Tuesday, February 28, 2017

PrezCon 2017 Championship Formula Racing Results

[Editor's note: I posted this, but it was written by the tournament steward, Chris Brandt.  Pictures by Chris and Don Tatum. -- Doug]

Danny’s Yellow Porsche Leads the field early in race 1. 
Notice the restored Camaro in second place.
This year’s CFR tournament featured the usual crowd of drivers, including myself, defending Champ Brian DeWitt, legendary Doug Gallulo, relatively-new-to-us Don Tatum, Locals Dave Ingraham and Danny Mallison, and veteran driver Mike Greason.  Missing was John Welage.  We also had some new drivers in Dave Wolf, John Steffey, and Mike Lind.

I try to bring something new each year and this year I brought some new track ideas.  I have long used what I call the “model railroad” modular model, where the end of each piece is the same, although the pieces themselves vary.  This year I was able to purchase some nice Masonite hexes, 11” across, already painted for miniatures gaming, and I added some straight pieces I cut on my trusty table saw.  These pieces added some new variety because I also built an adapter between the RR pieces and these new hexes.

I also picked up two new cars, a late 60’s Camaro and what appeared to be an AMC GTX.  They were in really bad shape when I got them (at a hefty price for what they were) and while I’m not a painter, they looked decent on the track after I fixed them up some.  I’m always on the lookout for 1/87 scale cars, as they are not easy to find at a decent price.

Camaro and GTX “Before” Pictures

Race 1
The first race was on a fairly simple track that used a mix of RR and hex-based pieces.  It featured some long straights and 200 MPH top speeds ruled the day.  Danny Mallison jumped out like a rabbit and the field took off in pursuit.  Danny’s yellow DELL Porsche extended his lead and when Doug started pressing him he picked up the dice and started rolling… and rolling… and rolling, but never failed.

Race 1 track with some long, fast straights
and a tight hairpin.
The track had one flaw.  We had a 40/60 curve, 2 lanes but longer longer than the speed limit.  This turned out to be a choke point, which gave Danny the opportunity for the lead.  That piece of track has since been retired after Don spun in HEAVY traffic.  New driver Dave Wolf finished fourth, behind me in third.

Dave Ingraham picked up 5th followed by Don, John, and Mike Lind.  Mike had a piece of wisdom to share after his first race, “Maybe next time I won’t spend all my wear on the first lap.”  Final results.

  1. Danny Mallison
  2. Doug Gallulo
  3. Chris Brandt
  4. Dave Wolf
  5. Dave Ingraham
  6. Don Tatum
  7. John Steffey
  8. Mike Lind
Race 2
Race two slowed things down a bit and drew our biggest field, nine drivers.  Brian, having missed the first race, showed up for the second and picked up where he left off last year, with the win, sneaking by Don at the very end.  Here’s what separates the champs from the chumps.  Midway through the race I was feeling pretty confident.  Although I had only 40 decel compared to the more popular 60, I had my skill chips in hand for those three braking rolls I’d need.  But wait… I thought I had two left and had none!  I was forced to take a naked brake test and failed it!  However, when I picked up my car design tent… there they were.  What a blunder!!  Later in the race, forced to take a REAL naked brake test, I broke the brakes for good and retired… in last.

Occasional racer Chris Gooch finished third, followed by first time racer Anita Landry, who was coached by Brian, who was sitting next to her.  Both Formula De and McGartlin are more popular than CFR/SC at Prezcon but we often get racers from those game in ours when they do not overlap. John Steffey finished next and actually qualified for the finals based on his first two finishes.

Kerry Duggento beat Doug to the line, as he had his problems in traffic.  Mike Greason joined us but the curve before the final straight was very tight and saw several spins, including Mike’s on the last lap.  My broken car finished ninth.  Final results for race 2.
  1. Brian DeWitt
  2. Don Tatum
  3. Chris Gooch
  4. Anita Landry
  5. John Steffey
  6. Kerry Duggento
  7. Doug Gallulo
  8. Mike Greason
  9. Chris Brandt
Race 3
Don found his true calling – track design.  He brought out all the bling, with the bridge, the banked curve, and a mix of hex and RR sections.  Maybe he knew what he was doing because he cruised to the win, with Brian finishing second, a reversal of race 2.  These two were proving to be the ones to beat.  I finished third, edging Doug, with David I, Mike G, and Mike L rounding out the seven driver race.  Mike L DID save some wear, but not enough and bagged his second last place finish.  Final results:
  1. Don Tatum
  2. Brian DeWitt
  3. Chris Brandt
  4. Doug Gallulo
  5. Dave Ingraham
  6. Mike Greason
  7. Mike Lind
Track from race 4.  Bridge!
Race 4
Race four was the race of the pinulator.  Don designed the track again with help from others, and was able to pinulate the entire thing… although he finished the last details as the race was ending!  This race was one of the more interesting ones.  The track was VERY long, with 13 curves and long straights.  We opted to run just two laps but give three laps of wear and driver skill… because we were going to need it.

Don nailed down the top seed for the final with a win in the smallest heat, a six player race that moved very swiftly.  I finished second, edging toward the top spot, with Brian right behind me.  Danny returned to the grid but didn’t fare as well this race finishing fourth.  Mike Greason took fifth and Doug who gambled early failed an accel check crippling his car and his chances for a win during a heat.  This set the finals with eight drivers.  Final race 4 results:
  1. Don Tatum
  2. Chris Brandt
  3. Brian DeWitt
  4. Danny Mallison
  5. Mike Greason
  6. Doug Gallulo
Track from Race 4.
Late in race 4 with standings through
3 races visible.  Don leads Doug and
Danny, followed by Brian, Mike G,
and Chris B.
Although we bid for starting position for the heats, the starting grid for the final is based on points earned during the heats.  We had four heats so each driver could count their best three finishes.  Qualifying points in heats are awarded as follows:
  • 3 points for a win
  • 1 point for participating
  • 1 point for each person you beat to the finish line
Don’s two wins clearly put him on the pole, with Brian in second.  I was third, despite not having one a heat because Danny, who DID win a heat only participated in two races.  Doug tied Danny, but withdrew from the race because he was also in the Puerto Rico final, which he WON – Congrats to Doug.

Dave Ingraham moved up a spot becoming the fifth spot on the grid.  Chris G and John Steffey had conflicts with other tournaments, leaving us with only five drivers for the final, the smallest final I can ever remember by at least 3 drivers.

The track didn’t look that fast, but Brian opted for 180 top speed, noticing that the banked curve, which connected two straights, would give him the opportunity to use that top speed 3 times each lap.  I maxed out wear, while Don decided a big start was the answer.  Danny tried the fast start again, but without having to bid for the pole done simply designed a higher start speed and took off as the rabbit.  Dave went with a conservative car and because he was starting at the back of the grid, didn’t see the need to press early.

Don and Brian fought, passing and drafting each other repeatedly over the three laps.  I had all kinds of wear over Danny but could not shake him to get a clear track.  So, while those two battles raged, Dave I sat back and conserved his car.

I finally lost Danny on the curve following the hairpin when I cleared it and took off for the leaders while Danny was stuck in it.  Don and Brian were nip and tuck, heading to the second to the last curve, which was a very tough, uneven curve.  The inner two lanes were each two spaces with an speed line, but the inner lane was only 60 MPH and the middle lane was 80.  Each had one wear left, but with a slower speed, Brian had to roll on the chance table to keep up and spun.  I was right behind, passed Brian and finished two spaces behind Don for second place.

Danny managed to hold off Dave I for fourth, rolling dice like he owned them.
Starting grid for the final:
  • Don Tatum 27 points (2 wins)
  • Brian Dewitt 22 points (1 win)
  • Chris Brandt 16 points
  • Danny Mallison 14 points (1 win)
  • Doug Gallulo 14 points – withdrew
  • Dave Ingraham 9 points
  • Chris Gooch 7 points - withdrew
  • John Steffey 7 points withdrew

Final Results
  1. Don Tatum – Winner, new Prezcon Champion, and receiver of the plaque.
  2. Chris Brandt
  3. Brian DeWitt
  4. Danny Mallison
  5. Dave Ingraham
[Final editor notes.  I awarded tournament places to the 3 drivers that could have participated in the finals, but withdrew.  So Doug was awarded 6th, Chris got 7th, and John got 8th. -- Doug]


  1. As mentioned in the article, I try to improve things a bit each year. We welcome people to come to Charlottesville each February and enjoy the Prezcon version of CFR. Who knows what next year will bring. Chris

  2. I had the pleasure to get to Charlottesville for PrezCon a couple years ago. It was great fun. Chris runs a fun event and his tracks look better every time I see them.