The Mojave Desert, a desolate wasteland located in southern California. Home to the King of The Hammers. Each year hundreds of teams battle the elements of man vs machine in the quest to be crowned king. Battling the elements of the harsh desert, along with man-made machines, Drivers and teams from all over the world complete in the “Daytona 500” of off-road racing. This year we take to the lake bed in Proving Grounds Racing fashion with a goal set to push the envelope for the national series points title.
With the crew meeting on the lake bed from different states we start our week shock tuning with Fox Shocks. Dialing in our suspension is key for the desert’s harsh terrain. Huge thanks to FK Rod Ends for coming on board this year to complement the Rock Krawler arms under our rig for suspension and steering. With the shocks and suspension dialed in we set out for the desert and pre-ran the desert loop making notes of the dangers along the way.
We noticed while prerunning the new motor and tune would not idle or run while in 4-low and struggled to keep running while in the rocks. We fought the issue on this for a few iterations of fixes till we brought it to Josh West from CBM Motorsports who found the issue in our tune file. We battled electrical gremlins through the week with the new motor and dash. Qualifying 12th for our class set us in a good position for picking off the competition in front as the rough course would help weed out a few in our favor.
At the green flag the parker pumper for helmet air decided it didn’t want to race with us and ran the whole race with visors up to see in front. Wiping glasses and visors to try and see a clear sight ahead meant a long day of impaired vision. Car ran strong all day, but with other vehicle roll overs in the desert section and in Cougar Buttes, we took some time to get around and an off-camber line caused us to get in a bad spot needing a front-end tug exiting the Buttes. Wrapping a strap to the Savvy Off-Road front bumper co-driver Josh waited for the next car to pass to lend a hand, when he strapped the rope and we began to get pulled out he slipped on a rock causing the car to run over his leg. Unsure of the severity we progressed to the main pit. Thanks to the 4855 team for the tug! Topped off fuel, and with a spongy feel to the brakes we tightened the lines thanks to the guys at BFG in the BFG hot pit. Rock canyon after rock canyon we tackled. Choosing alternative lines with broken cars on the course made for a longer day in the rocks. While on Jack North we veered off course following a group of cars not knowing it was the wrong direction and ended up stuck between a rock and a hard place. Thankfully Chance Hollaman was also turning around and was able to get us pulled back off the rock and ready to turn around.
Knowing that this cost us 40 minutes we were running out of time to finish and had to pick up the pace. After recovering a rolled over car blocking the trail in Wrecking ball, we high tailed it to the next canyon. Thanks to Warn Winch and VooDoo Off-Road recovery is made easy with VooDoo Soft Shackles and Winch Line! Outer Limits and Spooners seemed to be the longest with traffic and broken cars. With a tire change in the front, we watched St. Clair and Garretson pass us for 2 positions. With the fresh tire we were back in the course to finish the race and try catching the two drivers. As we cleared going down back door for the second time today, we were on the home stretch, to finish strong and to get the checker flag!
With over 120 vehicles and starting 54th overall, we landed a top 10 in class with a 9th place finish! We can’t thank all of our supporters enough for a great day of racing. Our RaceLJ powered by Daystar worked great in the desert and in the rocks and never skipped a beat. Thanks to Tom Woods Driveshafts and Motive Gear for keeping our drivetrain moving at all times and our Dirty Life Wheels and BFGoodrich Tire combo for traction all day long! This sets us off to a great pace for the rest of the season for national points. See you at Sacramento!