Thursday January 20th, 2011
Day one of the Midwest Gas champs is in the books:
Practice went well for me and I did a dozen or so tanks and felt like I got my DNX408 pretty dialed. Here is a video of today’s practice and the snow we’ve gotten! Check back throughout the weekend for more updates!


Saturday January 22, 2011
Qualifying here at the CRCRC Midwest Gas Championships is done. The mains are set up and it’s time for a good night’s rest to prepare for Sunday’s mains. Usually a 45-minute main isn’t that daunting. But when that 45 minutes is inside — where the temps are near freezing and the sound continues to drum in your ears well after the main is over it — makes it a bit more important to be prepared and well rested!

Let me recap how my Durango DNX408 and I fared today during our three qualifiers. Quals were sorted from practice so all of the fast guys were together in the same heat. Rd one started out well for me and for the first 3 laps I was running right behind Maifield. I was beginning to get in a groove when I took a bad tumble and broke my rear upper turnbuckle arm. They were resorting every round and thus for the second round I was in the first heat of Pro Buggies with all the people who struggled their first round like me. Asround two began it was my mission to run a clean run and avoid traffic as much as possible. I was able to accomplish this and while I didn’t throw down anything crazy fast I was able to put in a 6th overall for the first two rounds. The race crew had decided on doing a rocket round and thus it only takes one good run to get in the main.

Next up was round three, and again there was a resort. I was in with the fast group again, and in the warm-up I was feeling decent about the few changes I made to the car. As the race got underway I had a solid start and was running top 3 for the first half of the race. Then on the back straight a bump caught me and I went tumbling! Lost 5 seconds on that crash, and on a track so small with a group of racers so fast those 5 seconds were huge! I pulled it back together for everything but the last two laps where I bobbled on each. I ended up with a sub-par run due to the crashes.

Overall after 3 rounds of qualifying I was able to seat 7th for the A-main. I really think the A-main will go well. My engines are running awesome (10min!) and I believe in my car’s ability to stay together! I’m excited for Sunday!

Sunday January 23, 2011
Well Sunday racing has come and gone. It was a long day of racing only running in one class, but the anticipation built throughout the day until the culmination at the beginning of the A-main!

Starting 7th on the grid right in the middle of the pack is kind of a make or break position. You have half the field in front and halfbehind you so I was just looking to stay clean and hope for mistakes by those in front of me. At the start it was clean up front and eventually 8th bobbled and it was a 7-car breakaway. Soon, on subsequent bobbles from those ahead of me I steadily worked up to 6th, 5th, 4th, and then 3rd for a short time. I then made a bobble of my own and fell back to 5th which I held until around the 8:30 mark. The track had gotten slicker for finals day and I hadn’t done a runtime test since practice. I must have been spinning a lot of tires and driving to hard as I ran out of gas crossing the line. I fell back about 2 laps by thetime I got fired up and back going. I got into a good groove and began working my way back through the pack.

Then with about 18 minutes to go, someone crashed over the back double and I nailed them head on, breaking my shock shaft! My right front shock was standing straight up in the air! I continued to drive and actually began having a really good time with it! The car was working surprisingly well with only 3 shocks and I was actually passing people!!! I was amazed that I was driving the snot out of my DNX408! I couldn’t believe nothing else broke in the front end with 18 minutes of slamming into jumps and landings on 3 shocks! Even though the result wasn’t what I wanted (finishing in 8th), it was fun to manhandle a 3-shocked buggy and do some drifting again and have a good time.

Tomorrow (Monday) I’m off to Taiwan to do some testing with Alpha Plus at their factory! I can’t wait to visit their factory and see what producing engines is all about! I look forward to reporting back about it in as much detail as I can when I return. (Or maybe if I have good Internet while I’m there!)

Thanks to the CRCRC crew and the RC Factory for a quality race and I look forward to coming back next year!


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January 16, 2011

Headed out yesterday to Delta R/C in Antioch for Rd 3 of the Delta R/C Winter series. The current layout is very fast and it’s really a matter of not crashing and tire selection. Tyler Vik was also in attendance and was flying around this track as he usually does. I ended up qualifying second behind Tyler as he put down a blistering time with his SS Wishbone tires. In the main I went with soft Gridirons like I usually do but for whatever reason the track wasn’t abrasive last night and SS was the way to go. The softs were just a little slick and had a small push to them. This made the car very easy to drive but I was about .3 of a second a lap off pace of where I was in qualifying with SS tires. Tyler Vik was on SS and was also on Fire. I think he drove a pretty flawless race and just pulled away from the field. I ended up finishing 2nd, 2 laps down after 20min of racing.
This race reiterated to me how important the right compound of tires is, especially on a small (18 second) indoor clay track. Next time I will be sure to pick the right tire and I hope to give Tyler a run for his money @ Delta.

Delta R/C Winter Series

Durning the course of the day I also allowed 6 other people to drive my new Durango DNX408. It was very satisfying as they all really enjoyed it and said they were very impressed with it! (Then I asked if they had ever driven a buggy with 20-20-6 in the diffs!) haha. They all looked at me in disbelief that, that was the diff set-up in my car. Either way though they were very impressed and I was glad to see it! I’m getting more and more used to the new car and I’m liking it more and more each day! Looking forward to the Midwest Gas Champs next week in Jeffersonville, Ohio!

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Lutz signs 10-year contract with Durango
Its not unheard of for drivers and companies to spend 10+ years together but from a contractual perspective the longest we know of is usually ~5 years. Ryan Lutz’s (26) decade-long deal dwarfs that and is quite difficult to comprehend the reasons for such a lengthy agreement. Details of the contract aren’t public so its possible there could be some clauses and a mutual break. Most drivers, even good pros usually have a competitive (for lack of a better word) lifespan of around 10 years, the absolute top guys e.g. Aigoin, Pavidis etc. seem to be evergreen and have outlasted their peers.
The news is very much a shock to the system in that whilst it shows a tremendous commitment from Lutz as well as Durango, times change, cars are fast and sometimes cars are slow, times aren’t always rosy. Ten years ago today the MP7.5 was ruling the offroad tracks with designer Yuuichi Kanai as World Champ, Alex Laffranchi European Champ with a Thunder Tiger & Brian Kinwald was reighing ROAR 1/8th buggy champion. 10 years is quite a long time… On the flip side it may turn out to be a good deal depending on the small print, a nice weighty 10-year deal freshly signed is some good security.

“I am extremely excited today to have forged a long term contract with Team Durango. Originally we agreed, in principle, to work together until the end of the 2010 season and we would talk longer term come December. Another thing this offered was the chance to really test the DNX408 and get to know the company before making any decisions. This is why I am so excited to have signed a 10 year contract with Team Durango. In the past three months I have gotten to see how this company operates, and the pride that they take in making top-of-the-line racing vehicles. Their slogan is, “Serious about Racing” and I have never witnessed a company take this more to heart. That is why I am confident that the next 10 years will be wrought with success for both parties involved and why I am proud to put my name alongside Team Durango. In the next 10 years I will do everything I can to help Team Durango make the best R/C cars on the planet, and help make sure their customers are as satisfied as possible with the products they are buying! All-in-all with this deal of a decade in hand I’m ready to get started winning and performing at my best for this company that has put a lot of faith in me! I’m really looking forward to it!”

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January 5, 2011

January 5th, 2011

Building a track is HARD work!! Especially by hand. Eric and myself were at it again today and yesterday. The progress is starting to show but we are still a long ways off. The lanes are a bit more narrow that I would like but hopefully it will teach us better control and being more precise with our driving. Were doing a lot of banking and luckily so far the dirt is a nice moist clay and outside of tree roots is very easy to work with!

Here is a couple of  photos of our Progress:

<-> Lutzinator <->

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