Ocoee, Florida and Outtacontrol Raceway played host to the 2009 ROAR Region 4 Championships and JConcepts have the following report. Always an event that brings the best out in every driver within the state of Florida, the ROAR Regional’s displays the best of the best. With early wet weather conditions being a concern, the JConcepts team turned to the trusty combination of Crowbars in the buggy class and Cross Hairs in the 1/8th truck class, all in Soft Blue compound.
JR Mitch blistered the track in round 1 of the 1/8th truck class with his RC8T topped off with the Punisher body, taking the TQ position on the wet loamy track. Billy Easton, Gary Mazur and Jason Ruona were quickest in the first round of buggy qualifying as Mitch encountered a problem and was forced out early. Nathan Wincek took his XRay to the top of the field in round 2 of 1/8th truck qualifying by running a superb race and bettering JR’s early TQ. In round 2 of buggy it was Chad Phillips setting the pace in front of Billy Easton and Gary Mazur with JR Mitch having a servo failure and unable to complete a full qualifier.
The Outtacontrol track crew did a little extra maintenance for round 3 and the track was in the best condition of the weekend. JR Mitch ran a great 3rd and final qualifying run in the 1/8th truck class once again taking the overall TQ. Round 3 of the buggy class saw Jason Ruona, Billy Easton and Gary Mazur once again battling in the same qualifier for the coveted TQ. Ruona led at about the 4 minute mark on a new TQ pace with Easton and Mazur following right behind. A mistake on the triple jump put Ruona out of contention with only a minute to go as Easton took the lead and set a new TQ. All eyes were on JR Mitch to see if he could complete his 3rd qualifier and take a position in the A-main. JR held nothing back as he dropped the TQ pace all the way into an 11 lap pace which had not been run all weekend. Saving his best for the last few laps JR dropped a 29.2 and a 28.9 lap time, easily the fastest of the weekend. JR Mitch TQ’s 1/8th buggy.
Outtacontrol performed complete track prep for Saturday night to re-face the jumps and compact the loamy or bumpy areas. Sunday morning would provide the true test as the dirt was still wet and during the longer mains the track and jump faces typically get worn in crucial areas. During the first several mains the track remained in great condition and the drivers began bumping along trying to earn their way into the A-mains. At around 2:00pm the A-main drivers were given a practice session which the JConcepts team used as a platform for tire testing and car setup. Jason Ruona tested the blue compound Hit Men and Gary Mazur tested the Crowbar combination also in blue compound. All signs pointed to the Crowbar as being the main event tire of choice so decisions had been made.
The 1/8th truck A-main started with JR Mitch getting a great start. Pulling about a ½ track lead during the 20-25 minute mark JR looked to stretch the lead. As JR reached almost a 1 lap lead suddenly he encountered a problem which was fixed in the pits during a routine fuel stop. 2nd place driver Ryan Eckert, driving the O’Donnell truck, made his way all the way within striking distance and gave JR a sudden competitor. The last 5 minutes of the race was a fantastic race between JR and Ryan with JR eventually pulling out the victory with about 1 minute to go. JR cruised in for yet another ROAR regional championship with Ryan Eckert finishing 2nd and Sean Kersten finishing 3rd.
In the 1/8th buggy A-main Billy Easton got a fantastic start around TQ JR Mitch. JR battled with Chad Phillips for 2nd and 3rd place allowing Billy to pull a huge lead during the first 10 minutes. Jason Ruona and JP Tirronen were in an accident together during the first lap dropping both back to near the rear of the field. At the mid point of the race Billy comfortably led with JR in 2nd and Ruona in 3rd. It appeared like this would be the finishing order as the distances in-between other drivers seemed insurmountable. With about 5 minutes left JR began having a problem allowing Ruona to catch up and attempt a pass. Making a move with about 1 minute to go Ruona moved into second as JR’s vehicle became very unpredictable. With 40 seconds to go Ruona and Mitch jumped the triple jump together colliding in the air breaking Ruona’s buggy in the process. Mitch limped around to a 2nd place finish while Ruona limped around to 4th place. Leon McIntosh who suffered a flameout during the mid point of the race found his way around Ruona’s broken vehicle and picked up the 3rd place. The finishing order in 1/8th buggy would be Billy Easton, JR Mitch, Leon McIntosh, Jason Ruona and JP Tirronen.