What an event! Whether you participate or just stop by to watch the A Mains on Saturday, if you want to see professional level RC racing, this is an event you want to see. Scotty Ernst knows how to put on a show!
Last year I rushed to post results of the Team Power Products' racers. I waited this year to allow me to digest the whole event. And also to just unwind from a three week slog (like many, my preparation starts the week before and takes the week after to unload!).
Because this is a very large event, all the preliminary 'Main' events are split into an 'Odd' and 'Even' lanes which allow the opportunity for more racers to have a shot at their A Main if they are not the top six in class out of the qualifiers. Eventually four are promoted to the A Main in each class. This format produces some intense racing and unforeseen winners (and losers). I am very impressed with many of the racers using Team Power Products motors and packs, and I hope to mention all of them who did well at this year's event. If I did not correctly credit you for use of Team Power Products motors/packs, please send a correction and I will make an update.
First, I would like to congratulate Team Power Products' customers. Through their car setup skills, and race savvy driving, they navigated the RC Chili Bowl week and turned in impressive performances. Here are the most notable winners from the week; there are many others as many racers were using my motors and packs and I may have missed them.
Justin Driemeier had an outstanding week, qualifying 4th and finishing 4th in the Late Model class A Main. In the race just before, Justin showed the other drivers he is a force to be reckoned with in Open Sprint as he came from the 2nd spot to win the Open Sprint A Main in front of the fastest racers in the nation!
Colt and Cody Preston, two of the youngest drivers at the RC Chili Bowl, had a fantastic weekend. Cody and Colt qualified first and second respectively in Street Stock, with Colt finishing 1st in class and Cody finishing 3rd.
Jennifer and Randy Lathrop has a great week at the RC Chili Bowl. Jennifer finished 8th and 3rd in Open Sprint and Late Model, respectively. Randy bumped up from the B Main in Mid West Mod to the A Main where he finished 9th after a spirited drive.
Gary Langworthy was equally impressive all week. With his second place win in Street Stock and A Main win in SC Mod B class, Gary had the right car setups and the driving skill to make it a fun week (for him, not the competition!).
David Wilson was third qualifier in Mid West Mod and finished in the eighth spot after a very good drive.
Jim Pohlman, a long time RC racer (and professional crewman at Nascar), had a good weekend, just not with the perfect ending he want after this long week. Jim qualified 5th in one of the B Mains in Open Sprint, and had a big charge through the field but traffic got him as he finished 7th, with no bump to the A Main.
Craig Ferguson made it to the A Main in Wingless Sprint after bumping up through the lower mains this year. He fell a little short by finishing 10th.
Robert Jones, a long time RC Racer, was a heady competitor. Robert is known by the nickname 'Deadeye' as he drives with just one eye, having lost the other one in an accident years ago. Robert finished down the list in Masters Sprint, but made steady improvement throughout the week through the help of Carl Mason.
Like in previous years, some of the team struggled and some had a great week. Here is what I saw:
Team racer Shane Wheeler, to me, was really on fire as he had his cars and his driving looking like 'A Main' material in all three classes he entered. His march to the A Main was cut short with his Mid West Mod entry where he qualified 4th and finished 7th in the B Main. But he was direct transfers to the 'A' for Masters Sprint (5th qualifier) and was the 2nd qualifier in Wingless Sprint. For the A Main events, he was up first in Wingless Sprint, and had moved up to first, and back again in a furious charge for the win. But a 'touch' while moving up during the battle saw his car go several feet in the air, somersaulting Shane's car multiple times, and after a marshal righted his car, finished 7th in competitive class. Shane did not have time to dwell on this near miss as Masters Sprint was up next. Qualified 5th, Shane drove hard, and made great decisions as he dodged several slower cars to make it to the top spot. In the end, Shane was the A Main winner for the 2020 RC Chili Bowl!
Every year seems like it is team racer Nathan Dean's year in Open Sprint and again this year he also was challenging the field in Late Model. Using 'test mules' designed by Arnie Fie, Nathan romped through both classes' seeding rounds and the three qualifiers to take top qualifier in both classes in convincing fashion. The stage was set for furious races in both A mains as the field was stocked with the 'best of the best' racers from all over the United States. The Open Sprint A Main was up first, and after taking the 1st place spot, he built a straightaway lead about half way into the race. But as he was trying to go underneath two cars in their own battle in Turn Two, he was clipped, which resulted with a damaged wing strut and a poor handling car the rest of the race. Nathan was fortunate to finish third in the A Main. The Last 'A' was the Late Model class, in which Nathan was hoping to overcome the sting left from the third place finish in Open Sprint. Starting from the front, it was obvious the car was a handful to drive. Nathan struggled throughout the race, and after a few laps, he let the fast group have a wide berth so not to interfere in their race to the win. Nathan struggled to 7th place in the A Main.
Team Power Products' newest team racer is Zach Freeman, a youngster who has an impressive past year in the sport. In his first RC Chili Bowl, he qualified for the C Main in Open Sprint, the B Main in Wingless Sprint, and 5th in the A Main in SC Modified. Zach's week was not without drama as his week was cut short in Open Sprint after qualifying third and finishing 6th in class. But the clouds started to part after he won one of the B mains in Wingless Sprint after qualifying 2nd. Zach moved to the A Main for this class, and unlike Shane Wheeler who had several chances to finish in the top spot, Zach brought home the A Main win after qualifying 7th. With this win in his pocket, and being 5th qualifier in the SC Mod A Main, the stage was set for another possible podium or out right win. As the car was set on the track, a transmission issue was found, which relegated Zach to 10th place before race even started.
Arnie Fie had an up and down week this year in both Open Sprint and Late Model classes. He had a direct transfer to the Late Model A Main and qualified 5th overall. In the Late Model A Main, he suffered the same malady as Nathan Dean, with an evil handling car right from the start. Arnie finished 9th. In Open Sprint from his 7th place start in one of the B Mains, he finished just short for the transfer to the A with a third place finish.
Wes Call also had a great weekend. Although he did not win any class this year, he was competitive in the three classes he entered. In Late Model, he qualified first in one of the B mains, but missed the bump to the A by finishing 7th. Wes made the A Main in Mid West Mod by qualifying 6th but the traffic was heavy and he finished 7th. Wes also qualified 6th for the SC Modified A Main, and again the forces of nature was not on his side this year as he finished 6th.
Mike Patton struggled throughout the week but continued to race hard every class. Mike qualified 5th in the B Main for both Mid West Mod and Late Model classes but finished 4th in LM and 8th in Mid West Mod, out of the spots for bump up to the A mains.
Victor Cerda, with the first year on the team, was a courteous and fast driver the whole week. In SC Modified, he qualified 5th and finished one spot better in 4th place, but shy of being able to bump up to the A Main.
Randy Palmer struggled a little this year but qualified 8th in Masters Sprint for the B main and finished 7th this year.
Kerry McAlister hustled all week and it paid off for his efforts with a B Main berth in 4th qualifying spot Wingless Sprint, where he finished 6th.
Darin Busch was in the hunt for the Wingless Sprint most of the week, but he had to settle for 6th place finish in the B Main, after qualifying 7th in the same class.
Carl Mason is the newest team racer and he did well at the Chili Bowl through very heavy competition. His best finish was 5th place in Mid West Mod C Main.
Darin Pendleton had an off week this year at the Chili Bowl. 4th place finishes in the C main was as high as he achieved this year in Open Sprint and Late Model.