2925 xpWarrior - Vegas To Reno 2018


Active Member
Vegas to Reno 2018

This year has been rough on the team. We had DNF’d three races this year and I want to give a little insight as to what is happening in this team. Im not making excuses just giving insight. We want to win races and being conservative won’t get that done.

A few years ago I stopped into a little shop, UTV Inc, in Arizona to chat with Johnny Angal. I liked Johnny for his unconventional attitude and smack talking on a keyboard and in person. Some called him Mr Moneybags, everyone had to respect his ability to win big races. During this conversation he said something to me that stuck in my brain for a long time. He made a statement pretty close to, “The majority of the racers out there only care about getting to the finish. They wonder why they don’t podium and sometimes they focus on the blame game. This guy has tons of money, that team is fully sponsored and doesn’t have to worry about breaking their car...and so on. Why go out there and only run at 70-80 percent but then wonder why you can’t win. I would rather go give it 100 percent and not finish but know I am RACING!”

I was one of those guys running at 80 percent. I was worried about not just breaking parts on my car but how I would afford to replace them and make the next race. I have wanted to be taken seriously and advance my program and navigated blindly on how to do that. We had what we thought was success, finishing 95 percent of our races in the first three years and finishing a season in the Top 5.

For 2018, I wanted to really go for it and that’s what we have been doing. We have been stepping up our game. More testing, better prep, and pushing harder than ever at races. This has proved to be costly but also fruitful. The first race with our new plan of attack was Rage at the River. There we finished 3rd and only turned it up on day 2. We led at Parker until we broke (ripping one corner off the car) 12 miles from the finish. We took 2nd at the Mint 400! A migrating radius rod ended our UTVWC run on lap 7. Then the worst, a DNF at Silver State due to a water pump line breaking free and warping the head.

Vegas to Reno was going to be a redemption race and we set a great plan in motion. We would split up Vegas to Reno between two driving teams and have another on standby in case of exhaustion or some sort of emergency. Plus we needed a contingency plan for Peyton (Team 1 codriver) who is expecting his first child any day. A matter of fact his wife was in the hospital the morning of V2R with contractions. The car was strong during testing and we even had DynoJet Research do their magic specific for this race. We not only had the Power Vision CX and proprietary tune, but used the soon to be released DynoJet Clutch.

During tech we were surprised by Justin from Shock Therapy with an interview at which he gave us their new Can-Am Front Limit Strap kit. We installed this kit and set it up to limit one inch of drop-out on the front end. We also changed our refueling tube running from the filler to the cell after discovering a leak when refueling the car. Many bolts were swapped for new, clamps were changed and tightened to spec, and the electrical system was gone through. The team didn’t want to take any chances and we worked into the evening the night before the race.

Race Day! The team of 4 chase trucks, met just outside of Las Vegas and began the trip to Beatty for staging. My amazing Bank (sarcasm) shut my card off just as we left town. (This isn’t good). Upon arriving in Beatty we began unloading the car and looking it over one final time. We had a new crew member with a fresh set of eyes look over the car, thanks Dean. A few adjustments were made. Eddy and Peyton climbed into the car and moved about 100 ft when a radiator line let loose. Lot of expletives were yelled out loud and we began trying to save our race before it even started. Repairs were made and some coolant added to the system. (This becomes important later). Off to staging they went.

Staging is completed and the guys head off the start line. After about 3 miles they caught traffic. Traffic that was stacked up and only moving 25-30 mph. The guys didn’t know what was happening, was there an incident, is the course messed up, is an official slowing traffic because of a disabled car? They didn’t know and stayed patient for a mile or so then began passing the line of lemmings. By mile 10-11 the car was leading our class but continued to find slow traffic from the N/A Class UTV’s. The car looked good and had a decent lead by Pit 1. By Pit 2, Eddy and Peyton had put some good distance and time on the other teams but still had UTV and other class traffic to contend with.

As the miles continued they kept separation from the rest of the class. Pit 3 was a scheduled stop and went close to perfect. The fuel cell burped some fuel when the jug was inserted and tipped too fast but everything was contained and nothing serious was discovered on the car. Some water for the driving team and off they went still leading physically. One chase team headed to Pit 4 (they got soaked by a downpour of rain) another to Pit 5 and the rest went to Pit 6. It’s Pit 6 where we planned to refuel and do a driver change. We communicated to the racecar that changing the plan might be the best course of action. If Eddy and Peyton fealt good in the car we would keep them in until later pits. They agreed and this gave them a boost of confidence. With traffic becoming less of an issue, they began hitting higher speeds.

Through Pit 4, then Pit 5....no issues so far. Communications from chase teams to the car were working perfect. Pit 6 we stage for a refuel and the second driving team is prepped just in case team 1 wants to jump out. A broken front axle was found, then while that was being worked we discovered the front sway bar snapped in half. The spare axle is about to get installed and was found to have a smashed CV end. The team tried to repair the spare axle. During this lengthy pit stop Driving Team 1 elected to get out so we didn’t lose time later down the road. After 30 minutes or more everyone realizes this axle couldn’t be repaired in the field with the tools we had. Sean, our chase team lead, ran down the pit line looking for LSR. He found Lamont Racing who was willing to do what they could to get us on the road at 100 percent. In the mean time the CV’s were installed without an axle. When the new Lamont spare axle showed up the guys once again tore the front end apart. The inner CV wouldn’t come out of the differential. We snapped two straps and called it. The car would leave in rear wheel drive only.

I hopped in the car with Chris and off we went. It had been years since I raced in rear wheel drive. The cornering was different, acceleration was strong but felt like the rear end wanted to come around. Just as I began giving the car some speed and push...Chris begins calling temps and course markings. All is good! I hear, “belt temp good, medium right in two hundred...voltage 12.4, medium right 100...engine temp 205, medium right...straight straight mirrors clear, good corner, belt good...big rocks on right...engine temp good dropped to 120...” I knew that couldn’t be right, “there is no way....what does the PowerVision show?” I couldn’t see the gauge cluster in from of me due to sun glare. I struggle to look for eng temp on the cluster and just as I see it at full ticks, Chris says the Power Vision screen says 236 for engine temp.

I freak out...like seriously freak out. Last race we lost the motor because of engine temps after losing the water pump line. Before the race a radiator line breaks free and we lose coolant. I am extremely worried we just blew another coolant line off the car. I slow the car a bit and the temps do not decrease. Chris begins to unstrap and yells to pull over. Once stopped, Chris jumps from the car; I make a radio transmission to the team that we are overheating. Chris can’t find any leaks. He searches again and after about ten minutes we decide to press forward. Our engine temp says 205 when we start back up, but after a couple miles it is hitting 235, 220, 205, 242, 231...this keeps happening. What is wrong! When I am in the gas it is getting really hot, when I have 20 percent throttle applied it cools a little. I tell Chris we a pulling over again. I have him look at the inter cooler and all the lines again. He also checks the coolant level and finds it low. We radio to the team and get hit or miss replies. We have about 47 miles to go before Pit 7, we are going to have to be very smart to get there and not blow the motor. We start the car back up and have good temperature numbers. They stay that way for around 10 miles but I’m not pushing the car to race speeds. We can hear the chase teams coordinating their positions and discussing the issues we are having with the car but they won’t stay quiet long enough for us to tell them the current situation.

Finally we make it to Pit 7, the guys have us shut the car down. They take precautions and open the hot radiator and it’s full, the reservoir has fluid and they check engine oil...all good. Peyton and Dean decide to begin squeezing coolant lines and discover the radiator out line has vapor locked. A huge air bubble has prevented fluid from leaving the radiator and cooling the motor. We burp the system as best we can and send the car with the plan of doing another burp at Pit 8. We are in self preservation mode and it sucks! Somewhere in all of this our chase teams assist with a race vehicle fire that errupted in the pits. Our guys used a couple of our extinguishers to subdue the flames and I heard this team was able to continue and finish the race.

Thankfully the plan works and we have zero temp issues or any mechanical car issues the remainder of the race. We refuel at Pit 10 and do what we can to salvage our race. We think we are in 4th with the ability to catch 3rd if not better. We push and as the sun sets the terrain changes. It’s difficult to see the beginning of silt in the dust. The wind and rain has stopped; everything is just lingering just like last year. So we begin to play with our lights. We would run the big light bar until we hit thick dust and then switch to our amber pods. My eyes would take a second to adjust but it was working. In a straight I swerved to miss big rocks and just as I did we caught silt and almost put the car on its lid. I’m pretty sure this is when my catheter came off, later I would began to pee and wet myself. Back to the race....This is par for the course (hitting terrain that catches you off guard, not pissing myself) when running in the dark with silt, but without the 4wd; I can’t use the throttle to fix mistakes I make with the wheel like I’m used to. The course had sections of silt that weaves in and out of power poles that made me wished we still had 4wd! As we come around a corner that is three foot deep silt, the exit of the corner has a Yamaha UTV stuck. I hit the binders as come inches from hitting the co-driver standing at the rear of his car. He had a flashlight in hand and was desperately flashing it to try and warn us of the danger. Later I thought “where were his reflective triangles and other safety devices.

Now I’m worried we just got our 2wd X3 stuck in the silt... in a corner! Chris is not happy with me but there was nothing I could do. I put the car in reverse, flip to 4wd (we still have one front axle), hold the Override switch and nail the gas. Our car begins to move and I try to get on top of the ruts in the silt. Just before we bog down I throw the car into Low and nail the gas pedal again. Slowly we pull our racecar through the silt and around the stuck Yamaha. There is no way we could have pulled them out so on we went at a blazing 12 mph until we got out of the silt.

Pit 13 would be our final stop. The guys were only supposed to give us about 5 gal of fuel...just enough to get to the finish 77 miles away. We wanted the car light, as light as possible, and we wanted a fast pit stop. The last 77 miles are full of fire roads, overgrown/unmaintained roads, trails, huge g-outs and rocks. Lots of rocks. I want the car to float. We leave the pit and start chasing down the blue lights we see in the distance. Dust is still an issue but we have our eye on the prize. We pass through the final Pit, Pit 14 to learn that 2910 is behind us. Chris tells me we are going to make him earn it. We cross the highway at the PRC and get after it. 2910 is dusted out but seemingly running a patient pace. We run for about 5 miles before he ever hit the push to pass. We can’t see blue lights in front of us and elect to let him go. I pull over and we wait...and wait and then I say “where is he?” Finally he goes by and I regret pulling over. This is exactly what Mobbin did to us last year!

The last 20 miles are pure rough rock mountain trails. We get caught up behind a car and work to make a pass. It’s not 2910. About ten miles later we see another blue light and I push through the rocks trying to catch him. In the final few turns we are right on him and think we closed the distance enough to overcome them on corrected time. We make the final climb and realize it’s not a UTV. Chris hits the siren (more as a joke) but on the last half mile they don’t give us a pass, I wouldn’t have either. We both floor it and cross the finish line.

What a race! It was full of ups and downs. As a team we came together and made things happen. We are told at the finish we might be one more car back than was previously thought. Isom’s 2939 Can-Am hadn’t tracked since the first leg of the race and he crossed the finish line first for our class. We gave it our all. We never gave up, we pushed for a podium and came up a bit short. Officially we get 6th. We lost a lot of time in Pit 6 and the temp issues just after that held us back. (Not making excuses just explaining) Once all that was fixed we did start to make up time but the race mileage ended before we could catch the pack.

We didn’t suffer from a single flat tire or wheel issue. Our clutch and belt handled business and the DynoJet tune proved to give us power all day. The Lone Star Racing STS Kit never failed and proved why more cars run LSR than any other brand. Our Shock Therapy shocks and new limit straps gave us a plush ride and absorbed everything the Nevada Desert has to offer. As we look to the next race, a night race in Laughlin, we know our Baja Designs lights will be a huge factor. We may be adding some and changing minor lighting positions but these things allow you to drive.

We met a lot of great people at this race and had a lot of fun. Robbie from X3 Nation, it was great to meet you and I do hope you come out to the races more often. Lamont Racing, thank you for the axle, we didn’t use it and I will give it to you when we meet again. Random Can-Am team that borrowed parts...I hope you made it to the finish and keep the racing gods happy.

Thank you to the entire team. Eddy, Peyton, Chris, Sean, Steve , Sam, Trevor, Dean, Garrett and all those that couldn’t make this race with us. We can’t race without the whole team and the support of their families.

Congratulations to all the racers that made it to the finish, those that gave it their all and came up short and of course to No Limit for taking the Overall UTV Win. Johnny Angal and Jesse Jones for the Vegas To Reno Overall Win in a Trophy Truck. Dustin Jones for his podium finish, Isom’s Mobbin Racing for their Unlimited UTV Win and everyone else that podium finished the longest offroad race in the United States. Team Can-Am racers are working hard to make the X3 a threat every race...keep it up. Thank you Best In The Desert for putting on a great event, all the volunteers and race fans because none of this is possible without them. My supporters are extra special! Without them my team would struggle. If you love offroad and own a UTV, look to the companies that support us when spending your hard earned cash. If you don’t own a UTV they do sell swag and other things you can find a use for!


STI Tire and Wheel

DynoJet Research

Lone Star Racing

Shock Therapy

Baja Designs

S&B Filters

CBR Radiators

PCI Race Radios
Great Report, This is our first year running in the N/A class, we are in the same boat trying to figure out how hard to run the car to be up front but also making it last.
Great Report, This is our first year running in the N/A class, we are in the same boat trying to figure out how hard to run the car to be up front but also making it last.
Vegas to Reno is a tough race. We learned a few lessons but we will not give up on the new attack plan of trying to get on the box. Sometimes racing is about skill; in off-road racing it is a balance of skill, luck and doing everything right.

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