Phoenix, AZ- Official practice kicked off day one of the 2017 UAS Grand Nationals. 32 of the nations top Unlimited All-Star teams rolled out for a three hour practice Friday evening. Teams spent most of the day putting final touches and set ups on their machines, and at 5 pm the first of 32 teams rolled out to shake down and find out just what they had. The scorching 90 degree sun and strong breeze made it tough for the track crew, as the track was soaking up the water just about as fast as they could get it on, making the first session narrow and tough to get a hold of. with times in the mid to low 13 second bracket. As the sun went down so did the lap times in session two, with the times dropping into the mid to mid-low 12’s . By the third session teams were in the high 11’s and 12 flats.
Gilroy, California’s Ryan “The Hitman” Diatte was unofficially the quickest of the night with the NW RaceReport watches clocking laps in the 11.80 range. Florida’s Ed Schreifels, Bothell, Washington’s “Rocket” Ronnie Cox, Joshua Tree, California’s Trevor McAllister, and Florida’s Jimmy Nettles were rolling 12 flats. The numbers ranged from 12 flats to 12.5’s. The track was really starting to come around during the third session, with Diatte’s 11.80 being proof. It really depended on who you talked to and whose watch you were looking at, since the track did not have the timers set up. Tulare, California’s “Bad” Brad Berg was also in that 12 flat group, but most teams at the end of the night still weren’t really sure exactly just what they had.
Day 2 is a new day so it will be real interesting to see how things play out, especially with qualifying set to start at 5 pm. Teams will have short 2 hour session starting at 3 pm, so really it’s a crap shoot all the way around, and still anybody’s game. A field as deep as this one is, it’s impossible judging off practice to know just who has what. Anybody can run a number on practice night, but CAN YOU put up the number when it counts?
We shall see. As important as being able to run a number is, you still gotta survive, tough to tune for that. The NW RaceReport will have live coverage starting with practice at 3 pm. Follow us on our NW RaceReport Facebook page, on Twitter @choiceracevoice, or at terrybridgesracing.com/listen-live.
By: Terry Bridges/NW RaceReport
Photo Credit: Joe Torres/Arizona Karting Association