Maifield and Cavalieri Lead Associated Supremacy At Nitro ChallengeFebruary 21, 2009
Event Name: "The Dirt" Nitro Challenge
Event Location: The Nitro Pit, Wittmann, AZ
For the tenth year in a row, The Dirt Racing has presented the Nitro Challenge, which has grown into one of the largest non-sanctioned races in the world. With entrants from across the globe vying for the win, Team Associated went with full force to the Nitro Pit to defend the 2008 crowns that Cavalieri had claimed.
The Nitro Pit facility might as well be named the "Ryan's Den." Between Ryan Maifield and Ryan Cavalieri, they have won almost every major race held at this track - including the ROAR Nationals, Nitrocross, and last year's Nitro Challenge.
This year was shaping up to be no different. In qualifying, Ryan Cavalieri led his Factory Team RC8T to the top starting spot while Maifield quietly fell in to the sixth grid position. As the main started, it didn't take long for the hard-charging Reedy-powered Maifield to work his way up to the lead position with Cavalieri in tow.
Over the next 30 minutes these two drivers pulled away from the field and put a lap on third place. As the time wound down, Maifield settled into a comfortable pace; however, Cavalieri continued to charge from his second position. With only a few laps remaining in the event, Maifield made a small mistake that Cavalier capitalized. The two Associated drivers battled it out over the next few laps with Cavalieri coming out on top to bring home the Pro Truggy title for Team Associated and the RC8T.
This wasn't the only victory for the popular RC8T. In the 40+ Class, Guff Germany outlasted the rest of the racers to claim the victory with his Reedy-powered RC8T in a 30 minute survival fest. Also joining Germany and Cavalieri with a win for the RC8T was Tanner Denny in the Open Truggy class. Congratulations to the three victors - and again, whether you're an over-40 Guff, an up-and-coming racer like Tanner, or a top pro, the Factory Team RC8T is the truggy of choice.
Last year's Nitro Challenge was a stepping stone for the RC8 buggy. Ryan Cavalieri piloted the Associated 1/8 buggy to its first major win and now with some suspension and geometry tweaks the team returned to Nitro Challenge hungry to defend its title.
Throughout qualifying Associated's Ryan Maifield battled with Jared Tebo and Mike Truhe for the TQ position. Even though Maifield was a combined 0.7 seconds out of the TQ position between the two rounds, he started on the grid third. Cavalieri started just two positions behind Maifield in fifth. At the start both Maifield and Cavalieri got shuffled to the middle of the pack; however, drawing on years of experience and confidence, the two Ryans worked their way back up through the field.
By lap 16 Maifield had worked his way in to the lead while Cavalieri was still in the middle of the pack. Maifield battled with Tebo and Truhe for the lead for the next forty laps until Truhe was forced to retire. This left Tebo and Maifield to battle for the win as Cavalieri inherited the final podium position. As the laps wound down, Maifield was laying down the fast lap times with his Reedy-powered RC8 and caught right up to Tebo. Without hesitation and with only two laps to go, Maifield made his move past Tebo to take the lead, never to relinquish the top spot - thus completing the sweep of the pro classes for Team Associated at the 2009 The Dirt Nitro Challenge.
Thanks to all the supporters of the Nitro Challenge. For Joey for the airtime layout. And to the Nitro Pit for the hospitality.