November 1st, 2012
11/3/12 – It may only be Saturday, but racing has concluded at the 2012 RC Pro Series Finals held at the Gulf Coast Raceway in Porter, Texas. Coming into mains, I really was gunning for that quint-fecta (five wins in all five classes). I knew it would be a challenge in classes like e-buggy where I was starting 12th and the nitro classes where it's an hour-long main, you never know what can happen.
First out of the gate was the start of the triple A-mains. I was able to handily take the E-truggy and Short Course classes and then came the challenge of E-buggy and starting 12th. At the tone I had a great first lap and diced my way through traffic up to I think 5th on the first lap. With a mistake or two by the leaders I had caught the lead pair in under two-minutes and proceeded to battle the remainder of the main. I ended up coming away with the victory! So I was able to win all three A1′s. Next was A2′s and again in e-truggy and short course I made handy work of the field. What impressed me most was getting a 29.2 laptime in SC class! My DESC410Rv2 was on rails and flying! Come e-buggy again and the gremlins came back. I had a little more traffic issues at the start this time around and the leaders got away clean. I was able to work my way up to the lead pair again eventually, but I pushed really hard to do it. Near the end of the race, the leader and I were pacing ourselves around the track for the last two-minutes but with about 30-seconds to go I started to thermal. So I had to stop using brakes and get on the gas smoother the rest of the race, so I could finish out. I took 2nd for that round. In A3 for E-buggy I had a terrible start, getting caught up in traffic repeadedly. I found myself up in 3rd at about the five-minute mark with about eight-seconds being the gap from the leader. I started putting in some super-quick laps including the first 27 second lap with a 27.8 and I began to close the gap. However it wasn’t meant to be as the sensor wire came undone and it was the end of my run.
Overall in the electric classes for the event, I took 1st in E-truggy and Short Course and took 2nd in E-buggy. A big reason I raced the finals in everything is to have a shot at the National Finals. I found out today though that I made a huge oversight through the year, which cost me winning any National titles. I must have known early this year that I needed 3 qualifying races because I scheduled 3 of them. However, when I got sick before Atlanta earlier this year it was the first race I had ever missed due to illness. I couldn’t fit another event into my schedule and also forgot by that time that I needed 3 rounds instead of just two. So basicallly, I went into the finals without enough points to compete for the championship. This was quite a disappointment to me for such an oversight.
In Nitro there were two one-hour long mains on tap and both would start pretty interestingly. In truggy, I would hold the lead over Branham and was slowly extending the lead until on my pit lap I ran out of gas two turns before pit lane. I had made a mistake and had Wes richen my engine just a little before the main, but I shouldn’t have made that call as it became too rich for the race. So i ended up back in 4th or 5th after getting refueled. The mission was set to catch back up. I quickly caught back up to 3rd and then slowly reeled in Glancy and was able to overtake him for second. Then my sights were set on Branham. I got my lap back and started to narrow the gap when suddenly he had a problem and had to retire. I now inherited the lead, but would make a few mistakes and Glancy and I would battle pretty close for a good amount of time. Probably 30 or so minutes in, Glancy had a battery wire go bad and had a runaway, which required him to come off the track for the repair. This gave me a huge lead and I just needed to complete the remainder of the race. There were no guarantees as the track had a huge triple with a harsh landing, which was causing issues for many cars all weekend. My Alpha-powered Durango held up to the punishment and came home with the big victory!
Nitro buggy would be the final race of the day. Another hour long test and I wanted to push 100% the entire time no matter what - in preparation for the IFMAR Worlds. At the start, I had a couple rough laps including jumping off the track in the back right corner. I was quickly down a 1/4 of a lap, but my new buggy was on a mission. As the tires came in to the track and I got comfortable with the agressiveness of my new Durango, I started putting in blistering laptimes about half a second faster than anyone else. By the first pit stop I had caught and passed the leader and came into the pits first. A fuel bottle mishap in pit lane briefly saw second place come into the pits and punt the fuel bottle down the lane. It soaked all the mechanics with fuel. As Wes recovered the bottle and fueled me up I had lost a position and was a bit flustered at the moment. With my engine just a bit rich out of pit lane I did the triple and missed right sending me into the the pipe section. I stopped for a second before popping out behind the pipe to let a car go by. The richness of just exiting pit lane and I flamed. So now I got refired and was down a lap.
It was now time to turn on the afterburners. I knew with the laptimes I was putting down that I could make up that lap. Over the next 10 minutes put in the fastest laptimes of the weekend even as low as 27.5 and my Durango was on rails. I was speeding by guys down the straight with my Alpha Lutz edition and turning inside many with my new Durango. The car was just phenominal and I was giving it all I had. I made up the time and caught and passed Branham for the lead and then began extending the lead out to over a lap myself. Shortly thereafter both second and third place had issues which gave me a large lead. I continued to press hard the entire hour even with a large lead because to me this was my hour long practice for the Worlds. It amazed me how good the car was. I hadn’t changed the set-up sense Italy. The diffs had probably 6 hours of running on them and the shock probably had 5. I had taken the same set-up from the super slick track in Italy and changed 1 thing besides tires for this medium high bite track in Texas. The pace and feeling just made me smile as I pushed the car to it’s limit. There wasn’t a hint of rolling over no matter how hard I pushed the corners. The forgiveness on landing a little sideways was awe inspireing. The turning on a dime gave me so much confidence in passing as I could turn under anyone. In the end I would win the hour long race by some 4 laps. My fastest laptime was over a second faster than the next guy. I was super impressed with my new Futaba servos and my Alpha engine and ProTek battery for surviving the punishment on that big triple as well as the car itself!
I am now so excited for the Worlds. A little more testing is on tap for me Sunday and Monday on a different track in Texas and I am just looking forward to going home to my family and spending some time with them while preparing mentally, physically, and mechanically for the Worlds coming up in less than a month! I am also so stoked with this buggy for 2013. I think my breakout year is finally about to arrive. I feel Durango is on to something with this car and it will really give me my chance to show my talent!
11/2/12 – Well it wasn’t everything I had hoped for but i’m ready for main day. Qualifiers concluded today with a final two rounds. In Short Course and E-Truggy I needed one TQ round in each class to secure TQ and I was able to accomplish that. So I sat out the 5th and final round in both classes to save my equimpment for the triple A’s. In E-Buggy I needed to TQ both rounds today to get the overall TQ. Things were looking good in Q4 as I had the lead but my little gremlin from Q1 and Q2 came back and I was out. In Q5 I didn’t even get to start as the gremlin showed up before I left my pit. Miraculously I still made the A-main in 12th and thus can hopefully kick the gremlin and put in some solid performances in the triple A’s. In the Nitro classes I skipped Q4 in truggy and in Q5 tried the tires I will be running in the main and they were solid. In Buggy I tried a set-up change for Q5 and it was amazing. This car is so awesome to drive. I’m really getting excited about my chances at the Worlds!
11/1/12 – Having a good time down in south Texas at the RC Pro Finals. 5 qualifiers in two days and 5 classes are keeping me and Wes plenty busy. Rubine Samuel posted this video of my third qualifier today in Nitro Buggy with my new prototype. Thought it would be good to share:
After the first 3 qualifiers I have already secured TQ in Nitro Buggy and Truggy. I have two TQ’s in Short Course and E-Truggy, and have one TQ in E-buggy. So I have a bit of work ahead tomorrow but my lap times are solid and getting better and the cars are working great so just need to lay it down! I want that Quint-fecta!
Posted by Ryan Lutz
RC Pro National Finals at Mike’s Hobby Shop in Porter, Texas
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