When racers came to Reno, Nevada for the HDRA, Eldorado, Fireworks 500 they were entering unknown territory. Few were prepared for the technical course that awaited them. It traversed up, over and around the rolling hills on property belonging to Roger Norman. It was predominantly made of rocks; loose rocks, buried rocks, big rocks and small rocks. There were no whoops in sight but their absence was no consolation. Each lap was 125 miles long with just a solitary, short section where drivers were comfortable letting out a sigh, grabbing a drink or just loosening their grip on the wheel.
Before they could take the green flag on raceday, there were several pre-race activities to attend. Qualifying on Thursday went well for the Alumi Craft team; posting the second fastest time out of four class 10 cars. Friday was contingency on Virginia Street in downtown Reno. The car show like format had the cars parked and the HDRA officials moving from team to team doing their inspections. This allowed the fans to closely inspect the vehicles and take a moment to talk with the teams without holding up the process.
On race morning, it was time to put all the plans in motion. The car was meticulously prepped, the team was well rehearsed and the drivers and navigators were ready for action. The plan was for John Cooley to run the first two laps with navigator Brian Saunders. On lap two, Greg Parker and Navigator Greg Atherton would take over. After lap one the call came over the radio from John, the strategy would change. The course was so technical they would need a fresh driver on every lap. The two Greg’s scrambled to get suited up as John and Brian quickly approached the pits. They jumped in and took their first trip around the course. From that point on they evaluated the car on every lap. It became obvious that the tires would need to be changed at every stop. The loose rocks were creating tire spin that was wearing the tread out prematurely. The suspension was working flawlessly but John was aware that the pounding could put unusual stresses on the drivetrain. It was up to the drivers to stay smooth and the navigators to stay on course. The entire team would have to maintain a high level of concentration to make it the entire 500 miles.
“It feels great to win,” said John Cooley, “We knew right away that we were in for a huge challenge. I’ve raced on most of the toughest courses since the 1980’s and I have not seen anything like this. Every lap was non-stop; no break. By the time we were on lap four, the track was clear of most of the stuck cars and it became fun. We were sure that the car would make it and we had a sizeable lead over second place. I feel so confident in this car now. We have several others under construction right now and It feels great to build them knowing they will do well in the toughest conditions like these.”
Greg Parker reiterated the tough conditions found on the course. “That has to be the most physically and mentally demanding course in the west. We were racing the course not the other teams. At times it was a matter of which rock am I going to hit. It would have been hard to do two laps without a break; John made the right call. We pitted more than we had planned but our crew of friends, family members and volunteers worked like a fine watch. At the end of the day we took the win by more than two hours, it was so challenging but I loved it!”
Alumi Craft spends countless hours testing, racing and refining their cars. Before they deliver anything to a customer, you can rest assured it has been proven to provide unparalleled performance in the most demanding conditions. That’s why champions rely on Alumi Craft’s experienced professionals to design, fabricate and prepare their cars. Alumi Craft is committed to providing you with a competitive, safe and reliable vehicle that exceeds your expectations. If you demand the best, give Alumi Craft a call at 619-596-9841 to find out more about their race products and services.
Photography By Brian Binkert
Bink Designs – www.binkdesigns.com
About Alumi Craft
Alumi Craft is the premier racecar chassis manufacturer in the off road industry. Crafting cars from lengths of 4130 Chromoly tubing is our specialty. We offer a variety of vehicles to accommodate the professional off road racer to the recreational driver. For the past three years, Alumi Craft has claimed Three Pro Buggy championships and a Super Buggy Championship in Short Course. The drivers who aided Alumi Craft in achieving the repeat are Rob MacCachren, Chuck Cheek, Cameron Steele and CJ Greaves.
For more information on Alumi Craft Race Cars check out www.alumicraft.info
About Bink Designs
Bink Designs is a premier graphic design company located in San Diego. Since 2003, we have been committed to providing cost-effective solutions to our clients’ high-end graphic needs. Whether you want to create, maintain, or revamp your corporate identity, Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography and Apparel.
For more information on Bink Designs see www.binkdesigns.com