Round 3 of the 2023 FL Series was held at Callahan Off Road RC Raceway with 186 racers. The track was tight and technical and the surface ranged from grooved and super dusty, to wet and slick, to mega bite, to greasy groove so tire selection for each heat was key to fast lap times.

I arrived late Friday evening after a long 6.5 hour drive through traffic and construction that has become FL. I ran 3 tanks then called it a night as my engine lost its pinch and would not idle any more. Luckily I had a fresh one just back from Yall Speed Shop. I was up until 1:45am getting my buggy cleaned up and new engine installed. At 7:00am when practice started Saturday I hit snooze instead because I knew the mains would be up late that night and I needed more sleep. So at 8:15am I ran the engine for the first time in qualifying and it ran perfectly!

40+ Nitro Buggy was up first and I took TQ with VP-Pro SS Rain Master as the track was wet from maintenance. No bad for an engine that had never touched the ground yet. Thanks Robin Nelson for the breakin. I didn’t even have to touch the needles except bump the idle 3 hours.

Pro Nitro Buggy was up next so I threw on some SS Impulse to see if they were any better on the damp clay. They had a push but after a change in driving technique, they were .8 seconds a lap faster than Rain Master. I qualified 5th, locking me into the A-main.

For Round 2, the sun came out and the track started to dry out and groove up. I ran Soft Cactus for 40+ and took another TQ. In Pro buggy I switched to my trusty SSLW Cactus and qualified 5th again and would start 5th in the A-main. My fast lap was only 1 second off TQ's fast lap who is less than half my age so I was happy with that result.

The 40+ A-main was run before sun down so I went with MLW Cactus because the track surface was like sandpaper at that time and starting to get a few ruts and dust. They were dialed but took a few laps to heat up. Unfortunately at the start I hit a new pothole I didn't notice in the 2 laps of warmup and spun out dropping to 2nd. Then the next lap I clipped the pipe in the shacane at the end of the straight and flipped into the hay bail. The marshall waited for the field to go by so I dropped to the last place. So the chase was on. I started clicking off heaters and quickly got into 4th. Then I picked them off 1 by 1 until I was in 2nd and closing. I am not sure what happened to the leader but I came out in first after my first pit stop at the 8:30 mark - wow that was with a brand new engine! NitroPro Race Fuel is the Bomb! I went into cruise control after 2nd place flamed out and I won by 2 laps. The Cactus tires were amazing as usual.

The Pro Nitro Buggy A-main was run around 8:30 at night under the lights. I knew the groove would be cool and greasy so I decided to try the new Clay Compound Cactus. That was the right choice and they got better each lap of the 25 minute main. They were a used set with 1 qual on them and were sauced just once. The top pin wore off but the button pin was still dialed if I stayed in the groove. I was in the top 5 the whole race and ended up 3rd for my best finish in the pro class in years. Again my fast lap was just 1.1 seconds off the fastest lap so I was very happy with my driving.

Hats off to the track crew and Lance and company for another amazing race in Florida! See ya next time it's time to burn some Nitro!