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Race report by Jason Branham:

The Futaba/O.S. Nitro Challenge was held July 15-17 at the well known Dirtburners RC Club in St. Louis, MO. This also happens to be the home of THE Josh Wheeler and where I•ve attended a ROAR Nationals and Kyosho Challenge years ago so I was kind of familiar with the track and surface and knew I could put in a pretty good result. When I arrived at the track I was excited about the layout, the Dirtburners crew had made a challenging layout so I couldn•t wait to get going.

In qualifying Ryan Lutz was proving that he was going to be the man to beat and laid down some solid runs. Josh actually TQ•ed the first truck round but some bad luck caused him to miss the 2nd and 3rd rounds completely and he would have to bump from the B. Josh had some solid buggy qualifiers and he would start 3rd for the buggy mains behind Taylor James and Ryan Lutz. I got off to a slow start in buggy with a bad first round due to a bad tire choice but picked up the pace to get 3rd in rounds 2 and 3 to start 4th in the buggy mains. In truck I had a solid 16 lap run in rd. 1, there were only a few during the day, and in the 2nd round I was on another solid 16 lap run but I cased a jump pretty bad and broke the ackerman plate on my truck. In rd. 3 of truck I was able to finish 2nd for the round earning me 2nd overall for qualifying. The best story of the weekend had to be the rare appearance of Justin Wheeler who had not raced in some time. It didn•t take Justin long to get back into a groove and he qualified strait into both the Buggy and Truck mains.

Truck mains:
In A1 I got off to a really good start and Lutz and I were nose to tail for almost the first half of the main until a bobble and problems with lap traffic dropped me back to 3rd now behind Josh and Lutz. Josh would run into a problem which gave me 2nd and I held on to it with Josh finishing 3rd. In A2 while sitting on the starting grid Lutz snapped the rod in his motor so quickly I found myself out and running in 1st and pulling a pretty good lead. I felt my motor was to rich so I made the decision to come in earlier than I expected and when I did my pit crew was not ready so I had a long pit which allowed Josh and Taylor to catch and pass me. I stayed close a they battled but couldn•t quite catch them and just when I thought I was going to have to just settle in for 3rd Josh broke his ackerman just like I did in qualifying and not even a half a lap later Taylor James cased a jump hard and immediately had a crazy run away. With 5 minutes to go I cruised around the track now with a lap on the field and took the win and also overall win for Pro Truck.

Truck Final Results:
1. Jason Branham • Xray XT8
2. K. Jimbo
3. Sonny Ochoa
4. Bryan Seitz
5. Josh Wheeler • Xray XT8
6. Colton Kiefer • Xray XT8

7. Ryan Lutz
8. Mike Battaile
9. Taylor James
10. Michael Paige
11. Matt Farris
12. Justin Wheeler • Xray XT8

Photo by buggysport.info

In A1 I got off to a very rough start and fell back to almost dead last on the first couple of laps. I choose the wrong tires and my car was super loose and hard to drive. I managed to calm down and drive clean laps and soon found myself in 4th chasing down Matt Gosch but I was unable to catch him so I would settle for 4th. Josh was out front and looked like he was going to hold on for the win but he cased the front triple very hard and it caused his motor to cut, this handed the lead over to Ryan Lutz who would eventually win A1. Josh got his car fired up very quickly and was able to hold off Matt Gosh to take 2nd for A1. Justin Wheeler would make an appearance for this race and really drove great the whole weekend, he drove a great A1 to finish 5th for the main.

In A2 I made sure I had the right tires on this time and I was determined to get off to a better start. Josh snagged a pipe early so I managed to get past him for 2nd and I was now chasing Lutz who was out and running good from the TQ spot. I was able to run with Lutz for about the first 7 minutes but a crash would let him slip away and soon I found myself battling with Josh and Taylor James. Josh and Taylor had great race going and they were able to put some time in between me and them. Josh would eventually pull away from Taylor earning him another 2nd with Taylor taking 3rd and I would finish in 4th again. Josh•s two 2nd place finishes would give him a 2nd overall for the event and the two 4th place finishes earned me 3rd overall for the event.

Photo by buggysport.info

Buggy Final Results:
1. Ryan Lutz
2. Josh Wheeler • Xray 808•11 Spec
3. Jason Branham • Xray 808•11 Spec

4. Matt Gosch
5. Justin Wheeler • Xray 808•11 Spec
6. Taylor James
7. Nick Gibson
8. Matt Farris
9. Chad Parks
10. Michael Paige
11. K. Jimbo

Jason Branham set-up sheet