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XDC Phoenix Win

Category : Events

After the Irwindale Pro/Am Nationals last week, Matt Waldin drove the rig with my car on board to Phoenix and flew back east from there.  Matt, Damien, and I flew back out to Phoenix on Thursday for the final round of XDC.  Friday was a practice day.  The track was tricky so I tried to get as much practice as I could and put my Flip to use filming my runs:

The tricky part was an outside clipping zone on the main left turn sweeper, which led to a slow S-turn to finish the track.  After flooring it from initiation through the main sweeper to get to the outside clipping zone, you had to get hard on the brakes, downshift, and transition into a slow S-turn.  So I spent all day either going too slow and shallow on the outer clip or being too fast and flying off the track when it was time to slow down.  I also missed the first practice session because I had no tires mounted, and there was a long line to use the tire changer.

On Saturday, there was some more practice before qualifying and competition.  I took off the Federal tires that I had and put on Dunlops so the car would feel less grippy and would be easier to drive in addition to making more smoke for qualifying.  I was still trying to drive the course well consistently, so I didn’t do much tandem practice, and instead just led the whole time so I could focus on the course.  I think I did a total of 3 follow runs in practice all weekend.

XDC Phoenix Qualifying In qualifying, I recorded a conservative first run to make sure I’d get into top 16, and that worked out OK.  On the second run, I got a lot closer to the clipping points and was more aggressive, but my angle was lacking.  I qualified 5th.

 
After a quick tandem practice and top 16 intro, we went into competition.  This was a night event, and it was super dark on the first turn entry and in the S-turn at the end of the track.  Also, the lights were shining in your eyes at the end of the track, my night vision is terrible to begin with, and my windshield is pitted and scratched everywhere.  So I really couldn’t see much, which made things interesting.

All of my tandem match ups went about the same.  I just drove normal leading, but I was transitioning pretty late into the S-turn at the end of the track because I didn’t want to make the transition until I spotted the clipping zone/rumble strips (which I couldn’t see very well).  I think that phazed some people since I was transitioning way later than they expected.  On my follow runs, I tried to get a little jump on everyone off the line since I was, once again, getting destroyed on the straight.  I could keep up with everyone through the first half of the course and seemed to close up substantially on people at the end in the S-turn.

In top 16, I went against Aaron Losey.  I did my normal follow run, but he didn’t expect me to be that slow on the straightaway and I think had some issues getting into the first turn because of that.  I followed him decently well and got the win.

XDC Phoenix Tandem with Odi Next, I went against Odi Bakchis, who won XDC Vegas and is an awesome dude.  His car doesn’t make much power, so it was cool to actually be able to keep up with someone on the straightaway… haha.  I think he made some mistakes behind me, and I had a pretty good follow run, so I advanced.  I talked to him afterwards, and he told me he transitioned way before me into the S-turn and got screwed up since I was transitioning later when leading him.

In the top four, I was paired with Jeff Jones in the 4-rotor demon vehicle RX8.  My lead run was decent, and my follow was good except I got a little sloppy when braking for the S-turn because I closed up on him much quicker than I expected to.  I almost phazed myself but managed not to straighten or spin and finished the run close to him.  We got a OMT, and my runs were cleaner this time.  I’m not sure if he made a mistake or what happened, but I got the win.  It was pretty difficult driving against this car, because I literally could not hear my own engine.  I had to look at the tach to know when to shift.

In the final, it was me against Pat Cyr, which was awesome and meant I get a rematch from last week… haha.  We were pretty evenly matched.  He was a bit faster in the first half of the course, and I would gain on him in the second half.  The first set of runs were close.  I thought he had the win because I was driving shallow following him to make up some ground in the first half of the course, but I guess it was close enough that we got a OMT.  I thought the second set of runs were even closer.  It was a super fun battle, and I think both of us would have been happy to do another OMT.  It felt awesome.  We were talking after the battle, and neither of us had any clue who won.

We drove down in front of the crowd, and I was announced the winner!

XDC Phoenix Trophy

Thanks to all the XDC dudes, Tim, Petty, Collins, Schneider, Brian, and Forsberg for making this series awesome all year.

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