2017 BITD Parker 425 Trick Truck Race Report

Polaris RZR Parker 425 Race Report
Johnny Angal Trick Truck #63

So as most of you know by now after racing the Polaris RZR for a just over a year I won the Best in the Desert UTV Championship and the UTV Grand Championship in 2015. So I decided I wanted to step up the game a little and bought a Spec Class Trophy Truck. The Spec Class is limited to a factory sealed motor putting out about 500 HP. After a year of racing we ended up losing the Championship by 12 points and ended up 2nd Place overall. I was just getting comfortable in the Spec Truck and getting it dialed in and heard of a decent deal on a Trick Truck/Trophy Truck… and after a few days of dealing it was mine. Now I’ve got this bad ass 850 HP Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck I need to get a little seat time in, so I enter and race the Snore Rage at the River Race… See “last race report” for more details on it that one.

So we are getting ready for the first race of the season and we go on the ‘Parker 425 Fun Run’. We make some race notes and we learn how to mark and make even better notes. Which is good, it’s not like we have been doing this long and when you’re trying to learn it’s not like the other race teams are running up and showing you how they do things. So wanting to get a little more seat time in the Trick Truck we took it out to the desert and we learned A LOT, lol. Not so much about racing but more about how if you’re out testing you should wear your safety gear. When you come around a corner at 85 mph and freeze up and don’t commit like I did, shit goes bad, very fast. We blew a corner and hit a bank that shot the front passenger side of the truck up in the air. We did a full twist first and came crashing hard into the dirt on the front end. Then there was a little more twisting and landing hard upside down on the back of the truck. At that point I was hurting and thinking ‘Dam, that was bad but it wasn’t over. We were just barrel rolling thru the air and bam, bam, a couple more hard hits landing on our side.’ I ask Boner if he is ok and he says ‘Yes’. I turn the truck off, turn off the main battery switch and I can smell and hear fuel splashing on the ground. I want the out of the truck ASAP! I unbuckle and climb up and out past Boner. Now he is climbing out and I am looking for a shoe… we hit so fucking hard it knocked my shoe off and I’m looking for it! Boner goes and sits down and says he thinks he broke his ribs. I find my shoe and crawl back into the truck and grab my cell phone. We are in the middle of the desert, Boner is hurting, I’m hurting and my chase truck is an hour away. I’m thinking this isn’t good at all. I call my guy Craig and say we, LOL, “WE” just wadded up the truck bad but we are both somewhat ok. I make sure to tell him to calmly drive out to us with the truck and trailer. Boner’s hurting and says it feels just like last time he broke his ribs. I’m hurting pretty bad, my left knee got twisted bad, my right knee is bleeding, my back hurts and I think I must have some broken ribs as well. As we are waiting a couple of guys pull up and I’m sure this whole picture was quite a sight. Imagine a Trick Truck Yard sale in the middle of the desert, anyhow, I talk to them a bit and after a while Craig pulls up with the chase truck. He unhooks the trailer and gets the race truck pulled over on its tires and we load it up and head home. The whole trip back Boner is laying in the back seat not saying much.

When we get home Boner goes to the ER and they tell him he has a compression fracture to his spine, yup, a broken back. I wait a day or two trying to see if the pain would go away but it doesn’t. I go to the Urgent Care to see if my knee is broken as that’s what hurts the worst. They take a couple of x-rays and say “Nothing is broken, but you should go get a cat scan for muscle damage.” F THAT! I don’t like cats! Urgent Care gives me a set of crutches and says ‘Stay off your knee and ice it down.’ I thank them and use the crutches to get to the truck. Now my arm pits now hurt worse than my knee so I put them in the back seat and forget about them. The next morning I call Rick at Geiser Bros and tell him I need help with the truck. The race is in two weeks and I need it fixed. He tells me to bring it down he will get it taken care of. Another day goes by and I’m still hurting pretty bad. I am thinking about going to the Emergency Room to get looked at. I have a swollen spot on the side of my back that hurts and my knee is still killing me. I finally head to the hospital, I tell them about my knee, and my ribs and that my shoulders been hurting for about a year. So they send me for x-rays of my ribs, after the x-ray the doctor comes in and asked “So, when did you break your back the second time?” LOL I told him “Second time? Just the one time when I was 18 and I broke T3-4-5.” He says “No I am talking about T-12 and L-1.” He starts touching my back and says “Here.” I’m like “Yah that hurts so I would appreciate it if you don’t touch it there!” Now I am thinking ‘Well fuck, two more broken vertebra.’

My ribs and knee don’t hurt that much now and I ask him when I can get released? He looks at me funny and says “10-15 minutes.” I’m thinking to myself ‘I need to get out of here before this guy puts me in a body cast or something.’

Prep time

A photo posted by Johnny Angal (@johnnyangal) on

I have a week and a half to heal up, I will be fine, right…?

Qualifying day is here and I drew 29th off the line. Now, I’ve never qualified for a race before so I’m a bit nervous and I also have a new co driver in the truck with me. Boner needs to heal up and is sidelined this race. So first we get to follow each other, in order, around the 5 mile course to get the layout. Then one truck off the line every two minutes until I’m up. I’m hoping I can get in the 10th-15th area but when I look at the list of racers I’m thinking ‘Holy shit, these are the best off road racers in the world!’ The list of goes on and on and I think how did I even get on this list?! Me, Johnny Nobody vs. the best off road racers in the world, what the hell am I doing? It’s now my turn to qualify and I want to go fast but keep it easy and don’t wreck the truck again! Also go fast enough but not so fast you fuck up, oh shit, ok, medium fast…? I hit the gas and I’m around the first couple of corners with ease. We hit a couple of bumps and the truck bottoms out hard. Hmm the back is way too soft. I keep on driving trying not to make any mistakes. It all goes by really fast and we are done a couple of hours later. I’m thinking “I’ve got to be top 15th or so.” The results get posted and I find myself on the list. Top 15th, right? Hell no! I’m not even top 20, LOL, I’m 25th. Damn these guys drive hard, really hard, what am I doing here?

Race Day.

I think we line up around Noonish and the race starts at 1:30PM. Remember I am 25th off the line out of the 46 vehicles that qualified. I have two plans in my head: The first one is get the green light, pull forward a couple of hundred feet, and do a couple of smoky ass donuts right downtown then just have fun and race my race. The second one is don’t do anything stupid like flying off anything that I don’t know what’s on the other side, no rally car driving on the graded dirt roads, and don’t crash or break the truck at my first race of the season. As I am getting ready to leave the line I opt for number 2. I’m thinking a 7th place finish would be just right for my first “real race”. Well we are off the line I roll into the gas. The 850 HP Kroyer Racing Engine almost lifts the front tires off the ground, and we are running the new 40” BFGoodrich KR3 Racing Tires! About a mile off the straight line start they have a little S curve set up with cones and you’re not allowed to hit one. I’m off the gas early and cruise around the first hard left on the blacktop. I’m not hanging nothing out, calm and collective, number 2 style, and we have a great first lap. I never got passed but we did pass a lot of trucks in the pits and a few broke down on the course. The GPS says I am running a 63 MPH average and I know it’s to slow. So I pick up the pace a bit and am feeling more comfortable in the truck and with my new co driver Eric Clay. We are coming into Pit Two and the truck is telling us we are down on oil. My pit crew is telling us we are currently in Fifth, yah, FIFTH place! I am thinking ‘No way I am in 5th place…’ but anyway I decided to pull into the pits and take two quarts of oil. After about a minute or two and we get passed by two trucks. I knew I had just made a huge mistake. I just when from 5th to 7th in a flash. We race out of the pits and I am now back into eating dust. It’s starting to get dark and we start flipping on lights. None of our front bumper lights are working I’m thinking ‘Damn, those are all brand new Baja Designs lights!’ We check the breakers and still no lights. We just have the 50” Baja Designs light bar on the roof. It’s so dusty and no real wind so it’s just hanging in the air and I can’t see shit with the top bar. I really need my bumper lights. Well as it turns out right before Pit 1 I had been chasing down a truck in the dust and sun. When I went in for a nerf he hit his brakes, I hit him and I mangled all the brand new Baja Designs lights and wiring on my front bumper. Shit happens and we race on. Right as we leave the gravel pit we see a racer on the right side of the course telling us to slow down and then we come up to a truck on its side in the middle of the road. Another person is pointing us to go down a 6 foot or so embankment, so I do. I have no clue where it goes but am praying it will get me back to the course. All of the sudden I see a big wet area with a large pool of green algae, fungus, and moss and think ‘Oh shit!’ I roll into the gas and the truck starts sinking and slowing down. We make it across and the course is right in front of us. About this time my knees are killing me for some reason. On the longer races they start hurting bad, but it’s a typical thing. I hear somebody on the radio say something about Taylor Mills being out of the race. I tell them to ask if he will do the last lap for me and he says “Hell yes!” My co-driver, Eric, asks if he has to get out and I tell him “Taylor has his own co driver.” LOL, he is super bummed out and was ready to go the distance. We pull into the pits in 6th Place, I jump out we take on fuel and new rear tires. The guys start working on the lights, damn we lose another approx. 20 minutes fixing the lights. We get passed by a couple of trucks while the Mills Motorsports guys & my awesome pit crews get everything working again. Taylor gets in the truck takes off into the night. We hear them calling in every 5 miles. I hear “Race mile 60, all is good.” Then I hear something about the GPS is not working after the fire. … … What?! … FIRE?! … Damn. A fire?! … This can’t be good. Shit, fire, GPS, FIRE! FIRE! My mind is going crazy thinking about a fire. So it turns out we damaged a front shock and the oil sprayed on the header and caught fire. Taylor and Josh (Taylor’s co-dawg) got the fire extinguished quickly and the guys from McMillin Racing stopped to help as well as check out the situation. The call was made to keep racing so they jumped back in and cycled the battery switch and the GPS came back on. Now Taylor had to race at an easier pace to get the truck to the finish line, and he did just that. Crossing the line in 11th place overall and 10TH place in the Trick Truck Class. I know I will slowly get the truck dialed in for me and get more comfortable but for now it is what it is.

Thank You all so much for following along this racing adventure!

Thank You to everyone who makes my dream a reality every single day.

Polaris RZR, Method Race Wheels, BFGoodrich Tires, Baja Designs Lights, Fox Racing Shocks, JM Collision Center, Wolf Designs, Jesse Jones, The McMillin Crew, Eric Clay, Geiser Bros awesome Team for getting the truck fixed up, Mills Motorsports Crew, Taylor and Josh for lap three, my badass crew, everyone that came out to help, and YOU!

Best In the Desert Rest in Peace Casey Folks we miss you buddy…

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