Valor Racing #959 2018 Parker 250 Race Report


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#959 Valor racing Report: 2018 BITD UTV Winter Nationals Casey Folks Parker 250

The first race of 2018! The Parker 250 in Parker, Arizona. The Parker 250 is one of the few races this year with only UTV’s. This meant that we could expect a fast and exciting race. Coming from the freezing temperatures in Colorado, the Arizona desert offered a welcoming warmth with temperatures in the mid-70’s. We arrived at tech and contingency Friday morning and contingency was buzzing. Everyone seemed excited about this new racing year. It is so great to see all these companies coming out to support this series and our sport! Personally, I picked up some new Hostyle tool bags and one of their new belt bags! I’m digging it! Tech went without a hitch. I want to give a quick shout out to Cory Sappington and his team. These guys are out there every race and this time there were over 120 UTV’s to tech! They have always treated me fair and have a smile on their face. Excellent job guys!

The Parker 250 is a lap race consisting of (3) 80-mile laps. There was (1) main pit and (1) alternate pit. We opted to only set up at the main pit with a chase ready to run to the alternate pit only if needed. Once again, I had an amazing group of friends that made the trek out here to help me! Saturday’s race started at 1:00 pm. We arrived at the main pit Saturday morning and found a place to set up. The theme of the morning was sticker bushes! The ground was covered! We made a quick trip to Walmart for a rake and shovel to clear a spot! We were ready! At 12:15 we made our way to staging. Our starting position was 32 and being that we race in the Pro Production Turbo class, we would be the first group to leave. I cannot begin to tell you what it feels like seeing that many race UTV’s lined up behind you! It was as far as I could see. It was awesome, but I won’t lie, I got a bit nervous knowing there was literally about 100 UTV’s behind me all hellbent on chasing that top spot!

Promptly at 1:00 the race started 2 cars at a time, side by side and every 30-seconds. I noticed it seemed that most were getting “lazy” starts off the lights. My thought was that the start was the easiest place to make my first pass. When I got to the line, I was ready. One foot on the brake, the other ready to mash the throttle. Green light and go! My Polaris RZR rocketed forward! Immediately we got a good jump on the car beside us! We raced through the infield, railing the berms. By the time we exited the infield section, we had a healthy lead on the other car. Great start!

With the start behind us, the nerves had also left. We had made some suspension changes and the car was feeling great. We knew this race would have a fast pace and we were really wanting a good showing. We charged ahead along Shea road, the car soaking up the big bumps. Josh was calling out the turns and dangers and we quickly passed another car. This was going to be a great day! We turned on the power line road and surged forward. On the GPS we got the warning to watch for the guide wires. Noted. We strained our eyes through the dust trying to make sure we were clear at each power pole. A dust trail showed that we were catching another car. We pressed forward. We could see 3 power poles coming up. At first Josh thinks the road goes around the left of the poles but as we get closer we see if goes through the middle of the left 2. I push my foot to the floor.

Race mile 4. At this point let me interrupt my story. So apparently there is a famous sand hill at Parker. Up to this point I was unaware that this hill existed. But I was about to become real familiar with it. Okay, so I am foot to the floor, 70 mph, and pushing forward. Just as we are about to go through the poles the dust and the horizon clear and disappear all at the same time. Well this can’t be good I think. I have no time to even start to brake. We are sailing through the air. We start to nose down and immediately I know we are done. The left corner of the car hits a berm and instantly the wheel is ripped from my hand and we start tumbling. Everything blurs and all I hear is the crunching sound of metal being ripped and smashed.

After what seems life eternity, we come to a stop, the car on its side. Quickly I make sure Josh is okay. Then immediately all I can think of is that we are on the race course with a mob of cars rushing our way. My fear is getting hit while trying to get out of the car. As we unbuckle we quickly have some media guys at our side helping us out. I feel much better knowing they are there. We are finally out of the car and reality is starting to set in. We look of the massive hill we just tumbled down. The media guys are shocked that we have just walked out of this. We are bruised up a bit, but are both whole! Absolutely God was protecting us! We have just survived and incredibly gnarly wreck. A few moments go by with us trying to get our wits about us. Another car pulls over just forward of us with some overheating issues. We loan them some tools and water and help get them going. And that is our race. We are both frustrated that it was over so fast but incredibly grateful that we are okay. The car is a mess, but the cage we designed and built ourselves held up and did its job.

Back home, we are sore but in good spirits. We are ready to get back out there for redemption. Hindsight is 20/20 and we have learned some valuable lessons to move forward with. Our inexperience caught us. We will grow stronger from this and will hopefully have the car back in action for the MINT!

Thanks again to all my amazing sponsors who continually help me live my dream! Such amazing companies! Please, make an effort to support those who support us!

Glad you guys were OK. Came over the crest on the second lap and had a "holy s*%t" moment. See something like that you say a quick prayer that no one was hurt.

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