How good do you want to be…Pt.2: The first year of racing and what I had to overcome. By Venom Team Pilot Paul Peterson.

After a trying  summer and  some promise toward the end of the summer season. I Started to Race at Trackside speedway in Brookfield Wisconsin. (a little more travel time). When I came here to race I noticed people were a lot more serious and faster.  I thought here we go with another huge challenge. It was fun racing a different style track but this track is hard pack clay and I was used to loose dirt. I now had to experiment with new set ups. This seemed like a daunting task as I had felt I just got my cars better but to my surprise, I made a few minor adjustments and my car work even better than at  Attitude Raceway.

I was running 3rd until I had a part break, this is where I bring up the buying used trucks on EBay. You get great prices buying used, but you get the problems that come with them too!  Running dirt oval you really want things to be tight and not loose for kids bashing and jumping off 10 foot hills. For this reason, I bought my first brand new truck and the results were great! I started to have a few podium finishes and found myself running in the fast heats which was awesome.

When you are new and trying to get better you’ll be placed in the heats where you are “in points” and unfortunately you end up with a lot of other guys just getting into the hobby. Don’t get frustrated!  Like everyone else, you need to earn your place with the fast guys. Should you get placed into a class you can’t be competitive in, you might get frustrated and not want to continue in the hobby. The more you drive, the faster you will start seeing improvement, but remember the drivers around you! Help them too as you were just at that level not long ago. In the world of RC cars it’s kinda like “pay it forward” and people will return the favors and help you in turn.

One weekend I went to the track and learned the hard way to drive less defensive. I had a problem with another driver hitting me a few times and spinning me out. I thought it was time to return the favor back but this is the wrong thing to do. It hurts your race and also could wreck another person’s race or vehicle. Remember: if you want respect, you have to give it in return.

The way I approached it was to  just stay behind that person and just drive. If they got hit by someone else I would move up a position. It eventually worked out to where you best someone and then you start getting racer respect.

Now, here is another problem… although you make friends in the RC industry, tou can’t be friends with everyone. Things happen on the track and you can’t help it, after all you are not sitting in these cars so it is hard to tell braking distance and a bunch of other variables. Be a good sport and just race. I can’t tell you enough how many times my friend Redwood and I crashed into each other and we weren’t trying to, it happens to the best of them. On the Dirt Oval it can be even worse because you can pass someone multiple times a race simply due to the smaller track size and higher overall speeds.

The win –Yeah Baby! I’m here. I finally got one under my belt, now it’s time to dominate at the top! Wrong again! lol

Sure I enjoyed it, but the next race I broke parts and the next race after that I  crashed. Winning builds confidence but you always have to remember you are one turn away from a crash or a part failing. I do agree that finding yourself at the top of the podium builds confidence. It was awesome sending my first podium finish picture to Venom to post. On that note, always bring your camera with you if you want to immortalize your win as not all tracks take photo’s.

A quick word on my new body: –  RacingGraphics.com and Diggity Paints. After doing more and more research I bumped into these two sites. I have always liked doing things myself and learning new things. As far body painting, well I like the sponsors to be represented well so I stuck with Diggity Paints to do my body painting. However, the Racing Graphics  site allowed me to design my own graphics and do all the lettering on my own bodies.

I have now grown from someone who was afraid of a broken a- arm to someone who has taken every single part off my car and rebuilt it as well as designing my own graphics. As your experience grows in RC, you will learn this point: “How much you want to learn is based on how dedicated you are to learning.” Research, research, research. It’s the key to learning at this point. The same people that helped you out in the beginning are officially starting to see you get better and beat them a little so naturally they won;t want to give you all the speed secrets.

The internet has so much information… you keep looking but beware of the person telling everyone he has the best most awesome set up.. if he really did, would he be telling everyone so they can beat him… people will only tell you so much.. you have to try set ups and figure things out for yourself.

2013 and the big turnaround….

I started off this season with a humbling 12th place finish, but had a good Modified showing so I felt I was doing much better at Attitude Raceway. The second race of the season is where things took a turnaround. I had to start in the slower heats of the late models because I was 12th in points, this is where patience helps. I had to run be with  some slower cars in both heats and ended up not getting a fast enough time to make the main.

We run “bump ups” and take 2 out of the “B” main so I raced the ”B” main, but this time I crashed early and went a lap down. I really had to drive hard to catch up to the top 2 racers with what turned out to be 8 laps left. I tried to pass the driver in second but my rig got loose and lost a lot but really raced hard and passed him with 3 laps to go. I had to pass the leader because I didn’t want the other guy coming back and passing me. I used what I learned about making a proper “corner entry” and made the move and off the corner to pass the leader. Why did I go into so much detail about this? Well, THIS was the actual moment I knew I had raced my way into the main and built confidence from it. I started 7th out of 8 in the “A” main and ended up finishing 3rd which is pretty good coming out of the “B” main. Later that day I finished 1st in the “A” main in the dirt modified class.

Since then I have had 6 podium finishes but still just the one feature win so far through the summer. When you are consistent the wins will come. I was actually leading the last 2 events at one point just barely leading for a few moments in the turns…. It’s a blast to have figured out a few things, but once again, I have to ask myself:  “ How good do I want to be?”

Next  blog segment.. 310 degree mistake!!!!!!


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