The Rockstar Racing team arrived at tech and contingency late Thursday afternoon. It was hot and sticky but the Polaris RZR Turbo 1000 looked amazing sparkling in the afternoon sun. Lots of photos were taken and an interview with Shock Therapy added to the fun! Tech went smoothly and we headed to the driver’s meeting. Changes were noted and we then headed out to the start line for the night. Out at the start line, crew jobs were assigned, cameras loaded, tires checked, fluids checked and all the other little things taken care of. The crew enjoyed a bbq dinner courtesy of our camp chef Joe Weber and we went to bed dreaming of a podium finish.
Morning arrived with the sound of dirt bikes and quads lining up for the race. The UTV’s did not have to stage for a few hours yet so we stayed in bed contemplating our race day. By 7am all the crew had arrived and we began to go over all the race day plans and jobs were assigned. The car was given a last once over and we headed to staging.
Waiting anxiously for the green flag, we checked out the competition. There was a lot of competition!
The green flag finally dropped and we were off! The car felt great and we flew up the wash! Then it happened, overheating and limp mode. We pulled over inching along to let the motor cool down and radioed into the crew so they would be prepared to check it out at pit 1. The motor cooled and were off yet again. There were other cars already off the track broken and with flats. We passed a few cars on track and overheated yet again. We noticed that it was happening when we were going up a grade or in deep silt otherwise, it was running strong.
The crew bled the cooling system and we were off again with high hopes! Those hopes were soon dashed as we once again headed up hill and began to over heat. We ran fast when we could and limped when we couldn’t through deep silt, rocks and ruts to pit 2.
This time the crew decided to move the inner cooler and the rock screen covering the radiator. We took the chance of a rock hitting it over the overheating issue we were having. Travis Pastrana and the Star Car were having similar issues and were pitted right in front of us. Our team mate Mark Queen also helps tune the Star Car and was trying to assist them also. Travis waved and brought me a Power aid. Great sportsmanship from that team! Trevor said he was talking with Travis while waiting for us and he said that one of the times we passed him he was like “dang, I just got passed by a girl!” Not the first time we have heard that! The crew finished up and we off to try to make up some time!
We knew we had to make up a lot of time to get a good finish but we also knew there was a lot of race left and the course was proving to be brutal! We pushed hard, a little too hard probably. I went into a corner too hot and rolled the car over on its side. We hit really hard. Both of us already thinking about how we were going to get the car back over when all of sudden the car righted itself and we were back on all 4’s! Car felt tight so we hopped back in the throttle and took off! Mike said his arm was hurting and we had bent our window net so we radioed in to let the crew know what had happened and I asked for Mark to suit up so Mike could get out. When we arrived at pit 3 the crew decided to take us both out and Mark and Emily climbed in. We wished them luck and sent them out try and salvage our race.
The car seemed to run fine. They came into the pits for fuel and and a shock adjustment and back out. At mile 300 Mark asked the crew to check the speed sensor because something wasn’t right. When they did, they found it covered in metal. Time to change the transmission. The crew jumped on it including our friends from 3P Performance. In the mean time David Martinez rolled in having an issue also. So while the crew changed the tranny, Mark went to work and helped them get back out on the track. They changed it out and we sent Mark and Mike back out to get us a finish.
Everything seemed to be working well, until it wasn’t…. The clutching backing plate came loose and they had all the tools they needed except a clutch puller. They radioed in and Chase 1 went back to pit 10 to see if there was anyone that could take the tool out to our team. As luck would have it, George Felix happened by and was able to give the boys a few parts and Dustin Hoffman’s team in a Jeep Speed was able to take the clutch tool to them. After what seemed like hours, they were back on the track. They began to have electrical problems and we waited anxiously to hear that they were up and running again. We heard from another team that our car was at mile 427 and not moving at 0430 am. By 0630 we still were not able to reach them. Rugged Relay took the initiative to jump in and stay with us through the night, trying to get up dates for us. But when the car was off the team was not hearing them. We finally found out that they were not able to continue and the chase team headed out to get them 2 hours away! We found them safe and sound at pit 12 sleeping in the race car.
Definitely not the way we like to have our race day end, but “that’s racing” as they say. Because we were so far behind, we had the opportunity to help a few other racer along the way. I gave a belt to a team that found out after the fact that no one had put their belt bag in the car, Mark pulled a stuck truck out and pulled over a rolled car. Mark was able to help David Martinez and the Star Car get running again. Makes me happy to be able to help our race families. Thank you to our very generous sponsors for making racing happen!
Condolences go out to the family of the dirt bike racer that lost his life during the race.
Speedy recovery to the quad racer that was hit by another vehicle.
We will see you all in the desert!