Sunday, October 23, 2011

A long weekend of some excellent racing has come to a close at the Southern Nationals in Louisiana. Allow me to recap my Durango Trifecta! πŸ˜€

Short Course – My Durango DESC410R truck was flying with the Tekin 4pole 4600 on this track. It was truth be told way to much power and more than I could ever use on this track but it was fun to have it at hand. Also with it being so smooth it was still very drivable. My truck though was pretty loose on this dusty, rutty track. I still had my heavy diff fluids in and thus after the first qual I went and started putting lighter oils in it. I ended up with 7-10-4 but I would have gone down even further in the center had I had the time to do it. This really seemed to help the truck on this track. All in all I TQ’d all 3 qualifiers and started from pole in the A-main.
In A1 and A2 I got out front and pulled away. Just tried not to crash and to find some smooth lines. I was able to win both mains pretty handily and take the overall victory. I ran SS AKA Gridirons, Tekin 4600 4 pole, and SpeedPower 5300 batteries. All in all it was a winning combination! πŸ˜€

E-Buggy- The “Do you still have to keep the body on it?” Machine. πŸ˜‰ This class was an up and down weekend for me. In Q1 I was on a good run but I got into some traffic and made a couple mistakes on my own and would get 2nd behind Pettit. In Q2 I had a battery wire come unsoldered. In Q3 I broke a rear aluminum turnbuckle. So I ended up 4th in the B-main. Luckily they were doing bumpups even for electric and so that night as the last race of the night I ran and won the B-main to take a spot into the A-main.
In A1 I moved up quickly from my 13th spot on the grid and was in 5th on the first lap. I would continue to work my way up until I was 2nd and closing in on Pettit. He would make a couple mistakes and I would get by and cruise on to a nice victory. In A2 I got a good start again. About 4 laps in I was in 3rd and went over the back ski jump and my battery wire came undone again. This put all the pressure on A3. In A3 I was able to have another good start. Quickly moving up. Pettit had a rough early lap and I got by him about 2 laps in and moved up to 2nd behind Ruona. I drove within inches of his bumper for a lap and he eventually made a mistake and I got buy and cruised on to a nice victory and overall win! πŸ˜€
My buggy was pretty good all weekend. I worked hard on figuring out the shock package I wanted to run on the Nitro car and basically just piggy backed my shock set-up onto my E-buggy. In the end it felt decent and I am again pleased at another victory with the soon to be released DEX408.

Nitro Buggy – As always this is the class I really care about with my Durango DNX408. This class had the most competition as all of the South and South Easts best racers were here! I had found a shock package that i liked at Rev last week and I was hoping it would work here as well. As it turns out it was fairly good but it did need some tweeking. There weren’t the same big jumps with flat landings here and it was much rougher thus a softer oil was needed. Also I felt that the rear was packing a little to fast and so instead of running A pistons with 3 holes I went to B pistons with 3 holes and it delayed the pack just enough to go over the rough stuff a little better. In Q1 I would put in a solid run and take the TQ. In round number 2 I had some traffic holding me back and I settled for 2nd behind Branham. Thus in Rd 3 I really wanted a win and 4 laps in I held a 1/2 second lead over Wheeler when I made a mistake and crashed over the big double and the marshall tapped my flywheel. Luckily though Branham wasn’t able to capitalize this time and I took the overall TQ.

Durango DNX408 Pro Buggy Win

Before the main I went down a little further with my PT RC Racing oils in the shocks. Thanks to the small increments I was able to go from 325cst to 300cst and not feel like I was having to make a huge change. The main was a 45 minute concentration fest as finding smooth lines was the name of the game. I started from the pole and my car felt great with the changes I made. It was easy for me to pull away from the pack but then I kept making mistakes and allowing them to keep up with me. I was searching left and searching right trying the jumps in multiple spots until I finally found some smooth lines a couple of inches off of the pipe in most cases. I started to extend my lead still making some mistakes every once in a while but overall putting in some fast solid laps. My Alpha Plus A852 was flying again and my Byrons Fuel 30% kept my tune locked in where I wanted it! I came away in the end with a 20+ second victory over Jason Branham in 2nd on my AKA Soft Gridirons which were dialed for me all weekend!

Durango Trifecta @ Southern Nationals

Overall it was a great event. The crew that put it on really did an awesome job and the facility is top notch! I want to thank them for having me out as I had a great time and hope to be back again next year!

Next up is the R/C Pro Finals in Texas in 2 weeks. In the meantime it’s time to carve some Pumpkins and spend some time with the family! πŸ˜€


Friday, October 21, 2011 6:45 a.m.

This morning was the start of my TV career! I’m done with R/C and I’m going into showbiz! HAHA
This morning I had the opportunity to do probably a 1 or 2 minute segment on the local NBC channel 10 down here in West Monroe, Louisiana. Boy was it improvised and rushed! I can’t wait to see the result. (The editor is getting us a copy to check out this afternoon so I can put it up on here for all to laugh at me!)

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 “are 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, “15 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 and later today I may get the opportunity to be on a couple of local radio stations!

Today is also practice day so I’m looking forward to getting on this awesome looking track with my Durango DNX408, DEX408, and DESC410R!

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October 15, 2011

Just completed my 6.5 hour trip to Southern California where I took part in the Byron Fuels Western Cup which was hosted at the World Famous Revelation Raceway. It was just a one day event with two qualifiers and 30 min Pro A-mains. A few top pros were on hand including Adam Drake and Cody King as well as my Durango teammate Carson Wernimont. I ran in the Pro Buggy class with my Durango DNX408 buggy and ran the rent-a-ride Mugen M-Spec in the truggy class.

In Truggy I was able to take the TQ in the first round and it was a solid run that held up through the second round thus giving me the overall TQ for the event. In the 30min main the first lap was crazy with literally 6 cars going together though every corner and eventually mayhem ensued but I got through clean and threw down 10 straight 37 second laps to stretch out a lead and never look back. I would end up taking the victory with my Byrons Fuel, and Alpha Plus powered .23 engine by nearly 1 lap in the end. My AKA Soft Gridirons proved once again to be the tire of choice.

In Buggy my Durango DNX408 was ready to do work. In the first qualifier Drake and I were running similar laps at the start but he made a mistake and I stayed cleaner for the rest of the race and took the TQ. In round two Drake started on the clock first and I started nearly 3/4 of a lap behind him. The announcer was announcing him as in the lead and on a TQ pace the whole time and announcing me down in like 5th or 6th. I was pretty sure (as I hadn’t crashed) that I was up battling for the lead but I knew that because I started late on the clock that it just wasn’t showing me at the top. So I plugged along and finally after Drake finished and the announcer said he beat my TQ time, then he said, Ryan better make a clean lap, it’s going to be close. I finally crossed the line with a 1 1/2 second win and the overall TQ.

In the A-main it was another crazy start with no one wanting to lead at first. The sun had gone down and it was a challenge to see your car as there was some dark areas on an already challenging track. Drake, King, and I all took turns leading for the first 2 or 3 laps but eventually I would assume the lead and start throwing down some fast laps. I worked at staying clean and if I made a mistake made sure I put in a couple faster laps right after it to get my cushion back to where I was comfortable. My Alpha A852 engine was screaming fast and my Byrons Fuel was keeping the tune nice and consistent for the whole run. I ended up keeping the pace and taking the victory in the end of the 30 min main. Another victory for my Durango DNX408 Buggy! All day I ran AKA SS Impacts. (must be some kind of conspiracy or something because this is two weeks in a row i’ve ran SS tires!) Either way though they were dialed all day!

Pro Buggy Podium at the Byron Fuels Western Cup

1 46 30:08.26 RYAN LUTZ
2 46 30:20.32 ADAM DRAKE
3 46 30:39.55 CODY KING

Next up I am off to the Southern Nationals. Planning on an all Durango Weekend with my DNX408, DEX408, and DESC410R! Should be a great time. I think I’m also going to be on the local TV and Radio Station on Friday so that should be Fun!

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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!


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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!


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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!


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:


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