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2018 Mint 400 Johnny Angal #63 Trick Truck Race Report
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We all know the race really starts long before the actual race with preparation. So, lets start way back at the end of the first race of the year, the parker 425. If you follow these reports then you know at race mile 66 we hit the Terrible Herbst truck that had hit the cow on the race course. It took us out of the race. I tore the tie rod mount off the front spindle, bent the lower a-arm, tore up the front brake caliper and did some other damage that would need repair. We got on it and got it all fixed, right? No. The real behind the scenes shit you guys never heard about was after we hit the truck and turned the motor off it would not restart. It was a relatively fresh motor with about 600 miles on it. We run them around 1500 miles before we pull them out to be rebuilt. But as we learned later this motor had something in the number one piston that would not let it turn over. We had to pull it and put our spare motor in. So, we get done with everything and we are a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.
After we swap motors we go to our motor builder in Vegas to dyno the motor in the truck and ensure everything is running right. I then tell my guys “Hey! Let’s take the truck to Primm and do a shake down run to make sure she is race ready!” … This is where the shit gets good. We head out to Primm, unload the truck and Vance and I start driving it around. Keep in mind we are not at race speed. But we are having fun and being in the truck, playing around with no pressure is a ton of fun! We are doing 127 mph across the dry lake bed and loving it! We get on another dirt road and a bunch of birds fly up in front of us and one comes flying thru the front and hits the side of my helmet and commits suicide, lol! I just smile and push the gas. Its chilly out the temp, 34 degrees and overcast, but all is good. Then as fast as the miles of smiles came they left! It was like the truck dropped into neutral and the transmission torque converter temps skyrocketed. A quick ‘oh fuck’ entered my mind and yep it was over. We had no transmission or underdrive. Something bad happened and my chase truck was on the other side of the desert. We call Craig who was in the Chase Truck and told him where we thought we were. I tell Vance I will start walking to the main road to lead Craig in to where the truck was broken at, so we could put it on the trailer. You notice how I mentioned the temperature earlier in this story? Yah, it’s because I only had a light jacket and my racing gloves on and it was kind of cold. I started walking and came across the race course. I walked down it for a while chucking huge rocks out of the way so on race day I could fly thru that section. Well after about 30 minutes of that bullshit I looked up and thought to myself ‘damn it’s cold’. The sun is going down fast, and I better stop fucking around and walk a bit faster, lol! I get to the main dirt road and the first car to me slows, asks If I’m ok, I say “Yes I am fine, my trucks coming.” But to tell you the truth I just didn’t want a ride from the guy and his big ass dog that was climbing all over the front seat of the car. So, I keep walking and let me tell yah, I am an engine guy… this walking bullshit is, well… bullshit! LOL! The next car that pulls up to me is a guy in a truck, he stops and asked, ‘What’s up?’ I tell him my truck is broken and ask if I can get a ride out to the main road next to the highway. He says, “Sure throw that stuff in the back of the truck.” I thought ‘Is he talking about all the garbage and food wrappers on the floor… or the 5 gallon bucket on the seat?” Might be faster to not clean his truck and just keep walking, right? So I move the 5 gallon bucket and jump in. We chat it up, he’s a nice enough guy and he gives me a ride to the main road. I thanked him and on down the road he goes. Now I’m waiting for Craig to show up and am now hanging out with a guy that was testing his quad. He is loading up and getting ready to leave and I think my guy Craig might never find me as I told him to go down the wrong road. So, at this point I ask this guy for a ride … didn’t your parents ever tell you not to pick up strangers, LOL? He kindly obliged, we head down the road that my chase truck should be on and yup, there it is! I thank this guy, jump in my chase truck with Craig and blast the heater. We head towards Vance and the broken truck. It’s now dark out and the truck says its 30 degrees. I am hoping Vance is still alive, I call him and tell him to turn on the lights, so we can drive out to him. We winch the truck up onto the trailer and head home. It was a long day and we didn’t get home until about midnight.
After we get back and start digging into the truck we discover what the problem was. We had broken the new under drive unit we just had installed. I call Geiser Brothers and tell them about it, he calls the manufacture and they said they would stand behind it. Geiser Brothers tell me they would loan me one until the new unit shows up. I was thankful for both of these guys and so I order a spare unit just in case. This is racing by the way, and anything can happen. The underdrive uses transmission fluid to oil it, so when the underdrive broke it sent metal shavings into the transmission, the torque converter, the transmission coolers and lines! So now we pull it all out, send the transmission out to be rebuilt – once again, and the coolers and lines out to be professionally ultrasonically cleaned. Our next race was The Mint 400 and I didn’t want to take any chances. We went over the whole truck, two more times, making sure everything was fresh and ready to race. We got everything back the week before the race and I had the transmission shipped ‘Next Day Air’ so we would have it Friday to install over the weekend before the race to be able to go back out for a shake down run. Well low and fucking behold FedEx lost the transmission the same day. Yes, you read that correct, they lost it. A transmission. Not a small 4x4x4 box like you would think, but a fucking transmission. Yeah, I have a spare race transmission, but it was also still getting rebuilt at the time and some other upgrades done. I have a spare, spare, transmission but it doesn’t have all the “good parts in it” so I didn’t want to race on it. And top it all off, I’m slowly getting a cold and I feel like shit, but we just push forward. We get the transmission on Monday (…way to go FedEx…) and get the truck back together, get the chase trucks loaded up and Wednesday morning we head out to Vegas. We also have a new single seat Polaris RZR RS1 that we built some custom one-off parts for while all this other stuff was going on, and we must deliver it to the Polaris display at The Mint 400. So, yah, it was quite the busy week we had and I’m now sicker than a dog? Is that actually a thing? Do dogs get sick a lot?
We finally arrive in Vegas, deliver the RS1, the truck is dialed, and I’m sick. We qualify tomorrow, and I suck at qualifying, I say this every race but it’s true. Most guys hope for a top 10, while I am over here dreaming of a top 20! On top of qualifying I was asked if I would give 2 or 3 special guests of BFGoodrich Tires a ride in the truck. I of course said yes. We qualify, and I felt that I did really good and went faster than I’ve ever went before. But, I also felt like that before I qualified for Vegas To Reno and I was 38th place for that, so, yah, I suck at qualifying and didn’t get my hopes up at all. As we sat there waiting I had the pleasure of meeting Kurt Leduc and listening to some of his stories and history. I just love that shit. The history is unreal and the things these guys know from a life time offroad racing is just amazing. We have to wait all day and I am still sick, still feel like shit when finally, the 2 or 3 people I promised to give rides to, and 2 people turned into 5 people by the way, show up. I took all of them for quick rides pounding thru the desert and had a blast! Seeing their faces when we were done was priceless, lol! Lot of grins and smiles of amazement!
We head back to Vegas to get cleaned up for the parties and yep I still feel like shit. All of my friends are telling me I’m not going to be better anytime soon. Jesse Jones was just getting over being sick one ups all of them and tells me “Yup, next you’ll get the shits too, so good luck on race day!” … lol … The shits? I think to myself ‘I’ll be in the race truck for 6 hours with the shits? Why did he have to say that?” I just couldn’t imagine that but also know… shit happens!!! LOL!
We find out we qualified 21st
out of 60 bad ass seasoned racers so now I am excited! Yea it’s not a top ten but I’m learning and getting faster! Friday is contingency, and you know how much I hate standing around waiting but it’s a must do. I wake up on Saturday and yup, I am still sick, however I feel really, really, good. You know why? Fuck you Jesse Jones! I don’t have the shits!! HAHA! We don’t start our race till 1PM so we have a lot more waiting going on, but we finally line up at the starting line and I am ready to prove to myself and do this this!
Bam! We are off the line! I’m side by side with the truck next to me into the first couple of corners and then he finds a little hard pack traction and slightly pulls me on the next corner. We stay on his ass while getting pummeled by huge rocks and I back out of the gas a little to try and stay clear of them. We fly into a bunch of tight corners then there is a long straight where I know I’ll pull him! I hammer down but I’m not making any ground. I tell my Co-Driver Vance the truck isn’t making full power and feels like its dragging. I notice its only pulling 6600ish RPM not 7500 RPM that it should be. Vance tells me “Well it is soft out.” … ??? … What the fuck??? I think to myself ‘I’m the driver, I know its soft out, but that should make it spin the tires easier and we should be making full power here.’ Oh well, it is what it is I guess, we have a long way to go and a short time to do it. We go thru a bunch more of this stupid short course, man-made, bullshit race course, then thru a speed zone across the bridge and I am still right on this trucks ass that started ahead of me. As we come up to the ‘resume race speed’ section he floors his truck and I floor mine! We start getting blasted by rocks and gravel again. I watch one fist sized rock fly right towards Vance and it shatters our GoPro case. We watch our GoPro fly thru the air and most of the big stuff is just beating the shit out of Vance. I am smart enough to put my side off the truck off to the left to keep myself out of the way. I don’t lift at all, but I still don’t have 100 percent power. All of the sudden, BOOM! An asteroid of a rock hits me and flies off my helmet. It unplugs my radio cable, so now I can no longer hear Vance talking. I am in shock thinking ‘Now I have to go 400 miles with no communications with my codriver?’ I also think “Hmm, well now there is nobody to tell me the dirt is soft!!!” LOL! I slow down and manage to plug my cable back in but nope, still can’t hear him, nor can I talk to him. Not that I talk much during the race anyway so does he even know I can’t hear or talk to him? I start watching his hands and race on. I’m not happy but nobody is going hear me complain now. Oh yea, it’s also sprinkling out, so I have a microfiber towel in my hand constantly wiping the lens on my helmet, and trying to drive, and shift, and go fast… damn this is going to be a long race. I’m kind of surprised I am railing corners fast and feeling that I’m even faster not knowing where I’m going! I’m feeling pretty good on one long section that was very rough. I held the truck floored and let her eat but our top speed was only about 105mph. We should have been seeing 120 mph plus! There’s that lack of power thing again, or was it just soft? We hit a couple of rough sections and the truck seemed to drop into neutral and our race was over at mile 27. The transmission was gone. My spare transmission was done but the torque converter wasn’t back yet, so we never picked it up. Our race ended and with only myself to blame. Everybody we work with went above and beyond to get us to this race. I’m not bitching or complaining about anybody, just handing out my side of the story the best I can.
Well after a kind of disappointing 2017 Best in the Desert race season in the Trick Truck 63… we missed two races last season just because life got in the way. You know divorces have a way of screwing with your mind, that’s why you have not seen a race report from me lately, but yah … anyway … We raced that Snore Rage at the River at the end of the year and had a blast! We finished the race in second place and I was starting to feel good in the driver’s seat.
With the Parker 425 coming up I turn the truck over to Geiser Brothers to install an underdrive, new rear end housing, new Lowrance GPS units and cut the front of the truck off and rebuild it. It was still really tweaked from when Boner made me wad it up when I first bought the truck from Jesse Jones. I get the truck back from Geiser Bros and we still have a million things to do to get ready. I say WE, but I really don’t do shit as I really leave most of it up to my new navigator, Vance White, and he gets the job done!
We pull into Parker a day early and set up camp. We are also saving space for Jesse Jones who is going to be my back up driver, also his son Austin will be racing his first ever 6100 Trick Truck Race. The next day, Thursday, is qualifying. Boy do I hate qualifying, I suck at qualifying… but it is what it is. I just know I need to work harder and eat more dust to get up front in the race. Now that we have the underdrive on the truck and I started working with SDG shocks to get the suspension to work the way I want I am not scared!
So here we are lined up for qualifying and we are off, lol, yah… off… I kind of blow the first berm and get way to high. It really slows us down for the next mile or so as it is all hard packed, big berms and big tight corners. I suck at this type of stuff, but we have no choice except to keep on it and we finally get out of that shit in into some fast, rough sections. As we go up Shea Rd we are now hauling ass 100+ mph and the truck is feeling great! We hit the next corner a little slow but that’s fine, it has cones on the inside and outside of it that we can’t hit, or we will get a penalty. We fly around the next left hard then it is wide open to the first jump! I tap the brakes right at the top and we fly thru the air. To say it as simply as possible, IT IS BAD ASS! As we land the truck starts rebounding and the front of the truck starts pulling a wheelie. I am thinking to myself ‘that was so bad ass!!!’ Oh yaaaaahh!! Huge smile on my face bad ass! We hit the next few jumps and over the radio we hear there is an accident on the course. We skip the last jump and I hear it was Jason Voss behind us. I continue to practice a bit since we were going to get a do over… A do over, lol? Well I ended up qualifying 30th, that sucks but that’s what it is.
It’s now Friday and the day to roll thru contingency. Vance and I head over to the Impact Racing booth to get measured up for new race suits. Everything thing goes well but I am disappointed that we found out Vance’s biceps are 1” bigger than mine.
Saturday is race day, but we don’t start till 1:30 in the afternoon. So, it makes for a long wait… You know how I feel about hurrying up and waiting. We finally pull up to the starting line and we are next… 30 seconds to go time… Bam! Green light!
I smash the pedal to the floor and the Kroyer Racing engine comes to life!! OOOHHH YEEEAAA!!! 472 cubic inches of gas guzzling, fire breathing, hell to the tune of 2 MPG comes to life and shoots us off into the desert! After the first couple of corners I take a breath…
Ease the seat back, she’s blinding, I’m flying, right behind the rear-view mirror now, got the feeling, power steering, pistons popping, ain’t no stopping nnnooowwww!!!! Oh shit, sorry that’s Van Halen…
Now back to the race report… I settle in and lift big time on the two Shea Rd spectator jumps that have huge woops after them. As we drop down the hill and into the wash we are already in heavy dust but I am feeling great and the truck is working and running great! We are running as safe and as fast as we can. We pass midway pit and go into a section I am comfortable with. We were getting it!! We drop down the long wide graded road section and when the dust allowed I was sliding the truck around the corners and thinking to myself ‘I am not Robby
fast, but I am getting faster.’ As we drop off the graded road we hit our first section that we get to do 110 mph in. We enter and pass pit two and there is the Class 1 car that we have been eating dust from forever. I am like “Game on fucker!” 10 to 15 turns later I am ready to pull him in for the nerf, but he shoots to the right on the course and I shoot to the left, we take an outside line and get to pass two cars!! Woohoo!! Clean air!!
I start driving the truck hard and now I am chasing down the helicopter. I start giving them the bird and the race is on! I hammer down and speed off past the Heli, see yah! We have a couple of 120+ mph sections and start rolling into dust from the Trick Truck we are now catching. The dust starts getting really heavy, so I back off a little bit and just then the air clears as if we have an angel watching out for us. My eyes get large and there is a Trick Truck completely sideways across the race course! I crank the steering wheel hard left and get on the brakes a bit. I cranked hard left because I would have hit them on my side of my truck if I didn’t, and that wasn’t of any interest to me, so hard left it is and watch out Vance, here it comes! BBBAAAAAAMMMMM!!!!
It was not as bad as I was expecting…?! Vance starts yelling at me “Go!! Go!! GGGGGGOOOO!!!!” The truck is pulling very hard to the right. I pull over and tell Vance “Get the fuck out of the truck ASAP before somebody hits us too!!” We bail out of our truck start to get off the course as much as possible. The driver Christian and co-driver John of the Herbst Truck (the one we hit) come running over to check on us. We tell them we are good and have to ask “What the fuck happened?” They give me a quick rundown of their wreck. They hit two cows and started rolling at over 100 mph! We couldn’t believe the carnage.
At this point we all run over to start directing race traffic to keep this from happening again. After a long while one of the BITD people make it to us. He says, “Sorry my truck got stuck in a ditch and I just walked a mile and a half to get here.” No problem, everybody is good, the Helicopter just took Christian and John to the emergency room. A little while longer another BITD person makes it to us and pulls the Herbst truck off the race course. He informed us they would be back shortly to pull us out as well.
I have a very bad headache and ask Vance if he has any aspirin. I check my door bag and nope, just Vicodin… LOL! You know what is better than aspirin when you are stuck in the desert with 2 dead cows and two broken Trick Trucks? Yep, you guessed it, Vicodin! LOL!
So, after a long while another guy, who was riding in the helicopter, whom we hadn’t had the pleasure to meet yet walks up and I tell him what was going on. I also tell him they probably won’t come back for him, but I will make sure he gets out of there. I’m joking around with him and say, “I don’t know how long it will be until they come back for us, but at least we have two cows to eat before Vance and I put you on the menu.” LOL Vicodin! YES! But he says, “Don’t worry they will be back for me shorty.” And no shit a few minutes after he said that the helicopter arrives to pick him up. He asked if we need anything and I say water. He brings us back what I am guessing was his lunch from Subway, some water and other goodies. Thank you so much! As luck would have it we were out there for about 7 hours… Still want to be a desert racer…? During that time I worked on my tan, told Vance “I am going to go stick my hand in that cow and paint bloody war paint on my face”, I told him I was going to put the little cow across my back and start walking down the side of the race course, and I wanted to moon McMillin as he raced past but he was faster than I could get ready for, LOL!
We did take some time to pose with the road kill before we finally saw Rescue 11 again to tow us back to pit 2. They get us hooked up and tell us they must pull us down the race course for about a mile and a half so put our belts on, LOL … oookkkk.
We are off and flying down the race course once again!! I didn’t put my helmet on and now I am getting blasted in the eyes with dust and I can’t take my hands off the wheel because it’s so freaking hard to turn the steering wheel without power steering. It is so hard, and I am worn out, so I look over at Vance to ask for some help, but he is too busy texting… I’m like “Really?! Can I get some help over here dude?!?” He says something like yada, yada, yada, and I say, “I don’t give a fuck, lol, help me out!”. We make it back to the pits, get loaded up and head back to the hotel for some much-needed rest.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone who helps make my dream a reality for not just me, but everyone involved in the team, and that those who have a helping hand in this racing endeavor.
Polaris RZR, SMG Motorsports, Method Race Wheels, SDG Suspension, Geiser Bros, Kroyer Racing Engines, Torco Race Fuels, Impact Racing, Wolf Designs, Mad Melvin Motorsports, UTV INC, BFGoodrich Tires, Best In The Desert, Best In The Desert Volunteers, My chase crew and everyone who has helped out in any way with our racing program, and lastly YOU, thank you for the support, it means the world to me.
Johnny Angal TT63 – Polaris RZR – Vegas to Reno 2017
We will call this report ‘Mind Games’
So… after the Method Race Wheels Laughlin Classic, a race we finished in 6th
place, in the new to us Trophy Truck we would start getting the truck ready for Vegas to Reno. Since my truck prep guy moved on to bigger and better things it was up to Vance, Boner, a new guy in my shop Ben, and myself to get the truck ready for 550 miles of crazy Nevada terrain. I must mention Vance went above and beyond working his ass off getting us ready for this race. I never dreamed Vance and I would be pulling and replacing transmissions, rear ends and everything else that had to be done on the truck to get it ready for the race but we got it done. LOL! We did a pretty good fucking job too!
So, during all that prep work I was thinking “550 miles… in the trophy truck… can I do it?” Now some of you guys are thinking ‘Wow, Trophy Trucks are like riding on a magic carpet, so fast and so smooth, 11 hours is no big deal!’ as you sit in front of the computer… right? Well you can all eat shit! It is so, so, so, physically demanding its’ just mind blowing. Yes it is faster and better riding then my Polaris RZR, but I am now hitting holes in the desert at 100-110 MPH vs 30-40 MPH. It is brutal. You can’t take your mind off what you’re doing for 1 second. It is 100% concentration the whole time or you’re going to be making new roads through the desert.
So anyhow I figured I’d ask the man I bought my truck from if he wanted to race with me. I figured he had a lot of seat time in the truck and he is one of the World’s top off road racers. I said to myself ‘The hell with it!’ and called him up. The call went great and he said he would let me know on Monday. Well Monday came and went… but I understood 100%. I figured if I was one of the best off-road racers in the world why would I team up with somebody who has only been racing for 3 years and has only raced a Trophy Truck 3 times in his life? Yep, I agree. It all went through my head and I had no problem with it. I had a backup plan. Remember how I told you it is so punishing on the mind and body? Well I started meditating to cleanse my mind and body. Yup, that’s right. LOL. Not really! I can’t believe you fell for that! LOL!! But I did start going to the gym and working out 5-6 days a week, hard for about 2 ½ months with Vance. We’ve had a blast I started seeing muscles that I had not seen for years come back to life. I was feeling good and ready to take on V2R!
Any way a week goes by and Jesse Jones whom I consider to be one of the ‘Original Bad Ass Trophy Truck Racers’ texts me back and says “Sorry, I’ve been so busy but yes, I’d love to race with you.”
My mind is blown! Jesse Jones is going to race with me! Woot! Woot! You would not believe my excitement! I tell him my plan and he’s like “Yep sounds great lets go race and have fun.” He asks “How well do you qualify?” Um, I say “Not great.” followed up with, “Well at qualifying for the Laughlin race I took the barbed wire fence out while on two wheels!” … So … yah … “Not bad” he says, “well as long as you qualify top 20 we’ll be fine.” Sounds easy enough to me, top 20, we got that.
Anyway, we finish prepping the truck and Boner gets to haul it up to Vegas so our motor builder, Kevin Kroyer, can get it on the dyno to make sure everything is good. They end up fixing some other issues on the truck and find a little more horsepower for me in some adjustments and a bad throttle body position sensor. To me it’s like a new truck and it’s pulling harder than ever before. Boy, I wish I had that extra power at the last three races! LOL!
Now that everything is a go and we head up to Vegas the day before qualifying. I am going to do it because I want to start the race and Jesse is very busy at work and he won’t be able to make it. As I am getting ready to get in the truck Jesse walks up with a big smile and says he just flew in last minute to check things out and he had to fly out in a couple of hours to take care of unfinished business back in Phoenix. I was very excited to see his passion for racing. Boner and I jump in the truck and sit in line sweating our asses off as we wait our turn to go. Its freaking hot out and our 468-cubic inch Kroyer motor is building heat like an old wood stove in the cab of the truck. It’s gotta be 130 degrees sitting in the truck waiting. We do our practice lap and Jesse comes over and gives me a few pointers and teaches me tricks and tips that he has learned in his years of racing. It is awesome! So now we have to sit and wait for our turn to qualify. Racing has a lot of sitting around, LOL! It is really freaking hot and, yes, I’m really freaking nervous, but it’s our turn and I have a plan for each section. Each bump. Each straightaway… Boom!Before you know it and, after a nose wheelie or two we are done! I feel good about it, I was nice and smooth. It seemed fast, I am sure I got that top 20 starting position we were shooting for, without a doubt in my mind! The results are posted and I qualified in 38th.
WWWWWHHHAAATTTTT?! 38th?!?!?!? NO WAY!!!
I had a smooth, clean, fast run, no way! Fucking 38th?! I sit there thinking to myself:
‘Well 38TH, no, no, no…’
‘I guess I will race the last two races of the year, then put the truck up for sale.’
‘Man, I suck!’
‘There is no reason for me to keep racing. I just don’t have what it takes to line up with these bad ass mother fuckers.’
‘Yup, it’s over, I’m not spending this kind of money to be the 38th
fastest guy in the desert.’
‘I need a new hobby, I suck. 38th? LOL What am I doing here?’
‘Man, the timers must be wrong.’
That number is burning into my brain, that’s all that runs through my head for the next two days! Well that and boy do I suck! 38th?! Really?! I just let the whole team down and I just made Jesse think ‘What the hell was I thinking? This guy sucks! 38th
So I am guessing you guys now understand how I felt? Yah, fucking 38th
place. So what that means is 37 guys that are faster than me, making dust, hitting huge rocks and throwing them out in the course in front of me. 37 trucks loosening and grinding the roads to a fine silt with no traction, oh well to much effort went into this to stop now, but I suck!!!
Contingency sucks, so we will just forget that even happened and get right to racing! I asked one of the best racers in the world to race with me and yup, I suck, I shouldn’t be here, I’m burning $100 bills like they grow on trees and for what I ask?
We are 38th
off the line might I remind you? Oh well, here we go!
Our motor roars to life! Tires are spinning and we are off racing the 2017 Vegas To Reno in a Trophy / Trick Truck! I feel fine now. It feels like we are hauling ass. I catch the truck in front of me in the first 15 miles but when I go in for the kill I get dusted out. This happens for the first 100 or so miles. We are flying thru the air! I am feeling great! I am going fast, right? Oh shit, maybe I am just going 38th
place fast…? We charge as hard as we can at times doing 117 miles per hour in dust so thick I can’t see Boner in the passenger seat. I am even thinking about God at times. Man, I am feeling good, I am pumped up! Right about then sweat starts rolling from my forehead. I am hot. I am nauseous. Oh fuck, I think I am going to throw up.
We are right around race mile 100 and I am thinking ‘I wonder if Jesse will mind getting in the truck at race mile 150? I suck anyway and should not be here.’ A few minutes pass and I am feeling better. I’m sliding the truck around corners and it’s feeling great over a few small jumps. Around race mile 150 I’m laughing and screaming in my helmet as we fly thru the air! Boner is thinking I’ve lost it! LOL! At race mile 200 we get a flat tire and get passed by 4 trucks in the blink of an eye. Now I’m in the dust again. Yep, you guessed it, I start feeling queasy again. At the next pit stop they tell us we are doing great and making up all kinds of spots. They think we have moved up to 16th truck on course. Now everyone is getting excited and saying we are doing great! I get out of the truck at race mile 300, and Jesse gets in with Boner. Kind of a slow driver change but all is good.
The truck is running strong and besides the one flat we are killing it! I start chasing from pit to pit and I am in Jesses Raptor. I have a hand-held radio and I think I hear Boner say “We need two tires on the rack.” I radio back with no response but Boner keeps calling with the same request. He just can’t hear me. So, I yank the spares out of the raptor and ask the Graf Racing guys if they will help me rack them and they kindly oblige. A huge thank you to those guys! I was feeling much betting knowing I started in the back and moved up 24 spots physically and on corrected time was close to the top ten. I was just smiling, happy, and my world was once again at peace. I was even thinking about ordering up that new 4 wheel drive trophy truck… fuck me, right? That is the ups and downs of racing. I can’t say much about Jesse’s 250 miles in the truck but Boner said we have a lot of the same driving style. However, Jesse isn’t afraid to hammer down in the rough stuff and Boner said as they were flying through the air at 108 mph Jesse said “This aint nothing! She hasn’t even started to stretch her legs!” So they ended up getting a couple of flats, and breaking the floor jack, then our air jack got stuck in the mount and wouldn’t come out which set us way back. All in we ended up with a 14th
place finish and we had a ton of fun doing what we love!
I came home and learned I had taken the truck from 38th
place on corrected time and my mind was blown. I was so excited, pumped, stoked, yah it aint first but I am learning! Sunday I loaded up my Polaris RZR and went for a 6 hour ride to relax, chill and reflect on one of the most bad ass Fridays of my life. Not to mention it was an awesome Sunday!!!
Shout out to Polaris RZR, Jesse Jones, The Geiser’s, Method Race Wheels, Baja Designs Lights, Fox Racing Shocks, Kroyer Racing Engines, Gear Works, Boner, Joe, Nickers, Nate, Vance, Chris, Tyler, Al, Conwon3, BITD, KN Filters, Howe Power Steering, my bad ass team at UTVINC
Polaris RZR Factory Racing
Johnny Angal Trick Truck #63
Here we go! Well some of you know I had some shit happen and I missed the Mint 400. I was so bummed and disappointed but yah, shit happens. The truck was close to ready for the Laughlin race, I just had a few things to do to button it up. Being a small race with only 1 pit we would only need a small crew, 1 Chase Truck, and a co-driver. My co-driver or as he likes to call himself “Nava-guess-or” ie. Navigator, we all know him by the nickname, BONER. He no longer works for me but I was pretty comfortable with him in the truck so I asked him if he still wanted to race with me, and he said he was in! To get a little deeper into that, I also asked him “Why do you still want to race with me?” His reply was classic “I just want to go fast!”, so off to Laughlin we go!
We arrive the night before qualifying and after a quick steak dinner and some desert. Or as Vance thinks it should be called, ‘cheese PIE’, the rest of the world calls it, ‘cheese CAKE’, but in our little circle it will forever be called cheese pie, I told him that’s just fucking stupid. Ok, so we register and line up with the other Trick Tricks and Class 1 Cars for our practice lap. We take off and go through 5 or so quick turns then a straight sandy run, a couple more turns and then some… bumps? jumps? No, just huge piles of dirt that have no rhythm to them and a small kicker bump here and there between them. LOL. I’m not comfortable with any of them, then we head into a hard off-camber right turn that just doesn’t seem right but that’s the way it is.
We line back up for qualifying and we are off! Now remember I am new at this racing shit. This is only the beginning of my third year and just my third race in the truck. A 6000-pound truck, with an 850-horsepower motor, 40” tires and shocks that are the size of small trees. It can be kind of overwhelming at times to say the least. I am hoping to be in the top ten… So remember those 5 or so quick turns? Yah, well I made it to number 5 before all hell broke loose. Wouldn’t yah know as I railed into corner n5 the passenger side of the truck came off the ground and next thing you know I’m driving the truck on two wheels! Oh shit! I start to turn into it as it gets closer to rolling over. I’m turning more, and more, and a little more… It isn’t helping. There is a barb wire fence on the left and the only way I’m going to get the truck to not roll over and play dead is to turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and hit the gas a little and yup, go thru that barbed wire fence. So that is exactly what I do. The truck comes back down on all four tires. Now a quick thought goes thru my head ‘Do I circle around and go back thru that missing section of barbed wire fence?’ but just then my bad angel on the other shoulder says “Hey, it would be faster to just make a new hole in the fence!” So you know, I’m in a Trick Truck right? So I go with the fast route and just take out another section of fence! I know what you are thinking and yes, I told BITD I took out the fence, and yes, I would pay for it. LOL. I will let you guys know what that fiasco cost me later, not just in time lost, LOL.
Damn, this is a long race report… We haven’t even started racing yet!
Well, we qualified in 17th place. I am kind of embarrassed. Now you have to understand I don’t consider myself some bad ass off road racer. I’m just a guy that has done alright racing off road and I sure in the hell didn’t spend all this money on a truck to ever be in 17th place. Yup, that’s right, I have NO interest in being 17th anything. Unless maybe it’s the 17th richest guy in the world. My dad reinforced this thinking for me a couple of weeks ago while we were talking about racing the Trick Truck.
Him: “Go and WIN!”
Me: “I don’t think I can win yet, I need more seat time. I am still getting used to racing the truck.”
Him: “Well, I don’t even know why you go race if you can’t win?”
Me: “But Dad, you have to understand I’m racing against the fastest off-road racers in the world. Some of them have been racing for 10, 20, 30 years!”
However, he did make a good point… I’m going racing no matter what this year.
We line up on race day they are starting 2 at a time, side by side. We finally get up to the starting line and all the nervousness leaves my body and I settle in. Green light!!! Go, goo, ggggoooo!!!! I floor the truck and we are racing! As we get close to leaving the infield section another truck that was on the side of the course pulls out on the race course in front of me. It’s the Mills Motorsports truck, I make it out ahead of the truck I started next to but now I have this other truck ahead of me I have to deal with. What does ‘deal with’ mean? ‘Deal with’, means as I get close to him and the dust his truck is kicking up, I must slow down. At times, I can’t see where I am going. ‘Deal with’ means as I get closer to him we get blasted with sand, gravel, and rocks hitting you as big as your fist. That shit hurts, seriously, and you just deal with it. So now I’m trying to chase him down. I want to pass him as I had a $100.00 side bet with one of his guys that I would beat them. So, we take the beating and try and stay close so hopefully we can make a pass. However, due to the dust we never make the pass on this lap but eventually he makes a mistake and ‘cha-ching’, I just got some money for barbed wire fencing! We race on, passing people here and there. Some have technical problems, some have flat tires, and we finish our four 17 mile laps and cross the finish line 9th overall. But we did well so on corrected time we really finished the day in 6th place. I’m pretty excited and kind of content with 6th place for the day. I start thinking ‘Well, if one guy breaks and I’m faster than two of the others, BAM! I’m on the podium!’ I’m also playing that thru my head as well if the leader breaks and the next 4 guys crash into him, BAM! I’m on the podium! LOL. Yah, crazy shit goes thru my mind at times.
Another 4 laps, 17 miles each, and I’m third off the line this time. We pull up and settle in waiting for the green light. BAM there it is! We are off! We beat the truck next to us off the line and we are coming up to the first wet infield corner. I hit the brakes to slow down and the rear tires lock up and we start sliding sideways thru the corner and towards the berm. I am like “Ohhh shit!!”, the truck behind us slips past us. The reason why, my good friends that are reading this, is two people told me the day before; “Hey, it looks like you need to add a little more rear brake to your truck. It will keep the truck level and help you set up better for turns.” So I did! LOL, well I guess it was a little much. After we made it thru the corner and I got the truck going in the right direction I started turning the knob back the other way so that it wouldn’t happen again. Anyhow, we are now 6th place going into the desert. Jeff Geiser is starting 30 seconds behind me so I’m keeping my eye out for him. When him and I were talking, he pretty much told me he would be passing me fast, without really saying he would be passing me fast, LOL. And yup, on the first lap, I got a few glimpses of him behind me and I did my best to make sure I spun my tires and made as much dust as possible for him to eat. About a lap and a quarter in he was getting close to me and I figured he earned it so I backed off the gas and let him pass. I started eating his dust and tried to stay as close to him as possible as I might learn some tricks on driving the truck. As luck would have it, him passing me was a huge plus for me. There is a really, rough, uphill section that a truck was broke down on and we could see the blue truck he was driving was now stopped behind the other truck. So, I stopped short of the hill and as we sat there for a second, I eyeballed a very, very, steep narrow hill right in front of us. I started backing up thinking ‘Damn, I’m going to need a big run to make it up that.’ When all the sudden I remembered that off to the right was another hill I knew I could go up that wasn’t as steep. I started to head that way when I see one of the trucks that was behind me crest the hill. Another truck that was behind him headed to the hill on a different trail, I paused for a second and he got on the gas and went ahead of me, damn it! I think Jeff might still be sitting on that hill, LOL. Anyway, on the last lap we started getting some smoke in the cab of the truck. I was thinking this isn’t going to turn out well. I throw caution to the wind and keep pushing on. About half way thru I started getting hard spots in the steering wheel and the power steering slowly left the race. We had to back out of the gas because it is really, really, really, hard to turn the steering wheel with no power steering. You are hitting rocks, ruts, and bumps and it just yanks the steering wheel right out of your hands! We raced on, just a lot slower, praying that it would make it to the finish line before the steering pump locked up and sidelined us. We made it to the finish line in 6th place and with our combined times ended up in 6th place for the weekend.
I know I have a long way to go and a lot of learning about how hard I can push the truck as well as the small tricks racers learn over time, but I am going to keep on keepin’ on and give ‘er hell!
“Are you silly? I’m still gonna send it!”
– Larry Enticer
Special Thanks goes out to Polaris RZR.
Method Race Wheels, Fox Racing Shocks, Kroyer Racing Engines, BFG Tires, Howe Power Steering, K&N Filters, Wolf Designs, JM collision center, Geiser Brothers Racing, UTV INC, BITD and everybody that supports our racing dreams and my bad ass crew!
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.’
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?
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
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…
Well damn, yep another race report but this one’s a little different! After racing a full season in Best in the Desert in the Spec Class Trick Truck and finishing off the year in Second Place in points I started looking for a Trick Truck/Trophy Truck/Unlimited Truck. LOL! Yup, a full on bad ass 800 plus horsepower 6000 pound beast of a truck that will do 130+ MPH thru and across the most brutal ass kicking terrain in the world. With that being said I had never even sat in a Trick Truck, just a guy with a dream to give it a shot. I found a great used truck for sale, a 2010 Geiser Brothers truck that was built for Jesse Jones. Knowing a little bit about Jesse I figured the truck had been driven hard but also well taken care of. It had a fresh Kroyer motor, transmission package and was ready to race. We worked out a deal that was good for both of us and BAM! This mo-fucker is the proud owner of a Trick Truck.
So since I knew nothing about a truck like this I turned to my friends and neighbors at Mills Motorsports to help me freshen up a few things and dial the truck in for me. About the same time Mike from Mills started telling me the motor for their Trick Truck was not going to be done in time for the last race of the year, the Pahrump 250. So I tossed them the key to my truck and told them to race it. LOL, yah who does that? You know these guys have helped me so much with my Spec Truck and the whole team are just good people I was happy to help. When the Pahrump 250 race is over I call Rick at Geiser Brothers about something and he asks, “So you racing the Rage at the River next week?” He followed that up with “We will be there with a team to help,” and threw in “if you don’t you are not a man.” type of comment. I quickly say “Oh yah, I’m racing and getting ready to register when we get off the phone!” LOL. I had no plans at all to race and had only driven the Trick Truck at the Glamis Sand Dunes for about 30 minutes. I had never driven it in the dirt or at speed. Oh well, I thought what the worst case situation was…? I could die, right? Let’s do it!!
I call the Mills guys and tell them my new plan. They say ‘Hell yea we can get it prepped in 4 days! We will come out and help at the race too!’ Well looks like we are going racing boys and girls! So we get everything ready and load up to leave Mesa, AZ Thursday afternoon as we have to get inspected that evening. We will be doing qualifying on Friday if all goes well with tech. Friday Morning we show up to qualify and sit around for hours for no reason at all. LOL, one of my pet peeves is waiting for no reason at all. But hey it’s only a couple of hours, it’s not like I couldn’t have gotten laid, gotten drunk, gotten arrested, died, or taken my new truck off some cool jumps in that couple of hours right? Ok, so we qualify and all goes well. I know I’m not the fastest but also know I’m not the slowest but we will never know that because they had a glitch in the qualifying system. They just decided everybody will start based off entry order. I have no clue how to run a race but that sucks! There are 18 Trick Trucks entered and I am number 14. So that’s means I’m going to be eating a lot of dust! Oh yea, guess what else? I’m lining up next to Jesse Jones in his new 4 wheel drive Geiser Brothers Trick Truck! Now I thinking there is no hope but on the bright side of things is I won’t be getting ran over by one of the best Trick Truck racers on the planet.
So its race day and we don’t line up until around 2:45PM Saturday afternoon, which makes for a long, nervous day. Okay, finally the races are starting and Mr. Jones and I pull up to the starting line. New versus Old, man versus man. Let’s do this! 3, 2, 1… the flag drops and we are off! He instantly pulls away from me and I’m kind of ok with that. I am not wanting to do any tire rubbing, body smashing at this point. As we come into the first corner I am 300 or 400 feet away from him, no big deal, I kind of keep that same gap for the first ½ mile or so. The key here is to watch what he is doing and how fast I am compared to him. I am thinking ‘Ok, not bad, I don’t suck that bad.” As we make a hard left onto the powerline road a cloud of dust rolls up and he disappears. We do are best with Boner calling dangers and speeds and we race on. During our second lap we catch our first traffic jam. As we are getting bombarded with dust, rocks and gravel, Rick Geiser pops into my head and says “Don’t sit behind this guy! Pull up and give him a bump so he knows your there and he will let you pass.” So I do and guess what? NOTHING! We keep following this guy and I can hear Rick say to me again “Pull up and send the sucker!” That means hit him harder. So I do. I floor the truck and it roars forward like a freight train and as we hit him I hear metal crunching and slamming. Damn, I got his attention now! He pulls to the left and we start to pass on the right. Just as I pass him my truck pitches sideways and Boner starts yelling something like “Power pole! Power pole! POWER POLE!!” I see it and I’m doing all I can to get the truck straightened out. We get her under control and we make the pass. I mash the pedal to the floor again and take off thinking ‘damn that could have been bad.’ I am also pretty hopped up on the fact that I just hit the truck in front of me while we were doing around 85mph. We start catching and passing more and more cars and are having a great race. The truck is working great and running hard. We are flying through the air like the valet that parked Ferris Bueller’s Dads Ferrari and it is just bad ass amazing! My mouth is dry but there is no way in hell I’m taking my hands off the steering wheel to grab my Camelback hose, nope, not doing it! I feel like we are kind of kicking ass and I’m starting to get the feel for the truck. I like it, err, I LOVE IT! We finish the race the first day in 4th
place. I am amazed, Boner is amazed, and we are two happy mo-fuckers! I just had the most amazing, mind blowing time.
Day two starts out the same way, hurry up and wait. We line up in the afternoon and we think we are starting forth right? I finished fourth, so I start fourth, that’s how this works, right? Well they tell me to pull over to the far right. So we are sitting there thinking “What the hell?!” While we are bull shitting with the other racers they tell me I am going to be starting 1st. Instant fear goes through my mind. I am thinking I am the rabbit and this pack of wild dogs is going to be chasing me down trying to eat me for 5 laps. WTF! I didn’t sign up for this. I’m not stupid. I know there are guys behind me that are a lot faster than me! WTF!!!! I’ve only driven a trick truck about 80 miles at this point and ~60 of those miles were racing. WTF, I’m going to die! I sure hope the other guys have not got any tips From Rick Geiser! Yah that is what goes through my mind for the next 10 minutes as well as a lot more versions of WTF. People are walking up to me telling me “You’ll be fine.” and me thinking “How in the fuck can you say that?”
As we pull up to the starting line the guy next to me is in a Class 1 car. The green flag drops and he slowly pulls away from us. It’s probably a ½ mile straight away and we are not far behind him. We come into the first corner and just blow it! As I see him do it I mash the gas pedal down and turn hard, we pass him and we start flying through the corners, bumps and holes and make a hard right on to that power line road from the day before. We mash the gas again as we fly over and through the tore up race course that over 300 race cars have already done 3 to 5 laps each on. Our truck is doing work! Our BF Goodrich 39” tires are clawing at everything under them and pushing us forward. They are simply amazing! 800 plus horsepower just spinning nonstop. Our Fox Racing shocks take so much abuse I am always amazed at what these things can handle! We come up to a couple of huge drop offs that Boner was calling ‘bumps’
the day before. I am hard on the brakes and skidding across the dirt and we drop off the first one and a little gas up the next one then down, then mash the gas again up the road! First lap is done and nobody has caught us!! HOLY SHIT!! We have to make a full stop at the finish line and wait to get the green flag and take back off. We are getting after it for sure! Now we’re catching race traffic and I get to give a few of them bumps with the front bumper and they quickly make room for our bad ass truck. We catch a 6100 Spec Truck and follow him through a really long right hand sweeper. The guy must have had no clue we were back there and I’m not really wanting to give him the bumper as being in a turn I don’t want him to spin out and wreck. So I sit behind him getting pummeled with rocks and I’m getting pissed. Coming up is a couple of small turns and a HUGE drop of at least 100 feet to the valley floor. Boner must have heard and felt our truck accelerate and tells me “DON’T hit the guy now he will go flying off the hill!” Ok, I back off and sit behind this guy that I have now nick-named ‘Stupid Motherfucker’. As we get to the bottom of the hill, Stupid Motherfucker, takes back off and finally we give him a little bump. He tries pulling over but he is just too stupid to pull ALL the way off the race course so I can get around him. I think he is afraid he might get his tires dirty. Well, we finally get by Stupid Motherfucker and race on. We are now about a lap and a half in and we are coming into what we call the ‘FOX Proving Grounds’. I would say this section is a couple of miles of the hugest bumps, jumps, off camber, frame twisting, toss you around the cab of the truck, pure gnarliest terrain. I’m talking crazy, like if there was something called unnecessary roughness in off road racing, it’s the Fox Proving Grounds. Anyway, are still a lap and a half in and entering the Fox Proving Grounds and BAM! Boner and I both hear it and are like “What was that?” I let up on the gas a little and tell him, “I think we got a flat but I’m not sure.” We continue on a bit and I tell him “Get ready, I’m going to pull over, we must have a flat tire.” I see a clearing and pull over. Boner Jumps out of the truck, he get the impact wrench and grabs the floor jack off the back of the truck. He grabs the jack handle and starts jacking up the truck. Now the problem with this is that Boner is about 150 pounds and as he starts jacking up the truck, he barely has enough weight to push the handle down, LOL! He gets the truck up in the air and next up he pulls the flat tire off and runs to the back of the truck for our spare tire. Can you guess what our spare tire weighs?! 140 Pounds! He yanks it off the back of the truck, gets it on the truck and puts everything away. I’m always amazed when he lift the tire 3 or 4 feet in the air to put it back on the back of the truck. Sometimes I even sit in the truck waiting, smoking a cigarette and laughing as he struggles to get it up into the bed. Yah, I am a dick, LOL. Anyway he gets back in and I take off. He gets buckled in and have now lost at least 3 minutes. Also we got passed by a shit load of racers. I’m still feeling pretty good in the truck and while we were stopped I finally got that drink of water and relaxed for a couple of minutes. Boner on the other hand is out of breath and yet still calling turns and dangers. We start passing people back and come into the infield behind a 7200 Truck and a Trick Truck. I quickly pull behind both of them and the next corner the 7200 is in the middle, the Trick Truck goes to the right and I smash the gas and dive to the inside and pass them both. It was bad ass, I’m thinking to myself ‘That was so freaking awesome!’ I take my hand off the steering wheel to bust knuckles with Boner. We are excited! We pass another Trick Truck heading into an infield corner and actually are door to door rubbing paint with him. So freaking awesome! So exciting! So bad ass! This is everything you’d expect in one freaking race and more! We know we are down on time due to the flat tire and as we pass the pits on the last lap my guys come on the radio and say “That’s the lead trophy truck ahead of you, GET HIM!” We race in to the next couple of corners and quickly get behind him. We make the pass and now are the lead Trick Truck on course. How bad ass is that?! We had a flat tire and now just crossed the finish line first in our class in our first race.
Special thanks to Polaris RZR, Jesse Jones, Rick and Jeff Geiser, Gary Mills, Nick Mills, Taylor Mills, Mike Kerr, Bart Parker, Tran, Craig Hammar, Eric Ringler, all the guys on the Team, at the shop, and the guys that we race with that make these bad ass memories.
Thank you as well goes out to: Snore Racing, Method Race Wheels, Fox Racing Shox, Rigid Industries, BF Goodrich Tires, Kroyer Racing Engines, Fuel Safe, Impact Racing, Motec, Sparco, Wolf Designs, JM Collison Center, Ford Racing, UTV INC, Geiser Brothers, Brembo Brakes, FK Rod Ends, Howe Power Steering, SDHQ, XTC Motorsports, PCI race radios and as always, YOU, the reader. Thank you for following this journey with me and I can’t wait to share more as the new season starts.
Johnny Angal Score International Baja 1000 Race Report
Pro UTV Forced Induction
Well as I sit in my office on this overcast gloomy Sunday thinking about the race teams in Baja today going to the awards ceremony I kind of throw my hands up on the air. Being so disappointed yet again, I know I shouldn’t be but damn it’s hard not to be. We spent months getting ready for this race, we had friends and co-drivers fly in from all over the United States to help us. In all reality I know how hard it is to even show up for a race like this. With around 300 race teams once a year making the annual pilgrimage to Baja from all over the world. There is nothing easy about it the brutality of driving an off road vehicle 850 miles thru the most unforgiving terrain in the world. I say that not because you can’t find harder or steeper or softer terrain in other places, but because the roads and desert trails we are racing on have been chewed up by people prerunning for the last three weeks. Now 300 plus off road vehicles are racing in front of us literally chewing and grinding the dirt into the finest powder you can imagine. The dust floats in the air for hours, at times we can’t see two feet in front of us. The trophy trucks in front of us that are running 40” tires are pulling out rocks from the earth that have laid in the same spots for a million years. They are spitting them out on the trails that are narrower then our race cars. We are racing down next to a beautiful beach during the day with outside temps around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s so badass and perfect! But, 10 feet away on the right are 150ft cliffs that with the tiniest mistake will send you plummeting to your death on a rocky beach! I am not sure why I do it or why my co-driver Boner would even sit in a car with me at time like that. While racing we experience sheer terror at times followed by brief moments of ecstasy and calm all while doing 90mph down a somewhat smooth flat straight road. With a cool breeze whisking the sweat and dust off our body’s, we finally get to take a deep breath, relax our grips on the steering wheel or whatever your co-driver might have been holding onto and prepare for the next 800 miles. A lot of this happens all before we even get out of town.
I would like to thank everybody that made this trip possible: Polaris RZR, ITP Tires, Method Race Wheels, Fox Shocks, Rigid Industries LED Lighting, my awesome crew at UTV INC, Airdam Clutches, SMG Racing, Craig, Keith, Jesse, Al, Victor, Victor, Uncle Johnny, Rodger, Boner, Craig, Vance, My Brother Al, Hostyle Products, Wolf Designs, Mad Media, Joey, Josh, Rusty, Shock Therapy, Satmoto and everybody I am forgetting!!!! It takes so many people to come together to make a race like this possible.
So we went down to Baja 5 days before the race so we could prerun the course. Also I was to be racing the first 292 Miles, Victor doing the mid race section and Craig finishing the race. Prerunning went well for all of us and on Thursday we had tech inspection and contingency. First thing in the morning Boner and Adam (Airdam) had to go out and work on our clutching a little to get the car dialed in. Around noon we headed to line up in tech. When we got there the line wasn’t moving and was miles long so we waited for a couple more hours and got in line around 2pm. We sat in line so long, while I understand it’s something we have to do, to do this the day before a race, sitting in a line for 10 hours, with your legs aching and the sun burning your face and arms, I repeat 10 fucking hours, is just plain silly and to the point of just plain stupid! We have a drivers meeting at 7PM, lol, but we are sitting in line until Midnight the day of the race with our race car! We get back to the hotel and I get about 4 hours of sleep. It’s 7AM and we meet for race day breakfast and head out to finish the final details and go over chase plans. Around 10AM I head to the hotel to put on my fire suit and ready myself for what should be 8 hours of having the ever living shit beat out of me! We head to the starting line around 10:30AM and get to sit and wait some more as we don’t start the race till around 12:30PM. LOL! Not sure again why, if we are not starting for 2 more hours, why we need to be there so early! Seems as if 30 mins prior should be enough time to get us lined up but what do I know, LOL! I just sit in the sun and burn for a couple more hours before I put my helmet on my sunburned face for the next 8 hours. Alright, we start lining up and heading to the starting line which takes no more than, yah you guessed it, 30 freaking minutes and we are 7th
Pulling over the box, I watch the other racers take off in front of me. The anticipation is building and I just stare at the green the flags. I pull up and take it all in. There are thousands of people lining the street at the starting line, I continue to stare at the green flags waiting for them to release us off the line. The green flags go up and we are off!
Our Polaris RZR Turbo 4 is running strong as we leave town and we quickly hit 90mph as I pull up behind three other cars in our class. They are going a bit slower so we pass a couple and pass a couple more that have already succumbed to some kind of issues. As we are leaving town around the 10 mile marker we have our own issues. The car starts running really bad and we lose power. I quickly tell Boner its feels like a spark or fuel problem. He jumps out and starts checking everything out. All the while 100’s of locals surround our race car for pictures and to see if they can help. It turns out our drive belt delaminated a 6” section. Boner put a new belt on and we were good to go except now every one of the UTVs in the race had passed us! I tell Boner ‘No big deal, it’s a long race and we can make it up’. As we take off I tell Boner to call our chase team at race mile 20 to get another spare belt for us just in case. As we pull up to them, we grab it and take back off. We are now in a speed zone on the highway and the speed is limited to 37mph for about the next 10 miles. If you go 1 mph over 37 you get an instant speed penalty. As we come off the highway we quickly start passing other cars. A couple of miles in we pull behind about 10 UTVs that are being held up by a diesel truck that is going so slow and will not pull off the course. So nobody can pass and it is really absurd that this guy is in front of the UTV class. Anyway, good for me, he slowed so many people down that we caught them and started making quick work of getting around them. At the end of the first 80 miles we are back in the race and headed to the coast. Everything is working great as we approach race mile 117. It is the section right next to the ocean and covered with HUGE river rocks. I see the Polaris RZR helicopter and not wanting to look slow I speed up a bit and fly into the river rock. I smash into a boulder and give us two flat tires. Boner gets out to assess the situation. Joey D (UTV Underground) comes running over and helps Boner get the rear tires changed and sees that we just bent our Method Race Wheel on the lip, letting the tire bead leak air. So they pull the front tire off the car and a local guy runs and gets a sledge hammer. He bends the wheel back in place and Joey runs over to his truck with the tire and fills it with air. Him and Boner come back and put it back on the car. Joey tosses us a tire plug kit as we will now be racing with no spare tire until the next pit stop at race mile 170. We are off and racing again. Around race mile 122ish we pass a RZR that is stuck in a huge hole and they are standing next to the race car with the tow strap out. I think “fuck that” as I drive past. Then I thought ‘Hey that was Justin from Shock Therapy!’ I slam on the brakes and back up to them. They hook the tow strap up to my car and I try yanking them out 3 or 4 times to no avail. As race traffic is pulling up on us they unhook their strap and tell us, “Go go go!!” We take back off into the night with no spare tire. Now we have a huge problem, my car is now attracted to rocks, LOL. Now I am normally very good at tire placement and not hitting rocks and stuff but now I cannot avoid them. Literally if my life depended on it I couldn’t avoid them. My front tire slams into the first rock and Boner is like “WTF?! You got to be careful, we don’t have a spare!” I am thinking to myself, I know that and that wasn’t my fault that rock must have just rolled in front of the tire! We are now around race mile 135 and guess what, yup, another rock jumped right in front of me. We hit it hard! We make it to a huge pit area at race mile 140 and we pull over. There is no way we are going to make it to our pit at race mile 170. We call our chase crew and tell them they need to come to us so we start going over the car making sure everything else is good. While we wait for them we watch everybody pass us again. We wait for about an hour for our crew to get to us. When they show up we load up with tires, fuel and head off into the darkness! It’s cold but the car is running great and we quickly catch a couple of cars and pass them. We don’t get much further as we come up a small rise right at the top is a silt hole on the driver’s side of the car. We are plugging along doing probably 30 mph and the front drives side tire slams into it stopping us dead in our tracks. I push the gas pedal and slowly pull off of the race course. Boner says “Flat tire?” I say “No… it isn’t flat, I can see it. It is right next to me outside the car about 2 feet from where it is supposed to be.” We get out of the car and see that it’s not good. We need our chase truck again. Between them getting to us and Boner fixing the car it will be hours of lost time. We decided to call the race on the spot. There was no way we are going to podium this race and that’s what we showed up for. It’s really sad when I call a race especially when you have other drivers that never even got to drive. It’s a really shitty feeling but I made the call and I’m sure I will go over it a million more times to see if it was the right call! Thank you all so much for supporting us and living the #RZRLife with us!
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