A lot has happened since that last blog post. December 1st 2019, our house burnt down. Taking with it, our entire race program. The car, spare shocks, motors, transmissions, all of it, gone in an instant. Over the last 2.5 years we have been rebuilding. Not only our race program, but our home and our lives. It has taken us a bit to get back to wanting to share our lives with you. We have been racing a little, not as much as we would like, but things are beginning to get back on track! Here are a few photos of recent events. Please join us as regular blogging will be back!
2019 Powder Puff Race for a Cure
First of all we had an absolute blast! The track was fast and had some rough areas. We started off in the back and had to pass a bunch of trucks and were chasing down the 1st place side side. We got behind a truck that refused to get out of the way and we had to get moving to catch that 1st place car. So, I saw in my periphery, a wash to to the left of the actual track. We jumped down a 5 foot embankment into the wash and put it to the floor. We passed her and popped out back on the track laughing because she never even saw us! She was probably wondering where the heck we came from! On the 5 th lap we broke a rear axle and while we were in the pits they found a broken motor mount. They band aided it the best they could and sent us back out. They said we needed to take it easy in the big bumps. That slowed us down considerably. We finished just behind who we thought was first place. We then learned that they gave first place to a girl we passed in the first lap and never saw again. Giving us 2 nd. Kind of a bummer but we had so much fun, we didn’t care. Emily was awesome as a co driver and will definitely be in the car with me again soon! Maybe at the Mint 400???
Thank you to our friends and family that came out to support us! Special thanks to Rachael Dobrzenski, Joshua Martelli and Brad Arts for the photos and videos. Always, thank you to our sponsors that make sure we not only look good, we kill it on the track!
2019 Vegas to Reno
After the tragedy that was the Baja 500, we took special care to make sure #blackbetty was ready to take on the longest off road race in America! A couple nights before we were to leave for the race, we decided to take her out for one last test in the Havasu heat to ensure she wouldn’t over heat during the race. As our luck would have it, we broke an axle that also punched a hole in the transmission. ( insert huge eye roll here) We took her home and Trevor made a quick transmission and axle change while I finished up loading our ITP tires with Tireballs.
We made tech at the very last moment as is our usual mo. The Spielman family, Trevor and I stayed for the drivers meeting while Eric and Mike headed out to the start line to set up camp. At camp, we made pit assignments, checked over the car and said good night. Tomorrow was going to be a long hot day!
We went to staging at about 10am. It was 100 degress already! Luckily, staging went pretty quick and we took the green light and headed out into the desert. The last 2 years in a row, the car began to over heat on the gradual climb out of the start area in a sandy wash. Fingers crossed we blazed up that wash with temps in the 180’s! Yahoo! I believe that we have finally fixed our overheating issues! Travis and I drove the first 3oo miles without incident. Towards the end, we were really getting hot and tired. It was decided that Trevor and Eric would take over driving and co-driving for the next 2 pits so we could take a break and cool down. We got out of the car around 20th position. We started 30th, so this was not too bad. Shortly after they took off, we heard they were hearing belt slip. Soon the tracker showed them stopped and we received word that they needed a tire re racked at pit 10. A pit that were not originally going to go to due to it being down a long road away from the highway. We sent the Spielman family to them, while we hurried on to meet them at pit 12. We had to get going or we would miss them. They got their tire and headed on. Ryan and Ryan had headed to remote pit 11 a little earlier and were there to cheer them on just in case they needed anything. We heard they went through without issue and they would be to us soon. At pit 12 I was getting back in and Trevor was getting out. We prepared for this driver change and they arrived with no issue. I climbed back in and drove the last 80 miles with my husband at my side! The last time we raced together was in 2011 in a RZR 800. We blew the motor at about race mile 400. We were hoping to have much better karma! The last 80 miles went smoothly and before we knew it, we took the checkered flag! This was the most uneventful race we have had in a long time. It was awesome! We finished 21st in Pro Turbo out of about 70 side x sides.
Now that we know #blakbetty is finally solid, we can begin work on getting her back up in the top 10 where she belongs! Thank you to all our family, friends and terrific sponsors that keep us going strong!
2019 Baja 500
Once again we teamed up with our friends at 3P Off Road to race the Score International Baja 500! This time we took on their number as they are racing for a championship and we are determined to help them get it.
Coming off a win at the San Felipe 250, we were super confident as we headed down to Ensenada, Mexico. Zach, from 3P, was fortunate enough to go a week early and he began pre running. We arrived in Ensenada on Wednesday evening and began to plan our strategy.
Thursday consisted of gathering all our parts, getting fuel and planning our pits. Friday was tech day and Zach and I would go pre run the start as we heard the silt in the first 3 miles was terrible, while the rest of the crew would ready the race car and head to tech. The rumors did not disappoint. The track was terrible! We headed back to town and out to Estero Beach to join the rest of the crew with the race car.
Tech and contingency was being held at the Esetero Beach Resort this year due to an important election being held at the Mission in Ensenada. We had a great time hanging out with race family and handing out steekers to all the kids! Tech went smoothly thanks to my friend and driver of the famous Bochito, Dennis. We were ready to race!
Race day came early and Zach and I were ready! This time we the made the start on time! Because the race was starting at Estero Beach, SCORE incorporated the short course track into the start of the race. We took off by ourselves since we won the last race. Even though we didn’t get to race anyone through it, it was super fun! We had heard the first 2 mile of the track were littered with Trophy Trucks and just as we hit the first corner of silt they re routed us to go around and start under the highway. We were soon in the wash headed out to the desert. We pre ran this so we knew there was little room to pass and a huge water/mud crossing was coming up. We had marked a go around, and just as we got to it, we saw a spectator had parked his truck and easy up right in it! Through the mud we went! At approximately race mile 5 we hit what appeared to be a man made ditch that sent us for a bit of a wild ride, but the car landed softly and we thought nothing of it. About 5 miles later we heard some grinding noises and thought we had a flat tire. About a mile later we lot the passenger rear wheel! We pull off the track to safety and checked out the car. The rear bearing carrier had broken and eventually the wheel came off. Zach went to get the wheel and we brainstormed on what we could do to get close to our crew. Of course, we had no phone or radio signal in the valley we were in and it was deep silt as far as the eye could see. We decided to try to use our TREDS as a skid and used our tow strap to secure it to the trailing arm. It worked! Hoping to get to a road crossing that we knew was only a few miles away, we limped a little farther down the trail. The silt was too deep and we kept loosing the the TREDS off the arm. We got far enough to reach Weatherman and he was able to contact our team! They headed back from Ojos with the chase RZR and parts. Meanwhile, a few local kids on dirt bikes and 1 on a 3 wheeler happened by. They and we knew they couldn’t help so they went on their way to play on the live race course! With theme song from the Lone Ranger going through my head, I saw the chase RZR equiped with BuggyWhips and giant Raceline Flags flying down the track towards us! Eric and Ryan to the rescue. As the car came apart, we all gasped in amazement the shape of the bearing carrier from the heat we subjected it to! As the car was going back together, Eric realized, with a look of complete devastation, that he brought the wrong side. They put it together anyway, using only 2 bolts and we were told to ease our way 3 miles to the road crossing where the car could be put together properly. We headed back out as easy as we could in the silt going up hill. The Polaris RZR plowed through easily and we chugged along. We came to a sharp right hand turn that went up a fairly steep grade. No problem it wasn’t a silt mess, but it was. Just as we came up to the corner, the boy on the 3 wheeler decided that was the perfect time to jump out onto the course in front of us! I didn’t want to hit him of course, So I swerved around, lost momentum and was stuck immediately in the silt. I said a few choice words as Zach helped him get off the track.
We sat there for a while digging the car out and contemplating what on earth we were going to do. I looked to my left and saw that other racers had gone through the deep scrub brush to get around presumably stuck vehicles earlier on. So, Zach and I eased the car backwards down the hill and were able to get the car into the brush. Zach walked ahead to ensure we didn’t fall into a ditch or hit any rocks and we chugged up the hill and out of the silt to top of the hill! With a sigh of relief, we continued on our way to meet the crew. We had been out there approximately 7 hours. As we were just about to the road crossing, the crew radioed in that the lead bike was on his way back to the finish line. (the start and finish were the same 30 miles of track) We immediately pulled over off the track as to not be in his way and waited for him to come by. He gave us a big thumbs up as he was almost to the finish line!
We met the crew and the car was put back together. We knew we now had a long night ahead of us if we were to finish this race! SCORE told us we were not allowed to continue on down the start/finish part of the track as the bikes were now coming in. They instructed us to head down the road to HWY 1 and rejoin the course a little farther down. We knew it was for the bikers safety so we complied. We were driving about 25 MPH through a small farm area and all of a sudden a Jeep Cherokee was right in front of us! We swerved and hit the brakes, but it was not enough. We hit the Jeep full of locals tire to tire. It took the front suspension off the car and broke my wheel. The locals in the Jeep were not injured but had a flat tire. It was tense for a while as the crew caught up to us and broken Spanish and English words were had over who might be at fault. Luckily Zach was friends with a local off road shop and just happened to be wearing one of their shirts. He gave them phone numbers and told them we would help them fix their car through this shop. Everyone seemed happy with this and they finally went on their way. The crew with the trailer showed up and the car was dragged on, strapped down and we headed to where they said we could rejoin the race. We had all the parts to repair the car, but SCORE would not allow us to rejoin the race as there was no way we would finish on time. Dejected, we headed back to Ensenada.
Tears of sorrow were spilled into many beers and tacos and lots of I wish we had done this or that were told. At the end of the day, no one was injured, the car was intact and we had a great time hanging out with our race family in the beautiful Baja desert.
We are still in the points lead as no one from the UTV Unlimited class was able to finish the race. So, Baja 400 we will take you on in September!
Thank you to all our sponsors for helping us show the world how great and tough your products are and all our friends, family and fans that support us!
2019 SCORE San Felipe 250
Our friends at 3P Off Road asked us to build an unlimited Polaris RZR for the SCORE series for 2019. While in the process, it wasn’t going to be finished in time to race the season opener, San Felipe 250. We decided to skip the UTV World Championship and use our car to keep our friends in the championship hunt and we knew we could put BlackBetty on the podium. So, we packed up on Thursday and headed south to race one of the roughest races on the planet!
We arrived in San Felipe Thursday evening to a beautiful casita on the beach thanks to our Friend and fellow racer Cesar Quirarte. We would tech the car on Friday so we all decided to head into town for dinner and a few beers to celebrate a new season of winning! We met our class 11 friend Jeremy and had a fantastic dinner and lots of beers! It was then decided that we should take Trevor to the local strip club. He was pretty hesitant, but Eric talked him inside. Once inside, he refused to look at any of the girls but we had fun with him anyway!
Friday came and we all got up early and headed into tech. It was a beautiful day in San Felipe! We had a great time with our fans and fellow racers and of course tacos! The car passed through tech without issue and we headed back to the casita to put the finishing touches on the car. Afterwards we headed down to the beach for some fresh pina coladas out of pineapples and play on the beach. It was a very relaxing end to an awesome day!
Race day came and staging for us didn’t begin until about 9am so we took our time getting ready for the big day. As usual, we decided to make some last minute clutch changes and ended up being late to the start line by about 30 minutes. Not a big deal, the race was timed. They started us in the middle of the 11 cars and just as we were about to get in line, they pulled us back out saying our brake lights weren’t working. We messed around with that for about 10 minutes and they finally let us go! We headed out of town and out into the roughest desert, I have ever raced! The San Felipe side is always my side of all the Baja races to race, so I knew what was in store for us. The plan was to have me drive with Zach as co driver until one of us wanted to get out. No one else really wanted to drive or co drive the torture of San Felipe! Zach and I knew our competition was a ways in front of us so began to do our best to make up time. The notorious San Felipe whoops did not disappoint. We had also heard about the Matomi wash and knew we may have a bottle neck coming up soon. We could tell we were close as there were more and more rocks on the track and the canyon walls began to grow. As we entered the wash, there were cars and trucks everywhere and a ton of spectators. Zach got out to analyze the situation. It didn’t look too bad and there were some Jeep guys there helping everyone through. We got in behind the 4400 Jeep and followed his line. Never thought I would be rock crawling my race car! Since I have a ton of experience in the rocks and because we were driving a Polaris RZR, the rock crawling portion was a piece of cake. We headed out of the wash and right back into the biggest whoops ever! We saw one of the other unlimited cars off the track and put some time down on him, hoping he wouldn’t catch back up. We made it to our first pit for fuel at RM 170 and the boys told us there one only 1 other unlimited car in front of us, but because we started so far behind them, we may already be ahead on time. That wasn’t good enough for me, I wanted to pass him! We caught him just as we headed up the goat trail and watched him fall away in the rear view mirror! Half way through the race and we were in first place! No time to celebrate, we had a lot of race left to run. If there wasn’t whoops, it was the deepest silt/sand I have ever seen! The race was brutal, even with our well tuned suspension. There were many times, I was thinking that I could just get out and have someone else drive, but I told myself, that could I do this! I made it to 330, the last time we would see the chase truck until the finish line, so I got out and had Josh, the driver of record get in to cross to the finish line. He drove her slow and steady as to not make any mistakes this close to the finish. Nothing feels better than to see them come across the line and in 1st place! It was such an accomplishment! We just took on the roughest race on the planet and not only finished, we won! I couldn’t be more proud of my team! Finally got BlackBetty on the podium and mine and Josh’s first win in SCORE.
Thank you to all our family, friends and sponsors that make all of this happen! Special thanks to Sydney Spielman for spending her Saturday tracking us online and keeping the team updated. You were a very important part of the team! See you all in June!
2019 Mint 400
Fighting high charge temps, loss of turbo, and miscellaneous other issues over the last year has been very frustrating to say the least. The start of the season was no different. So, after the Parker 250, we brought the car home and took her completely apart. New motor, transmission, suspension components were all placed on the chassis. We were finished early enough to have the car properly tuned by Queen Racing before the race. The car was fast again! And I couldn’t wait to drive it! The night before we were to leave for the Mint 400 parade, Trevor was putting heat cycles in the new axles. Driving up and down the street in front of our house. All of a sudden the motor temp shot up and the car shut down! My heart sank. Eric thought for sure it was probably the water pump. Not a big deal he assured me. A closer look found the oil pump had dropped the gear. Not knowing how much damage may have been done by the chain, we had to pull the motor out. We contacted out closest racers and friends for anyone that may have a motor we could use. 3P Off road was generous enough to lend us the motor out of their 4 seat pre runner that we fondly refer to as the rental. We knew that motor had very few mild miles on it and were eternally grateful to the Texas boys for allowing us to use it. Trevor, Eric and Travis swapped motors like they knew what they were doing and we were off to the parade! First time we would make the parade in the last 2 years.
The kids and I loaded up and headed for Las Vegas! But as luck would have it, about half way there we got a flat tire on the trailer. No problem, I had 2 big boys to fix it and we had plenty of time to make it. But, the spare we brought didn’t fit. We notified Eric who was finishing loading the chase truck, and would have to wait until he arrived with the right tire. No parade for us yet again. We had a few laughs about it while we waited and fixed it up as soon as the rest of our crew arrived.
We made it to the RV park, settled in and then the kids wanted to go to the Vans shoe outlet just a few streets away. So, we went. Trevor and I got matching shoes that matched the race car!
Thursday was a free day for us so we walked around tech and chatted with all our sponsors until the Rugged Radios Driver Meet and Greet. Trevor and I loaded up our hero cards and headed down Fremont St. to greet our fans. We had such a good time with everyone that came to see us and our fellow racers! Afterwords we had some dinner and headed to Hogs and Heffers for some cocktails. We had a great time with our crew, 3P, Miss DragonFire, Harley Letner, Craig Scanlon and Sara Price!
Friday was tech day for us. Trevor was up bright and early shining up the Polaris RZR and we loaded her on the trailer and headed out. We spent most of the day hanging out our friends at S&B Filters and showing off our awesome car! We finished tech and Trevor and the crew took the car out to Apex for some clutch tuning. Tuning went well and Trevor said he was super happy with car. We loaded her up again and headed out the start finish area. Saturday was another free day for us and we took full advantage. Going to all the festivities at the start finish area, and napping!
Sunday Morning came super early. Trevor got ready and he and Chuck Foreman from Pro Eagle Jacks jumped in the car and headed off to the start line. We bundled up and headed there ourselves. This would be the first time this Mom would send her son off the start line at the Mint 400. We were all very excited. As they were staging, our friend and fellow racer Michael Isom of the Mobbin crew warned me about a terrible section of the race just outside pit A. He had crashed there and so had many others on Saturday. I ran down the staging line to ensure Trevor and Chuck were aware and headed farther down so that I could also inform the 2 3P cars in the NA class.
Trevor took the green and light and I had tears in my eyes! He didn’t get the hole shot, but I didn’t care. That was my boy driving! About 11 miles in he blew a belt. They replaced it quickly but at race mile 18 they blew another one! The result of a ice cold belt on a hot clutch was the most likely culprit. They were doing great after that and we got word that they had made it through pit A. Fingers crossed that they would remember the danger there, we waited to hear from them. Trevor hit the giant holes there a little too hard and sent them tail to nose a couple of times. Luckily for them, they stayed on all 4s and continued on. The car was fast and they made it to main pit quickly. I asked Trevor if he wanted to stay and in he said “nope, I’m getting out!” So I suited up and got in. There was a flat on the passenger rear and a torn axle boot. Repairs were made and Chuck and I tore off. The car felt so good! I was cruising the track at 82 MPH before I even knew it! I was so happy! And then, in the same area Trevor had an issue, we lost another belt. Now were thinking maybe the clutch was not quite aligned after the quick motor change, but no time for that now. Chuck and I changed it quickly enough, but it took me forever to get buckled back in. At least it felt like it. Then we were back and running. There were broken cars littering the track! We made it through the treacherous area outside of pit A without incident. We called main pit to have them stiffen up the shocks for our last lap, but, they gave us the checkered flag! We were so disappointed.
They were calling it a grand prix finish and the first class 10 cars had finished their 3 rd lap. It was also for safety as the Trick Trucks were about to take off. Though we could have possibly improved our finish position, we could have also broken down and not finished at all. 36th place is better than a DNF on any day!
We had so much fun this year with our friends and family! Thank you so much for all the help and thank you to our crews out in the pits! So glad we didn’t need you! Thank you to all our sponsors who continue to make the dream come true for us. Trevor and I will be back in a few short weeks at the UTV World Championship!
2019 Parker 250
This is the 9th year of racing the Parker 250 for us and the start of our 11th season of off road racing. Parker AZ is in our back yard, so over the holidays we took the initiative, and pre ran the course that we know pretty much by heart. We had done some work to the race car as we have been having some boost issues and wanted to put some miles on the car at race pace. Well, with Eric, Trevor and I, every time we go our for a ride, it’s a race! This time we added our good friends, the Spielmans to the mix as Travis would be co driving for 3P Off Road in the race and seeing the track would be good for him. We had a great time racing around the track and found no issues with the T924 race car. Boost temps were normal and the car behaved as it should. Happy with our results, we went home and began to prep the car. A Set of freshly greased RCV axles were put in, fluids changed and bolts torqued. Trevor, who normally does the prep work, went about it a little happier this time as I planned to put him in the car for the last lap! Tech day came and breezed through as usual. The car looked amazing with her new wrap from Union Graphics and Trevor had her all clean and shiny! The boys took the car back to camp for the last minute checks and I headed to the drivers meeting. The drivers meeting was bitter sweet for me as 2 years ago was the last time we would hear Casey say Booyah! to us. We miss him lots but are so proud of the Best in the Desert staff that keep our races going and continue to grow the sport. This Parker 250 is for you, Casey! Race day came, and lucky for us, we didn’t start until 1PM. That gave us lots of time to hang out, take pictures and be nervous! We had an excellent draw and Travis Herzing and I started in the 4th row. We lined up at the green light ready to take the hole shot. The light turned green, I mashed the gas pedal…..and the car fell on its face. NO! She gained speed but the hole shot was not going to happen. We continued on, but noticed that we were only getting about 7500 RPM. Boost temps were normal as well as the oil temps, engine temps and oil pressures. We weren’t sure what the issue was, but we pressed on trying not to get passed by too many competitors before we made it back around 80 miles to main pit. About 10 miles outside of the mid way pit the car started getting loose. I told Travis that I thought we had a broken axle. We radioed in and the crew made quick work of removing the axle and putting a stub axle in its place hoping that we would make it to main pit in 3 wheel drive. ( we had not given midway a spare axle) Unfortunately, it was not be and about 5 miles before the next road crossing the other rear axle broke. We radioed in and together with crew chief Eric we devised a plan to stop at the next road crossing where they could us the parts we needed to fix the car. We knew we would never make it through the rock garden and the sand pile with only front wheel drive. Our favorite BITD course workers helped us out and brought us 2 fresh axles and our Pro Eagle jack to help make the job easier. Travis had already had all the bolts loosened and the car ready for the replacements before they arrived so the job went quickly and before we knew it, we were back on course! Of course, we were at the end of the line, but we still had 2 laps to go. We made it through the rock garden with ease thanks to our Shock Therapy Fox shocks and into main pit. Trevor was dressed and ready to climb in and I climbed out. While we were out, the crew found that fuel we put in the car may have been some of our low RPM issues. Fresh axles had helped some and as Trevor took off, he said fresh fuel helped a little as well. Trevor took off hoping to make up some time. Just outside the rock garden, he got a flat. It was not a good spot and as they were changing the tire, the car fell off the jack and jammed the jack under the trailing arm and mud flap. It took them what seemed like forever to get back going as we were watching from the tracker. Finally they were moving again. Trevor made great time, but the leaders crossed over the finish line before he could make it back around and the he got the checkered flag. Though we each only got to go 1 lap it was a super fun course. I enjoyed seeing Trevor in the driver seat almost as much as he enjoyed being in it! Look for him to share that seat with me in a few more of our up coming races!. Travis Spielman got a little more than expected in his co driver seat with 3P Off Road. As they were headed into the main pit area on lap 1 the spare time caught fire! The Best in the Desert Safety team made quick work of putting it out and they were able to continue on to finish the race! Thank you to all our sponsors that make race day possible, 3P for helping us out with co driving, and our crew for always being there for us! Next up for Rockstar Racing is the Mint 400!
2018 Baja 1000
We didn’t think we were going to be able to the race the 2018 Baja 1000 since we were fortunate enough to race it last year, but when the boys from 3P Off Road called and asked us to join them we sure didn’t say no! Who doesn’t want to race the Baja 1000? So, we loaded up the chase truck and the chase RZR and headed across the border.
We arrived just in time for tech and contingency. What a great time we had there! Hanging out with our race family is one of our favorite things to do.
The 1877 Polaris breezed through tech and we headed for tacos and last minute prep on the car before bed. It was almost race day!
Race day came early and we packed our trucks full with snacks, sandwiches and spare parts. Some of the crew headed to the start line while the rest of us headed down the peninsula to wait for the car to reach that side and over to Ojos to catch the car on the other side.
We reached our spot in time to see some of the big cars and trucks go by and all the side x sides including ours. The car looked great and raced on while we headed to the next road crossing. We chased the car across the desert catching them at every road crossing we could just to ensure they were all good. At race mile 150, Travis Herzing and I would take over driver and co driver duties through the San Felipe whoops down past Porticeto.
We have raced this section of track before and knew we were in for a rough ride! There were 130 miles of whoops, super soft sand and more whoops! We battled a couple of BC cars and a few trucks through the dust. As we were bouncing over the whoops the transmission popped out of gear a few times. We came to the spot where I would get out and Philip would get in and the crew found a major problem with the transmission. We had a spare so they went to work and changed it out. At that time I had put an hour on the 2nd place car behind us but we were losing that quickly as the work was being done.
Philip and Travis took off to try and make up time. We stayed back to ensure the car made it down to the other side of the peninsula where Josh, Parker, Zach, Joe, Kenny and Mike would chase them back up to Ensenada. We sent Russell and Ryan in the chase RZR to follow the race car for about a 100 miles where we knew the roads had recently been washed out.
A few driver changes, a few broken clutches and flat tire later the boys were heading back to us at Ojos just 30 miles to the finish when disaster struck! Thanks to Racingtrax, we found out that they had broken a radius rod and then a shock. The chase RZR had a shock and we had a radius rod, so we left from opposite sides and met Josh and Zach out on the track to make repairs. As we were getting them up and running the 2nd place car went by! We finished up and sent them on their way to the finish line! We all headed back to Ensenada to meet them and celebrate our 3rd place finish. It was hard fought and well deserved!
We can’t thank 3P Off Road enough for inviting us to be part of this great race!
2018 Laughlin Desert Challenge Night Race
After the mishaps at Vegas to Reno, we decided the team needed a moral booster. We decided to rewap the car for a brand new look hoping to boost everyone’s spirits. We contacted Corbin Wells of Union Graphic Co. and had him get to work. Thanks to AO Coolers for helping us to make it happen. Corbin did a fantastic job and all of our spirits were renewed!
This year’s LDC was a night race for the UTVs, so we made sure all our Baja Designs lights were wired up and ready to rock! We made it tech in time to have AIM Sports dial in our race dash and visit with our race family.
Drivers meeting was up next. I stayed for that and the boys headed back to main pit with race car to do their last minute magic. The NA class raced first so I was able to help in the pits for our friends at 3p Off Road. They had a few issues and the pits were super busy. About an hour before our race, it started to rain. I kept my fingers crossed for it to end. I hate racing in the rain. It stopped and Travis and I headed to the start line. It was 10PM, way past my bed time! I actually fell asleep in the car waiting for the start!
We finally got the green light! We took off 3 wide and I was lined up with 2 CanAms. They are super fast off the line, but I caught them quickly and was on the siren at the first corner heading back out to the desert and then….. no boost from the turbo. We radioed in to the let crew know that we would be paying them a visit after the first lap. We went around the track about 40 to 45 MPH getting passed by everyone! We pulled into the pits and they went to working checking all the vacuum lines and changing sensors.
We took off, thinking all was well and about 2 corners in, same thing no boost. The crew told us that it wasn’t hurting anything and if we wanted to finish the race to get out there and get it done! And so we did. Travis and I had a great time in the car just chatting and checking out all the carnage on the track. I almost peed myself laughing at the sharp stutter whoops in the infield. They were so ridiculous! We felt like bobble head dolls!
The car looked amazing even though we couldn’t really race her! We had been counting laps and thought that we were finally finished at about 2AM, but when we approached the finish line, they sent us out for another lap. They said we had only gone 7. Not wanting to lose any more spots, we sucked it up and went another lap. We were out there pretty much all by our selves. When we finally did cross the finish line and got the checkered flag, the course workers were jumping up and down and clapping of us! Or because they knew they were finally done!
We ended up 25th out of the 44 Turbo UTVs that started. Not too bad for not having a turbo! Thank you to all of that help us and to all of you that follow along. Next up for us is the Pahump 250 in December. See ya all then!
2018 Vegas to Reno the Long Way
After blowing a head gasket in the Baja 500, we spent the rest of the summer making sure our Polaris RZR was back in shape to take on the longest race in America. New motor, freshly rebuilt transmission, fresh axles and a new set of ITP Coyote Tires with TireBalls inside on Raceline Wheels was just the start. A little fabrication was needed after we nearly broke the front of the car off and the radiator mount was also broken. Those repairs were made and new dash was installed. We were ready! So we thought…
As usual, we were running behind on tech day. We arrived at tech just as all the vendors were packing up and registration was about to close. Trevor teched the car of us and I and the co drivers went inside to register. Eric and our friends from Just Money Motorsports left Havasu and went straight to the start line to get a camping spot. We finished up quickly in town and headed out to Beatty, Nevada for the start line. With nothing to really be done on the race car, we relaxed, packed pit boxes and the chase truck and enjoyed home made tacos from Joe.
Race day came and we were ready! We lined up at about 10AM Boy, was it hot! We sat in staging for approximately an hour and then, it was GO time!
We started 31st in the Pro Turbo class. There we some pretty fast guys behind us so we knew we had to get some time in after the start. We got the green flag and headed out!
Just about 3 miles into the race, we started overheating. It was the exact same place the car began to over heat last year. I called Eric and informed him of the issue and that we would be making an unplanned stop in pit 1. He agreed and went as fast as my hot RZR would allow us to go. Pit 1 was approximately 50 miles up the way. We actually passed a few cars on the way, saw a ton of wrecked cars and pulled into the pit hoping for a simple solution so we could go make up some time. The crew cracked the bolt and bled the head. And we headed back out. The car was slightly cooler, but not much when we were headed up a grade or in the silt. We also noticed that our clutch was not acting like it should. Again we radioed in and let the crew know our problems. We were asked to skip pit 2 and head for 3. So we pushed on. Only able to go about 60mph max or less in the silt. There was a LOT of silt! We received a pass alert and found a safe spot to slow down and move over and just as we thought the 7250 truck was going by, BAM! He hit us and spun the car around. I just knew there would be a ton of damage because it was a heavy truck. We pulled forward, everything felt tight. My co driver, John got out to check everything out and the truck also pulled over and the co driver got out and apologized to me and wanted to make sure we were ok. Thanks guys! That was great sportsmanship! We got back on the track and headed to pit 3 to meet up with the crew hoping for a fix. In the mean time, Eric had been on the phone with our tuner, Mark Queen about the clutch and he put him together Adam from Airdam who just happened to be a few pits ahead. He agreed to meet Eric half way between where he was and where the crew was. He used his own parts and our back up clutch and made a clutch that assured Eric would be a definite improvement. I really can’t thank him enough for going out of his way for us. He isn’t our usual clutch guy and he really did not have to help us but he did and we appreciate him so much!
We rolled into pit 3 and the crew went to work, changing out the clutch and fixing the passenger rear hub that was bent when the truck hit us. At one point during the pit stop, all of us individually thought ” I wonder if we should splash some fuel”. Not one of us voiced it out loud and we took off out the pit thinking that there should be plenty of fuel. We weren’t planning on stopping for fuel until pit 6. About 3 miles out of Pit 3, the car turned off. Thinking it was something electrical, John began taking the top off the fuel cell to check the pumps. As he reached inside, he looked up at me and pulled his hand out. His hand was dry. There was not a drop of fuel in the car! Apparently, the dragging clutch and deep silt and overheating had used a bunch of fuel! As soon as we called in out issue, I saw Chase 1 pull over off the highway. They were about a mile away from us. So, I started waking to get some fuel while John put the car back together. We got enough fuel to make it to the next pit and off we went again. The car was running great, the clutching change was amazing! Thanks again Adam! We pulled into the pit, the boys began to fuel the car and then Eric came over and asked me to turn off the motor.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “I hear something” he said. We all got out and listened. Then we called Mark Queen on the phone and had him listen. Not ideal, we know. But there was definitely a noise coming from the motor. We pulled the clutches to ensure it wasn’t clutch noise we were hearing, but it wasn’t. We all gathered together and talked it over. It was a unanimous decision to put the car on the trailer. Eric didn’t want us out in the middle of no where with a blown motor. If we stopped now, we could fix the motor with not a lot of expense. If we blew the motor, whole other story. So, dejected, we put her on the trailer, loaded up and headed home. We had a ton of fun while it lasted! Thank you to my crew who gave it all they had! Joe took the race car with Kristin and Emily in her truck and headed back to the start line. Kristin agreed to put the RZR in her toy box and take her home as Joe was heading back to Kingman.
Eric, Trevor, Jason, Travis, Joeylin, Sidney, Mike and I headed to the remote pit to catch our team mates and friends, 3P Offroad and make sure they made it to the finish line as they were having a few issues themselves. We made it out to Pit 12. It was pretty deserted by that time. We all hung out and ate the rest of our snacks and then climbed back in the trucks to have a nap before they arrived. We got radio contact at about 4 am. They were coming in. On the tracker there a bunch of other cars heading our way also. One of them was Ashley Burton and Drew Schultz. We pitted the Texas boys and sent them on their way. We noticed a car just sitting out there a few miles away and could see on the tracker that it was Ashley. We decided to wait to see if we could help her. We missed her coming through but she stopped and the lights went out just outside the pit. We contacted the pit boss who gave us permission to help them the same as if they were in the pits. They were having overheating issues as well as a charging problem. They had just gone about 15 miles on a lithium starter battery! We gave them our spare Odyssey battery, a spare lithium battery and the cables off of our battery charger. Wished them the best and sent them on their way. We then headed towards home. We kept the tracker on and kept up with her and our Texas boys. 3P Offroad finished with no time to spare! They were the last official finishers! We are so proud of them for sticking it out! We saw that Ashley was still at about RM 475 and not moving. She wasn’t able to finish. She and Drew did an awesome job of trying! It isn’t easy doing what we do and even worse when you’re battling issues over the course of well over 24 hours.
The last official finisher of this years General Tire Vegas to Reno by Fox is the team of Josh Herzing and Phillip Luce. Despite battling mechanical problems throughout the day the UTV racers from Texas soldiered on to get it across the line. Congratulations to all our finishers! #bestinthedesert #bitd#vegastoreno #vtor #generaltire #fox #booyah