The Race: This year marked the 1st Annual Southern Indoor Championships in Autuagaville, Alabama, formerly known as the Alabama Indoor Championships. In years past this race has drawn 200+ racers from all over the Southeastern United States and this year proved to be much of the same. Guys and girls traveled thousands of miles to attend this amazing event. This race is a once a year deal that is held in rodeo arena, so its not on a permanent track. Every year they never fail to put together a layout that challenges every aspect of a drivers ability, Mugen driver Bobby Moore and the whole Alabama crew once again worked wonders with the bobcat and probably built one of the best tracks that most people, including myself, have ever raced on. Around every corner was a different obstacle or a different elevation change.
Because there was only one day of practice the organizers held open practice from 7am until noon upon which one round of controlled practice took place. This was to allow everyone a fair chance at getting on the track. Once the controlled round was over open practice resumed until midnight. Both Ryan Lopez and myself felt that our cars were amazing from the start using our worlds setups so pretty much all of practice was dedicated to finding the right tire. We tried everything from the “Bowfighter” combination to the new Pro-Line wide tires.
Once the practice day was over we had both made some subtle changes to the car. I felt like my 808 was driving over the rear a little too much so I softened the front a little bit to get more weight transfer. I also settled with Pro-Lines new sensation the M3 Revolvers. I tried standards all the way around but liked the new V3 wide M3 Revolvers in the back the best.
In Truggy I changed diff fluids a little to accommodate for the dusty conditions. I went down to 7-10-3 from 10-15-4. This helped give my XT8 a little more grip.
Lopez, only running buggy, tried the new active diff in his 808 and loved it so he stuck with it for the remainder of the event. That was the only change he made to his car. Ryan also reached for Pro-Line M3 Holeshots for qualifying and the mains.
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The day started out early and fast. With so much on the line in this race tensions were high and every body was trying to lay down a run like it was the worlds. In Truggy I had great runs going in all three rounds but unfortunately encountered problems leaving me 3rd on the grid for the 45 minute main. Xray also placed 2 other XT8’s in the main, one being piloted by RCAmerica driver Zachary Harper. However, Buggy was a very different story. It took all three rounds to determine the top spot. In the first round I took TQ turning the first and only 10 lap run at this point in the event.
Lopez was in a close second during this round. In round two it was Mugen Driver Barry Petit who took the top honors followed by Ryan Lopez and myself in 3rd and 2nd respectively. Round three saw Lopez set the track on fire with the fastest run of the event. I again followed in a close second. Rather than the IFMAR points system, the event used the old school method of adding your best two runs together. This gave Lopez TQ by a slim margin but a TQ non-the less followed by me in 2nd for the long main. With our qualifying effort I think we showed just how good the new 808 really is. Both of our cars were amazing and most of all CONSISTENT!! Every time they hit the track they looked exactly the same.
Matthew Sistrunk also used his Xray 808 to TQ the Sportsman Buggy class and put his XT8 in second on the grid for the Sportsman Truggy main.
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The race obviously started out with the lower mains first and because of the events dedication to equal track time for everyone they ran all the lower mains as 10 minutes. So it was a while before any of the Pro mains and a lot of prep in the mean time. The first one up was sportsman truggy where Matt Sistrunk took the lead for a while and checked out on the field. Shortly after he rain into a glue malfunction and lost 3 tires. He still managed to pull in 2nd at the end. Directly after that was the Pro Truggy Main where I managed to come from behind early and win the Truggy main by a whole lap. I would love to say it was all driver but it was mostly car. My truck was amazing and I don’t think I could have asked for anything better. It ran like a champ for 44 minutes.
Matt Sistrunk , Sportsman Buggy TQ had much of the same luck as he did in Truggy, He led for a short time and ran into some motor issues.
In Pro buggy the battle was expected to be tight up front. With the speed of several drivers being so close many expected it to come down to the last lap. Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out that way for the competition. The way the grid was setup for some reason TQ was a good 20 to 25 feet out ahead of the rest of the pack for the start. This allowed Lopez to get away clean for the first few corners but hot on his heels was mugens Barry Petite and myself. The three of us broke clean away from the pack early on and were never challenged in the top three for the entire race. However, Barry and I battled back and forth for almost the entire race and gave up almost a second to a second and a half a lap letting Ryan lead wire to wire to take the win. In the End Ryan and myself were the only ones to finish on the same lap.
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1- Leon McIntosh XRAY XT8
2- Seth Wrobel
3- Justin Cranford
4- Jackie Woodard
5- Greg Smith
6- Coty Ingram
7- Barry Pettit 8- Dewayne Potter XRAY XT8
9- Shannon Amos 10- Zachary Harper XRAY XT8
1- Ryan Lopez XRAY XB808
2- Leon McIntosh XRAY XB808
3- Barry Pettit
4- Alan Burton
5- Shannon Amos
6- Travis Phillips
7- Justin Cranford
8- Luis Perez 9- Dan Reino XRAY XB808
10- Tim Smith XRAY XB808
A big Congrats goes to Ryan for taking the Pro Buggy title for the second year in a row and Matt “Big Puddin” Sistrunk for putting in such valiant efforts in both Sportsman Buggy and Truggy. Also a great Job to Zach Harper for running in the top 5 in pro truggy and also a great job to all the guys running Xray cars who made the main. I can’t remember everyone’s name but there were more Xray cars at this event than in years past and I think that can be attributed to just how easy the new 808 is to drive and feel comfortable with.
In closing it was a great event and I look forward to making it back next year