Sanford and Son RC headed out to Air Dawg RC Raceway in Lancaster, CA on February 8th for Round 4 of the JConcepts Top Notch Winter Series. The Top Notch Series (TNS) is an 8-race points based series, run at various tracks throughout Southern California. Last season, TNS averaged 230 entries per round and features race announcer “Notch” Johnson. Over $10,000 in prizes and cash payouts were given out last season. Air Dawg RC Raceway is a brand new RC facility.
My competition for this event would include Team Associated’s Kevin Motter, Jake Mayo and Chris Van Air, TLR’s David Jenson, Tekno RC’s Rudy Rico, Kyosho teammate Cody Turner, Hobby Pro USA’s Andrew Smolnik, and a number of very fast local racers. There would be two rounds of 5 minute qualifiers, followed by 5 minute A Mains. Announcing would be handled by Notch Johnson. There were approximately 215 entries this round.
Open 2wd Truck
In previous rounds, there was not too much interest in the Open 2wd Truck class, but this round, Team Associated’s Keven Motter, Jake Mayo and Chris Van Air showed up for this class. I think Air Dawg RC Raceway is Jake Mayo’s home track, and Kevin Motter is always tough, so I knew this would be a great race. In the first qualifier, I had the lead for the first half of the race, then fell about 1 second behind Jake Mayo. I charged hard, and was only .05 seconds behind Mayo going into the final lap. Unfortunately, I got caught at the loop, and Mayo just made it, allowing him to get an extra lap. I would finish second. I had a good race in the second qualifier, but again finished second to Mayo, setting the stage for an epic A Main event. In the A Main, I stayed on Mayo’s bumper for the first half of the race, with Motter not far behind me. It was a three truck freight train. Motter bobbled and fell a little further behind, with Mayo and I continuing our duel. I went up on two wheels going over the 90 degree roller, and had to back off the throttle to keep from flipping. This allowed Mayo to increase his lead to almost two seconds. I stayed clean from that point on, closing the gap on Mayo to less than a second. With four laps to go, Mayo had some sort of electrical issue, and had to retire, but my job wasn’t done yet. Motter charged hard, and started to close the gap, but I was able to pull away and get the win. My RT6 with the Tekin RSX and Redline Gen 2 6.5 motor has never been better.
Open 2wd Truck finishing order:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. Kevin Motter (Team Associated)
3. Chris Van Air (Team Associated)
1/8 Scale eBuggy
The layout at Air Dawg RC Raceway was very tight, with no real straightaway, but with a number of 180 degree turns, an S-turn, a triple-double, and a long double-triple in front of the driver’s stand. I had run my Tekin T8i (Indoor) motor with great success on similar layouts in previous races, so I elected to go with the T8i here as well. As before, the weight savings made my Kyosho MP9e TKI more nimble thru the turns. 1/8 scale eBuggy was the first race in both heats and the main, and the track was heavily watered beforehand. In the first qualifier, I bolted up some AKA clay handlebars. The car was very consistent, and I won the first qualifier. I elected to switch to Super Soft AKA Handlebars for the second qualifier to see if they would be better on the wet track. It proved to be a great choice, as my fast lap went from 19.1 to 18.6. I stayed with the Super Soft Handlebars for the A Main, and lead from start to finish. My MP9e TKI with the T8i motor and RX8 Gen 2 ESC was fantastic the entire night!
1/8 Scale eBuggy finishing order:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. Rudy Rico (Tekno RC)
3. Vince Stolo (TLR)
2wd Mod Buggy
This class had two heats, and I was in the first heat. My RB6 felt good, and I finished second to Cody Turner in my race. However, I would qualify in 3rd place overall for the round. After practice laps for the second qualifier, I pulled up to my pit man to get the clay wiped off my wheels, and when he picked up the car, the front clip broke. I must have cracked it on a practice lap crash, so unfortunately, I would not get to run my second qualifier. After the second round of qualifying, I fell to fifth place and would start fifth on the grid for the A Main. In the A Main, I got a good start and quickly moved up to fourth place. I battled Smolnik for third place for most of the race, and got up on his bumper when misfortune hit. I passed a lapper going thru the S-turn, but coming out of the S-turn, he took me out from behind. By the time the marshall got me upright, I had slipped to seventh place and would finish in seventh. Although I had a tough break in this race, my RB6, equipped with AKA clay Handlebars and Tekin RSX with a Redline Gen 2 7.5 motor was locked in the entire night.
2wd Mod Buggy finishing order:
1. Cody Turner (Kyosho)
2. Andrew Smolnik (Hobby Pro USA)
3. Kevin Motter (Team Associated)
I would like to thank all of my sponsors for making it happen: Sanford and Son RC, Kyosho, AKA, DE Racing, Tekin, Track Star RC, TTN Racing and Upgrade RC. Thanks also to JConcepts and DE Racing for sponsoring this series, and to ADRC Raceway, and race announcer Notch Johnson for putting on this Top Notch event.
TNS Round 4 track layout at ADRC Raceway
My Kyosho cars ready for the A Mains