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Race report by Leon McIntosh
The event was held in beautiful Beaumont, California at Thunder Alley R/C raceway and had 264 entries in total. When Jason Branham and I arrived at the track first thing on Wednesday morning we were in awe of just how magnificent of a facility Thunder Alley was. We had both heard stories and watched videos on the internet to try and get a feel for what to expect but none of that could do the track the justice it deserved. It wasn’t a very large track but it was very high-speed, had HUGE jumps, and had what I would estimate to be almost 20 feet of total elevation change throughout the racing surface. This coupled with our new 808’s made sure it was destined to be a great event. In attendance for U.S. Team Xray/RCAmerica was Josh Wheeler, Jason Branham, Brian Kinwald, Ray Norte, Dave “ The Mangler” Manglesdorf, myself, and a few others. From our driver line up it was obvious that we brought some very talented drivers together to display the capabilities of our newly released cars.

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Day 1- Wednesday practice

On the first day we were given one (1) 10 minute round of practice that started mid afternoon. It was not timed at all and was really just used by all of us to get a feel for the track. With a total of 21 heats the track started out extremely smooth for the earlier rounds and showed some significant signs of deterioration towards the end. It showed that having luck of the draw with an earlier round of qualifying would be a definite advantage. It went well for all of us and we were able to gather some great information from everybody that helped us move forward in our tuning for the rest of the weekend.

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Day 2- Thursday Practice

Thursday we had 2 rounds of timed practice. First thing on the docket for us was not only to get a better feel for the track but to find out what tires were working. In the first round Wheeler went out with M3 Bowties, Branham tried M2 Bowties, Kinwald ran M2 Holeshots and I ran M3 “Bowfighters” (Crimefighters on the front and Bowties in the rear). We all had our likes and dislikes about what we ran but with the length of the races and the track maintenance schedule we all decided to settle on M2 Bowties. We stuck with these for the remainder of the event. Also we did this because the track would start off every heat watered then dry out very fast and become hard and dusty over the course of a race. The bowties also let our cars “skip” over bumps and not grab. Car setups still remained the same with some people making very small changes to their liking.

As far as times went, everyone one of us was in the fast 26-second lap range. Wheeler was the only one able to pull of a couple of 25-second laps but that was only for the first round. Overall times were looking like 24 to 23 lap 10-minute runs. Josh was the only one of us able to do 10 minutes without a fuel stop. In timed practice runs Wheeler was in the top three and I believe Jason put a very good one up as well with all of us in the top 30.

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Day 3- Friday Qualifying

Qualifying for this event consisted of your best 2 out of 4 rounds of 10-minute qualifiers using the ROAR points system. On Friday we were scheduled for two rounds of qualifying. The night before the track crew did a lot of work on the track to make it smooth again. This gave the earlier heats a HUGE advantage, as overall times from the beginning of the round to the end of the round were 20+ seconds difference. Also they reshuffled the heats putting some drivers in a not so favorable place in the running order. For the 1st round we all put in solid mistake free runs putting all of us in the top 50. The only one who had trouble was wheeler. He was on a blistering fast pace to put him in the top three until he had radio problems with a minute to go in his race. Also to give you an idea of the changing conditions fast runs were slow 23 laps to fast 22 lap runs.

The second round saw much of the same but the track was much slower. Wheeler pulled out a 4th for the round and I believe Jason Branham put in an 18th. At this point all of our drivers still remained within the top 50. All of our cars were very good. No one made any really big setup changes. I think I made the biggest when I went up to 4000K cts rear diff oil from 2000K. The track had some sweeping high-speed sections that would cause the car to swap ends because of too light of diff fluid in the rear. This change helped the car stay flatter in these sections of the track.

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Day 4- Saturday Qualifying

The day once again started off with a groomed track and the earlier races once again went faster than the later ones. It was apparent, though, that the patches the track crew were putting on the track weren’t holding up for long and the track was getting very rough, This inspired some thinking amongst the team and led to Jason Branham coming up with the idea to stiffen the car as opposed to softening the dampening. This idea lead to us running the new blue-grey springs up front to try and keep the front end up out of the bumps. It worked very well so we tried the rear stiffer as well with the blue-grey springs and the difference was night and day. By the end of round two all of the team drivers were running this suspension package.

In terms of time Jason put in a 9th overall all in the fourth round and Josh Wheeler came up big laying down a 4th place run to lock him into the A-Main. Kinwald and Norte also put in great runs that were in the top 25. Overall times also slowed to slow 22 lap runs to fast 21 lap runs.

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Day 5- Sunday Mains

With all of our drivers towards the top and wheeler already locked in to the main we looked to have a fighting chance. The day started off with Ray Norte putting in an awesome drive in his 1/8th final to bump up into the next ? final where he ran into problems with traffic. I was up next. I had a horrible start in the beginning and was looking to get lapped only 3 minutes in. From there on I put my head down and drove my butt off and finished 7 seconds behind 2nd place Billy Fisher who went on to finish second for the whole event. Jason Branham had a great run going in his Semi until late when a few mistakes dropped him off the coat tails of then second place driver Richard Saxton. Jason’s car looked awesome and we all thought he would bump but late problems in traffic thwarted his attempt. Kinwald and Manglesdorf were in the 1/8ths an both put in great drives it just wasn’t enough.

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As for the A-main Wheeler had an amazing car and quickly worked his way into 4th. Just 5 minutes into the race he got caught with Jeremy Kortz and was flipped on his lid. When the turn marshal flipped him over and he went to get on the gas the car flamed out. It was very unfortunate because Josh ran the FASTEST lap of the entire A-Main and once he made it back out onto the track he stayed on the same lap with the eventual winner, Mike Truhe, the entire rest of the race. He definitely had a capable car but just didn’t have the luck going his way. Wheeler ended up finishing 7th overall.

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In closing I would like to thank the Thunderalley crew for putting on a amazing race, Xray and RCAmerica for giving us all the support that they have allowing us to do what we love. With out you we wouldn’t have the amazing piece of machinery we call the 808. We were able to take box stock cars to one of the toughest national events in the world and show exactly what it is capable of. Also a big thanks goes out to all of the team drivers that attended the race because we learned a lot about the car in a short amount of time. In the meantime folks you can find all of us and our setups on the Xray forums so keep the questions and information flowing.

Till Next Time!!

Leon McIntosh
Xray/RCAmerica/RCSignup.com

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Josh Wheeler Set-up sheet.

Leon McIntosh Set-up sheet.

Jason Branham Set-up sheet.