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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Sunday April 10, 2011

YEEEE HAWWWWW!!!! Let’s just skip right past what happened in Truggy (broken arm) and Short Course (still not sure what) and focus on what transpired in Pro Buggy.

I had to start as BQ and try my chances at bumping into the A-main. My Durango DNX408 has felt amazing all weekend as I have mentioned and the B-main was no exception. It was hotter today and thus I did feel as my suspension was a bit soft. But all in all it felt great. I had a so-so first 15min of the race. Running between 1st – 3rd. Catching up and falling back. Then with 5 minutes to go I found my groove and took the lead and pulled away. Took a nice commanding victory and I knew my buggy was ready for the A-main!

With it being a bit hotter I decided to go up 50cts in shock oil all the way around. On the bench this felt pretty stiff but on the track for the A-main my car was the best it had been all week long! I felt I had the car to take the win. At the start taking off from the 12th spot on the grid I passed a couple guys on the inside of the first jump. Then on the top front left corner got tagged in the rear which made me have to single single single the tripple jump on the left side. I fell to last but everyone crashed again in the whoops section and I got by a handful. Another group crashed on the downstairs and I passed a couple more. I was around 6th place coming by the first lap. I then got into my groove and began driving my amazing machine and was at one with it! πŸ˜‰ I picked off a few more people and moved up to 3rd place before the first pitstop. Some of you with a Durango may know that unfortunately at the moment it is hard to use a fuel gun on it. Well my pitguy (brother-in-law) did the best he could but some spilled on the pipe and flamed me out. He got me right back started up and I only lost a few more seconds.

I retained 3rd place and just put it in cruise control for a while. During my second stop the same thing happened though I was just barely able to keep it from dying. After that Eric made a good executive decision and went back to the bottle for the remaining fuel stops. This took about an extra 2 – 3 seconds than the leaders but it was safe and I didn’t have any more issues. I drove as good as I could and even with the minor things setting me back I was able to stay within about 15 seconds of the leaders the entire race. I finished 3rd place on the Podium! All in all it was a great race for me. I know the car was capable of winning and I know when we get the tank to accept a fuel gun better and we continue to get a bit more time on the car that I’m going to be getting those podium finishes all the time!

I want to give a huge thanks to my brother-in-law Eric for sacrificing himself for me this weekend. He made the Sportsman B-main and elected not to run it so he could help me as I was the race after him. He drove great in his own right this weekend and I thank him so much for his help. Also just can’t say enough about the guys at Durango. This is such a great company to race for and this car just gets better and better! They are Serious about racing and I’m serious about winning! And those results are coming!

Silver State 2011 Buggy Podium

-Lutzinator

Saturday April 9, 2011

Qualifying has ended and my results are a mixed bag. In my rent a ride truggy class I had a solid first run getting a 7th. Second run had the rear diff go out while on a TQ run during my qualifier. Third run had some early mistakes but battled back to finish 8th for the round. Overall putting my 10th in the A-main.

In Short Course class I was having a rough go of it. First round started out well and was doing top 4 but then fell off at the end and settled for 7th. During the second run I was top 2 for the first couple laps but then the pin in my dogbone came out ending that run. Come round 3 I was just working to stay clean. I ended up putting down the fasted lap time and overall round for the weekend in 4wd Mod SC. Got the TQ for the round which overall with my first round 7 put me 5th on the starting grid. I am hoping for a duplication of that third round in the A-main! Would be nice to put my DESC410 in the winners circle! πŸ™‚

Buggy was a roller coaster. My buggy felt so amazing in the first round. I had a few mistakes but still managed 6th for the round. The car was capable of so much more. In the second round we ran around 10pm at night. During the run my goggles began to fog up and I just made way to many mistakes. Got 20 something for the round. So come third round I needed a decent run. I went 50cts softer in the rear suspension hoping for that to help in the rough. I was wrong. Should have left it as it was. I ended up making a couple mistakes early. Battled back into the top 5 or 6 and then on the last lap crashed with 3 corners to go and the marshal was watching the race. I ended up 15th overall for the round but only one second out of a top 12 for the round. I ended up qualifying 12th and they only seated 11 into the A-main. So I am BQ. I tied in points with Adam Drake but he had the better tie-breaker which was the third round finish. I was just bummed to have that rollover be the difference between that one point I needed to make the A. Either way I’m going back to the set-up I had and am going to win that B and give it all I got in the A-main tomorrow! Check it out live on liverc.com

-Lutzinator

Thursday Eve. April 7, 2011

Well practice is over for the day. My feelings on my Durango DNX408 Buggy were true as it feels awesome on the track. I had a very frustrating time with traffic and mistakes on my part but I was so happy with the Buggy. I can’t wait for qualifying to start tomorrow. Tomorrow we have 2 qualifiers so i’m hoping to put in some solid runs tomorrow to take the pressure off of Saturday.

-Lutzinator

Thursday April 7, 2011

Today is the start of practice here at the Silver State Nitro Challenge. I will be running 3 classes this week. Running my Durango DNX408 and DESC410R along with my rent a ride ST-RR.
I’ve had a good feeling leading up to this event and coming off a couple of wins leaves me with some good confidence. I’m ready for an Awesome Week!!

-Lutzinator

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