Colorado Springs, CO 11/21/11 – For the first time in four attempts, I have finished the Baja 1000. The BFGoodrich Team of Bud Brutsman, Andrew Comrie-Picard, Roger Lovell, Joel Weinberger, Kyle Tucker, and myself overcame major mechanical issues to finish with of time of 27:42:26. We were 6th in Class 10. While I am proud of our position, the challenge itself is more memorable and significant.
The race is so many things that it’s indescribable in a few paragraphs. Only a few miles from the start a semi truck jackknifed and completely blocked the course which in turn caused a logjam of trophy trucks. Mud holes and hazards both manmade and natural littered the first 30 miles. Our car came through cleanly and made it to BFG Pit #1 in good time. Roger and I jumped in the car and waited patiently as the Wide Open crew replaced both CV shafts. We bolted from the pit and brought the car up to pace before tackling the rock filled mountains.
Its no secret that our expertise is in the rocks and we passed several racers on the way to the summit. We blew the siren and tapped a class 8 (full size truck) before making quick tracks down the other side. We must have insulted the driver as the truck later caught us in a sand wash and unquestionably tried to wreck us as he passed, an attack I will remember. South of Laguna Salada we cautiously approached an enormous silt bed. It was terribly worse than what we saw in the pre-run and stuck cars littered the area. I floored it before we were blinded and threw the car into oblivion. Bushes, cars, silt holes, and ditches flashed from the blinding dust as I did my best to keep the tires clawing through the powder. Running 4th in Class 10 we broke free of hellish silt and sped south.
About 20 miles later we noticed a sudden drop in oil pressure accompanied by flames shooting off the back of the car. Something had punctured an oil galley covering the hot exhaust with oil which in turn started a fire. We got the fire out and eventually reached the chase crew via sat phone. After nearly 5 hours of hard work, new parts, and a little bit of luck, we had a functional car. Once again adrenaline took hold as we blasted over whoops, rocks, and sand. We were again struck with mechanical demons but able to fight the car into BFG Pit #2. Brief repairs were made and we ventured into the desert at full strength with Roger now behind the wheel.
I have heard plenty of stories about big whoops but nothing compares to San Felipe whoops. The unending monstrous corrugations only yielded when sharp rock filled the course. Soon we found ourselves clawing through another frightful silt bed and this time we became mired. I jumped out into the moonscape and started to dig. I stuffed twigs under the tires and Roger worked the car back and forth. We repeated the process several times and made slow progress. Finally we were free and I was exhausted. We covered another 60 rough miles before handing the car off at BFG Pit #3. With 320 miles down we were well behind the field but making encouraging progress.
Its hard to wait in the pit with no knowledge of where your car is. Rumors abound and there is nothing to do but listen for a radio call. The call finally came before Joel Weinberger and Bud Brutsman rolled into Pit #4. They handed a strong car off to Andrew Comrie-Picard and Kyle Tucker who would be on their own for the last 240 miles of high speed shelf roads, rocks, and hills.
Hours later we nervously waited at the finish line as a race broke out between us and car #1001. They swapped positions several times in the last 40 miles but at the finish our team’s unending effort paid off as we beat them by a handful of minutes.
At this 44th running of the Baja 1000, BFGoodrich captured their 25th overall victory. I’m proud to be part of such a fantastic Baja 1000 effort and experience the rich heritage built over decades by SCORE and BFGoodrich. Thanks to BFG, Wide Open, our chase crew, and everyone who supported us in this endeavor.
TRAXXAS TORC SERIES PRESENTED BY AMSOIL ANNOUNCES 2012 SCHEDULE
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 4, 2011) – TORC – The Off Road Championship, broke new ground in 2011 with races covering major markets in the Midwest, East and Southern areas of the U.S. TORC took off-road racing to new heights by conducting races in top consumer hubs such as Chicago, Charlotte and San Antonio.
In 2012 the Series will once again feature the largest spectator attended off-load racing event in the U.S., Crandon International Raceway in Crandon, WI. The annual Labor Day Weekend World Championship races have been the cornerstone of off-roading since 1970 and were once again met with record attendance in 2011.
“TORC’s mission in 2012 is to build on the solid foundation established with our expansion of racing venues and entering new markets in 2011” stated Kevin Miller, CEO of USAC Racing. “Our off-road debut in the backyard of the motorsports industry in Charlotte had a very enthusiastic impact which we plan on taking to a new level in 2012”.
The strategy of using established MX facilities was another positive step with new track facilities now in place at Red Bud MX and San Antonio’s Cycle Ranch. The diversity of TORC is evident with the largest short course facilities of Crandon and Bark River combined with prominent MX facilities and growing to major consumer markets with exciting short course tracks that venues such as Chicagoland Speedway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway present.
In total, there will be 16 rounds of racing over 8 planned 2-day events. The Series released the following dates as firm, as well as three TBD dates as placeholders for teams as final dates are pending at Chicagoland and Charlotte Motor Speedway, where temporary off-road racks share the calendar with other major events including NHRA and WoO races.
TORC will return to Chicagoland Speedway in September where an exciting crowd witnessed great off-road action for the first time. This year’s SPEED broadcast was the only live off-road production on network television in 2011 and showcased the sport to a new level during a prime-time Thursday evening position.
In an effort to give teams timely information for travel and budgeting purposes, the following dates are being release prior to the final schedule, which is expected to be announced by December 1. There are three pending TBD races in discussion, of which only two will be filled. TORC Series officials are working with these venues and are optimizing the schedule based on venue and television opportunities.
The Series will continue to provide innovative programming solutions in 2012 using a combination of live racing action and the reality-driven “TORC-The Of Road Championship” television series which covers the off road’s rich action and capturing the total story of the sport with behind the scenes stories of the drivers, crews, tracks, sponsors and fans. You can capture TORC on The Velocity Channel on Wednesdays at 6pm EST and 11pm PST, as well as Sundays at 12:00pm EST.