Race Report: The Dirt Nitro Challenge 2017



Event: The Dirt Nitro Challenge 2017
Date: February 22-26, 2017
Location: FEAR FARM R/C RACEWAY – Phoenix, AZ
Team Hitec Attendees: Billy Tompkins, Adam Drake, Carlos Arredondo, Casey Peck, Steve Harris, Dennis Christy, Kyle Christy, Riley Christy, John Brown, Miguel Perez, Gil Alontaga, Gene Hickerson, Louis Fernandez, Billy Easton, Bill Koch, Brian Givens, Anthony Westergaard, Felipe Martinez and more…

By: William Tompkins

Touted as THE largest off-road R/C race in the World (almost 900 race entries), The Dirt Nitro Challenge had once again invaded the Arizona desert that attracted racers from around the globe. Once a single day race held at a small R/C track in Hemet, CA in 1999,the DNC has grown into a 5 day R/C racing extravaganza. Joey Christensen and his Dirt Crew have continually set the bar higher and higher every year with this year being no exception.


DNC’17 added some new venues to its already stellar 1/8th and 1/5th scale off-road racing program. For the first time, the DNC showcased a U4RC rock racing track. In case you haven’t witnessed the new phenomenon of U4RC, it’s a combination of off-road racing and rock crawling. The track was set up on, what most would consider, a standard-sized 1/10 off-road track with the difference being the addition of some gnarly rock gardens and a log section. Not only do racers have to build their rock racers to be fast, they have to be torquey enough to make it through the rock gardens and strong enough to take the abuse. Attrition plays a huge role in this form of R/C racing and it’s growing at a fast rate for racers of all ages.

Although DNC is best known for the 1/8th scale racing, the biggest spectacle this year was the 2nd Annual Phoenix Cup FPV Drone Race held on a lit FPV course. At night, the course was seen from miles away that drew spectators from outside of the RC industry and many of the off-road participants as well. The Phoenix Cup featured some of the fastest pilots in the world including DR1 & DRL TV racing series pilots as seen on ESPN.

FPV Light Trax

The impressive spectator gathering and the number of pilots in attendance was proof that drone racing has become the fastest growing R/C sport. Fast lap qualifying would set the top 32 for the finals’ day with a double elimination to set the quarter finals. The guys over at Flite Factory and FPV Light Trax put together one of the toughest FPV tracks of recent memory and proved to be quite challenging for pilots at every skill level.


Team Hitec was in attendance this year with a booth showcasing all of our latest products and a proud DNC title sponsor. The 1/8th scale racing took place Wednesday through Sunday while the rest of the events were orchestrated Friday through Sunday. At this year’s DNC, we had over 30 of our Team Hitec drivers competing in the different events. When the dust settled at the end of the long weekend, we accumulated the following accolades:

(26) A Main Appearances | 
(12) Podium Finishes | (6) Dirt Nitro Challenge Champions

DRAKE-&-PECK-PRO-LEGENDS1/8th Pro Buggy Legends
Adam Drake 1st/TQ , Casey Peck 3rd, Gil Alontaga 5th, Gene Hickerson 7th, Billy Easton 8th

Hitec’s own Adam Drake would just miss the podium taking 4th in Pro Nitro Buggy, but was able to put it together in the Legends Pro Buggy class taking the Top Qualifying position and the win.



1/8th Expert Truggy
Carlos Arredondo 1st



1/8th Expert Buggy
Carlos Arredondo 2nd


1/8th Expert E Buggy
Carlos Arredondo TQ/2nd, Casey Peck 4th, Anthony Westergaard 12th

John Brown 3rd

1/8th Sport Buggy
John Brown 3rd, Louis Fernendez 7th,  Bill Koch 9th


1/8th 40+ Buggy
Casey Peck 1st, Brian Givens 10th, Felipe Martinez 13th


1/5th Sport 2wd Buggy
Dennis Christy TQ/1st


1/5th Pro 4wd Buggy
Steve Harris 1st     


1/5th Pro 4wd Truck
Steve Harris TQ/1st


1/5th Expert 2wd Truck
Kyle Christy3rd


1/5th Sport 2wd Buggy
Riley Christy 3rd

1/8th Sport Truggy
– Louis Fernandez 7th
1/8th Sport Electric – Bill Koch 13th
1/8th 40+ Electric – Miguel Perez 4th, Bill Koch 12th


All drivers were running the Hitec Lynx 4S Radio, Hitec Axion 2 RX and Hitec Servos. A great weekend for Team Hitec and congratulations to all of our podium finishers and newly crowned champions!