Life in the fast lane

Remote control 
car racing

It all started when I was a youngster. My father owns R/C Hobby, the local hobby shop in Medina where remote control (R/C) vehicles are sold. When I was a kid, on his days off my dad would have me lay in the front yard, while he drove over me with the R/C monster trucks he had built. It didn’t take much more than that and I was hooked on R/C! When I was seven, the outdoor off-road track at Reagan Park opened up here in Medina, just five minutes from our home. I immediately wanted to race and compete, and it was something I could do with my dad.

For the first five years we both raced and spent every Sunday in the summer at the track. Then every Saturday in the winter we drove down to Columbus to race indoors. R/C racing is such a great father/son hobby, or it can even be a whole family affair, as it doesn’t discriminate by age or gender. I never personally thought a career could come of it but that started to change as I got faster at racing.

The mecca for R/C was in Southern California. Before the internet and social media, it took 3 months before I could read in the R/C magazine who won the latest big race. I always said I felt if given the same opportunity I could beat those pro drivers. Well, at my first really big event ever in Detroit in 1999, when I was 14, I placed second in a top international field of drivers and earned my first sponsorships. But I stayed at that level for six years. Still believing I could never make a living at R/C racing, I went to culinary school and began working at AMF Medina Lanes as food and beverage manager.

When a new national series was launched, I was able to attend the regional events and won the Midwest Region. I traveled to California for the finals. It was my first time west of Indiana and my first plane trip! I did well at the finals, taking top qualifying honors and got noticed by some of the big companies. When I got home the phone started ringing with offers for full rides (covered travel expenses to all the big races.) After the first six months of being a factory driver, my sponsors asked me to attend a race, but I couldn’t due to my job at the lanes. So they said I should come work for them and I could have all the time I needed to go to the races. One month later I packed my bags and left for California.

That was a decade ago in 2006. Since then I’ve driven for four different Chassis sponsors. Now that I have a growing family, I’ve moved back to my hometown Medina but I’m still living my dream, making a living racing R/C cars. I hope that my return to the area can grow the hobby further in this region and maybe even create the next R/C star of the future!

In my decade of racing professionally full time I’ve been a team manager of one of my chassis sponsors. I’ve started my own company LutzRC, where I import and distribute throughout the US engines manufactured by my engine sponsor. This includes my own signature Ryan Lutz Edition! I have been able to travel all over the world to places like Australia, South Korea, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, England, Italy, and Dubai to race on a world stage. I’ve met so many great people and families that just enjoy their R/C hobby and it’s the same all over the world! It’s so great to see and experience.

R/C racing is a great hobby — you get all the adrenalin and competition of other forms of motorsports but without the high risk of injury. You learn mechanical and engineering skills while building and setting up your vehicles. You also can attend an event and actually meet, talk to, and compete against the best drivers in the world! It’s truly a unique and fun hobby and one that I am blessed to be a part of.   
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