if you have a hobbytown near you check out the traxxas s-maxx. it was my first nitro and it was a great model. the EZ start is a good system for beginners. i learned alot and it opend the door to nitro. the s-maxx is basically a 2wd T-Maxx. traxxas sells a 4wd upgrade kit for the smaxx. i put it on mine and it is sweet, i could do backflips and stuff.
If you get the s-maxx or any traxxas nitro car the manual explains everything.