|Posted on April 8, 2014 at 12:15 AM|
Soon after 'The Gang' arrived, there was a sudden change announced for the night. Rather than it being the last night of racing before points would start, points would now start on Saturday, April 5th. With Sam and David Snyder already set on running points, they knew that the night of racing just got a whole lot more important. With Mark McMillen also kicking around the idea of running the whole points series, he knew it was time to improve on his last trip to Big Dog R/C. For Jamie McMillen, Josh and Savannah Ingersoll, and Keisha and Kegan Mack, it was a night to be the spoiler to any points regulars.
Much like the last night at Riverside Raceway, David Snyder was the story of the night. After qualifying 5th for the 2WD Modified A-Main and missing the 2WD Spec B-Main by less than a second, he already had much to be happy about heading into the later portion of the night. In his first Modified heat, he ran a very hard, clean battle with Jamie McMillen for over 3 minutes of the race, leading up until the last few seconds when a lapped car clipped him, and spun him out of contention. Knowing his truck was as good and as fast as anyone's, he took advantage of his pole position start in the Spec B-Main as he was able to capture the checkered flag, and take the bump up to the Spec A-Main. He started the tail of the field in that race and ended right where he started as he was unable to catch any sort of break the entire race. As rough as that A-Main was, he made up for it in the Modified A-Main. After trouble on the start for the leaders, David jumped out to the lead within the first minute or so, and never looked back. He sailed around the track, setting the pace, and winning his first ever A-Main at Big Dog R/C, a Modified one with a stock Slash at that. A great points night as heading into week #2, he holds the points lead in 2WD Modified Truck.
Sam Snyder who's main goal is again to improve and just have fun had several issues throughout the night with the same driver over and over again. Although this driver was new, some of the on track happenings were just un-called for. However, Sam showed resiliency in both of her mains. With the trouble from heats and qualifying 17th out of 19, she was placed in the 2WD Sportsman C-Main where she again had troubles and ended the race in the 6th position out of 7 entries. She bounced back in the 2WD Spec class, after being bottom qualifier out of 14, she improved on her lap totals in the Spec B-Main by 3 and gained a lot of track time and experience, finishing 7th out of 8.. Look for her to continue an uphill trend of improving all season.
Lack of speed and improper gearing haunted Mark McMillen the last time he tackled the dirt track but this time, his issues were no more. With a gearing change and a few other minor changes, speed returned in the sense that it was almost a little bit too much. More speed caused a little bit of a handling issue and he worked on it throughout the night of racing. His outlook was bright and he was having fun, which is what the most important aspect of R/C racing is. He qualified 12th out of 14 in 2WD Spec and would start near the back of the B-Main. He was able to compete for the middle of the pack the entire race and ended up 5th out of 8. This was also the first night in which Mark would enter two classes in the same night, attempting to take his talents to the 2WD Modified class as well. Due to only having 9 entries, everyone made the A-Main, as Mark started 8th and finished there as well. Minding his own and just driving the track, all in all, he had a much better night than the previous few.
For Jamie McMillen, it's all or nothing everytime he goes to Big Dog R/C. Without the worry or concern of running for points, he can take more chances than most, and he feels like he can be a spoiler at any time. He was quoted in saying "That heat race against David Snyder in the the first round of Mod was the most fun I've ever had in a single race at any track. If the second round is anywhere close to that fun and nerve racking, I don't know what I'll do.". With that being said, he ran a solid race and line in every race he entered throughout the night. He shockingly qualified 2nd for 2WD Mod, just a few seconds from being top qualifier, and also was 5th in qualifying for 2WD Spec, making the A-Main for the first time of his career in that class. Running the bottom of the track was his trend of the night and it continued into the Spec A-Main, as he was able to improve on his starting position by 2, finishing 3rd. The Modified race however wasn't as kind to him. He fought several issues throughout the entire race and with less than a minute left, still found himself on the lead lap in second place, about a half a track behind eventual winner and leader David Snyder. The Gang's hopes of sweeping the top 2 spots in that A-Main quickly vanished as he lost 4 laps towards the end of the race for one reason or another and limped across the line in the 6th position.
Soon to be Gang members from the Ingersol and Mack crew had a lot of fun with their night as well. Josh, who decided to enter his stock Slash that has been run consistently on carpet and dirt ovals into the 2WD Sportsman Off-Road class was definitely impressive. His first time out, he took 3rd in his heat, and the next time out, he crossed the stripe in first place, and was top qualifier for the class heading into the A-Main. If it wasn't for an issue with another truck at the beginning of the race, he would've captured his first ever A-Main victory at Big Dog R/C, although he was still able to bring it home to a very strong 2nd place finish. His luck on the oval wasn't nearly as good, as he fought rear wheel spin most of the night, and an issue with a turn marshal actually stepping on his truck and causing a mechanical failure ended his race early in the 2WD Spec B-Main. He looks to return to Big Dog R/C in a few weeks with a 'W' in his sights.
If it wasn't for troubles in Savannah Ingersol's 2WD Spec B-Main, it's hard to say if David would've tracked her down and won the race. She was running a clean, smooth race, way out in front until trouble with a lapped truck several laps in a row took her out of contention. With the right set-up seemingly already under the truck, she'll hope for some better luck when she returns to the track. With a little luck, she could improve on her 3rd place finish and be one of our next big winners.
Kegan Mack, who has yet to have an eye-popping finish to go along with how strong his runs are is well on his way to getting to the top of his respective class. He qualified 11th out of 14 in 2WD Spec and was placed in the B-Main. He ran a strong race and ended up in 4th place, only 2 laps behind the leader. Several on-track accidents marred most of his night, so if he can avoid more wrecks, and get a cleaner run, he could be challenging for some W's soon.
A 2WD Sportsman B-Main winner on the oval the last time she raced at Big Dog R/C, Keisha Mack looked to do it all over again when she returned. However, she was unable to do that. Most of her races throughout the night could fall under the 'rough' category, but at least she was able to end the night on a positive note, as she straightened things out for her Sportsman C-Main and finished 3rd and she also ran a hard fought battle with Mark McMillen and Sam Snyder to snag a 6th place finish in the Spec B-Main, right between Mark and Sam who were bunched together the entire race.
The next race on 'The Gang' schedule is April 12th, at Big Dog R/C as they return to the dirt again. Mark McMillen, Sam Snyder, and David Snyder look to return as Rod McMillen and Charlie Morris will make their first starts of the spring points season.