The Mint 400 Race Report

Polaris RZR / ITP Tire Mint 400 Race Report
by: Johnny Angal

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The Mint 400 has a deep history in off road racing. It started in 1967, before most of you were born, so it has to be as they call it “The Great American Off Road Race”. Top name racers and movie stars alike have raced it and new great racers and movie stars are added to the list every year. It’s a huge race with a parade down Las Vegas Blvd, parties, Pit Crew Challenges and a contingency day like no other. There are hundreds of parts vendors as well as tens of thousands of racing fans and non-racing fans that show up to check out the goods.

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So as we prepare for the race, which we are going to be racing our Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo race car and our Geiser Bros. Spec Class Trophy Truck that is also Sponsored by Polaris. With the way the desert combined with some aggressing driving tears up our equipment, we have A LOT of work to do to get ready with only a couple of weeks to work on the RZR, Race Truck, Chase Trucks and a crew. Not an easy task for our small crew but everything is slowly coming together except for a few custom parts we are waiting to come in for the RZR. We are supposed to load up and head out on Wednesday but the parts don’t make it so we hang tight and the parts show up the next day around 8am but we still need to install the and test drive the car a bit. We do this and get loaded up around 1PM and head over to Jalapeno Bucks, a new little BBQ and Mexican take out place we found in Mesa AZ. We had an awesome lunch and talked with the owner and his Brother a bit. After a few good laughs and them wanting to tag our race trailer with Jalapeno Bucks they hooked us up with some burritos and chips for the road trip. Super nice of them and if you’re ever in the neighborhood you should really try it out. Awesome brisket sandwiches and a red chili shredded pork burrito that is to die for!

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Anyway, we make it to Vegas around 6PM, get checked into the hotel and head out on the town around 10PM. We make it down to the end of the ‘Pit Crew Challenge’ and bull shit with friends and then head over to the bar. A little something about myself that I have learned is that I shouldn’t drink more than once or twice a year. It’s just not good for me and I have a tendency to just do stupid shit when I am drinking. So I just hang out. We decide to walk over to a bar called ‘Hogs and Harleys’ or something to that effect and on the way we come across Dustin Jones. He is a fellow UTV racer who just happens to be talking to a smoking hot blonde whom I leaned over to and whispered in her ear “I see you have met our gay friend”. I then ask her if she ‘wants to get married’ or simply just wants to have an affair. So now we have added Dustin, her and some of his crew to the group as we continue into the bar. It has got to be sometime around midnight. We make it there and at the door I get carded! Once inside it’s a freaking mad house. Stupid music blaring, shoulder to shoulder standing room, fuck this… I am in! I order a beer and after thinking about it for about a minute I order another. After a couple of hours of that I head out to see the guys. They are slinging dice at the craps table at the Golden Nugget. I see a friend and sit down for a couple of hands of black jack which does not go well for me. So I head over to the craps table where the guys are hooting and hollering like they just won the lotto and I get excited too! I look down at the table and see a bunch of $5.00 and $10.00 bets. This is when I realize they are all just drunk! It’s 3AM now so I head to the room to get a couple of hours of sleep before I have to take the truck over to park it in contingency at the Polaris Booth. A couple of hours later the guys get the RZR and head thru the 5 hour long contingency line.

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It’s now around 4:30PM so I pull the truck out of its parking spot in the Polaris display and head thru the line. All goes well and it only takes about an hour and a half. We load the truck up and we leave 3 guys there to go to the drivers meeting. The rest of us head out to the pits in Primm, Nevada to get everything fueled up and ready. We have to line up at 5AM for the UTV Race. We get done and head to the hotel around 10PM. I set the alarm for 4:30AM and it comes way too soon.

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I suit up and head out to the pits. I’m pretty excited about this race thinking that our race RZR is the best it has ever been. I am ready to win! As we pull up to the starting line and flip on our 4 wheel drive switch we get a check engine light. We are pretty well screwed at this point and can’t do anything about it in the next 20 seconds or so before we get the green light to take off into the desert. Boom, GREEN LIGHT, GO!

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We are off! As we make our way out of the soft infield the rear tires are spinning like crazy. We are bouncing off the rev limiter but we still got the hole shot. We start passing people in the sand wash but it’s not long before the strain on the rear axles. Without any help of the 4 wheel drive it’s just too much for the car to take. We snap both rear axles at the same time! Boner, my co-pilot, jumps out to see what’s going on. He tells me “broke both rear axles”.  We are half way in the middle of the race course with 50 or so UTVs, Trucks, and Buggies coming our way! Well, we put in the spare axle and just didn’t have enough traction to even move the car with one wheel drive. So we had to wait, stuck half way in the middle of the race course while cars and trucks are bouncing off my RZR, for the Best in the Desert Rescue guy to come flip us around. So we head back down the sand wash and this whole time besides being embarrassed, I am thinking to myself: I have a top of the line bad ass race car and I could have taken a bone stock factory RZR and probably won this race but my bad ass piece of shit race car only went 5 miles before I was out of the race.

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Now, we are back in the pits and I am guessing it’s around 8:30AM. We are going to race the Spec Class Trick Truck and we are supposed to line up around 11AM. We are scheduled to start at 12:30PM but that really means we start around 1PM after the Unlimited Trick Trucks and Class 1 Cars. It can’t come soon enough because waiting really sucks! As we are waiting my buddy Marc Burnett, who is racing a RZR comes into the pits and one of his transmission seals had popped out. His guys ask if I have a spare transmission, hell yes we do! My guys and I go over to help him start doing a transmission swap. As some of you know Marc and I had a bet that if I won (the RZR race) he owed me $1000.00 and if he won I had to get rid of my long 80s haircut. LOL. Well as we got into the transmission swap I told Marc ‘If you want us to keep helping you to beat me, then the hair cut deal was off!’ He needed the help so he reluctantly agreed and we got it done. Now the truck plan is that Boner and I are going to race the first two laps and Craig and Keith are going to do the last lap. Now I got to tell you I have only raced the truck once at the Parker 425. We have a little testing seat time but I am a newbie and kind of nervous. Again, we didn’t take any short cuts, so I feel confident we can get it done. As you know that doesn’t mean shit at this point since we were prepared and only made 5 miles in the last race. That is pretty shitty, no, really shitty!

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We line up in the truck and after a while we are up to the starting line. We are starting 8th and the guy on are right is 7th. We get the green light and get a slight jump on the truck next to us and I think ‘Woohoo we are now in 7th!’ He is no slouch and right on our ass leaving the infield. Coming up next is a 25 MPH section that has to be 3 or 4 miles long and he’s right behind us. I am not too far behind the two trucks in front of me and as we get to the end of the speed zone I floor the truck and it roars to life. We start flying up thru the wash I think we pass a truck or two in the next few miles. We start pulling on two trucks that are ahead of us and next thing you know we come around a corner and there is a spare tire in the middle of the course! I guess the Mills truck nerfed the Banning truck in front of him a little hard and knocked his spare tire off. Next think I know we are behind Banning and as we catch him we see his co-driver signal he sees us behind him so we wait for him to move so we can make the pass. Just as he starts to pull over I tap the brakes and the truck behind us hits our rear bumper and knocks our spare tire off. We didn’t know it at the time we start charging hard and see the Sourapas truck pulled over with a flat tire. Well that good because the kid is fast! We keep going and pull behind the Mills truck and after a hard left he passes a class 1 car and as I pass them he sees me and pulls to the side so we can get past. In the next 4 or 5 miles we catch the up with the truck running in third but because of bad dust and rocks I can’t get close enough for a pass. I’m thinking at this point he is in 3rd and when we pass him, hell yes, we will be in 3rd! A few minutes later we get a flat tire and we pull over. Boner jumps out and comes back to the window and tells me we don’t have a spare. So I tell him to jump back in and let’s see if we can get to the pits. We only make it to the next check point, we jump out of the truck and the course workers (what a great bunch of guys and gals) tell us if we can get tires to the spectator area they will go pick them up for us. They also offer us water, hot dogs, anything and everything we need, thank you guys so much for all the help! Well an hour and twenty minutes later our two tires and some water for the radiator show up. We get it buttoned up just as the first 4 trick trucks fly past and I tell Boner hold on because we are in front of about 50 cars that can do 130 plus MPH. So we start flying and the Mad Media helicopter starts flying next to us as we fly thru the Fox Shox Proving Grounds. A little after the proving grounds the heli is now on my side and we are a little off the side of the course trying to pass another 6100 truck. As I look at the heli Josh is waving at me so I take my hand off the wheel and give them the bird! It was so much fun we were haulin’ ass and the truck was perfect. As we finished the first lap and headed to the pits going into a large berm I screwed up and rolled the truck over on the roof. We lost another 1 hour and 40 mins but our awesome crew and friends helped put the truck back together. Craig and Keith jump in and started railing the second lap and making up time. They also had a flat and brought the truck back in to the pits mostly in one piece. Craig had got side swiped by a trick truck taking of most of the driver’s side fender. As they came in I told them to stay in the truck and do the last lap. They said the course was beat up and they were good, LOL. So Boner and I jumped back in and headed out for the last lap and boy was it brutal! Spots that we were doing 60-70 MPH the first lap we were now doing 25 MPH with cars, trucks, UTVs, tires and body parts littering the course. We finished 13th out of 37. I’m not sure about the rest of the guys but I had the best time of my life. Even looked over at all the damage at the truck and it didn’t matter at all. I knew we tore shit up but it was totally worth it! You cannot buy memories like we had just experienced.

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I’d like to say thank you to all our great sponsors! The awesome guys from the Mills Motorsports Racing Team for all their help and their chase crew! All my awesome friends from the UTV races that helped and supported us at all the races!

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BITD UTV World Championship Race Report

Race: UTV World Championship ITP Tire Race Report
Vehicle: Polaris RZR XP Turbo 4

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Well this makes our 22nd desert race and as of late I have not been having much good luck in the RZR. Yes, I know you can’t win them all, so don’t start that shit with me. I’ll be happy with a second place finish once in a while.

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So we have been working on our issues so I don’t have to drive like a pussy. Things seem to be getting better but sometimes shit just happens. Like at this race, it was ten 16 mile laps and we started in the second row, with 10 cars per row, 9 rows of cars and each row starting 30 seconds apart.

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First row is off the line and we are next off the line. 30 seconds to go. When the flag drops we need to start our cars and go ten wide into the first corner. We hold our line for a bit and we have cars bumping off the left and right of us so I back out of the gas a bit and let them bang it out. I get back into the gas and my car is all over the place! I am running over berms, swerving all over the track and off the first jump into the desert with Boner, my Co-Driver. He is heads up looking thru the dust with me and calling the corners. My car is fast and working great! We start passing people and are getting settled into pace. We come up to the first spot that the race course crosses the highway and Boner tells me “Don’t lift!” I don’t, we fly over the road, land great and get back in the gas. At this point I know we are doing great and in contention to win the grand prize of a brand new $25,000.00 (USD) Polaris RZR Turbo. Even though we are still on the first lap, lol. Anyhow, our first lap is great and second lap is even better!

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Now we start passing whom I believe to be the guys in the top 5 of the race. These are the greatest drivers out there, guys like: Sims, Burnett, etc. and I am on fire! Not literally like Marc Burnett, but in a figure of speech. Then all of the freaking sudden going to the last hard turn before the pit area I’m carrying too much speed and the RZR goes up on two wheels. I turn into it trying to steer out of it. Then I think we are going a little too slow so I floor the gas pedal. In my mind I was thinking ‘Those freaking monster trucks start flipping over and they hit the gas and always land back on the tires.’ and guess what happens? Not a freaking thing! We just fell over onto the passenger side of the car. We are laying pretty much across the center of the race course. Boner unbuckles his harnesses and crawls out the front window opening while I just hang there sideways in my seat. I ask him if anybody is around to push, pull or lift us up so I don’t have to waste my time unbuckling and getting out of the car. He says ‘Nope.’ so I unbuckle and climb out. Before I get out of the car I fumble around in the car and find our tow strap so we can hook it up to flip the car over. Well, Boner and I try lifting the car… Nope, that’s not happening. I look over at the camera guy who is about 50 feet away from us and think to myself ‘Hey, how about a hand over here?” We are trying to race and I’m sure he knows we’re not going no place in our current situation. He really doesn’t give a crap and keeps taking pictures.

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(notice my hands are not on the steering wheel at this moment)

So you know what I think of next? Not sure how I came up with this while standing on the side of the race course but I’ll just use my ‘Super Human Strength’. Hell yah, my Grandson even calls me “Super Grandpa” every once in a while. I can do this! So I bend over, grab the roll cage and tell Boner to pull on that tow strap that he has hooked up. I am sure the camera guy was laughing his ass off but I had to try. Well I got the car 10-12 inches off the ground before I realized that Stan Lee’s Super Human’s Show was a bunch of bull crap! Well now Boner is waving the tow strap around and nobody is stopping to help us. After about 10 minutes of us watching everybody pass us I see a Best in the Desert Official Truck headed our way. At this point I am thinking there is no way he is going to get to the other side of us to pull us over. Boy was I wrong! He whips his truck around like a pro and within seconds we are climbing back in the car!
We were going so slow I did no real damage to the car but we did slightly bend the window net on Boners side. He couldn’t get it latched and had to hold it closed as we raced around the course on the third lap. We start seeing cars that have succumbed to the harsh desert race course. We pass more racing greats like Matlock, Wilson, etc. etc.

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We keep on racing and we are really pushing the car harder than ever before. Everything is great even in the roughest part of the race course known as the ‘Fox Shox Proving Ground’. We are flying! At times we are doubling the big jumps/bumps, everything is perfect as we start to come around for the fourth lap.

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I look over towards Wayne Matlock’s car and then I blink and look back. A huge smile breaks out on my face and then Boner sees it. Wayne and his co-driver are broke down in the middle of the race in the Nevada desert with camera men all around. Wait for it… wait for it… they have both dropped their fire suits to their knees and they are both butt naked MOONING Boner and I as we go flying by them. We start cracking up and say ‘Pay back!’ lol. You see, at last year’s Baja 500 I had broken down and I could hear them coming. I was bored so I ran out next to the race course and right after a blind corner I was standing there, bare assed, bent over and mooning them. Anyway, between my mistake of putting the car on the side and some belt issues later on we had a great time racing with our friends. We finished in 7th place out of the 87 other racers.

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As always, I would Like to thank my great crew at UTV INC (http://www.UTVINC.com) and our awesome chase crew guys that come out on their own time to help us out!

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Could not do it without a great group of sponsors:
Polaris RZR (http://www.polaris.com/en-us/home.aspx)
ITP Tires (http://www.itptires.com/)
Fox Shox (http://www.ridefox.com/)
Lonestar Racing (http://www.lsracing.com/)
UTV INC (http://www.UTVINC.com/)
Wolf Designs (http://wolfdesigns.biz/)
CR Designs and Custom Paint (http://www.crdesigns.com/)
PCI Race Radios (https://www.pciraceradios.com/)
Impact Racing (https://www.impactraceproducts.com/)
Rigid Industries Led Lighting (http://www.rigidindustries.com/)

Full gallery below:

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BITD Parker 425 Race Report : Class 6100

Best in the Desert Parker 425

Polaris RZR Race Report Racing The Geiser Spec Trophy Truck

by: Johnny Angal / UTVinc.com

Polaris-RZR-Parker425-UTVinc-Johnny Angal-Geiser (5)

Well I started desert racing just over a year and a half ago in a Polaris RZR and to my surprise (and in my eyes) I did pretty well. After about 10 months I started getting the itch and was thinking I wanted to race something a bit faster. When I got into racing the Polaris RZR my friends at Geiser Brothers had helped me a lot with stupid questions and were always willing to help. So when I got that itch the Geiser’s pretty much had sealed the deal before I even started shopping. They are known for building the most race winning trucks in the world. So after a couple of weeks of “This is what I want.” and “How much is this going to set me back?” They started working on a slightly used Geiser truck that I had purchased thru them. One of the things that was a deal breaker for me was the truck had King Racing shocks on it. After dealing with Fox Shocks, racing with them and the support they had provided me I would not buy the truck with the Kings on it. We came to an agreement where they would keep the Kings and they installed new Fox Racing Shox for me.

Well my plan was to race the Score International Races in Baja in the Truck and my new Polaris RZR XP Turbo car in the Best in the Desert races. The 2015 race season was just about over when I got this brilliant ideal. Since Polaris RZR is pretty much the definition of off road these days, I asked my contact at Polaris if he thought they might be interested in sponsoring a Spec Trophy Truck in the races. “Pipe Dream, Ya Right, wake up, You’re dreaming etc. etc.” Now remember, I have never raced anything other than my Polaris RZR so why would I think they would be remotely interested? Well low and behold they came back and said “Yes”! Not only that but they wanted to be the TITLE SPONSOR!!! I couldn’t believe it, me, going to my first race, with a title sponsor how cool is that! Thank you Polaris for all the love and support.

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Anyway, I get the truck and head out to the desert for the first time. I am impressed! It’s crazy smooth and faster than I thought it would be. Next time I head out with Rick Geiser to “Geiser loop”. It’s a little testing loop on the north side of Phoenix. Well Rick lets me drive around the loop a couple of times giving me pointers here and there and then asks if I want him to drive? This way I can see what the truck will do. So we swap seats and I will admit after about 30 seconds I was looking for something to hold on to in the truck. My Catholic upbringing was back in full effect as I was praying to Jesus and thinking to myself ‘no freaking way’ as we repeatedly hit water bars that crossed the road at 90 plus MPH and flew a 100 plus feet thru the air! When he was done I mustarded enough thought to ask ‘So was that what you think race speed is going to be?’ His answer being “YEP!” Oh shit, I am in trouble, I thought to myself without trying to show the trepidation and anxiety that just entered my mind.

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So I am thinking I need a lot more seat time because these guys are crazy! There is no way I am going to even be in the race. I just spent A LOT of money for that lesson. So I go out again and again even sneaking out Christmas Day to get seat time. My first race is going to be the San Felipe 250 and it’s a brutal race course. I start thinking maybe I should race the Parker 425 and get some real race experience. So I set that plan into motion but in the back of my mind I know I can’t race the whole 425 miles myself. All the racers I know are UTV racers. Who out of that group should I trust my life savings with that are now in the form of a race truck? Who do I know that is a safe, fast racer? Well I blame most of this racing addiction on one guy. This is the guy who hooked me up with my first RZR to turn into a race car. I also think how cool would it be to turn the tables on him since he also races a RZR and is pretty fast. I have chased him for miles in the desert, he hooked me up with a RZR, he works for my Title Sponsor and he can learn a lot from racing a truck as his Job is the General Manager of Polaris Off Road! So I send a text message to Craig Scanlon and ask if he wants to race with me. I tell him I only have one stipulation: you must fly out from Minnesota to practice and get seat time in the truck. He mulls it over, talks with his co-driver and says they are in! I think how cool this is, we are going to have a great time. So he does everything I asked: flies out for practice and for the pre run. My guys start getting the truck figured out and again Rick and Jeff Geiser go above and beyond helping us out with everything.

Polaris-RZR-Parker425-UTVinc-Johnny Angal-Geiser (4)

Okay, you are here because you want to know what it’s was like to race a truck don’t you?

Ok, fuck everything, we will get right to it! I won’t say “Thanks” to all my great sponsors like Polaris, Fox Shox, Method Race Wheels, Rigid Industries, Wolf Designs, CR Designs, Geiser Brothers, Howe Power Steering, Danzio Performance, Kroyer Racing, etc.

So race day is here! We line up around at 12 in the afternoon and the race starts at 1:30PM. I am ready but I’m also a bit on the scared, nervous, concernedantsy, on edge, tense side but I know as soon as we are off the line adrenaline will take over and I will be fine.

We line up at 12 noon and head to the start downtown on the streets of Parker AZ around 1pm in the afternoon. We slowly start edging forward to the starting line. I am starting 23rd in my class and that’s behind about 120 cars and trucks that started in front of me. We start getting closer to the starting line and I think to myself ‘Should I just floor the truck and do a big nasty burn out when the flag drops?’ or ‘I should ease into it so I don’t break anything on the starting line.’ We pull up to the start line and we are next Casey, the gentleman that puts the races on, he shakes our hands and 30 seconds later we are off!

Polaris-RZR-Parker425-UTVinc-Johnny Angal-Geiser (6)

You’re thinking ‘Johnny floored that truck and did a smokey burnout’, right? Nah, as bad as I wanted to I eased into like an adult and yes I’m still thinking what a wussy! Anyhow we are off and racing! I am excited, I am pumped, holy shit, let’s do this! I take it easy on the black top section and off into the dirt. I push the go pedal down hard and the motor roars to life. It’s loud and I LOVE it! Boner, my co-driver/navigation man, and I start hanging the back of the truck out as we slide around corners and off the first jump. WOOHOOOO! Air time, that was so badass! I think to myself ‘Damn that was bad ass!’ We are doing around 90 mph now and I feel great. Boner is sitting next to me calling out turns, we are flying and I love it! We make it to about a 2 mile long straight away and I catch my first truck. I should just pull right up to him and give him a bump so he gets out of my way but I’m a little scared even though everybody does it. So I sit behind him for 30 seconds or so and then the course widens out a bit and I go for the pass! I tell yah, I’m sorry for the language but I’m really fucking excited at this point. First race, my first pass, hell yes! I am back in the gas with the pedal pinned on the floor. 80mph… 85mph… 90mph… 95mph! Oh my god! Boner and I bust knuckles as we fly down the road over jumps and bumps with the truck pitching back and forth because we are in the groves of the other racers ahead of us. At mile marker ~4 we go down a big sand hill and into the wash. There is a hard right handed turn that now has a couple of huge bumps in it where dirt has piled up about 4 feet tall. We hit the first bump and the front end of the truck springs up in the air and then straight down into the next pile of dirt. The front of our truck digs into it then springs back up, throwing a wall of sand and gravel into the air that we drive into. We are now covered with sand and gravel but you know what? None of that matters because as I came down the hill I saw the next truck in front of me just turning that same corner. I thought to myself ‘oh yes, I’m going to pass another truck in the first few miles of the race.’ I pull behind him pretty fast and you can just call me “The Gentleman Racer” because at first it looks like he sees me and is going to pull over but he doesn’t. I don’t pull up and bump him as we are getting pelted by rocks and gravel coming off his tires but I’m not going to let him go. He sees me, slows and pulls to the side so I can pass. so I floor the truck and go for the pass, hell yes, two down! I am now floored again and the truck engine is screaming! As I let off the gas pedal for the next corner… uh? What the hell…? I let off the gas but the truck is still screaming! I hit the brakes and hit the ignition switch to shut the truck down and pull off the race course. I tell boner the throttle pedal is stuck so he unbuckles his harnesses and crawls to my side and pulls the pedal up and frees it? I’m not sure what happened but its working now, so I start the truck up and he starts buckling up his harnesses as the two trucks that I had passed go roaring by us. ‘Damn’ I think to myself but we are off again.

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I catch the first truck again pretty quick and get passed him but the second one is churning up a dust storm ahead of us. This is now a going to be a little harder to pass but I am thinking around race mile 15 or so I can get around him. We keep charging hard thru the dust and there really is no wind blowing, so it makes it difficult to catch and pass people. We slowly catch up and pass a few more racers. We are now on a graded road section and I am moving pretty good. 80 to 100 mph at times! I don’t make it all the way around one of the tighter corners and Boner and I plow a big pile of dirt on the edge of the road. We both take an extremely hard jolt to our bodies and I think I just wrecked this truck. I hit the gas and we are off and moving, everything must be okay. I ask Boner “Are you okay?”, he says “Yes!” and we go back to work. Shortly thereafter I am a going a little too fast again and I come around a corner over corrected and we are sliding sideways at 60 mph. I end up doing a 180 and facing the wrong way on the side of the course. I hit the gas as a truck flies by us and I get us back in the race.  We are now eating his dust and of course I yell a bit at poor Boner and tell him to call the corners sooner! However, it was pretty much my fault as I was in control of the truck, not him.

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Anyway, the first lap goes great and as we pit they tell us we are in 5th place and doing great. A quick drink of Gatorade and a couple folded up pieces of ham that they hand us is a welcomed treat but we have to get going. We pull out of the pits and as we come around the corner a full on Trophy Truck gets in front of us and Mills Motorsports V10 truck is right behind us. As we leave the speed zone of the pits we all hit the gas about the same time and you can feel the couple thousand horsepower roar to life, consuming fossil fuels at the rate of about 2MPG each! I stick to the truck ahead of me like glue for about ½ a mile. I see the Mills Motorsports truck right on my ass too. I know he has about 400 more horse power then I do, so I pull off the course doing about 80mph to let him pass. About half way thru the second lap I did get to pull up and bump a truck to get him to move. About that same time I was thinking to myself ‘God damn it got rough out here.’  Or, maybe I was thinking ‘I don’t know if I am cut out for this?’ I am getting the shit beat out of me! I really could not believe how tore up the race course had become. It was unreal. I also started to think poor Craig he’s going to race the last lap and boy is he in for a beating, he is going to hate me!

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We had some fueling issues during the second lap that set us back to 8th or 9th place but I really don’t know. At the time I was so beat down I didn’t really care I just wanted out of the truck. As we pulled into the pits I jumped out and told Craig “It’s really rough out there, be careful.” Craig and his Co-driver Keith did a great job on keeping it together on the brutal course. After it was all said and done we finished in 8th place. Thanks guys! I am extremely happy with our first race finish and for a couple of guys with not a lot of seat time and having only raced our Polaris RZRs before I know we will get it down.

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Huge thank you to everybody that helped make this happen for us!

Pit crew guys from Jagged X, High Lifter and my guy’s thank you all so much!

Boner, Craig, Keith, and the team at Polaris RZR, thank you!

Mad Media, 239 Films, Casey and the crew from Best in The Desert and all my fellow racers, thank you!

Jeff and Rick Geiser as well as the entire Geiser crew, thank you.

Fox Shox, Method Race Wheels, BFG Tires, Wolf Designs, Fiber Worx, Gear Works, Kroyer Racing, Danzio Performance, Lonestar Racing, ITP Tires, Impact Racing, Master Craft Racing, Ron Davis radiators, Pyrotech, Brembo Brakes, Aeromotive, Wire fab … Thank you all so much and a big thank you to all of those I always forget, Sorry …

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“Boner” is Eric Ringler

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2015 Score Baja 500 Race Report

‪#‎PolarisRZR‬ Racing ‪#‎ITP‬ ‪#‎UTVinc‬ – POLARIS RZR  – ITP TIRE BAJA 500 RACE REPORT

I honestly don’t even know where to start this one …

At the beginning of the 2015 season Score International had said there would be two Baja 500 races this year and we could race either one of them. I had the understanding that you didn’t have to race both of them. I was under the impression that the best finish from the two races would apply towards the season’s point’s championship. We finished with a strong third place at the first race (Baja Sur 500) but we knew with the guys we were racing against that might not be good enough. We decided to try and better a third place finish at the Baja 500. So, we started prepping and planning our best race yet all the while knowing that we needed to better our third place finish.

The team got the car cleaned up from the Silver State 300 race and started working on it as things came up. I told them “I don’t care what we need to change or replace I want it 100%, every time!” As the race drew close I knew that nothing had been over looked or considered ‘good enough’. It was the best we could do, nothing short of that. About two weeks prior to the race Branden Sims, Eric Ringler, Craig Hammar and myself loaded up a couple of Polaris RZR’s and headed down to Baja for some pre running. We started right outside of Mexicali and finished the first day at race mile 300, when we were done we headed over to Horse Power Ranch for the night. During the trip Branden and I cannot help but reminisce over our past races. Every hour or so I would remind him of a race that I got lucky and passed him in. To which he would reply with “Yah, but remember I won the Brand New Polaris RZR at the UTV World Championship” and I quickly shut up as he put me back in my place. The next day we head back to race mile 300 to start pre running Branden Sims’ section of the race course. As it turns out I kept teasing him that my 270 mile section was brutal and his was a smooth rally road. Neither of us really cared as long as we got to race! We had a good time pre running and again had zero problems with our two Polaris RZR XP 1000’s. So we loaded up and headed back to El Centro California for a fine dinner at Jack in the Box. As we ate at this fine dining establishment they were providing some music to enhance our dining experience when in walks a young presumably stoned young man. He stood in front of the counter for a moment, staring at the menu. Then all of the sudden the music and Baby Jesus overtook all control of his body! He started shaking, then he did a hand stand, a quick backflip and some other crazy convolution moves as he danced his way into the parking lot. He obviously was needing more room to let loose! We finished our meals and all agreed not to drink the water in El Centro. From here we decided head to the hotel room for the night and then back home tomorrow.
As race day nears we take our Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 racer to Wolf Designs to get a new wrap installed so the car is looking sharp for the Baja 500. Thursday Moring rolls around and we all meet at my place at 5AM to head out to the Baja 500. Along the way we happen to meet up with the LoneStar Racing Team of Cody Nygren and Dan Fisher. We caravan thru the border with them arriving around 1PM to our favorite taco stand for some tacos. After lunch we then head to the hotel to get unloaded and pre run the start and finish 40 miles or so of the race course. You can only pre run on Thursday or Friday so Branden and I jump in the race car. I drive my section out and he drives his section back in. Our Polaris RZR XP 1000 is feeling great! We call it a day and head back to our rooms to get some rest for the big weekend we have ahead of us.

Friday: Nate gets up early and takes our car to contingency at 6AM. We sit there until the line starts moving around 10AM. It does move very fast so we get all done around 3PM. I think to myself ‘Next time I’m getting in line at 3PM when the line is moving and we should be done by 6PM’, did I mention I hate standing or sitting in line?

Saturday: So race day is finally upon us! We meet outside at 7:30AM, I have already been at the coffee shop having my morning coffee, so I walk back to the hotel. We send the first truck off to Ojos approx. race mile 35 just in case we need something as we are heading out of town. I head back to the hotel room to put my race suit on and relax for a few minutes before I need to strap into the race car for the next 8 or so hours. We are told to line up at 8:30AM, so about 9AM I head over to line up, remember I hate waiting, LOL. Anyway… We are supposed to be off the starting line around 11:00AM but a car that started the race before us has spun out and hit a power pole. So now we have to wait even longer, I am guessing it was right around Noon when we started.
The green flag dropped and we started 6th off the line. I was feeling great and figured I would take it easy for the first 30 or so miles as we are leaving town. Around mile 25 we all got stopped behind a few racers that where getting stuck on a small hill section. We had to stop and wait in line for our turn to go up! Well, most of us waited in line… Cognito (#1918) figured they didn’t have to as they drove passed a bunch of us waiting in line. As they pulled up and realized we were not waiting for sandwiches and iced cold beverages they cut in front of Cory Sappington, who then proceeded to give the Cognito car a bump to push him forward a bit. I was sitting back and enjoying the show as a couple of pissed off locals tossed rocks at the Cognito car. As the hill cleared, the pile of cars was caused by Cognito passing everybody. It kind of helped us out as the truck in front of Cognito didn’t move and they couldn’t get around. Cory (Desert Toyz) passed them and I followed Cory up the hill. Due to the traffic jam going into Ojos we were all packed together pretty tight for the next 80 miles or so to La Rumorosa. We were eating dust the whole way and around that area we made it to La Rumorosa Hill and where the first ones down. While racing through a rocky section we got passed by Wayne Matlock as he picked a little smoother section right around race mile 130. He beat us to the pits at race mile 145 where we stopped for fuel and have the guys check our car over as it had been making a ticking noise. They checked the car over and we pulled out about a minute after Matlock. After a few miles we caught him back while they were both out of his car checking something out.

The next 40 or so miles was a brutal, nasty, whooped out section straight from Hell. We took the beating and pushed hard to make sure we could get the car to my co-driver Branden at race mile 270. Anyhow, right around race mile 200ish my car just died. We coasted off the track with some of the worst noises we have ever heard it make. We jumped out of the car as the smoke was pouring out of the side of the hole in the transmission. We call the guys in the chase truck to tell them we had blown the transmission and to haul ass to get to us. Little did we know it would take the guys two and a half hours to get to finally make it us at race mile 200.

In the mean time I started a camp fire to ward off the Chupacabra’ and keep us warm. It was about 99 degrees outside in the sun still but I was bored. I heard the next UTV coming and knew they now would be the race leaders. I ran out to the race track, unzipped my fire suit, and shot him the MOON ass, we would call it trying to distract and cheer him on, LOL, and I’ll never grow up.
So as we sat there looking at the car and trying to trap rats for dinner, I noticed our transmission fill plug had come out. This caused us to lose all of our transmission oil and take us out of the race.

What a way to go. You can only imagine how something like this would make you feel.

Back to the beginning of the story; I figured we already had a third place from the first Baja Sur 500 race and knowing that we would not beat that finish there was no reason to change the transmission and continue on. So we packed up and towed the car out of the desert. We headed to the finish line to see how everybody did. We ended up talking with the Murray’s at the finish line and they asked what had happened. I told them the story and they proceeded to tell me that Score changed the rules on the throw out race. Now you can throw out any race during the season. With that new information I knew I had just made the biggest mistake that might cost us the season championship… Damn, I have been kicking myself for the last few days wishing we would have swapped the transmission and finished the race. It’s a little too late now so we will just have to win the next two races!

Thank You Polaris RZR, UTV INC, Lone Star Racing, Method Wheels, ITP Tires, Wolf Designs, Rigid Lights, and everybody else that plays the tiniest part in our race program.

Without you we wouldn’t be racing!

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