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Race report by Rocco Margiotta
The US Monster Truck Championships were recently held at Johnny Cool Guy Raceway in Euless, Texas on July 20-22. This race featured racers from around the region racing only production monster trucks and truggies. The XRay team present at the USMTC consisted of Jason Branham, Tommy Tang and myself (Rocco Margiotta). We all noticed in practice how the racing was going to be very tight and competitive as the layout was somewhat simple.

Being my home track, I knew what times to expect and our trucks were easily hitting those times and the more dry the track got, the better our trucks were. It rained on Friday night which made the track totally different for practice in the morning but we didn’t touch our setup as we knew the track would dry out to our liking throughout the day. In the first round of qualifying, the bar was set high by local Mike McCrary who put his XT8 in TQ position. Jason was on a TQ pace, but due to an error in the pits, ran out of fuel with a minute to go, and Tommy struggled with radio problems and traffic, which persisted throughout qualifying.

As far as the team goes, I was the only one to get a decent run in which put me fifth on the grid after the first round. The second round came around after a brief rain delay that made the track very fast which the drivers in the first heat of truggy greatly benefited, which is unfortunate for us, as we were in later heats. Jason got a full run in that put him fourth overall, and after seeing several other people run out of gas, I came in for a splash which cost me a couple seconds, and put me further down overall for that round (which was pretty much the fastest round of qualifying). In the third round, the track was no where near as fast and after Jason breaking, and my time slower than my previous two, nobody improved their position. After qualifying, the XT8 drivers were as follows:
2nd Mike McCrary XRAY XT8
4th Jason Branham XRAY XT8
8th Rocco Margiotta XRAY XT8

The mains day came around and it was just as hot (above 100°F or 38°C) as all of the others. With Tommy breaking with 1 minute to go after lapping the field in the B-main, Jason, myself and Mike McCrary were the only XT8’s in the A final. When it came time for us to battle the heat, wasps on the drivers’ stand and each other for 45 minutes, the track was in ideal conditions; dry, hard and semi blue grooved! After a bad start for both Jason and I, Jason put the petal down and pulled away from me and within a couple minutes was battling with McCrary and Battaile for the top spot. The top three guys, including Jason and Mike would switch spots very frequently throughout the rest of the race, until Battaile (running Losi) broke which let McCrary and Branham take off with me in third. McCrary and Branham would swap places a few more times for the rest of the race until Jason pulled away slightly at the end of the race, which resulted in an all XT8 podium!

1st Jason Branham – XRAY XT8
2nd Mike McCrary – XRAY XT8
3rd Rocco Margiotta – XRAY XT8

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Jason Branham Set-up sheet.

Rocco Margiotta Set-up sheet.

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