March 2, 2012

Lemieux & Burch win 2012 Florida Winternats

The 2012 Winternats was once again held at The Fort in Fort Myers, Florida. This year was the 36th annual running of the unofficial start of the nitro season. The Fort is one of the most demanding tracks in the world due to its high bite and very fast pace. In the 1/10 scale 200mm class Ralph Burch had the strongest NT1 through qualifying, with Paul and Mike close behind. Ralph and DJ Apolaro exchanged TQ position with each round, besting each others efforts through the two days of qualifying. In the final round, Ralph completed the only 34 lap run in sedan to secure TQ with his Max Power’ed Xray NT1, in front of D.J. Apolaro and Paul Lemieux.

In 1/8 Open, a similar mix battled at the top for TQ honors. Mike Swauger held the early TQ after round 1. Strong runs in round 2 moved Ralph and Paul’s RX8s into 1st and 4th place, with Mike’s 1st round time keeping him in the 3rd spot. Ralph retained the TQ spot through the remaining rounds, finishing with a 37/7:07.17 in the final round to hold off Paul who had the only other 37 lap run of the weekend. Come the 1/10 scale finals, Ralph dropped from his TQ position to third, with DJ and Paul moving to the front. These three separated from the field over the first 15 minutes, exchanging the lead during fuel stops. At the midway point, DJ had a lengthy stop for a tire change, leaving Paul and Ralph to battle for the rest of the race. Up by 4 laps on DJ and even more of the rest of the field, these two maintained their pace with Ralph making up ground on Paul in the final 10 minutes closing the gap to less than 2 seconds as the both approached their final pit stops, until mechanical issues ended Ralph’s race with only a few minutes to go. Paul finished clean to claim the victory.

1/10 200mm Top 10 results
1. Paul Lemieux
2. D.J. Apolaro
3. Tom Erik Haaversen
4. Rino Lino
5. Rafael Angulo
6. Gianni Gorgio
7. Ralph Burch
8. Scotty Gray
9. Ronald Völker
10.Mike Swauger

In 1/8 Open unlike the 1/10 main, Ralph had a great start from the TQ position, and lead from beginning to end. He was able to quickly put a gap between him and the field before the first fuel stop. Paul also had a good start but had some problems with his car and had to retire early from the race. After a rough start and getting caught up in an early wreck that shuffled him to the back of the pack, Mike Swauger was working hard the move back to the front. Surviving the early incidents with the RX8 was still working well, Mike was able to move through the field by the midway point of the final. Finishing almost 5 laps up on the rest of the field, Mike secured 2nd on the podium with Ralph being crowned the 2012 1/8 Open champ.

1/8 Open Top 10 results
1. Ralph Burch
2. Mike Swauger
3. Marco Vanni
4. D.J. Apolaro
5. Paolo Morganti
6. Tony Rice
7. Sean Lue
8. Flavio Elias
9. Oliver Mack
10.Paul Lemieux

Source: Xray []


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