Sunday October 9, 2011
Yesterday was the Series Finals for the North Carolina State Series held 2 hours deep into South Carolina at the Awesome Badlands R/C track! All the other races were held in North Carolina but they decided to hold the Finals in South Carolina I believe because of the awesome facility we got to race at. This was my first time to South Carolina and just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and Myrtle Beach. For the past couple weeks I just kept hearing how amazing this track was and thus I couldn’t wait to get there and see what all the praise was about.

I was able to bring 3 of my Durango vehicles with me this weekend. My Nitro Buggy, E-Buggy, and SC truck. The turnout was just over 130 entries which the track crew and series promotor were very happy with. I flew in Red-Eye Friday morning and drove straight to the track from the airport for the day of practice. My first impressions of the track were of how dialed it looked. Full on sod/grass in the infield areas and one of the smoothest layouts i’ve ever seen. Everyone had kept saying how the track was going to get super high bite but it never did fully materialize this time like most thought. On Qualifying day I did go from running Soft tires in the morning to Medium in the afternoon to Super Softs for the main under the lights. I’ve never done that before so it was a change. The track was extremely fun and had an awesome new layout that had just been put in. Here’s how the racing wen down.

4wd SC Open – Ran my Durango DESC410R for the first time in at least a month and it just felt like I hadn’t taken the time off with it at all. It was flying around this track and the on-lookers were amazed at the speed of the Durango. In the first qualifier they had the minimum lap set at 33 seconds and for some reason they were never mentioning my name during the race even as I was passing everyone. Come back to see the race results and every one of my laps that did count was a 62. So I was getting 31 second lap times at least! In the second round when the bite came up I was able to get down into the 29 second lap times on occasion which was just about 1.5 seconds off my Nitro and E-Buggy! I was able to TQ all 3 rounds. In the A-main they were running it for 10 minutes! I’m lucky to make 7:30 with my car if i’m really driving it so I was a bit leery of trying to make 10. I ran the race trying never to pull past 1/4 throttle. Down the straight I let off the gas completely 1/2 way down and just let it cost the rest of the way. (Good thing my Tekin stuff was fast enough to already be flying at that point!) πŸ˜‰ Anyways I drove it easy and was able to finish the full 10 minutes and win by a couple laps on the field of 15.

E-Scale Buggy – My Durango DEX408 prototype was loving this track. Everyone kept stopping by my pit area to ask me if they could look at it but unfortunately i’m still having to keep it under wraps. Hopefully it will be out soon because I know there is a lot of interest in this vehicle, and rightfully so! πŸ˜‰ In Qualifying I was able to take the first two rounds to take the overall TQ for the class. In the main I ran back to back SC and E-Buggy. I didn’t do any practice laps in E-Buggy because I was going to change tires really quick before the main but realized quickly that I didn’t have what I thought I had and thus I just left on the tires I had ran all day. So the first couple laps I struggled trying to find my E-Buggy finger having just babied around the SC truck for 10 minutes. I fell into a battle with the top 3 and we battled for the first couple laps until I got by and they both made a mistake on the back right jump section and I never looked back. I began extending my lead and I think by the end of the 10 minute main I had put a lap on the field! Another win for the Prototype Durango DEX408! πŸ˜€

Nitro Buggy – My Durango DNX408 buggy was on rails this weekend! I had some bad luck in qualifying with someone landing on my in Q1 and breaking the ear off my CF rear shock tower. In Q2 I took a commanding TQ by like 7 seconds or so. In Q3 I had two laps of bad traffic and thus finished 2nd for that round. Overall this put me 2nd on the grid. The format was a little different where they took the top 2 qualifiers and put them directly into the A -main. Everyone else had to bump in from the semi’s and 1/4’s IFMAR style format. So thankfully finishing 2nd allowed me to make it straight in. In the main for the first few minutes I had a battle with track local Jason Smith of Losi. It was a great back and forth battle we had where one would make a mistake and then the other but eventually he made one to many mistakes and gave me a little cushion and I got in my groove and sped off. The race was done by laps and it was a 60 lap race which in the end translated into about 32 minutes. My AKA Super Soft Impacts were dialed and my Alpha Plus A852 was rippin the track up and I was able to get a 2 lap victory by the end of the race! So it was a Durango Trifecta for me this weekend. I’m so pleased with my cars as we are making such great progress on them. All my sponsors are working so hard to make their products better and better for everyone and I’m really enjoying seeing the results firsthand!

Durango Trifecta!

If your ever in the Myrtle Beach area or you want to make a vacation of it I highly recommend this track and the people who put it on! It’s an amazing facility as I’ve said before and it’s worthy of a Nationals event if they really wanted to put it on! I also want to thank Brandon Melton for inviting me out to the race and Chris Pace for the AKA wheels sense I forgot mine! Everyone was just great and it was a wonderful time. Also if you live in the North/South Carolina area / Georgia, Virginia, ext you should really consider running that entire series next year. Brandon puts on a great program and really does a lot for this hobby!

Next up is another Byrons event at Revelation in Southern California next weekend. I haven’t been there in a while so looking forward to it!

-Lutzinator

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Monday September 26, 2011

Yesterday was the completion of the two day event that was the Pro-Line Gas Championships at the World Famous Thunder Alley R/C Raceway. The format for this event was different from any that I had been to before. Saturday was day 1 and it began with our one and only round of practice. During this practice your top 3 consecutive laps were used to seat you into the qualifications. However it was seated differently. Say there was enough people in your class for 4 heats. The fastest person in practice would be in heat 1, second fastest in heat 2, 3rd in 3, 4th in 4, and then 5th fastest back in heat 1, 6th in heat 2, and so on. This created what could be considered pretty ‘even’ heats. Now for qualifications there was 3 rounds. Each round was heads up racing with 4 cars wide and 3 rows deep. At the countdown your pit guy put you down and at the tone all the angry buzzing bees went roaring for the mosh pit. (I say this because 20 ft from the start was a set of whoops that were hard enough to get through when you were alone let alone with 12 cars trying to do it all at the same time. Most starts resulted in over 1/2 the field on their lid at this section and the marshals scrambling to clear the wreckage.) Now in each qualifier you were only racing your own heat race. So if you finished 1st in your heat you got 1 point. 2nd you got 2 and so on. At the end of the 3 rounds they took your best 2 point totals and added them together and ranked you in your heat. If you take the example of your class having 4 heats then only 2 people bumped straight to the A from each heat. The rest were left to bump up, with 4 bump-ups through the lower mains. . Still with me? πŸ˜‰ Oh, and i forgot to mention. All racing was done by laps instead of time. So for each class there was a predetermined number of laps and once the leader crossed then everyone was done after finishing the lap they were on.

As for me I ran both Pro Nitro buggy and E-Buggy. In E-Buggy my qualifications went decent. I took 2nd in both my first two rounds behind the ‘Peanut’ Travis Amezcua. There was two heats of E-Buggy and I would end up qualifying 4th on the grid for the A-mains (double A’s) on Sunday. In Nitro Buggy I couldn’t of had a more unlucky, frustrating day. As you can possibly tell by my description of the whoops section above I really despised that section. I could never get it figured out in quals and it was basically more than just my demise. In the first round I crashed going into it, (one of the many times) and went cartwheeling into the brick wall on the outside of the track. I hit so hard on my passenger side that it dented and cut the side of my body and it popped off my throttle linkage! In round number two I again crashed in the whoops, (no surprises there right! πŸ˜‰ and someone came behind me and clobbered me in that same side of the car and again popped the link off! I’ve never had that happen to me let alone twice in two rounds! The damage to my body is proof enough how bad the hits were.

The inflicted damage!

Now for the mains. They were doing double A-mains with both counting and taking your point totals from your finishes. Mains were also done by laps and not time. So the A-mains in Nitro were 35 laps or about 19 minutes and the E-Buggy main was 20 laps or about 11 minutes. In E-buggy in A1 I got out clean and moved up to 2nd. I stayed right behind Amezcua for the first 10 laps or so. Then I had some trouble in the whoops and fell back about 7 seconds. I cleaned it up though and ran clean the rest of the way and caught up and ended up just a half second back at the end to finish 2nd. In A2 I had a few mistakes near the beginning and got put into 3rd. Amezcua and Cavalieri were out not crashing and I had to settle for 3rd. After the tiebreaker with Cav I won it and took 2nd overall for the class.

2nd in E-Buggy

In Nitro after my wonderful day of qualifiers I ended up in the last main which was the E-main. I was race number 1 of the day! It turned out to be a good thing as I began to bump up each main and made it all the way to the A-main. It was good because the track time is what I needed and it was invaluable to me. In A1 I had a good first half lap but got caught in traffic in the dip and came out last. I then battled with another driver and we proceeded to get into it for half a lap, much of it unnecessary roughness and it was a bit unfortunate. Anyways I had to work my way up from last but I knew my Durango DNX408 was up for the challenge. It felt the best it had all weekend and I began picking off driver after driver I eventually at the end of the main found myself in 3rd!
In A2 I had a good start and kept it clean I worked on a different pit strategy and was going to try to make it on 1 stop instead of two as it looked like I would have enough fuel to do it. Unfortunately on my pit lap I ran out of gas while running in 3rd. I thus fell back but was able to get back out and work my way into 6th even with probably loosing a full lap. Overall for the two mains I took 5th. Not bad coming from the E-main! πŸ™‚

This race finished out my stretch of 7 straight weeks of either a 3, 4, or 5 day race. Glad to finally have a week off to recoup, get my cars back in shape, and spend some much needed time with the family! My little girl is learning new words every day so I look forward to being around for a few of them! πŸ™‚

Next up I will be heading to South Carolina in 2 weeks for a Series Finals event at the Badlands! Looking forward to it as I’ve heard so much great stuff about the track!

-Lutzinator

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Mains have come and gone and it was a great day for me, Durango, and all my sponsors!
The track started to blow out a little in a few sections and it just made picking your lines that much more critical. The morning was cold with what seemed to be a ‘marine layer’ type of clouds keeping the temps down but after noon the sun broke through and the temps heated up.

In E-Scale we did triple A-mains. In A number 1 I got out to a quick lead but made a mistake and fell into 2nd. I got the lead back and crashed again and gave it up. This time I took it back and gapped out to around 8 seconds with a lap to go. Well I decided to make it interesting and I crashed and it was a slower marshal job and 2nd got within a second of me but I held on for a final clean lap and took the victory.
In A2 I decided to just put all my crashes at the beginning of the run. I fell back to 2nd and even 3rd a couple times. With about 7 minutes to go though I cleaned it up and set out to dwindle down my 10 second deficit. The leader was staying clean but I was able to put in laps about .5 – 1 second quicker and began to catch up. Then with like 3 minutes to go I was within a second and crashed! Now on the last couple laps I worked my way back up and it was looking like it was going to be a battle at the end but a lapped car got me bobbled a bit and on the last few corners I just let it hang out but fell just short getting 2nd by just over 1 second.
In A3 I made sure there was no reoccurrence of the last two runs. The sun had come out and heated up the track a bit and it’s just what my car needed. I took off and never looked back. I ran a nearly clean run and put over a lap on the field and thus took the victory!
My Tekin 1900 with RX-8 was again flawless. My AKA Soft gridirons lasted me well for all 3 A-mains, and my Speed Power batteries provided me with all the runtime I needed for the 10 minute runs and some practice laps!
Not to mention my ‘Prototype’ DEX408 was again on rails and flying! πŸ˜€

In Nitro Buggy there was a 45 minute main to content with. There was a lot of attrition and flame outs in some of the other mains and we had 14 guys in the A-main so I knew the track was going to be crowded and the potential of a lot of casualties. Well I got the holeshot I needed from my TQ position and took an early lead. I did however make a mistake or two and fell back to 2nd for a couple of laps early on. I worked on cleaning up my act and getting into a groove and I retook the lead and just set out to extend it! About half way through the race I was making my way around to put a lap on the field. My Alpha Plus powered Durango was coming into it’s own and I was feeling more comfortable. Pablo was giving me some quick pit-stops and that was all I needed. With some flame outs and issues by some of the other top runners I continued to extend my lead and I believe I took the victory by over 2 laps.

Double TQ and Wins at the R/C Pro Rd 15 @ HCRCR

Again I couldn’t be happier or more thankful for my sponsors who help support me. I feel I have just such a great support team/ racing package that I can contend anywhere!

Equipment ran:
Durango DNX408
Engine: Alpha Plus A852
Tires: AKA Soft Impacts, Black groove foam
Fuel: Byrons 30%

Next up is the Thunder Alley Gas Champs next weekend!

-Lutzinator

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I wish this track was closer to me! What I wouldn’t give to have a track facility like this to be able to practice at. This is my first journey to HCRCR and I already can’t wait to make a return trip. This has to be one of the top tracks I have ever been to and has one of the nicest driver stands I have ever seen! If your ever in the Atlanta area you have to stop on out or plan a trip to race here!

This weeks event is my second qualification round for the R/C Pro Series for this year. So far it is going great after qualifications. I was able to TQ all 4 rounds of both Nitro Buggy with my Durango DNX408 and E-Scale with my Durango DEX408. Tomorrow for the mains there is a 45 min A for Nitro and triple 10min mains for E-Scale.

Here is a few minutes of my 4th qualifier in Nitro Buggy from today:
Enjoy!

-Lutzinator

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Sunday September 11, 2011

Main day has came and went and all that there is left to show for it is the results. Lets get down to business.

In A1 I had a decent start and got up to 5th from my 8th starting position. I got into ‘no mans land’ as I call it where the top 4 had a good lead on me and the rest of the pack were a few seconds behind me. I took it easy for most of the main but on the last couple laps I made some mistakes and allowed Truhe to catch up and pass me on the last lap and so I settled for 6th.

In A2 I got an even better start and worked my way up to 4th. I was staying as clean as possible and was able to overtake Cavalieri for 3rd and I held the position until the last lap. On the last lap Truhe once again caught me and passed me with 1/2 a lap to go. I stayed glued to the back of him though and over the left side double he got a little short and went out wide and we both went over the single onto the straight away together but his car rocked a bit and I pulled just barely ahead and in the sweeper at the end before the finish line he got right on my rear end and basically pushed me across the line. So I was able to take 3rd in A2.

In A3 I knew I had a legit shot at Podium. I had an okay start and after a few laps was up to 5th. I worked my way up behind Cavalieri and I knew if I could beat him I could get 3rd overall. We battled close for a few minutes with me having a couple chances but always getting up on 2 wheels or a hard landing or something keeping me just behind. With one lap to go though I was on his bumper and we landed the coming at you double side by side but my car hit the rut that had developed over the weekend and rolled over. This allowed Cav to get away and King to pass me as well. I finished up and took a 5th for the round. Overall this put me 4th place! Not bad for a prototype buggy on my first big race with it! Overall I was pretty pleased with the final result and look forward to more running in the E-Scale class!

4th Place at 2011 ROAR 1/8th Electric Offroad Nationals

Equipment Used: Tekin RX8 with Tekin 1900Kv Motor, AKA Soft Impacts with Red Grooved foam, Speedpower 5300 Lipo packs.

-Lutzinator

Saturday September 10, 2011

Qualies have achieved completion today and the starting order for Sundays mains have been tabulated. My 3 rounds today were an up and down affair. I started the morning off with a decent run with a few mistakes but took another 6th for the round. In the second round of the day it turned out to be my worst of the weekend. I made a poor tire choice and another change and it was a handful and I got 10th. In the final round of the day I made 2 mistakes I believe and otherwise ran decent finishing 5th. So my 4 rounds that count are a 6, 6, 5, 3. This puts me 8th qualifier on the A-main grid for tomorrows triple 10 minute A-mains.

After qualifications were over I decided to run a few more packs and try some set-up changes. First thing I did was make the rear camber link longer. Bad choice, car flipped over way easier and was edgy. So went back to short and then went up one hole on the rear camber link. This was awesome! Best my car had felt all weekend. So now that I’ve found a bit of help in the set-up department I hope to put in some solid A-main events tomorrow and see if I can’t squeak out a top 5 or even better! It will be a challenge but I’m up for it.

Here is a vid of a couple practice laps this afternoon. Not my cleanest laps ever but i’m starting to get this electric stuff figured out! The car is solid and I know the results will come with time!

Friday September 9, 2011

O-MA-HA – That is where I find myself this week. More specifically at the awesome facility of the Hobby Town Hobby Plex in Omaha, Nebraska. From what I hear they basically took their outdoor offroad track and enclosed it and put a roof and some walls over it and did it all in like 2 months! It’s an awesome place and the locals are very fortunate to have such a great place to race! Plus no tire wear!

The event is the ROAR 1/8th Scale Electric Nationals. The turnout is fairly low but the level of talent in the A and B qualifiers is fairly high. The other thing that seems to be low on turnout is ROAR officials. A little disappointing considering the name of the race. Anyways at least the facility is top notch and it’s a fun, relaxing atmosphere.

This weekend I am running my prototype Durango DEX408 and putting it through it’s first real test. I showed up on the second day of practice halfway through the day because this is my 5th, 3+ day week in a row and I needed an extra day with the family. Plus knowing the turnout was going to be low I knew I would still get some decent track time. Anywhoo I’ve finally started doing some set-up changes to my buggy and it’s responding pretty well. I feel I have a very fast buggy and that the only thing holding it back is the driver with the nitro finger. (points to self.)

Durango DEX408 Prototype

Today was qualification and we ran 3 x 6min qualifiers. I started off solid and then as I got more comfortable started to get worse! (No that wasn’t said backwards!) In my first qualifier I just went out wanting a clean run and I was able to do it. Every lap was a 25 or 26 and I took 3rd for the round! This was awesome and I was stoked with that. Come the second round I decided I was a bit more comfortable and started to drive a bit harder. This caused more crashes and bonehead mistakes and thus I finished 6th for the round. In round 3 I did more of round 2 and took 9th for the round. So my results so far seem to be going the wrong way but I know that i’m doing just fine. I’ve had at least the first or second fastest lap time in each qualifier. My car IS feeling better and better and it’s just up to me to get my timing down and not get on the gas so hard. I feel confident and Saturday’s 3 qualifiers will go pretty well and I hope to show what my Proto DEX408 is all about! Winning! πŸ˜€

-Lutzinator

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Monday Sept 5, 2011 (Labor Day)

This past weekend I attended the Labor Day Shootout which this year was held at Delta RC in Antioch, California.
I hadn’t been able to attend this race in years past as I usually am at the R/C X-Fest event in Minnesota which was unfortunately cancelled this year. However this event proved to be a fun one and Philip Atondo and the Delta RC crew did a great job putting on this event. I went to this race with my brother-in-law and my friend Carlos and we went in Carlos’s trailer and camped out for a few nights. It was a cool change for me as i’m used to rental cars and hotels so something a little different was very welcome! Let’s get to the racing!

4wd SC Mod – I had my Durango DESC410R rockin around this 1/8th scale track and as always my goal was to beat my 1/8th Buggy times. My SC truck was still equipped with a Tekin 4.5 system that I had ran at the Nationals and it was plenty of power to get around the track. I was able to get my lap times within a second of my 1/8th buggy! My overall time in my qualifiers would have put me top 5 in the expert buggy A-main! Come main time I started from the pole position and just took off. Extending my lead during the 7 minute race to take a little over a lap victory on the rest of the field.

Top Secret E-Buggy – Keeping the Durango DEX408 prototype hidden from the public proved to be a bit harder this weekend. People wanted to check it out but I was ordered to keep the body on it so that is what I did! I didn’t do any set-up changes from what I ran the week prior in St. Louis and the car still handled very well. I was able to eek out the overall TQ over Atondo and I knew we were set for a good battle in the main. Starting from the pole I did a conservative first section and Philip was all over me. Coming before the gap jump he got all up on top of me and both of us flipped into the adjacent lane. We went down it backwards and turned around and I had the better end of it so I waited for him and let a car or two go by. On the second lap on the tricky left hand section I think Philip cased it a bit and popped out a center driveshaft ending his race chance. It was a bummer because I was looking forward to a 10 minute battle. However I just put my head down and got back up to the lead and set out on a clean run. I ended up lapping the field and giving my prototype DEX408 it’s second victory in as many weeks! I have my work cut out for me next week though as I’m heading to the electric 1/8th nationals. It’s going to take everything i’ve got to continue that winning streak! . . I’m up for the challenge! πŸ™‚

TQ and victories for my DESC410R and DEX408 prototype

Nitro Buggy – I continued to run my shocks on the rear of the arms on my Durango DNX408 buggy this past weekend. I’m still not sure if I’m sold on it or not but it did handle fairly well all weekend especially in the A-main. In qualifiers though I only really got 1 good qualifier and that was my first one. I had one 4 second mistake it there but was able to put in a time just hundredths of a second faster that Atondo’s 3rd round. So I was able to just barely squeeze out the TQ. In the main I got out to a good start and the pack behind me was making mistakes. I got like a 5 second lead by the 3rd lap but then over the gap jump I got in the loose stuff approaching it and cased the landing really hard and ended up side down. The marshall waited for a few cars to pass and by the time he got to my car it had died. This put me over 2 laps down so I started running like a banshee! My car was phenomenal in the main and I was super happy with it. Unfortunately though my engine had seen better days (especially after what I did to it the night before, more on that shortly). I ended up flaming out over the same jump 3 more times thus totally ending my chances at competing. (Although even after 3 flame outs I had worked my way up to 5th.) However that last one killed all chances and I think I settled for 8th.

Eric, Myself, and Carlos showing off our hardware after a good fun weekend!

The night prior we had done a dash for cash race. They put 14 of us on the track for a 4 minute run and staggered us around the track as per slowest qualifying time to fastest. It was a mix of buggies and truggies from both sportsman and expert. I started 13 which was nearly 9/10ths of a lap behind where the number 1 car was starting. It was a crazy fun race as rough driving was encouraged and with $100 on the line people weren’t giving up their spots easy! I was able to work my way through the field getting taken out a couple times along the way but dishing out some retaliation when necessary as well! In the end I passed Kendal Bennett from A-main on the last lap to take the victory! (Thus I treated my friends to a Chili’s dinner!) After the run was over I attempted a backflip off the huge kicker jump in the center of the track. As I went for it I quickly realized once getting into the air that there wasn’t enough lip on the jump and my rotation was slow. However I just held throttle and the car landed full throttle straight on the engine head! I totally bent the head which I will show later and the car shut off instantly. I still decided to run that engine in the A-main which I think proved to be a bad decision because i’m sure I did some internal damage to it. Either way though it was great fun!

So next up will be my 5th week in a row of at least a 3 day event. I’m heading out to Omaha, Nebraska (new location for me!) for the 1/8th scale electric nationals. I’ve heard amazing things about the track a facility so i’m really looking forward to checking it out!

-Lutzinator

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