Thank you, Shawn, for being a part of our racing “experience”. I am grateful to have you as a sponsor and call you a friend. Thank you for the never-ending support through the seasons of racing. I hope our racing weekend was something that helped give you an idea of what we go through each race fighting the elements, machine, man, and other teams. Thank you again for coming out and being a part of our program.
60 miles south of Nashville the smell of race fuel and high horse powered vehicles gather for the first Ultra4 Eastern race for the 2019 national racing season. Adventure Off-Road Park is thousands of acers consisting of hills, trees, rocks, streams, trees, mud, waterfalls and more trees. This will be the proving grounds for the first race of the season. Leave your clean clothes behind, because this weekend’s calling for rain.
Getting a feel for the weather and course we set out for a few laps of the 4 mile course. Joining us this race was Tom Woods Custom Driveshafts Shawn Woods. Tom Woods Custom Driveshafts has been a huge part of our success from the beginning with providing drivelines for the 4570 without failure to this day! With Shawn no stranger to off-road, we blazed down the short course and embarked into the tree filled woods to mark the course. Being a new off-road park we were raving at, Course workers were still cutting the course to widen the trail and creating more path options for the uphill climbs. Steep muddy hill climbs is the Tennessee standard. Rutted out from the 4400 vehicles we had no choice but to winch at the top. When the car died at the winch pull, we knew we had an issue. Finishing the full lap we inspected the car and found a faulty alternator. With a quick swap, we were back on track ready to qualify
While the team was wrenching on the car. Ultra4 allowed a parade lap to see the qualifying course. Thanks to Shawn Rants from Mutnut Racing, we hopped in the codriver seat to see what we were up against. With the car back together we took the green flag in qualifying. Weaving through the trees and rocks we barreled down the course. Coming down the last section of the course we slid off track forcing us into the tree line shearing off a steering component. Limping across the finish line we ended our qualifying run in the very back, 13th. Having spare parts in the trailer we were in good hands with crew working double time to make race day.
The smell of race fuel was in the air, it was racecar. With rain coming in from the east racing conditions would change drastically. Lap one set in for traffic jams as the slick east coast mud slid cars off course causing bottlenecks. It was a game of winching and the fastest through the uphill climbs. Big thanks to Voodoo Offroad for the indestructible winch line spooling us up each slick slope lap after lap. After fighting our way through traffic and stuck vehicles we were out of the woods headed towards the short course. Lap after lap the rain came and the course got worse and worse. More cars mangled in the trees and broken down. Noticing a break issue, we hopped out to see a pinched line. Capping it off we were going to fight the downhills of the course. Coming down a steep drop we had little stopping power causing us to take a tough line around large rocks and found ourselves wedged between a rock and a hard place. Using the winch and the aid of Rob Matzell we were back on course. Setting a slower pace feeling the loss of brakes along with steering gremlins unforeseen from qualifying, the laps continued until the checker flag waived.
After dealing with mechanical issues and failures through the weekend, starting 13th off the line, we crossed the finish in 5th place. With not one flat BFGoodrich tire all day long our Daystar powered LJ pushed from the back of the pack to the front with a top 5 finish. Setting the pace for the series this puts us in 2nd place for the point series for Ultra4.
With San Filipe up next, we will be ready! After ending a week in Moab for EJS, its back to the grind for the next race.