Saturday June 18, 2011

Just got back from my 2 hour car ride home from Nor-Cal Hobbies, home of Rd #3 of the Nor-Cal championship series. For this event I decided to stick strictly to Durango vehicles and I ran my DNX408 and DESC410R. The track layout was changed from the last time I was there and while it kept a few cool elements it also had some fun changes which made for a fast track and some good air!

The format was for two qualifiers and a main. I was able to win both rounds with both of my vehicles to take the overall TQ’s. My DESC410R was nearly able to lap the field in qualifying and was just flying over the jump sections. I was doing everything with it that I was doing with my 1/8th buggy and was only 2 seconds a lap slower with my SC than my 1/8th buggy. I’m getting more and more pleased with the DESC410R every time I run it.
In Buggy my DNX408 was dialed yet again on this Nor-Cal track. I was able to take overall TQ by about 8 seconds of second. My Alpha Plus engine was dialed and running smooth and crisp and my AKA rubber was laying it down.

Come A-main time I had a 7min main for Short Course. I took off from the pole and never looked back. I was able to pull away from the field as I took a good lead after 3 minutes and cruised the rest of the way to make sure I finished without issue. Everyone was very impressed by my DESC410R. I was launching it over the two table tops and landing on the second one just like the 1/8th buggies. My Tekin motor was flying and it all just came together for a great race.

Nor-Cal Series rd #3 double Champion

In Buggy it was much the same. I stayed out front from the pole position and worked on extending my opening lead. My DNX408 felt great from the start and I ran some solid laps to build a little bit of a lead. At that point I started to tone it down a little bit to preserve my lead and limit mistakes. It worked well and I was able to come away with the win in the 25min A-main. My buggy felt great from start to finish and my AKA Soft impacts were up to the challenge on this semi-abrasive surface. I’m beginning to really like Nor-Cal because I’ve had good luck there. Hopefully it will carry over for the Electric Nationals in a couple of months.

Should have at least one video of my SC qualifying round that I will be able to post shortly! Check back!

Up next is the Alabama Manufacturers Shootout which starts on Thursday! Here I come Alabama!

-Lutzinator

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June 6, 2011

Sunday was main day at the ROAR Nationals and I was prepared to see my hard work pay off and put in some good runs in the semi’s and the A-Finals. As has been my luck though throughout much of my career those aspirations would end short in the Semi’s. In Truggy I was running a solid 3rd and in good position to bump into the A-final. However I was landed on after the front triple and it ended up snapping my rear dogbone!? It was a frustrating way to bow out of the race but I knew I still had the class that really mattered to me, buggy, up next.

Come the buggy semi my Durango DNX408 felt good in the warmup. I made a mistake a few laps after the tone and fell back to 5th. I worked my way back to 4th and I don’t remember exactly how or where this happened but I got hit hard in the rear of the car. The bottom shock screw ended up cracking the arm and coming out and thus I was driving the car with the rear shock not fully functioning. I drove it like this for about 10 – 15 minutes and was still able to nearly keep pace with the 5th – 7th placed drivers. However shortly after that time I think the shock moved outside of the arm and boat anchored into the dirt and it was no longer drivable. Again, very frustrating to have had this happen especially when the car felt good and the track was beginning to get to more of my liking as the semi was going on.

Even though the results weren’t what I would have hoped for this weekend I can still take away some positives. I now have a better high bite set-up to start with the next time I’m on a high bite track. I also was able to qualify 4th overall which showed the pace of my Durango DNX408 on yet another track! I know I am getting more and more competitive each time out with my buggy and the Durango just keeps getting better and better. I know the results will continue to improve as I really mesh with the car and as our team continues to develop the car and make it into a contender for the World Championships in 2012. (That would be the other positive of the weekend, I was able to qualify for the Worlds in 2012 so everyone better watch out!) πŸ˜€

-Lutzinator

June 4, 2011

Today was a day to forget racing wise. We had the last two rounds of qualification and i just ran poorly and had bad luck this time around. Luckily yesterday was good enough to put me solidly into the Semi’s. I ended up qualified 4th in Buggy and 7th in Truggy. I will be looking for a solid top 5 in each of my semi’s to seat me into that coveted A-main. It should get interesting tomorrow night as the schedule seems to be running a little late and thus the mains could possibly be in the dark in which case the track will be completely different from if we run in the day time. It will be interesting, and having an assortment of tires ready will be key! Thanks AKA for all the support on that front!

I’m personally hoping for a later main because the track will be more loamy and there hopefully won’t be that tiny high bite groove that I can never seem to stay in!

Going to let-er-rip tomorrow and hopefully bring home some nice hardware!

-Lutzinator

Thanks rcinsider.com for the photo!

June 3, 2011

Out here today at the beautiful facility that is Thunder Alley Raceway. Rob, Levi, and crew have done a fabulous job yet again in bringing a world class R/C facility to us racers to enjoy!

Today was the first day of qualifying and I was looking to put my Durango DNX408 buggy and my rent-a-ride Mooooogen up near the top.

In truggy i’m doing my best to learn this Mugen MBX-6T truggy on the fly. The Mugen camp has been extremely helpful to me and I am very grateful for their assistance. Overall I have put in two 7th place runs. This isn’t so bad considering the truck is completely new to me. It should be plenty enough to qualify directly into the semi-finals so i’m happy with that.

In buggy my Durango DNX408 is rockin again. In the first round I got stuck behind traffic for the first 3 laps and eventually made my way around them and ran a clean rest of the race. I worked on staying clean and just putting in a solid run. I started throwing down faster and faster lap times as the track dried out. I threw down the fastest lap time of the round with a 29.3 on the last lap and ended up taking 2nd place just 1.7 seconds behind Tebo. Needless to say I was pleased with the result as I had done about 4 changes before the round and they all seemed to do as I had hoped.

Come round two I was hoping for a repeat or a little bit better. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as I struggled to get the pop I needed to clear the front triple. I cased it nearly every lap and that probably cost me about a half second a lap. Everywhere else the car felt very good and I was still able to run relatively clean and put in a top 5. I guess it’s a good thing when your slightly disappointed at getting 5th at the ROAR Nationals. Must mean the car is working well!

Well tomorrow is two more heats of qualifying. Tebo already has two TQ’s in Buggy so the only way to unthrone him is to TQ the last two rounds and have a better tie-breaker…..That’s my goal! πŸ™‚ (Dream Big!)

-Lutzinator

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Sunday 5-22-11
Hey everyone. Had the opportunity to travel back to Ohio to visit my family and also spend some time at the track at the same time. I went down to Urbana, Ohio and attended the Grand Re-Opening event at Area 54 raceway. It was a very fun event with around 150 entries in all types of classes from SC to 1/8th to 1/5th baja’s!

I ran my Durango DNX408 buggy and just went out to put in some good laps and run my race. I was able to take TQ all three of the qualifiers, improving my time each one as the track got faster and faster. (Also to note this area had over 6″ of rain last Tuesday and another 2″ Thursday night. Plus it’s basically just been raining non-stop in the midwest in general! I told them I brought them some California sunshine for a couple of days! πŸ˜‰ )

Come main time with the threat of rain in the area I set out to drive hard and have some fun. My father came to the race and pitted for me for the first time in about 5 years. I think he enjoyed it although I’m sure he would deny it! haha. But it was a good time and even with making a lot of mistakes I was able to put in the faster lap times and come away with the victory in the end of the 20 min main. My Durango handled the weekend very well. I again changed nothing on my set-up and just drove it and loved it! I’m ready for Nationals in just over a weeks time.

I would like to thank the track owners at Area 54 for having me out and putting on a good show and getting the track all ready after all of that rain. The event went very well and it was probably the nicest pit lane I have ever seen. The drivers stand was also very nice and the track grooved up well also. I look forward to coming back in the future.

Next up as I mentioned in the ROAR 1/8th Nitro offroad Nationals the first week of June. I’m ready, I know Thunder Alley is going to put on a fabulous show as they always do and I’m looking forward to putting my Durango DNX408 up at the top!

-Lutzinator

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Event Final Monday April 25, 2011

Finally getting around to recapping my time at this years Neo-Buggy event in England. I didn’t have internet connectivity whilst there and thus wasn’t able to do my usual blog updates. Here is how my week went:

I got in a day early on Wednesday (I had thought practice started on Thursday) but it all worked out for the better as I still had some work to do on my Durango DNX408 buggy. This also allowed me to begin adjusting my sleeping schedule as I was 8 timezones ahead.

Friday finally came about and it was time to go racing! I always look forward to this event as it is the closest thing there is to a World Championships but we get to do it every year. This was my third year attending the Neo-Buggy event and I had made the final the previous two years and so that was my minimal goal for the week. My main goal was to TQ and win as I have been getting very confident in my Durango vehicles!

We had three 7 minute practice heats. They were taking your best 3 consecutive laps from any of the 3 practices to seat you for the qualifiers. My third practice I was able to start getting in a groove as I got my set-up figured out and was able to lay down 3 consecutive laps that would put me #3 overall and into the fast qualification heat.

Up came round one of qualifying. I decided to try to go out on Soft Citiblocks as this is what I ran for my final practice the night prior. The tires were pretty consistent but I think it was the wrong compound. I just seemed to be a little loose all around the track. I made a few mistakes but in the end managed a 9th for the round. Overall I was reasonably happy with this at the time.

Round two was next and this is when things started coming together for me. I switched to SS Gridirons and it was the right decision. The traction was good and the car felt excellent. I ran a pretty good run, making I believe two crashes in the 7 minute heat but finished 3rd for the round. Now I was getting excited about the prospects for the weekend. Everything was feeling good.

Round three would be the final qualifier for Saturday. I ran SS Gridirons again and put in a pretty good run. I believe I still make a mistake or two but I put in some fast laps and came away with TQ for the round! At this point I realized there was a possibility of taking the overall TQ for the weekend and so that is what I set-my goal as.

Round four was up on Sunday morning. A couple of long crashes kept me out of contention on this one but I still had some of the fastest lap-times and still came away with a 3rd for the round.

Coming into round #5 I knew I had to TQ the final two rounds to overtake Tebo for TQ. In round 5 I was able to start off on the right foot. I put in a solid run and was able to get the first 13 lap run of the weekend. The car was getting faster and I was feeling at home. I took the TQ and looked to round number 6 to finish the job.

Round six would be the final qualifier and the last qualification race of the day on Sunday. I knew what had to be done. I got out and ran clean for the first 5 minutes. I built over a 4 second lead over Maifield and was just driving my race, knowing I had to take the win. Then with about two minutes to go I caught up to a group of 5 or 6 cars and I did what I could to get past them but they were slowing my laptimes down by as much as 2 seconds a lap. I came out of the traffic with one lap to go but had sense lost my groove. Myself and Maifield both made it by for the final 13th lap and I had about a 4/10ths lead. However having lost my groove going through the traffic I didn’t put in a steller last lap. It was average at best and I ended up losing by something like 2/10ths of a second and thus missing out on overall TQ.

I still felt quite accomplished. I qualified 2nd overall at what I considered to be the biggest race of 2011, just narrowly missing out on the overall TQ. I was ready for the semi’s and Finals.

First up however was the da$h for ca$h. It was the top 12 qualifiers in inverse order, 10 minute run. I thus started 11th on the grid and had a great start. I navigated a couple of early pileups and came out of it in 3rd place. I was very confident in my car at that point and basically told myself I had this in the bag. However here is where my weekend began it’s dip. I just started making careless mistakes, hitting tubes and crashing on my own. I fell way back and just decided to try to finish strong. Coming around for the last lap I had King a couple corners ahead of me. I wasn’t sure what position it was for but put in a final charge to overtake him across the line. I floored it over the moguls and he saw me coming and pulled trigger as well. I ended up just missing him by 2/10ths. It was quite exciting. I ended up 4th, disappointed in the end result but still ready for the Semi’s and Finals.

Monday was Semi-Final day. I was ready to go and at the start was holding my own. Then on the second lap I went down the straight and up the little mount and there was a huge hole that just flipped my car on it’s lid. I fell back a few spots and so I just put it in ‘make-it-mode’. I just tried to put in some clean laps to get up near the front. I ended up getting up to second and staying there until the end. It wasn’t the semi I had hoped for but it put me into the A-main for the 3rd time in as many years.

Durango DNX408

The final race of the day was the one we all were waiting for. The A-main. I would be starting 5th on the grid as that is where my overall time in the semi-finals would put me. At the tone I was doing good, moved up to 3rd on the first lap. Then on the second lap got about half track where if i’m not mistaken I rolled it on my own again. Thus putting me to the back of the pack. I worked my way back up but still was just making way to many mistakes. I was pretty disappointed in myself for all of the driving errors I was making, just clipping tubes everywhere it seemed. I didn’t give up though and began working my way back through the pack. I was running 7th with about 9 minutes to go when I went over the back double double and lost throttle response. My throttle servo went out on me thus ending my main.

Focused and Ready for the A-Final

The positives I’m taking away from this weekend were many. My Durango DNX408 was super dialed all weekend. Setting very fast laptimes and qualifications. My new Alpha Plus A852 engine ran flawless all week. I was getting nearly 10 minutes which for me I will take any day of the week. The engine never gave me one hiccup all week, never even had to tune it after it’s initial tune! I was very pleased. My AKA tires were hooked up. The SS AKA compound was the compound of choice this weekend. To top it all off the best was the team camaraderie of the Durango Team. We worked excellent together all week long and it was such a pleasure to be a part of it all. We are making such great strides in such a short period of time and it’s only a matter of time before those big wins start coming in droves and we become the #1 team to beat!

Until next time,
-Lutzinator

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Saturday April 16, 2011

Saturday I headed on a little over 2 hour drive to Nor-Cal hobbies to race in the Rd #1 of the Nor-Cal Championship series. I ran 3 classes (Buggy, Truggy, and 4wd SC) so my day was very busy!

In Short Course I ran my DESC410R and it felt great! I wasn’t expecting to much as I still haven’t put much time into this class but the truck felt great! I didn’t touch it the entire day, just ran my one practice, 2 quals, and the A-main. I was able to TQ every round of quals and take the victory in the A-main. For fun in the second qualifier I ran on the 1/8th layout (there was an option lane for the SC guys). I was only 1.4 seconds a lap on the 1/8th layout slower than my 1/8th buggy and truggy! My little DESC410R was flying! I was skying the huge hip jump with it and launching it off the back table top. It was a lot of fun and people were very impressed with it’s performance.

In Truggy I again ran my mechanics rent-a-ride ST-RR and took TQ and the Win. I had some misfortune in the main when my body pins fell off the front (one side broke off.) So I came in for an extra pit to get that fixed. In the end with a couple bobbles by me Tyler Vik was on my tail within a second the last 2 laps but I was able to hold him off for the victory.

Nor-Cal Series Rd #1 Victory

In Buggy my Durango DNX408 was on rails! My buggy just felt Awesome! I am so happy with my car right now and just feel so confident in it. What’s great is that I have supreme confidence that it’s not going to break. It’s just such a strong car, and on the track it just is a dream to drive. For this track compared to the silver state track I just lengthened my rear camber link out one hole on the rear hub and thickened up the rear swaybar to a 2.4. This is all it needed to be dialed on yet another track! I was able to take TQ in both quals. In the main I had a great run and even with 2 lengthy crashes near the end of the run where the marshall was headed the other way to get another car first I was still able to come away with a solid win. Many people trackside were very impressed with how the car was handling the track and all I could say was “yea, I know, it’s so good right now.”

Next up I am off to England for the Neo-Buggy race on Tuesday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are each slated for 2 qualifiers. Monday will be all the mains. Tune in to LiveRC to watch me lay it down with my Durango DNX408!

-Lutzinator

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