fun was had, especially by the Thong Family. It never gets old to see families race together, and the Thongs always have FUN no matter how many entries are in their class! Kevin Colgan took the win in Micro, over Andrew Thong, Nancy Thong, and Richard Thong. Electric Vintage was the biggest class of the weekend! With 25 entries, this made for three full mains! Jay Franz again showed everyone how it was done, by TQing and going on to win the "A" with the only 27 lap run!
The race was really for second place at that point, with 2nd through 6th place finishing on the same lap (26) seperated by only 10 seconds! Local fast guy Quinn Moon went on to take second, while Marylands fast guy, Arvin Nano, coming in third.
This was an extremely exciting race to watch, as all the cars were pretty evenly matched!
Local racer Kevin Bojarski won the "B" Main, and Chris Green won the "C" Main.
The Nitro Vintage "A" Main was also a huge crowd pleaser! The noise and the exhaust fumes made for another entertaining Vintage race! Top Qualifier Drew Anastasio was the man to beat, but not if Jeff Jones, Quinn Moon, and Joel Williams had anything to say about it.
This was one of the most anticipated races of the weekend, which pitted pretty much all of the local fast guys together to chase the Nitro Vintage title!
At the tone, it was Drew Anastasio, Jeff Jones and John Ceci leading them around for the first few laps. Joel Williams had a steady fourth place going, with everyone else in hot pursuit!
Then, disaster struck on lap 10 when Drew Anastasio clipped a dot in the high speed sweeper and launched his mighty Mustang hard into the pits, causing some front end damage.
This was the only opening "Jammin" Jeff Jones would need to take the top spot and and hung on for the rest of the race to take the Nitro Vintage title just ahead of a hard charging Quinn Moon and Joel Williams! John Ceci had a great run also, to finish 4th!
Sean Lauer won the "B" Main and Andrew Fort won the "C" Main
Rally only had a four car field, but the enthusiasm was still there as past Rally winner, Chris Green, went on to again claim another rally title over Marius Achim, Kregg Kerr, and brother, Greg Green.
Monster Truck was the last race of the weekend. A full field was present to awe the crowds as they drove over many obsticals placed on the racing surface. A car crush, some wooden lattice, some rubber truck tire rings, and assorted corner dots gave the Monster Truck racers an offroad feel at this Challenge!
All weekend, everyone was "chasing" Chase Chandler's electric Savage as he showed everone the fast way around an R/C track! Veteran Challenge racer Rich Santino wasn't far off the pace to finish one lap down and Ross Bartick finishing in third!
Overall, this years event in New Jersey will be another one that will be remembered as one of the best HPI Challenges to date, as there were tons of laughs, smiles, and stories that will be told for years to come!
Thanks to Ray Murray and the SJCCR Club for yet another FUN event, Nifty Fiftys for an outstanding location, HPI Racing for continuing to keep racing FUN and sponsoring these Challenge races, and last but not least, the loyal fans of HPI for knowing how to have FUN racing R/C cars!
Electric RCGT A Main 1 27 5:05.87 Jay Franz 2 26 5:01.04 Sean Lauer 3 26 5:06.56 Chase Chandler 4 26 5:10.40 Kevin Bojarski 5 25 5:00.19 John Miga 6 25 5:01.11 Marius Achim 7 24 5:04.52 Jonathan Sohl 8 10 1:54.75 Kregg Kerr
Electric RCGT B Main 1 27 5:08.95 Rocky Umbrino 2 26 5:01.29 Arvin Nano 3 24 5:04.75 Kevin Colgan 4 22 5:05.46 Rodney Davis 5 21 5:04.08 Lou Lori 6 20 5:13.67 Marlon Vargas
Nitro RCGT A 1 26 5:00.22 Joel Williams 2 26 5:09.21 Todd Marshall 3 26 5:13.38 James Denmark 4 24 5:05.44 Ho Leung 5 20 5:11.90 John Miga 6 DNS Charles Jackmon
Electric TC Open A Main 1 40 7:34.34 Jeff Jones 2 40 7:34.70 Fred Perkins 3 39 7:30.02 Alex Valdez 4 38 7:28.61 Quinn Moon 5 35 7:32.76 Komkit 6 30 7:37.08 Chase Chandler 7 12 4:47.58 Marlon Vargas
Cup Racer Stock A Main 1 25 5:11.99 James Denmark 2 24 5:09.11 Sean Lauer 3 23 5:11.73 Paul Miller 4 22 5:04.98 John Miga 5 19 5:13.19 Rodney Davis 6 18 3:49.80 Kevin Bojarski 7 10 5:08.24 Chris Green 8 DNS Kevin Colgan 9 DNS Greg Green
Micro Stock A Main 1 18 5:05.85 Kevin Colgan Jr. 2 17 5:08.79 Richard Thong 3 14 5:10.66 Nancy Thong 4 6 5:16.19 Andrew Thong
Electric Vintage A Main 1 27 5:07.61 Jay Franz 2 26 5:01.25 Quinn Moon 3 26 5:02.49 Arvin Nano 4 26 5:07.90 Jonathan Soh 5 26 5:10.33 Rocky Umbrino 6 26 5:11.37 Kregg Kerr 7 25 5:07.18 Chase Chandler 8 25 5:17.41 Komkit
Electric Vintage B Main 1 26 5:02.73 Kevin 2 26 5:11.20 John Ceci 3 26 5:11.90 Sean Lauer 4 25 5:03.21 Jay Peezy 5 25 5:03.66 John Miga 6 25 5:06.33 Alex Valdez 7 25 5:11.50 Johnny Oddone 8 DNS Loftin
Electric Vintage C Main 1 24 5:00.34 Chris Green 2 24 5:09.73 Marius Achim 3 24 5:09.74 Juwan Hunter 4 24 5:11.92 James Denmark 5 23 5:07.39 P.J. 6 22 5:07.62 June Lopez 7 15 5:01.04 Kevin Colgan 8 13 3:20.49 Johnny Ceci 9 DNS Rodney Davis
Nitro Vintage A Main 1 50 10:05.64 Jeff Jones 2 49 10:11.86 Quinn Moon 3 48 10:00.55 Joel Williams 4 48 10:04.32 John Ceci 5 44 10:06.83 Darryl Lee 6 43 9:43.79 Drew Anastasio 7 21 5:06.44 Jim Jensen 8 20 4:36.25 James Denmark
Nitro Vintage B Main 1 24 5:02.71 Sean Lauer 2 23 5:08.89 Jay Honigman 3 23 5:13.93 Ray Murray 4 22 5:08.16 Wayne Pine 5 21 5:10.28 Ross Bartick 6 20 4:57.99 Ho Leung 7 16 3:58.37 Todd Marshall 8 DNS Johnny Oddone
Nitro Vintage C Main 1 16 5:02.72 Andrew Fort 2 16 5:12.69 Mike Simpson 3 15 5:05.91 Herolin Simmons 4 14 5:13.51 Buddy Mosher 5 1 0:08.07 Christopher Chester 6 1 0:09.62 Charles Jackmon 7 DNS Rich Wenger 8 DNS Troy Ellis
Rally A Main 1 25 5:01.65 Chris Green 2 25 5:10.14 Marius Achim 3 20 4:05.04 Kregg Kerr 4 1 0:09.96 Greg Green
Monster Truck A Main 1 19 5:04.22 Chase Chandler 2 18 5:18.07 Rich Santino 3 17 5:19.35 Ross Bartick 4 14 5:07.67 Ken Yu 5 9 2:37.41 Tony Ellis 6 8 5:19.74 Jared Jensen 7 5 5:39.37 Andrew Thong 8 3 1:54.24 Marius Achim 9 DNS Charles Jackman