Now you might be asking yourself why I was at a Pro-Line spec tire event when I have been with AKA Tires for their entire existence. Truly the reason is simple in that it was a Tekno deal made with the Thornhill facility early this year for Joe and I to attend 3 events at the facility. This was only my 3rd ever spec tire 1/8th event, and in a way it is kind of nice. No need to worry about which tire to run, and you can focus more on car set-up. We also arrived a day early and put on a driving clinic which was a good success I believe. It was the first one we (Joe, Matt, and I) had done and overall I think it went well. The morning consisted of us fielding questions and covering many talking points regarding set-up and driving style ext. Then after a pizza lunch we had some on track tutelage. We drove other peoples cars to be sure the radio’s were set-up properly and nothing was hindering performance that we could tell. Then we also set up cones to tighten up some lines and did some drills. I think it was a good success!

On to the racing and it was Nitro buggy and truggy as well as E-buggy that I would be running. In qualifying Joe got started out hot taking the TQ in all 3 Q1’s as I settled in behind him. Nitro buggy I had the TQ for most of the race before colliding with another driver over the back triple. In Q2 Joe again was still on point taking the buggy TQ’s, but I was able to run a solid run in truggy to take the TQ of Q2. In Q3 the only class left contested for TQ was truggy and we battled back and forth for the entire race. In the end I edged Joe out by about 0.15 seconds. So I would qualify 2nd in the buggies and TQ in truggy.

E-buggy had triple A-mains in store and in A1 I got out to a good start right behind Joe and he seemed nervous and was missing the first couple corners. He then turned in to tight and got into a pipe giving me the lead which I would hold on to the entire race and just cruise to an A1 victory. In A2 Joe got out to the track late and had to run someone else’s buggy for the run. So he wasn’t comfortable at the start and was missing all his marks. I had to keep checking up as to not run into him and it cost me as I then turned into a pipe knocking me back in the field and only being able to recover to 3rd by the end. In A3 the battle was on. Joe and I were battling strong at the start for a couple laps until I made a mistake and Glancy got by and I fell down to 3rd. I charged back and Glancy made a mistake and I got back to 2nd and got up to within a second of Joe. But he fought me off hard as we stayed within 2 seconds of one another the last 5 minutes of the race and he would win and I took 2nd.

E-Buggy 2nd Place

E-Buggy 2nd Place

Nitro truggy main was a great one at the start. For the first 10 minutes or so Joe and I were nose to tail freight training around the track as he looked for a way to get around me. I was taking it easy as I was wanting to be sure I had tires at the end and he got by me in the bowl turns and I assumed the position he was in just tailing right behind his rear bumper. After my 3rd pitstop though I could feel something not feeling right in my clutch and a couple minutes later my car came to a dead halt. My front clutch bearing disintegrated and that was the end of my run with about 6 minutes left in the race.

Nitro Truggy TQ

Nitro Truggy TQ

Next was the Nitro buggy main for 45 minutes. This one was a challenge knowing that the tires we were running were to soft for the conditions and we knew they would be bald by the end of the race. My strategy was just to stay clean and towards the front and conserve tires as long as I could. For the first few minutes I stayed right behind Joe and just cruised with no intent on pushing it. He made a mistake which allowed me to get by and into a couple second lead. He pushed hard though to catch back up and again we freight trained around. He made a pass through the bowl turn again and I just let him go sticking to my strategy. About halfway into the race Joe started to make a few mistakes and I stayed clean and quickly built a 15 second + lead on the field and I knew if I just stayed mistake free I would be able to bring it home. With about 3 minutes to go I got some bad luck hitting a crashed car that was on the face of the left triple, but luckily my car held together although my shock moved all the way back on the upper shock perch. They announced Joe as now just 5 seconds back and he was pushing hard as he could. But soon after they announced that he made a couple more mistakes and I was able to cruise home to victory.

Nitro Buggy winner!

Nitro Buggy winner!

So overall it was a good event. The Thornhill track and facility are always awesome. It was great having some “best marshal in the world” competitions with Jeremy Potter and Noah Dickerson and I think those in the races we marshaled really lucked out as we were giving it our all out there! 😉

Tekno Clean Sweep!

Tekno Clean Sweep!

Next up is Sikcross at the Pro-Line test track in a little over a week. All heads up Gate starts and triple A-mains! Should be a blast!

-Lutzinator

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Wicked Weekend

August 23, 2016

This past weekend I headed down south on a direct flight to Atlanta! (I almost always have a layover so this trip started great!;-) Then we had a hour and 15min drive north east to attend the Wicked Weekend race. This event is held in an awesome facility being an open sided horse arena. There was grandstands to watch the racing and the open sides (with great roof!) kept off the rain but provided a nice breeze to keep cool in these dog days of summer. I ran my usual 3 classes and it actually left me with plenty of time to help others as there were around 640 entries! They decided to shorten the program to two 7 minute qualifiers instead of 3, 5 minute runs.

Very cool arena

Very cool arena

In qualifying everything was going my way. In round 1 we started with E-buggy pretty early in the morning and the track was pretty slick still from the overnight watering. I was able to put in a clean run however the whole time bouncing around the TQ Joe had set. In the last two laps I was able to secure the deal and take the TQ by 0.8 tenths. The Nitro classes followed and the traction had come up and the track was about 1.5 seconds a lap faster than it had been in the morning. I began to dip into the 29 second range and was able to barely squeak out a 15 lap run which I also did in Nitro buggy. So in all of Q1 I never crashed and everything was running great.

IMG_5556

The second qualifier brought much more of the same. Because there was only 2 rounds the tiebreaker would be the person with the faster qualpoint round. So I knew I needed to also win this Ebuggy round because I knew it would be quicker with the track being 1.5 seconds a lap faster. Again it was another great battle with Joe but again I was able to stay clean and out front and take the TQ! In Truggy it was a battle between Ogden and I. We were both on decent 15 lap runs and were dipping into the low 29’s. The track was fast and my Tekno truggy was on point. I would run clean and take a 3 second TQ. Nitro buggy was another battle between Ogden and I and again much like truggy my clean race propelled me to the front and to finish off the clean sweep of qualifying. The TQ trifecta was complete.

Sunday our mains didn’t come up until mid afternoon. We started off with Ebuggy A1 and I chose the wrong tire. The traction had really come up again and I went with a regular soft where a soft long wear would have suited the condition better. I also crashed on the top right whoops section multiple times. Crashing more times in that one race than I had all throughout all of qualifying in all 3 classes. So for this one I had to settle for 2nd.

In A2 Joe and I had a battle. We swapped positions multiple times throughout the race and put on a good show for those watching. Over the closing laps he put some serious pressure on me but I made my car wide and kept him behind just barely. In the end I would cross the line for the A2 win putting us in an A3 battle! A3 was the final race of the evening and on the first lap I flipped off the track in the top right corner again. This was all Joe needed as he was dialed in and I just had nothing for him once I got back into 2nd. So overall it was a Tekno 1-2 and I took 2nd in this one.

EBuggy TQ+2nd place

EBuggy TQ+2nd place

The Nitro truggy main couldn’t have gone much better. At the start halfway into the first lap p2 crashed giving me a couple second lead. Next lap same thing and I got an early 5 second lead that would just continue to grow. I ran totally clean for the first 27 minute as I had gotten a lap on the field and I made a couple mental mistakes as my back was sore and I was uncomfortable on the stand. I tried to use it as a learning experience and finished strong with just over a lap victory on the field.

Nitro Truggy TQ+Win

Nitro Truggy TQ+Win

Nitro buggy was up around 7pm and my choice of soft long wear Impacts was the right choice. My car was easy to drive as I also went up in front sway bar judging from the performance of my ebuggy runs. I felt I made all the right decisions and over the first 2 laps Ogden was pressuring me hard. I made a mistake and fell to 2nd and we pulled away from the field. I was totally cool running 2nd at this point just running my pace and keeping within 2 seconds of Ogden. On my pit in lap he crashed and I got into the lead as I came into the pit. He went one more lap and while he was in pit lane he flamed out and lost half a lap. I got out to a 12 second lead over Pickett and over the next stop I extended up to an 18 second lead by the time the second pit stops were through. I was driving a super clean race and suddenly I had a outer driveshaft pin break on me and the pin and barrel were gone. That ended my race with an 18 second lead on the field. So a bit of bad luck there but it was nice to know I had the pace and will come back stronger next time.

Next up is the proline shootout at Thornhill this upcoming week including a driver seminar on Thursday that Joe and I will be doing!

-Lutzinator

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This past weekend I headed south to Flowood, Mississippi to attend the Bring the Heat event at FRC. This is an awesome indoor facility with upper viewing deck and of course covered. Thus rain or shine we were racing and having a good time. I took my standard 3 Tekno vehicles to the event and overall had a successful weekend.

In practice for buggy I ended up trying some AKA Clay Typo tires after having middling success with Soft Long wear Grids and Zips. The Typos were hooked up for sure but the problem was I only had brung a total of 2 sets. I ended up running that first set probably about 30 minutes on practice day between my Electric and Nitro buggies.

Come qualifying I decided to stay on that same set of Clay Typo’s the entire day. I swapped that set from Ebuggy to Nitro buggy each qualifier so in total ran them 6 races or about 45 more minutes. They were pretty bald by the end of qualifying but as long as I stayed in the groove they felt great. Usually the track blows out a little in a few sections but this year it stayed together really well which allowed me to stay on those tires. In E-buggy I would TQ Q2 and Q3 to take the overall TQ over my teammate Joe. In Nitro buggy I was hooked up. I TQ’d all 3 rounds by about 8 seconds plus on each one as my Tekno was just on rails. In Nitro truggy I TQ’d Q2 and had a comeback in Q3 to take 2nd in that one. Based on usual tie-breakers of combined laps and times of the two runs that counted I thought I had the tie-breaker. But for some reason their computer was set-up for single fast run and thus I missed out on the trifecta and ended up 2nd qualifier in truggy behind Joe.

Truggy A-main was up first on Sunday morning which felt really weird. It was a 35 minute race and it took me some time to get going. I started out battling with Joe and Ogden for a few minutes until I began to find my groove and I pulled out to a 12 second or so lead by the 3rd pit stop. I felt confident that it was my race to win at that point. However after that 3rd stop I went hot into the double after the pit lane and crashed off the track. The marshal grabbed me from the sides and stalled my truck. This put me about 20 seconds behind once I got fired back up . I fought hard though and with 5 minutes to go I had moved back into 2nd and was just 2 seconds behind the leader. Suddenly though I started feeling like I was having steering issues and sure enough a lap later I locked up my front left. My driveshaft had spun in the outdrive and that was that. Ended up 7th. So a bit disappointing with the final result knowing the win was within grasp!

Nitro buggy main was an earlier main this weekend too and it went a bit better. The start I was a little off pace as I had my new set of clay typo’s on but I had to run black foam in them as I was out of red. They took a few minutes to start to come in and thus I fell back to 3rd early. I then got into 2nd but was about 7 seconds behind Ogden. However he had a tire issue and had to come in for a tire swap which gave me the lead and at that point I would not look back. I ran a clean remainder of the race pulling away from the field as I found my groove and won by over a lap and a half.

E-buggy ran triple A-mains and it was a close battle. In A1 I ran my super worn out Typo’s but kept it in the groove for the most part and would take the victory. In A2 Joe and I battled for the first half. I would struggle a bit though with the dust in spots but was in the lead until I had a failure (can’t remember at the moment what it was) but that knocked me out of the race. So it was all down to A3. Joe and I each had a win and the battle was on. For the first 5 minutes I kept him just in toe and he made a mistake giving me a 4 second cushion. But the track was a bit dustier and he was making up time on me. I then had a weird crash on the back step-up jump and he got by and up to a 4 second or so lead. By the last lap I had got within 2 seconds but it would take a mistake. He took the corner before the front triple and got caught in a crashed car that he couldn’t see because it was behind the pole. Fortune was on my side this time as I drove around that and into the lead and took the overall victory.

So overall 2 more TQ’s and 2 more victories to continue a great season of racing.

Next up is Wicked Weekend in 2 weeks. In the meantime some Worlds preparations! 🙂

-Lutzinator

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This past week I attended the ROAR 1/8th Electric and 4x4SC Off-road Nationals at Stateline R/C in Fremont, Indiana. This years attendance was so-so for a 1/8th E-nats with around 160 entires. The facility and welcoming was once again near the top of what I ever encounter. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome and provided everyone with a buffett style lunch and a pancake breakfast during the week.

The week was interrupted a couple of times by some heavy downpours and thunderstorms which ended up altering the schedule a little. However thanks to the hard work of the track crew and the supplied nearly full track sized tarp they laid out across the track, we were able to get in more racing than would have otherwise been possible.

Pit spot with drivers stand view!

Pit spot with drivers stand view!

The event was comprised of 2 days of practice, 4 qualifiers, and the mains. For me qualifying was pretty solid but I didn’t have any real stand out runs. In 4×4 SC our goal was to navigate a couple of the tough doubles that were tough to keep the nose up. Even buggies were getting kicked over them and it made it even tougher for SC. In 3 of the 4 rounds I would come away with a 2nd place finish and thus qualify 2nd overall. In Etruggy I had a mediocre start until I got things figured out a bit. First two runs were top 5 runs but in Q3 I was running 2nd until my transponder didn’t count on the last lap and thus they dropped me to 3rd for the run. Then in Q4 I was on a TQ run with just a minute or so to go when I had a servo let go. So that would qualify me 5th overall for the mains.

Mains Ready!

Mains Ready!

In buggy it was a similar story to truggy. My first runs being just mediocre as I was working with my set-up. In Q3 though I coupled my driving with my set-up and drove cleaner. I was on TQ run through the middle of the run before making a mistake on the left side of the track actually ending up off the track briefly. This had me settle for 2nd for that round. Then in Q4 Rivkin and I battled the entirety of the run. I was able to lead just a couple of the laps midway through but we were close on the track and on the clock the whole run. I would take another 2nd and thus qualify 3rd overall for the A final.

Battle with the rain!

Battle with the rain!

They decided to run A1’s on Saturday night after qualifiers were complete as the forecast for Sunday wasn’t looking all that great. Buggy final was up first and it was a pretty intense race. At the start Rivkin made a mistake on lap one allowing me into 2nd behind Maifield. I made a bobble on lap 7 allowing Cavalieri by for 2 laps before regaining 2nd place. Then on lap 14 Maifield made a mistake on the top left double and I got by and into the lead! I led for 3 laps before traction rolling coming into the S section! By the time I got marshaled I was back in 3rd just ahead of Joe. On lap 22 Joe would get by me and I would work on staying right with him. On the last lap in the front left hip jump he landed tight and I was mid air. When I came down my tire landed on his wing. It was a racing incident as far as I could tell and the ROAR official agreed and it allowed me into 3rd overall.

3rd Place E-buggy

3rd Place E-buggy

In 4x4SC it was a goal to stay with Maifield as he was in one of his dominant forms this weekend. I feel like I held my own staying within 2-3 seconds of him the entire run. I ran a clean race with every lap being within 0.7 tenths. However it was only enough to take 2nd place about 3 seconds behind Maifield in the end.

2nd Place 4x4SC

2nd Place 4x4SC

In the E-truggy class I just never really got anything going. I struggled from the get go starting in the 5 slot. I stayed with the front pack but never was able to mount anything. I briefly got by Joe a couple times when he made mistakes but he would get back by and I would settle into 5th, hoping I would be able to go make some changes and come back stronger in A2.

Crazy cloud formations!

Crazy cloud formations!

However come Sunday morning the skies were ominous. The tarp was on and the feeling was that rain would hit any moment. There was a window that they probably could have ran and got the A2’s in but the fear of rain kept it from happening. Finally the tarp was removed and they ran a quick 2 minute practice run for all the remaining mains to get the track ready. They were able to start and run the first main and as it finished up and we were standing in line to run our first A2 the skies started to open and they decided to pull the tarp. That’s the last we would see of the track as the rains came down hard and the event was eventually called.

So in the end I got another 3 top 5 ROAR Nats finishes including two podiums. Next up I head down South to Mississippi for the Bring the Heat event at Flowood!

-Lutzinator

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This year with having moved to the midwest I decided to take the 7 hour drive over to NY to race the Big Apple Novarossi Challenge. Last year the results were perfect with 3 TQ’s and 3 Wins and I was looking for a repeat performance. This year there was some serious threats of rain and while it did rain us out of practice early on Friday we were able to get 3 quals in on Saturday before the rains came again that night. Sunday opened with a slight delay but we got a fourth qualifier in and all the mains for some great racing action.

In qualifying my cars were pretty dialed into the track. I ran my standard Nitro buggy, Nitro Truggy, and E-buggy which kept me plenty busy whilst also helping others dial in their Alpha engines! I’ve never seen so many Alpha plus engines at an event so that was absolutely great to see. In E-buggy I would go on to TQ the first 3 rounds of qualifying giving me the overall TQ. I ran SS Grids when the track was wet and transitioned to Soft Impacts in front and Grids in Rear for the dryer qualifiers. Truggy I felt pretty dominant in but it’s the one class I didn’t TQ two of the rounds. In Q2 I had some traffic troubles and in Q4 I had an old glow plug go out on me. But my two TQ rounds were by a large margin and I was able to overall TQ. My Nitro buggy was pretty dialed and through qualifying the track got rougher and rougher. It seemed as though the harder the track got the more I would win my qualifiers by and I TQ’d all 4 qualifiers in Nitro buggy!

After that morning delay on Sunday morning from the overnight rains we were racing and first up for me was E-buggy A1. At the start I made a mistake pushing wide and hitting a blown out portion of the little double double and falling back to 4th. But I fought back and into the top 3 where we swapped positions for the first few minutes. One front runner bowed out with an electronic issue and I started to find my groove and pulled away to an A1 victory.

Truggy 30min final was next and I led out for the first few laps until I tagged a stalled car allowing Drake to get by. He would then lead out for a couple laps until he made a mistake and that was all she wrote. I set sail getting into my groove and going on to lap the field in the 30 minute final. The biggest story was the battle for 2nd as my Teammate Kyle Rhodes battled the Drake for the last portion of the race to take a deserved 2nd for a Tekno-Alpha 1-2 finish in the truggy class! I was running Soft Impacts on front and Soft Gridirons on the rear.

TQ and Victory!

TQ and Victory!

E-buggy A2 was next and it was slightly more straight forward as I made sure to stay clean at the start and stay out front. Drake gave me some heavy pressure at the start but I would eventually work on my lead and extend out to a nice victory in A2 and thus the overall win.

TQ and Victory!

TQ and Victory!

So now I was 5/6ths of the way to the repeat trifecta and was feeling good as my Nitro buggy was running awesome. First we would have to navigate a semi-final to qualify in the A-main. At the start I got out clean beginning and immediately started to pull away from the pack. I got about 5 laps in and already had a 5 second lead and my car was dialed. But then I heard the dreaded sound of gear crunching. Turned out both rear diff pinion bearings blew out on me. I swapped them out quick as I could but missed 5 minutes of the 20 minute final and by the time I got back on the track I was 8 laps out of a transfer spot. I drove hard as I could that last portion of the race but only was able to get within 4 laps of the transfer spot. And so that ended my weekend a bit early. I chose to run Soft Zipps and my car was so dialed. I really think the A-main would have been mine to loose but alas that’s racing.

Next up is the ROAR E-Nats at Stateline followed by Bring the Heat at Flowood, MS!

-Lutzinator

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