• Ryan Lutz

Wicked Weekend 2022

Updated: Oct 27

This past weekend I made my once a year only direct flight trip to the ATL to attend the Wicked Weekend event put on my RaceTime Entertainment. This year again eclipsed 500 entries and we were greeted with a very fun layout with a good amount of technicality and a necessity to keep the 'flow' going to create good lap times. I would be stretching myself and my pit guy thin running 4 classes as I wanted to showcase the soon to be released Kyosho MP10Te 1/8th electric truggy as well as my primary 3 classes.



This event has a nice practice set-up in that they split it into two sessions. This allowed me and Will (my pit guy) to practice in different sessions. I opted for the day 1 practice session as it offered a little more time which was nice to have with running 4 classes. Throughout practice I was running primarily AKA SS Gridiron 2's and P1's. They were keeping the track pretty wet again this year to try to aid in keeping it together throughout the weekend. All of my cars were going pretty fast in practice and my fastest of all was my Kyosho MP10T Nitro truggy which laid down a 35.0 hot lap.



After session 2 of practice on Friday morning we got to do one shakedown run and then it was time for Q1 Friday afternoon. Round 1 started with Nitro truggy and I was on SS Gridirons. Overall my truck was running very well and I was running 3rd but with two laps to go had some sort of electric issue where my car started to not respond to all of my commands and had little spurts of runaways. This caused a harry last two laps but I did finish but only 10th. I was able to avenge myself though in Nitro buggy running SS Double down front and Grid 2 rear as my Kyosho MP10 TKI2 was feeling pretty stellar all weekend. I would get a 3rd in Q1 just 2 seconds out of TQ. Etruggy was next and out of the gate I got a TQ and the whole run on video to boot. Finally Ebuggy I had another good one with a 3rd for the round running SS Double Downs all the way around as the track started to develop a line with less dust on it.




Saturday brought 2 more round of qualifying and in truggy I was able to bounce back and nab a 4th and a 6th to seed 5th overall in the class. I ran SS grids in Q2 and SSLW impact front and Grid rear in Q3. Nitro buggy saw a hard fought 7th in Q2 on SS zips. It was a wrong tire choice as the zip just didn't have the steering needed on this track and it was just a little off pace, however in Q3 I was able to bounce back on SSLW Double downs as the track was getting a little more grippy and I was able to TQ the round by 2.5 seconds to qualify 2nd overall in the class!



For the electric side of things in Etruggy I had some traffic issues in Q2 and in Q3 I had a good battle on the clock with Tater Sontag. But in the end he got me in both round and I would qualify 2nd overall. I ran SSLW Impact front/Grid rear in both rounds. As for Ebuggy I had a couple too many mistakes in Q2 running SSLW Double Downs getting a 9 for the round. I again bounced back in Q3 though and set the hot lap of the weekend I believe with a 34.222 on SSLW Catapults and got 3rd which subsequently qualified me 3rd overall as well.



Main day was on tap on Sunday and first up was Nitro Truggy. I went with SSLW Gridirons in this one and I wasn't sure how I felt about everything during the warmup laps as I felt I had a bit too grippy of a front end making it a little hard to drive. However as we got underway I was able to work my way past a couple drivers and into 3rd on lap 6 and I then followed the lead pair for a good 10+ laps. I then began to loose a bit of their pace and then fell to 4th and then 5th myself. On lap 32 though I made my one big mistake of the race needing a marshal and it cost me as I flamed out upside down knocking me back to 14th. I recovered to 12th by the end but it wasn't the result I was hoping for.



Next was Etruggy and I ran SSLW Impacts in this class and had some great battles with Tater again. I got by him on the first lap but he put on a charge and got by me on lap 11. I got the pass back on lap 13 and held him off to take the A1 victory.



Next was Ebuggy A1 and my Kyosho MP10e had been fast all weekend. I had a good start and held my position for 3 laps before making the pass into 2nd on lap 4. I held that until lap 8. Somewhere in this timeframe my front right spring had somehow went out over the spring perch which cause my front end not to work properly making the mogul section especially difficult. I did all I could to hold off Cav and then Fuller but they both were able to get around me as my pace fell off just a bit due to the shock issue. I still was able to manage 4th but I wasn't stoked on how main day was beginning.



Next was the big one, the 30 minute Nitro Buggy final. In warmup laps my buggy felt really good and I was excited to see how this one was going to go. I opted for SSLW catapults as they would be the most forgiving in the rough that had developed at the end of the front straight and in the left hander after the double coming at the drivers stand. As we got underway I got right under Maifields wing and put the pressure on. On the step on step off section I could tell perhaps he couldn't see the very inside line that offered a quicker way around this corner instead of having to dip into the R/C car made dip that had developed. I nailed the line and slid underneath him and took the lead to the roar of the crowd in the grandstands behind the track! It didn't last too long though as I made a bobble on lap 2 and he got back by me. On lap 3 though I was able to duplicate the pass and made it stick and then pulled out to a 2-3 second lead.


However what turned out to be my achilles heal in this race was the end of the straight and even more so that double coming at the drivers stand on the left. There was lots of dust leading up to it if you went just a little wide, but the inside line was too tight for me to have enough run-up to clear the double. So I spend 90% of the race casing the top of this double and loosing time in the process each time. I was able to lead the race however until lap 11 when I relinquished again and then had another mistake allowing Maifield about a 5 second lead. I briefly took the lead again as he pitted one lap earlier than me on lap 26. He got it back on the next lap though and we stayed about that distance apart of much of the rest of the race. I tried my best to mount a charge at the end of the race throwing down the hot lap of 34.6 on lap 48 but I just couldn't do it again and then gave up about 2.5 second on the last lap going for it and so finished about 6 seconds behind after 30 minutes. I was very happy and disappointed at the same time. It was a great race and I was able to have some great battles with Maifield at the second event in a row. I'm getting my Kyosho buggies dialed in and I'm just so ready for the next event already! The disappointing part was knowing I had the lead and couldn't hold it. That double had my number and that was that this weekend.



Next was to try to quickly adjust my trigger finger to drive Etruggy again. This one started poor as I stuffed the pipe at the end of the straight right away causing mass chaos. (sorry everyone). I was able to get a good marshall however and get back into 2nd still on that first lap and then set my sights on Tater. It took most of the race but I did catch up to him near the end and got right under his wing a couple times. However he held steady and I made a mistake with a lap to go and he took the win. Fortunately my time from A1 was 9 seconds faster and thus I took the overall victory!



Finally was our final race of the day Ebuggy A2. I was running SSLW Chainlink in Ebuggy and they had worked well in A1 also. This race I hope someone got video of because it was full of close racing, lots of position swapping, and a whole lot of fun for those involved. I held my position again at the start and got into 3rd on lap 3 and set my sights on Maifield again. I was able to get by again on lap 6 and held the lead until lap 9. I don't remember where (though it was probably at the end of the straight, but I made a mistake) allowing Phend and Maifield to get by. I followed behind and I believe they tangled a the end of the straight or something and I was able to get past Maifield and trailed behind Phend. I put in a hard charge and did all I could to run clean laps and stay with them. In the end I came across the line 2nd just 0.7 behind Phend and just 0.3 ahead of Maifield. Top 3 just 1 second apart!



Overall pretty happy with my results. I have been consistently in the hunt this year and improving each race and now i'm getting to battle with the best of the best at each event. I'm still learning and working on my program and still have more improvement to go. A huge thanks to Will Walker for being such a dedicated pit guy, catching my car mid air and doing all he can to get better and better at his duty. It's so refreshing and such a huge help in nitro racing!









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