WELL DAMN, DREAMS DO COME TRUE!
I’ve only been racing for 4½ years, I started in a Polaris RZR that we built in my shop. We went out to my first race and I was hooked! I race my RZR for a year and a half, won a couple of races, even a Baja 1000 and a Best in the Desert Championship. I loved racing the RZR, but I wanted to go faster and jump further! It seems the closer I am to getting hurt the bigger the smile is on my face. So, I bought a used 6100 Spec Class Trophy Truck. I still remember the day Rick Geiser took me for my first ride, lol, I thought I was going to die. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!
The first time I drove it myself, Boner, my old navigator and I took the truck to parker AZ, drove it hard and fast for about a whole 30 miles or so and I was flat out exhausted. Hot, hands shaking, adrenaline flowing, but we were pumped! We literally had to stop the truck at midway and take a break. I remember him saying “Damn, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to keep up with the corner calling with the speed of this truck!”
Well we raced that 6100 truck for a year and it was super exciting! We even won a race and finished the season championship in 2nd place! How’s that for beginners luck? It was cool and all … but I had bigger dreams. I wanted to race against the true bad ass guys that I have looked up to. My super heroes: Rob Mac, Jesse Jones, Jason Voss, Josh Daniels, all the McMillians, Menzies, Baldwin, Gordon, it goes on and on, but yes, I am talking about the guys that are simply the FASTEST IN THE WORLD.
It just wasn’t that exciting for me to be the best at a race that took me 12 hours and see that somebody else did it in 8. So, there I was, online… “just looking”, and I happened to see Jesse Jones old TT76 up for sale and I said to myself “hell yes! Geiser Brothers truck and the guy has the money to take care of it right.” I called up his guy and made an offer … that didn’t work … so I made one more and he said … … … YES. I was so excited! I just bought a fucking trophy truck!!! So now what…? Well my friend at Mills Motorsports Trick Truck was broken and wasn’t going to get it fixed in time for the last race of 2016. So, I just went ahead and let them borrow it! I know, right? What was I thinking?! LOL! They are a great family, so I wasn’t really all that worried. Worst case was they would have bought me a new truck, right? Well, after the flat tire that broke the brake line, that sprayed on the brake rotor, that caught the truck on fire, lol, yah, this happened. They get it fixed back up better then I gave it to them and I headed to my first Trophy Truck race the ‘2016 Rage At The River’.
I WAS SCARED SHITLESS.
I qualified good and they lined me up next to none other then Jesse Jones in his new four-wheel drive trophy truck. He pulled me off the line but a minute later I was still close thinking “hell yes! I can do this!” It was a great race and after the two days of racing I went home with a second-place trophy. I also know in the back of my mind why Jesses truck broke. And, the big names that mattered to me where not there. No Rob Mac, no Voss, no Dondale. Damn it, I had a great race but wasn’t what I needed and wanted in my mind.
I felt great in the truck and it was time to get it ready for the first race of the year, Parker Arizona. So that’s what we did. I got the bright idea to go to Parker and test, well testing was more rolling the truck, breaking my back and my co drivers back… oops. I think I got a little gun-shy, as we got the truck prepped and still raced two weeks later after that whole back breaking, rolling over thing. It was all downhill for me at Rage At The River. I just wasn’t super comfortable after that. The whole year it was like Days of Thunder, I thought I was on fire, lol, I thought I was haulin’ ass, lol, but the truck just never felt the same. It always landed on the front tires, it wasn’t cornering the same, it was doing thing it shouldn’t be doing … it just wasn’t right.
I needed shock help as I just wasn’t comfortable with how the truck reacted to my input from what I felt in the 6100 truck. I finally met the guys from SDG shocks and asked if they could help with me Fox shocks. He said “Sure, I worked for Fox for years, I’ve got this covered.” Bam! Instant improvement for me! I loved them! They gave me a lot of confidence for my driving style. I slowly started driving faster and getting more comfortable with how the truck reacted to my input.
Anyway, let’s just fast forward to where we are today … sitting around, reading one of Johnny’s race reports, drinking coffee, oops too far. Let’s take it back a few here…
So, I asked Jesse Jones if he would team up with me again for the 2018 Vegas To Reno race, he could qualify and start the race and I would get in midpoint. He said yes whatever I wanted, he was in. I let him qualify because frankly, I suck at it. I just need a few minutes of throwing the truck around before I jump in the truck and start qualifying. We don’t get that chance but, anyhow Jesse qualifies 17th! Not bad, yet not top ten. No big deal the year before I passed 19 trucks in the first 300 miles, lol, I qualified 28th so I’ll take 17th any day. Jesse is starting with my Navi-guesser Vance… Let’s see how this works out… I’ve heard stories of Jesse being half way through a race, pulling over and telling the person navigating to get out of the truck. Vance has Navi-guessed for me for maybe 5 races? LOL. Also, I had heard the story of Jesse telling his navigator if he didn’t start doing a better job, would crash the truck and kill them both … Now I don’t know if this is all true or not, it is all hear say but I believe it.
It is race time and we are off the line! Or, well, Jesse is off the line! He’s kicking ass and staying up with the lead pack. Someplace in the first 100 miles there is a lot of water on the track, he starts hydroplaning the truck, it gets sideways then back the fishtails across the track the other way and straight into a huge pile of sand. As I watch the video, the truck gets thrown straight up in the air like a rocket! You know what they say, what goes up must come down. It does, sideways, on Vance’s side of the truck. The story goes Vance does not even get excited and Jesse is calling the pits for new shorts, lol. They race on and at one of the pits they we could see they had a low tire. We got lucky and had them pull in for a not so quick tire change and sent them off to battle the best again.
I meet them at race mile 300ish, where I get in the truck, take fuel, two rear tires, and driver change. Jesse did an amazing job! We were 8th truck on course and 4th or 5th on corrected time. I was on a mission. I had a good friend tell me before the race “Hold it floored unless you’re going to get decapitated.” What the heck? It sounded totally unreasonable to me at the time, but it crossed my mind more than once during the race and helped me hold it floored! After about 5 minutes of racing Vance says, “Hold on,” now I am on the gas hard, hitting stuff like I’ve never done before, anyways he says “I’ve got to readjust here. You are driving faster than Jesse.” LOL he needed readjust because Jesse probably just wouldn’t let him talk, LOL, or he’s going to ask for a raise this week, yah right! Either way the buttering me up helped my confidence and I was getting after it. It was the afternoon and the sun was not giving off any shadows on the terrain, I’m doing, let’s say 80 mph, I see a bump coming but I stay in the gas and the bump just gets bigger! Oh shit! Here we go! The truck is flying through the air, when all of the sudden it catches some air under the hood. Uh-oh! The front of the truck starts pointing to the sky, oh shit! NOT GOOD! I yell a quick “YEEHAAAA!!!!!” and we land perfect. Just like a bed of pillows. I’m thinking about how I almost just got decapitated. Visions of a jump I saw, Apdaly Lopez or the Youtheory Truck, at Laughlin go through my head and I think that was bad ass!! Now I am hauling ass, lol, we have passed two trucks on the side of the course and I think I am probably holding up 6 trucks behind me. Faster guys that are going to be pissed off at the finish line. I’m always pissed when I know I’m getting held up by a slower racer. We get into rock canyon and I slow it down to a more manageable speed. I see the Menzies helicopter hovering and think “hmm…” The next corner we see Bryce stopped in his new Huseman 4-wheel drive truck and I get really, really, happy. But, to be honest, I am always sad to see another racer parked. We spend a lot of time and money doing this and to break down just sucks, I have been there, more times than I would like to admit, my hats off to all of those who didn’t make it to the finish line. Anyhow, a half mile later we see the Geiser Brothers 4-wheel drive truck of Matney off to the side and I tell Vance we are going to be on the podium and he says to me “It isn’t over yet.” I know that better than anybody, but after the last corner I see the finish line. I floor the truck, keep it wide open and send it off the finish line just like Jason Voss does every year. It felt as if we flew over a mile but looks as if the tires barely left the ground, lol. I was pretty high on life so it’s all good!
We pulled up third truck on course and surprisingly there was nobody behind me pissed off. Actually, there wasn’t anybody even close. Now everybody is kind of looking at us and Josh Daniel comes over and says “I think you guys just won the overall race, 1st place, they are waiting for the times to come in now.” Yep, we won!! He congratulates us on the win and we make our way to the trailer. I call my Dad and choke up a bit telling him we just won, well damn, dreams do come true!
I couldn’t have won this race, or really done any of this, without the gigantic support I have from all my friends, family, and sponsors who believe in me and help me achieve and follow my crazy dream of racing trophy trucks. HUGE thanks to Polaris RZR, Geiser Bros, Kroyer Racing Engines, SDG Suspension, Fox Shocks, Method Race Wheels, BFGoodrich Tires, Wolf Designs, UTV INC, Losi RC, Torco Race Fuels, JM Collision Center, all the guys at the shop who do the smallest of tasks to the biggest of tasks to help prep the race truck, prerunner, chase trucks, and trailers. Thank you to all the crew members who donate their time and energy to help chase, pit, and more or less, be at our disposal to help with whatever it is we may need, you all make this dream work by lubricating all the squeaky gears, I cannot thank you enough. And last, but not least, you, the one reading this, thank you for following this dream and passion of mine. For all the social media likes, comments, congratulations, good jobs, you’ll get em next time, praises and the courage to pick myself up when things get down, you have always been there to keep me grounded and humbled as I have tried and succeeded make my dream a reality. This may be my first win, but I sure as hell hope it wont be my last!