Team Associated At The Nitro Challenge: Maifield Wins!February 1, 2007
Event Name: Nitro Challenge
Event Location: Wittmann, AZ
For the first time since its inception, the Nitro Challenge changed locations from The Dirt Race Park in Hemet, CA to a brand new facility in Surprise, AZ dubbed the Nitro Pit. Residing on the same plot of land as three motocross tracks, a drag strip, dirt oval facility, and R/C airplane pylon field, the Nitro Pit sets new standards for cross-promotion opportunities.
As the weekend got underway, the big news for Team Associated was the debut of the brand-new Factory Team RC8. This would be the first time the Associated 1:8 scale buggy would see competition, and in the hands of ROAR National Champions Ryan Maifield and Ryan Cavalieri the car had a great chance at a high overall showing.
With limited track time before the event started, the team worked together to develop a setup that brought the RC8 right into competition with other teams who had months and years of development on their vehicles. In round 2 of qualifying, Ryan Maifield took the RC8 to the TQ position, proving he would be a force to recon with in the main event. In round 3 of qualifying, both Maifield and Cavalieri put in top ten runs to secure their 6th and 9th starting positions respectively for the A Main.
In Gas Truck, Jared Tebo and his GT2 dominated qualifying. Jared TQd all three rounds of qualifying, taking the pole position for the 45-minute main event. Also joining Tebo in the main with their GT2s were Marty Korn, Ryan Cavalieri, Ryan Maifield, Kyle Skidmore, Kurt Wenger, and Jason Ruona. Within the first few laps of the main event, Ryan Maifield worked his way to the front of the pack to battle with Jared Tebo for the early lead. An unfortunate series of crashes by Tebo cost him nearly 15 seconds on one lap and this gave Maifield a large lead. Fighting through the pack, Tebo worked his way back up to second to finish only a few feet behind Maifield for the "A" main win.
By the time Sunday's main events for the Buggy classes rolled around, anticipation had built for the Pro 1:8 Buggy main event. As the main event started it was clear something wasn't right with both Maifield's and Cavalieri's vehicles. Like others at the event, both were getting radio interference. The inopportune timing of the interference took both drivers out of contention for the victory, but after changing to a different band, Cavalieri got back on the track with 20 minutes remaining to set some of the fastest laps of the race. Unfortunately for Team Associated and the drivers, the RC8 will have to wait for the next race to contest for its first win.
Congratulations to all the winners, especially to Ryan Maifield (Pro Gas Truck) and Jake Thayer (Open Gas Truck) for their first Nitro Challenge victories with the Associated GT2.