• Ryan Lutz

ROAR Nationals 2021

Over the last week I made my third trip to LCRC raceway this spring to race at the ROAR 1/8th Nitro Off Road Nationals. After a 1 year hiatus due to C19 we were back racing at one of the premier tracks and facilities in the country. The setting of the track is beautiful with some mountain/hills surrounding and lots of greenery and trees. This year we also were treated with the 17 year cicadas who plagued us throughout the weekend and the death toll was high. (For the cicadas). I was racing my WRC SBX Nitro buggy and a borrowed X-Ray Nitro truggy at this event.



As practice got underway my buggy especially was already on point. I already had a comfortable setup and with the track surface being on the looser driftier side my choice of AKA SS Chainlinks was very fast. Though all the first practice rounds I was throwing down top 3 consecutive way faster than the rest of the field. But I knew things would tighten up as the event moved along and everyone came to grips with the set-up and tire selection.


On Friday we finally got around to our first two rounds of qualifiers after two days of practice and I had a really good consistent day. In Buggy I would get a 5th in Rd 1 and then a 4th in Rd 2. In truggy I had a 6th in rd 1 and a 5th in rd 2. These results solidified me in to the Semi and A-final respectively and would allow me to relax a perhaps try some things heading into Saturday.



On Saturday we were due for another two qualifiers and at the end take best 2 of 4. My morning started out a bit rough with a setscrew coming loose in my truck and the kingpin bolt falling out ending that run. In buggy the track was in a transition phase and I opted for the wrong tires for the condition and just lacked a little pace. As Q4 got underway the weather took a turn and the rains came. The choice was made to cancel rd 4 and take best 2 out of 3. Fortunately I had that good Friday and thus would qualify 5th overall in Nitro Buggy and 6th in Nitro Truggy.



Saturday night after the rain the track crew busted their but to get the track in good working order and some lower mains were ran. Then on Sunday morning the track was becoming perfect. It had the moisture in it and as we neared main time the groove came in and the track was holding together excellently. The truggy main was up first and it was a 45min affair. Starting 6th I had a good start holding in the freight train and moved up a spot on lap 2 to get into 5th. I held position until lap 5 with a small mistake dropping me to 7th. Then a much bigger mistake on the 180 before the front stretch. This dropped me down to 12th. But I kept with it and cleaned up my act and over the next 20 laps moved into 7th. I kept pressing and caught up to battle for 5th momentarily but the second I got right next to them to race a Cicada flew into my face and me being the bug wuss that I am let it ruin me and I crashed off the middle section loosing that opportunity. Then with just under two minutes to go still running in 6th I really started to press my line and clipped the pipe at the top of the track putting me on my lid and the marshal couldn't get to me right away as there was a couple other trucks behind me and I flamed out ending my run and thus I fell to 10th. So that was disappointing. Tire wise I ran SS Scribbles and they were pretty good the whole race.



Next we had the semi final warmup for buggy. My main goal was to try a number of tires as the track was really grooving up and we had two potentially very long races upcoming. I tried SS and S chainlinks as well as S zips and SSLW Scribbles. The S Zips and SSLW Scribble both had a similar feel on the track but the Scribbles in this instance were about 0.5 faster and thus that would be my decision for the semi.



As the semi got underway I had a good start though not on the pace I wanted. I started from the 2 hole but just was a little uncomfortable with my settings. I made a couple mistakes and as I came into my first pit stop was sitting 3rd. But I ended up flaming out while refueling and dropped to 11th by the time I got back out there. In the next 8 laps I worked my way back to 6th but on my next stop I flamed again. The engine just wasn't liking having the tank opened and something to do with the weather conditions was causing lots of flameouts and I unfortunately was one of them. I would again work my way back though into 6th before having a flame out upside down on a crash after another cicada attacked me. In the end I would end up 10th. If I try to find the positive in the semi's it would have to be that for top 15 laps and top 3 consecutive laps I was 3rd fastest behind Ogden and Maifield. But the end result just wasn't meant to be this time.


I was pleased however to show the pace of the new WRC SBX buggy and show it to be a capable platform on a big stage. I just hope I can get the whole package to work in unison at the next one!


Thanks to all those who support me as it's been a rough year of race results but I will keep plugging away and doing my best and helping wherever I can!




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