2011 Season Recap

December 13, 2011

December 13th, 2011

As the season wraps up for me (except for some local practice and testing) I like to reflect on my season and see how i’ve progressed throughout and give thanks to those who have supported me. I had to cancel my last two larger events of the year because my wife was put on bedrest as our 2nd child looked to be coming early. However things have slowed down and while he may come any day it’s a wait and see game for now! We look forward to welcoming him into the world soon! In the meantime i’m preparing for an amazing 2012 and making sure i’m crossing my T’s and dotting my I’s. I’m ready for the best racing year of my career but let me not get ahead of myself here. 2011 was a great year for me and I like to consider it a foundation year where i’ve built a solid floor and things can only get better!

As I reflect on 2011 I remember it starting off a little discouraging. It was a new company for me as I had just recently signed a 10 year deal with Team Durango. I was learning the car and with only having 1 Nitro car it was hard to get track time at some of the larger events. Eventually though with big props to Billy Fisher we got a good base set-up for the car and the year started to come together. In March I got my first bigger victory at the Psycho Nitro Blast and I knew that my year was going to be alright. Throughout the Summer I had some bad luck at some of the larger events with one off stuff that never happens but I always showed pace and for that I can look forward to better luck next year and beyond! As the year began to close out I was able to win a couple classes at every event I went to and it was a great finish to the season!

I am also big on Statistics. So here are some of my 2011 Season Stats:

1st Place Finishes – 33
2nd Place Finishes – 7
3rd Place Finishes – 1
Top Qualifier Honors – 36

Some of my best results include:
-Southern Nationals TQ and Win in Pro Buggy and 4WD SC, Win in E-Scale
-Psycho Nitro Blast TQ and Win in Pro Buggy
-Silver State Nitro Challenge 3rd Place in Pro Buggy
-OS/Futaba Nitro Challenge TQ and Win in Pro Buggy
-ROAR 1/10th Offroad Nationals TQ and 2nd in Pro 4WD SC
-Byrons Challenge TQ and Win in Pro Buggy
-Byron Fuels Western Cup TQ and Win in Pro Buggy

Miles Flown – 1**,**5
Hotel Nights Stayed – 80+
# of separate Airplanes flown on – 73

So again I just want to thank all of my sponsors who made my 2011 year a success in my eyes! I look forward to my best year ever in 2012!

2011 Trophy Presentation

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Sunday November 20th, 2011

Mission: Complete Trifecta ………….. Result: Success!

Main day rolled around and the goal of the day for the race was to avoid the chance of rain! Luckily we got it all in about 30 minutes before the rain started! For me as robotically mentioned above it was a success. Here’s how it went down.

Short Course – Going into the main I thought to myself that this was going to be my toughest 10 minute main to finish that i’ve had yet in this class. Reason being is that usually they have been triple A’s and thus if I screw up the first one and dump (a la R/C Pro Finals) then I still have 2 more to readjust my driving. At this event there was only 1, 10min A-main and so I really needed to drive cautious. Out of the gate Josh Wheeler and myself got out ahead and built a little lead and put on a show for the crowd for the entire race. For the first 9 minutes we were never more than say 1 second apart. I could tell he was using more battery than me and so I hoped that if it came down to it he would dump. I stayed conservative for the most part but about 4 minutes in a made a small bobble and let him by but when we got to the straight where I had been taking it very conservative I decided I wanted the lead back and so I pulled trigger just that one time and flew by him on the straight. I would again give up the lead say 7 minutes in and then I decided to just push him to hopefully make him dump. With about 1 minute to go I knew I had conserved a good amount of battery so I decided to start to push it. I got really close behind him but he tubed it and got stuck but I was right behind and I bumped him off the pipe and instead switched places with him and I got stuck. He then got about a 5 second lead because I had to get marshaled. Then the next lap was the last lap and over the double in the middle he dumped! So I was able to take the win on that account and when recharging my batteries I only used 4400 MaH in the 10 minutes! I tell you what, conserving batteries is no fun to me but it’s cool to be able to use it as a strategy to help when it works as well!

E-Buggy – I realized after the race that I used the wrong set of used tires in my E-buggy race. I had 2 sets of used impacts in my bags and I grabbed the ones with black foams instead of red foams. This explained to me why my car was a bit more edgy and catchy in the little ruts that had developed. Either way though I guess I just wanted to make the race that much more of a challenge for myself. Starting from the pole was actually a bad spot for me personally because it didn’t allow me to do my line through the section directly thereafter. So I crashed basically right away and had to work back through the pack. I did so quickly and made it up to the lead pair where we would swap places for quite a few minutes. I haven’t made so many boneheaded mistakes in a race in quite some time but I was just crashing more than usual. In the end though with about 2 minutes to go I got by David Joor for the lead and just cleaned it up to finish out front and take the victory.

N-Buggy – My DNX408 was solid for me once again. I am really happy with my buggy right now and it doesn’t matter where I race it I feel I have a good grasp on the car and that inspires confidence! In this 25 minute main I got tagged at the very start but did a 360 and didn’t loose position. I then gapped out a bit as 2nd made a mistake. I quickly got a 6 second lead and knew I wasn’t going to look back. I worked on running clean lines and not goofing up my inverse berm jumping section and it paid off as at the end of the 25min main I had a 1 lap victory.

Trifecta at the Texas Offroad Shootout

Overall it was a great event. A little light on turnout unfortunately but I was told there has been a lot of racing in Texas and the surrounding area lately so that may have been a big reason for it. ( I should know, i’ve been living in this region lately it seems! πŸ˜‰
The facility of Mike’s Hobby Shop is quite amazing and the locals really do have something special that they shouldn’t take for granted. I appreciate the hospitality of those that worked there and all the great people I met either for the first time this weekend or got to see again! This hobby really does have a great group of people!

Next up is the Fall Brawl in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I’ve heard some names like Maifield and maybe Drake might be there? I’m sure plenty more along with the always fast locals in that area! Looking forward to it!

-Lutzinator

Saturday November 19th, 2011

Once again I find myself in the South, this time just outside of Dallas, TX at the other large awesome Mikes Hobby Shop in the state. Wow what a facility. Indoor Electric offroad and onroad track and an outdoor offroad track along with a rock crawling course and a slot car track! Not to mention a huge hobby shop! This weekend i’m attending the Texas Offroad Shootout and running my usual as of late Pro Nitro Buggy, E-buggy, and SC. Here’s how qualifications went for me:

Short Course – On my DESC410R I decided to add a little more weight to the rear. I already had the side weights and the rear skid weight but I also added another 1 oz under the rear diff. This is the best my truck has ever felt on a large outdoor track. It really helped with stability and my truck was just excellent all day. I was able to TQ Q1 by about 6 seconds over Wheeler. In Q2 I was on another TQ run when my battery connecter melted ending my run. In Q3 I was able to beat my rd 1 TQ by a few seconds and thus take the overall. This event utilized Rocket Round which I hadn’t done in a while but either way I managed the TQ.

E-Buggy – This was again the fastest vehicle of the weekend on this track. I got down to a 26.2 while my nitro was 26.3 and Wheelers truggy was also 26.3. So my DEX410 was dialed once again! I went out and TQ’d the first two rounds by over a lap each one. In Q3 I made a few mistakes trying to drive it harder and drift it a bit and thus didn’t contend to beat one of my TQ’s but I already had it wrapped up and came away with the TQ!

N-Buggy – My DNX408 feels awesome this weekend. My Alpha A852 is screaming and yesterday in practice I was getting over 11min on this track! Woo hoo for fuel mileage! πŸ™‚ In Q1 I found a line on the top right of the track where I jumped over this section and it shaved maybe .2ths a lap off my lap time. One lap however I ended up over the berm loosing 10 seconds and thus qualifying 2nd for the round. In Q2 I came out and ran much cleaner and was 6seconds ahead of TQ and made a small mistake. I came back though and still took the TQ from Wheeler by 2 seconds. In Q3 we ran in the dark and it was a bit hard to see. However I was managing to keep it clean and I know I was nearly on a TQ run but I don’t know how it ended up. Either way I took the Win and thus the TQ.

So a trifecta of TQ’s which hopefully tomorrow I can convert into 3 W’s!
I had some photos and even a video of my E-buggy but when I uploaded them to my computer when I agreed to delete all the computer decided to make an error and loose all my photos and vids! πŸ™ Hope to have some tomorrow! πŸ™‚

-Lutzinator

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This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to do an interview with the guys on Radio Control Race Chat. If you haven’t heard of them or listened to the radio show yet you can head over to www.thevrcr.com and click on the tab for ‘Radio Show’ and listen live every Tuesday at 7pm PST, 10pm EST. You can also listen to all the past interviews either on their site or off of iTunes.

www.thevrcr.com/EDIT-THESE-FILES-TO-CHANGE-INFO-ON-SITE/audio/episode9.mp3
I come in around the 18:20 mark.

Thanks guys again for the opportunity! It was a great time! Everyone needs to be listening to your show! πŸ˜€

-Lutzinator

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My TV Appearance! Finally!

November 12, 2011

Well I finally have my TV appearance put up on youtube. I had to ‘rip’ it from a DVD and the service I used to do it for free had to put a watermark on the video. Also here is my commentary from right after I did this appearance:

It was a crazy experience. We got there at 6:00 a.m. not expecting our time slot to be until around 6:20. The morning show coordinator took us to a waiting room and said she would come get us in about 15 minutes. Well about 2 minutes later she came back and said β€œare you ready?” So we headed for the studio and they said we could have a seat in some leather chairs that were off to the side but were right behind the cameras. No sooner did we take a seat that they went to commercial and talked amongst themselves and told us we were going to be on next and to head up to the anchor desk. I set my car on the table and they handed us a mic, then we hear 30 seconds!!
The reporter who was going to be talking to us said someone’s mic isn’t on yet. Of course it was mine, β€œ15 seconds!” was heard as we popped open the mic, Kayla the anchor reached over and turned it on while I flung the mic piece over my back and Jason attached it to my shirt collar. Going live in 3…2…1! It was that quick! They really had no clue what to ask us and it was all just improvised from the start. Jason and I had no clue which of the 3 cameras was on so I just tried to mainly focus on the anchor and hoped it would all turn out okay. I got to speak for maybe 10 seconds in all when it came to my part, explaining how we drive the cars from a driver-stand and what a track is like. Before you know it they we closing it out and going to commercial and we were done! We walked into and out of the building in less than 15 minutes. I really wish I could have had some more time to check out the studio but it was cool for what I saw. Either way it was an experience that I won’t forget.

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Saturday November 5, 2011

Today I had a Sandwich. . . My day of racing started and ended disappointing but the middle was pretty good! Now the results are going to be a bit confusing as there was the results from the actual event and then there is the National Finals total points tabulation as well. Here’s how my sandwich of a day went down.

Short Course – Coming into the 10 minute mains I knew my biggest battle was going to be the clock. Making 10 minutes was going to require me to tone it down a TON and just keep the car rolling. Well in A1 on the big jump in back on the first lap whomever was behind me decided they wanted to try to launch this jump that no SC truck had been doing all week. He ended up running right up my rear and sending me to the back of the pack. From there with a bit of frustration I worked my way back to 2nd but due to probably driving just a bit to hard after the incident I ended up dumping with 30 seconds to go. Still to go from dumping in a 7:30 qualifier to making it 9:30 took a lot of finesse. But I was going to need more.

In A2 I stayed out front at the start and no one ran me over and I set out to make that 10 minutes. I never pulled more than 20% throttle on my trigger except to clear 2 jumps on the track. On the straight I pulled 20% for the first 1/2 and then let off completely and coasted the end and the first corner. I was about 2 seconds a lap slower than I was in qualifying but was still turning the same laps as everyone else. I managed to stay out front and got the batteries to last and finished the 10 minutes!

In A3 I just wanted a repeat of A2. I drove as conservative as I could and just wanted to hug every pipe and make no mistakes. Keep the car rolling and not use the breaks. On the last lap when I knew 2nd place wasn’t going to get the extra lap and I knew I had conserved enough battery I drove it like I was in qualifying and put down a lap 2 seconds faster than any of my other laps in the main.

So the Short Course Class was a stand alone National event at this race and had no qualifying rounds to add to it. So I TQ’d and Won the event and thus also took the R/C Pro National Championship with my Durango DESC410R. My tire of choice for the day was AKA Soft GridIrons and my Tekin 4Pole 4600 was always there for me in reserve when I needed it! πŸ˜€

E-Buggy – To continue on with the Bun of my sandwich, E-buggy was up directly after SC. In A1 I had built a huge lead with about 4 minutes to go when I started loosing steering, especially to the left. It would completely not steer at all at times and I would go into the pipe and try to wiggle my wheels to get it to work again. It would then work for a lap or two and do it again. This allowed David Joor to catch and pass me on the last lap as i couldn’t make a corner and I took 2nd. Turns out my Servo Saver nut backed off and began to rub on the chassis and was locking the steering from working.

Now for the meat. In A2 and A3 I just wanted to do what I was doing in A1 except finish it out. I was able to accomplish that with two healthy victory margins and a car that felt great all weekend. My DEX408 prototype was dialed as all git out and everyone I encountered was very impressed with it’s handling and how it looked on and off the track. At the end of the day I even let a handful of people try the car and they seemed pretty impressed with the handling!

So for the results I took the TQ and the win for the event. However I only ran 1 qualification race for this class being a new car for me and thus wasn’t in the running for the National Title.

Nitro Buggy – Man did I want this one. I spent so much time making sure my car was perfect and I knew it was going to be bullet proof out there. Unfortunately there are some things that you just can’t prevent. At the start it was a 3 way battle between Robbers, Branham, and myself. A few minutes in though and Robbers crashed whilst leading and flamed or whatnot and ended up a lap down. This left it to me and Branham to battle it out for a bit. We swapped leads and battled for a few minutes but I could feel something going wrong with my engine. It started to get really really lean and eventually I wasn’t able to make some of the jumps. I yelled down to my pit guy to richen the top 3 hours. Came in at like the 13 minute mark and he did that but it just kept getting leaner. I ended up coming in like an extra 5 times and each time having him richen it up a good 3 hours top and bottom. Eventually it started to work again but I’m sure it was up over 400* there for a few minutes. I knew at that time that I had an airleak somewhere and there was nothing I could do about it except richen it up and hope it would keep running. I was able to manage to stay in 3rd place a few laps down from Branham and Robbers but with about 3 minutes to go the engine finally just gave up after all that stress and high temps. Robbers was able to catch back up and pass Branham for the win. This was unfortunate for me because I think if I would have stayed in 3rd and Branham finished 2nd that I would have taken the overall by virtue of my TQ but it doesn’t matter at this point and he won it well deserved.

So my final result for the event was TQ and a 7th place. For the National title I finished 2nd behind a well deserved Branham. For the hour long main I went with a Medium Enduro and it was awesome. I really wished I could have not had issues because it would have been a great battle all race long! Next time! There’s always Next Time! πŸ˜‰

I want to thank Jeremy Cupps for pitting for me and probably turning more engine needles than he has in his 20 year racing career! haha. Thanks to David Lovett and his wife Susie for putting on the event and series. I really hope it grows bigger again next year. They have a lot of great ideas and they are great people and I think next year the finals will be at the same location so that should be reason enough to run the series! Gulf Coast Raceway is an amazing facility full of so many dedicated people that it was just such a great place to race and I can’t wait to come back and do it again!

Next up I’m heading back to Texas in 2 weeks for the Texas Offroad Shootout!

-Lutzinator

The Hardware from the R/C Pro Nationals

Friday November 4, 2011

Two final qualifiers in the books and oh what a great day! It was a hard fought battle in two of the classes and came down to the final qualifier but my Durango’s held strong and I made the right set-up and tire selections and came away with a trifecta of TQ’s! Let’s break it down.

Short Course – Traction is getting higher and higher every round and in Rd #1 I tried some worn out soft Rebars and they just had too much bite. I struggled keeping the car on the wheels and ended up 2nd behind young fast guy Josh Glancy. This meant with not finishing two of the rounds that I was going to need to TQ the final round. I started at the tone and stayed clean and was able to drive a bit better on my Medium AKA Enduros. In the end I came away with a fairly healthy win and was able to take the overall TQ. Tomorrow I have to try to accomplish a triple A-main with each being 10 minutes and I’m only able to do about 8. Going to have to see how easy I can drive it and hopefully still be able to battle for the lead… We shall see.

E-Buggy – My Durango DEX408 is on rails this weekend. I am so impressed with it’s performance. It has the fastest laptimes of any vehicle nitro or electric. I was able to get down to 27.2 in my final qualifier on AKA Medium Wishbones. In Q4 I ran soft Enduros and had a 27.3 so it seems whatever tire I throw at it it just handles and does it well. I was able to TQ all 5 rounds in this class and was nearly able to get to 16 laps, only 4 and 5 seconds away respectively in the final two rounds. The next quickest round was my Nitro Buggy with a 15 in 7:10! So triple A-main on tap for tomorrow!

N-Buggy – This morning I threw all the set-up changes I had in my mind on the car. (more caster, stiffer front bar, more toe out in front, Soft Enduros, and Dark Blue front spring and it worked!) In Q4 I was able to battle for most of the race but in the end stay cleaner and take the TQ. This left me and Robbers tied for points and tied in the tie breaker. So it was down to who beat who in the final round. For round 5 I also went back to the stiffer rear spring and back to the piston I was running before the rough track in Louisiana and it was even better yet. I ran a clean race with every lap either a 28 or 29. Robbers made a big mistake early and gave me a 6 second cushion and I wouldn’t relinquish it. Branham and I battled for the top spot until he made an error which gave me a few second cushion and I held on to take the TQ and the overall TQ in my Durango DNX408! Tomorrow is a hour long A-main event so anything can happen! Already have my tire selection glued up and ready! Should be good!

-Lutzinator

View from the 'skybox'

Thursday November 3, 2011

Today was qualification day numero uno here at the fabulous Gulf Coast Raceway in the frigid deep south! I was always under the impression that it was warm down in south Texas but I guess mother nature had different plans for today and tomorrow. Temps into the 30’s in the morning make for a cold start. At least the facility is amazing. If you haven’t been here you should put it on your calendar to visit. Covered offroad, onroad, huge hobby shop. They got it all! Let’s get to the racing here at the R/C Pro National Finals.

Short Course – My SC truck is again dialed. The traction started off semi-loose and has worked it’s way throughout the day to being pretty high bite. I think tomorrow were in for very high bite when it does warm up a bit. I have been on my AKA soft Gridirons all day though and they’ve been good from start to finish. I put in a fast lap time in Q3 of a 29.0 which was only 1 second off my Nitro and E-Buggy! Crazy! My Durango DESC410R has turned some heads this weekend and if it weren’t for me not being able to finish the 7 minute qualifiers I’d have 3 TQ’s to my name. Unfortunately I’ve only finished one. In Q1 I finished for the TQ, In Q2 I didn’t finish my last lap but only one other driver had the extra lap so I got 2nd. In Q3 the loop didn’t count me on the start so they had me running an extra lap. So in the end I didn’t finish the last two laps even though I was on a blistering 15 lap pace. Maybe only 5 drivers in any class have had a 15 all day!! Anyways tomorrow I shall try a new battery and turn down my current limiter even more. (I just drive to dang hard!) I also have to figure out how to make 10 minute mains. πŸ™
There are two more qualifiers tomorrow and they are taking best 3 of 5.

E-Buggy – This has surprisingly been my best class of the weekend. In each of the three quals I’ve had a couple bad wrecks, most of the time on my own but I’ve had some really solid clean laps otherwise and have taken the TQ in all 3 rounds. Only thing I would change at this time is to lower my ride-height for the high bite that is coming up but i’m stuck with where i’m at due to the front dark blue Kyosho springs being just a bit too long for me. Anyways I’ll make due. I’ve pretty much ran AKA Soft Grids all day in this class and they have been dialed!

N-Buggy – This is the class as always that I want to do the best in but i’ve kind of gotten behind the 8 ball as the track has changed and I haven’t changed with it quick enough. In Q1 I was able to take the TQ over Robbers and Branham. It seems the three of us are going to be the battle this weekend and in each qualifier we’ve exchanged leads quite a few times. In Q2 the traction started to come up and my car got a bit twitchy. I was able to have the lead for a bit but lost it in traffic and finished 2nd to Robbers. In Q3 I only tried a different tire and raised my front roll center just a bit but it was still very twitchy. I made way to many mistakes and traffic was still a challenge. I led at the start but once the mistakes started I fell back and finished 3rd behind Robbers and Branham. So tomorrow I need to make a myriad of changes. I’m going to go with longer camber links, 14* Caster, Go back to the Dark Blue Kyosho springs on the front (was running the Light Green). This is going to make my rideheight higher than I want but hopefully I can deal with it. I’m also going to try a different tire. I may try enduro’s but this track may actually work with slicks. I just need to see if the track can handle medium tires or if I need to stay with softs. It’s going to be an important day of testing to get the car dialed in for the 1 hour long A-main event! Today tire wise I ran soft Wishbones in Q1, Soft Impacts in Q2, and soft Gridirons in Q3. In E-buggy Soft Grids are dialed but I need to get something I’m really happy with that’s going to be good for an hour main. I think tires are going to be crucial!

-Lutzinator

My 40* windbreak πŸ˜‰

My Durango DNX408 enjoying the ride! πŸ˜‰

So here’s the story. I had a Mazda 6 that I got as a rental car. Well when I left the airport I noticed that my interior dash lights weren’t working. I couldn’t figure it out so I made it to the hotel and just said I would figure it out tomorrow in the daylight. Well last night when leaving the track I was having the same problem and so when driving back to the hotel I had a motorcycle guy pull up next to me and honk at me and flash his hands while pointing to the rear of my car. So I realized that my rear taillights weren’t working either! I only had headlights! I had a few more people honk at me so I took the car back to the airport and luckly never got stopped by a cop. When there I asked the guy if he could hook me up with a Camaro sense I always wanted to drive one and he said yea, no problem! So that is how I ended up with the Red Camaro rental car which I don’t fit in and have to slouch and I have to shove my luggage into the trunk to make it fit! πŸ˜€ haha

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