I guess that this is the sort of thing that ends with the lesson, "It's hard to beat a guy on his own pool table."
Last year I ran a couple TCS regionals in F103 and F104. I won F103 in Omaha, and F103 and F104 at Trackside in Wisconsin. These were foam tire carpet races, but I felt good about going out to the TCS Nats. I had the whole summer to test on the 3 outdoor tracks near Chicago, 2 parking lots and Leisure Hours, a tremendous purpose built track with curbs and even a dogleg kind of like the Tamiya track kink. Dialed.
The thing about all these tracks is that they are all prepared with sugar water or grape soda or something similar. This is a key point: If you go out there, practice someplace with NO SUGAR. LOL. That was my greatest problem. My car was up on rails on these high bite tracks. Tamiya is kinda like a tennis court. The asphalt has bite, but they did not spray with any pop or soda. They blew it off every morning, and you could actually see that rubber was on the track from all the cars.
The other thing was tire preparation. These sprayed tracks respond very well to typical sedan tire tricks. I had a good routine going with tire warmers, and a combination of Paragon FX (white can) and SXT 1.0 and 3.0. This was not very effective overall at the Tamiya facility. I did see one other guy with warmers on his car in F1, but I don't know what he was doing otherwise. He did have a pretty dialed in car, however and came in in the top of the main. Most driver seemed to be just cleaning their tires, and that was it. I also found that my car was best on very old tires with the tire prep I was doing. This was in contrast to what I found at home, where a new set made the car much faster. Strangely enough, it did appear that a lot of the faster guys were running new tires, or a combination of new and scuffed tires.
I was warned by long time Tamiya Nats attendee Marty Hageman that it was going to be different out there. He had been out in the spring, and said F1 could be hard to hook up. I had confidence, however, since my car had been getting better all summer, and I would be getting there nice and early for the first day of practice. There would be no reason why I would not get a ton of runs in and be able to dial my self in properly.....