Idaho State Championships
May 18 & 19, 20, 2001 Boise, Idaho
|Brad & Joe Share A Laugh||Mike Pope Explains the Format||NASCAR Podium, Sam, Aaron, Mike|
|I'll trade two JL's for one pizza slice (above)|
|Can-Am Revisited||Brad, Stan, Courtney & Aaron (left)|
|SS Pit Action|
|Can-Am Podium, Joe, Aaron, Sam||SS Finalists In Order Mark, Joe, Aaron, Brad, Stan, Brady|
A Roving Feast of Slot Car Fun
First off to all of the participants who came to compete, built cars and displayed tremendous sportsmanship even when things were not going their way. A special mention of Brad Bowman, Joe Giegel, Paul Quaglietta and Mike Pope, each of whom traveled long distances to hang out with a bunch of slot heads for two days. Next, to those who put forth a little extra effort to make it all happen. Joe Giegel with trophies and racing plates, Kyle Albert with sponsors, Stan Fuller and Sam Shearman as hosts, Mike Pope and Phil Malone as race directors plus Brady and Courtney Fuller who arranged the pizza delivery. I sure hope I did not forget anybody. And last, but not least, a big "Thank You" to all of the sponsors who made sure that every participant went home with more than the came with. One more time here are their names:
Model Motoring, Inc. -
1st Course - Home Cooking I: All You Can Eat for Two
The NASCAR Championship was hosted by Shearmanator Raceway and directed by Mike Pope. Two laps to qualify on the 95' Tomy road course and twin rotations of five-minute heats with hard-body NASCAR replicas on Tomy or Tyco chassis.
Qualifying gave no indication of what was about to transpire. Practice times had been as low as 6.7 seconds, but Aaron Shearman took pole with a mere 8.025. The first heat was close as Aaron and Mike Pope both laid down 36 laps. From that point on it was no contest. Aaron and Sam Shearman both checked out. After four heats Aaron was up by 2 laps, with the field a further 5 behind Sam. Brad Bowman had it right when he remarked that Aaron was "ballistic." With nobody threatening near the end he was looking for low lap times, breaking the 7-second barrier. Overlooked in the glare of Aaron's performance was Papa Sam putting just as bad a hurt on the rest of the field. It was definitely a seven-course, gourmet performance from both of them. Maybe that is why they call the track Shearmanator.
Just to keep things interesting there were some fine fights over the table scraps. Mike P. and Mark St.Clair were trading blows for third. Mike opened a 4-lap gap in the first heat. Mark cut it to 1 after three heats. Then Mike made it 2 again at the halfway point. The lead held steady for two more heats and then Mike stretched it to 4 again. Mark closed to two in the final heat, but Mike cruised to a well-deserved third place. These two were side-by-side for three of the final four heats. Being NASCAR there was plenty of rubbin' in a classic contest. The next battle featured Brady Fuller and Joe "Carnage" Giegel. Yes, that Joe Carnage, the T-jet racer. Joe qualified third, serving notice that he was not there just to fill the field. He and Brady battled for fifth in every heat. It was back and forth with Brady finishing ahead by less than 2-laps, which was the largest difference between them all day. Very tasty.
The other great contest was further down the field between Phil Malone and Ryan Hansen. Phil jumped out to a 2-lap lead in the first half. Ryan battled back to nip Phil in the end by a few feet. Newcomers Paul Quaglietta and Dusty Post got a feel for close racing, too. They were fighting for the position all day with Dusty coming from behind to take the spot by 1 lap. Jim Terry got the bad luck award for the first race, struggling with a few problems that kept this fine racer from being competitive.
Aaron Shearman 288
2nd Course - Barbecue
The Can-Am Challenge was hosted by Stan Fuller's Envoy and directed by Phil Malone. No qualifying, no practice on the 31' 21st Century road course. Two-minute heats with the AFX MagnaTraction cars remaining in their respective lanes as the drivers passed through two rotations. The group was very relaxed with no real preparations necessary or possible. Phil had the chassis ready to go under a pair of Ferrari 612's and a pair of McLaren XLR's. Nobody really knew what to expect, as we do not normally race these cars. Sam Shearman was the quickest to adjust increasing his lap count in each of the first four heats. Aaron Shearman was right behind him, only slipping a bit on Blue. Like the night before, these two separated themselves from the field. Next up were Joe Giegel and Stan Fuller. Then another gap back to Brady Fuller, Phil Malone, Brad Bowman and Ryan Hansen. It really looked like the top four were the only contenders. The second half of the field was inconsistent, doing well on one lane, faltering on the next. Like the night before, the Shearmans had turned up the heat and everybody else was just turning slowly on the spit.
The second half opened with Stan making a nice move on Red. Aaron and Joe closed a bit on Sam. In response Sam pulled away with a fine 20.3 laps on Red. Stan gained ground on Joe while Aaron held station in second. Sam was now up by two laps over Aaron with Stan now a half lap ahead of Joe. The next heat was pivotal. Aaron managed a four-lap swing with the best heat of the day, a 21.8 on Red. Stan held third, adding a tenth of a lap to his lead on Joe for third. Aaron put the finishing touches on his comeback with only the second 20-lap heat on White. Sam cruised easily to second. Meanwhile Joe overcame Stan's margin with a sparkling 19.7 on Red as Stan slipped a bit on the very tough Yellow lane as Brady made things interesting with a charge from fifth.
Several racers made significant improvements in the second half. In a race with unfamiliar cars it is the mark of a good driver that they catch on quickly. Leading in that category was Mike Pope at +6.5 laps. Then came Courtney Fuller at +5.8 laps, Dan Nelson +5.5 laps and Brad Bowman +5.4 laps. Aaron, Brady Fuller, Paul Quaglietta, Jim Terry and Ryan Hansen were all over +4 laps, too. At least these folks got a little sauce to lick from their fingers.
Aaron Shearman 153.8
3rd Course - Home Cooking II: Lean Cuisine
The Super Stock (T-jet) Championship was hosted by Hidden Springs Raceway and directed by Mark St.Clair. Humboldt County style heats and mains led to a six-racer final on the 61' Tomy road course. The cars were built to the most recent Fray specifications. So far this year had been the Aaron and Sam show. Aaron had notched his fourth and fifth straight Idaho State Championships going back to last year.
After a brief lunch break, wherein Brad Bowman scored a Hot Wheels Ford GT and Mark St.Clair a gold chrome JL Snake Eyes at a garage sale, everyone reassembled at Hidden Springs for the resumption of racing. As has been the tradition at T-jet races in my experience, fast builders with spare cars were sharing the wealth. Joe Giegel had six of his cars on the track. Even people with their own, slower cars were taking advantage of his generosity. Other drivers were loaning cars, too. Clearly we are still building a T-jet racing tradition in Boise, but it is going well with the help of people like Joe.
Like last year, experience was valuable in the opening rounds. The top eight point scorers in the heats were Fray and Salem veterans from the Carnage and Fremont teams. On the other end of the score sheet Dusty Post, Jim Terry, Kyle Albert, Ryan Hansen, Paul Quaglietta and Courtney Fuller lined up for the F Main. Hidden Springs is a long way around on Red and Yellow. A definite disadvantage in a single, 10-lap sprint for the four move-ups. It would not be until the B Main that someone would escape Red and Yellow. Joining Brady Fuller and Phil Malone in the E were Ryan, Jim, Dusty and Kyle.
Brady started a run in the E that would land him in A eventually. He took the E on White, followed by Ryan, Jim and Phil. Mike Pope and Dan Nelson were waiting for them. In the D Main Mike led the group across the line with Brady, Ryan and Dan chasing. In the C it was Mike again with Stan Fuller, Brady and Sam Shearman getting the move ups. Time for the B Main and the last four racers who would reach the final. It was no surprise when Aaron Shearman won, but Brady surprised most by finishing a close second. Brad Bowman and Stan Fuller also made the final. Sam and Mike were narrowly edged out. Mike fell victim to Mark's Law of Mechanical Failure when his front screw backed out, taking him out of a solid move up position.
For the past 24 hours luck had played little if any role in the racing. Things were about to change. Joe Giegel opened with a solid win in Green followed by Brad in White and Mark St.Clair in Red. The mishaps started, leaving Aaron, proving he was human, Stan and Brady as the final three in the first heat. The second heat saw Aaron come right back and reestablish himself as a favorite. Brady and Mark followed him. The gremlins grabbed Brad, Joe and Stan this heat. Mark won the next heat with Joe a fine second on Yellow. Brad was home third, Stan fourth, Aaron fifth and Brady sixth. Seems nobody really wanted to sit down and fill up on this meal.
Halfway through the final and Mark led with 14 points. Following closely were Joe 13, Brad 12, Aaron 11, Brady 7 and Stan 6. Clearly it was still anybody's race. However, Joe and Mark were moving to the easier lanes as Brad and Aaron were heading for Red and Yellow. Mark had the lead and the home track advantage. So of course Joe won the next heat as Mark floundered on Blue, finishing fourth. Stan was a strong second and Brad third. Aaron and Brady rounded out the heat. Points were at Joe 19, Mark 17, Brad 16, Aaron 13, Stan 11 and Brady 8. Stan stepped up in the penultimate heat, winning on Green. The battle for first tightened as Mark grabbed second from Joe. Brady made a little noise in fourth while Aaron's surprising run of bad luck continued in fifth, followed by Brad.
The battle for first was down to two. Joe was leading by one over Mark. Stan had charged back into a tie for third with Brad at 17. Aaron was at 15 and Brady 11. None of the positions were completely secure at this point. Joe and Mark would be in adjacent lanes, the preferred Purple and Green. Mark pulled a few inches ahead at the start, but Joe only needed to finish one place behind him to preserve an overall victory. They held station for a few laps, when it was Joe's turn for ill fortune. A slight bobble gave Mark some breathing room. The rest of the field had gotten away more slowly and then lost a bit of track position with a few unplanned maneuvers. After a couple laps, Aaron had regained his focus and was charging in third. Uncharacteristically, Joe came out of the slot again. Aaron was now a real threat from behind and Mark could cruise the last five laps without pressing. True to the pattern established in the earlier heats, misfortune again visited the track with Joe's third deslot, allowing Aaron to slip by. The last couple laps went by without further incident and the drivers held station to the flag. Where the first two races had been banquets for the winner, this one was more like a diet. Good for your health, but not quite as satisfying. In the end, the home track advantage had been just enough to tip the balance. It could not have been closer. Each driver had two firsts, one second and two thirds. The difference was a fourth for Mark versus a fifth for Joe.
Brady Fuller and Ryan Hansen had performed exceptionally well in their first T-jet races against some very good competition. Newcomers Dusty Post and Courtney Fuller showed great promise for the future, needing a little more experience to start earning those move ups. The manufacturer's competition was no contest as Joe Giegel had four cars in the top eight. Without Joe there would not have been a race, in more ways than one.
Final Results (Points shown for A Main only):
1. Mark St.Clair 28
Post Race Festivities:
After the results were finalized, Brady and Courtney Fuller organized a pizza order. Then we moved along to handing out the trophies. After that, the most anticipated event of the weekend: the prize drawing. There was so much stuff that this took almost as long as the racing. What followed was the best, unplanned event I have attended in while. With all the prizes floating around the room, an impromptu swap meet was underway. Won an extra controller or duplicate car color? The racer next to you probably had something you needed more. This action continued long after the final prize was handed out and the pizza was mostly gone, too. With the pizza eaten and the trading completed, the post-race action on the track subsided and the competitors slowly drifted out. Another Idaho State Championship weekend was complete.
The action was not quite over at Hidden Springs. Mark's two children invaded the layout room. Laura put in 200 laps driving a Life-Like Taurus while Scott challenged Dad to negotiate a thirty-year old Daredevil Obstacle Course. With Brad Bowman's help we were able to execute the entire sequence of obstacles in a single lap. Maybe next year this will be a championship event.
Having three unique races over two days, the question of who is the best overall driver always comes up. This year was no different than last year. Aaron Shearman was dominant. Even when he was not winning he was a key player in deciding the outcome. Unlike last year's narrow wins in all three races, Aaron simply ran away in this year's first two races. Perhaps it was inevitable that after two nearly perfect performances he would have to prove he was human. In any case, he left a field of drivers, good in their own right, awestruck in his wake.
Stan Fuller, Joe Giegel and Mark St.Clair contributed to this story.
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