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Chenowth DR2 #97 NORRA Mexican 1000 Race Report

Fourstroker

Well-Known Member
We had 1 goal in mind. Get it to the finish....no matter what it takes.

We left Orange County early Friday morning, with a stop near San Diego airport to pick up a couple of our out of town crew from Wyoming. The Border was challenging(pronounced expensive) as we had to pay for some declared items but we got there right before things got too busy.
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Made our way to Ensenada and checked into our AirBNB(BTW a great way to save on accommodations). Got some lunch, unloaded the car and drove down to Tech. Safety training, Signup and Tech was super easy and we were able to get all of our required BS out of the way in an hour or so.
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Me and CP
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PCI Scotts Canam X3

Saturday was our get it together day. Got our car inline to display with the rest of the Chenowth cars and headed off for a nice breakfast. Got do some walking talking and picture taking in the tech line. Was good to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones.
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On display with the rest of the Chenowth contingent
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View from the live feed. Front and center

Took the car back to the house around 2 and made our final prep for the race and days ahead. Back to downtown for the drivers meeting ****
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Back to the house for a steak dinner with the crew and early to bed

Race day 1 – Marty Seefried(MME Marty) and my nephew Tyler started and with a plan to go MM106 at La Minitas. All good at Ojos visual. Right before the HWY at MM71 a spark plug wire came off(twice) and they lost a spot. All good from there back to the HWY.
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Marty and Tyler at Piedras Gordas. Thanks RDC for the cool shot
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Another day 1 shot. Thanks HNOS Bora Fotografia

We found a good wide spot to pit a couple miles into the transit. We would fuel, look over the car and brothers Christopher and Michael Parr of MDR Mini Mag fame would take over the car with Christopher behind the wheel. They started to have an electrical issue at the south end of Diablo but it went away (temporarily) and they were able to soldier on and finish the special.
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The Parr Boys at the Finish in SF

Good food and cold beers awaited in SF with a short stop by Chase 2 to check into our house in El Dorado ranch. Decided to work on the car in town before headed back to the house. Thought we had our electrical issue resolved and did some test miles on the way back to the house after some tacos.

Race day 2 – My brother Keith and nephew were to start and bring the car to Huerfanito for our pit and driver change. One truck had gone ahead and the other waited for the car in Percebu. Several cryptic messages later we learn that the electrical gremlins have returned after only 30 miles and seem unsolvable. After a few hours of trying and many different electrical parts the boys decide to trailer it south and get to us at Huerfanito. Once there we diagnose not only tight valves but one that appears to have sucked. On the trailer it goes to BOLA. Another good dinner by the NORRA crew and we are off to our hotel for an engine swap. Pull in and see Zambo and his crew working on their car but have no time to talk as we have a heart transplant awaiting. Part of the crew works on getting the engine out of the DefCon box, others work on removing the other one while a couple worked on getting the room set up and things ready for the next day. Engine swap goes fairly easy with as few minor mods for things that weren’t exactly the same. Engine running by 10. Thanks to whoever loaned us their bitchin work light. It helped a lot.
Now the fun part. We are a crew of 9 with only 1 room. Our back up plan was 2 Palapas at Campo Archelon but it was 10:00, we had no energy to move and the wind was blowing like crazy…..so we packed it in. 6 in the room including 2 cots, 2 in the kitchen on cots and 1 outside on a cot. Cozy but we all slept. No photos as my phone was not playing nice

Race Day 3 – Started with an epiphany that engaged more work. The engine needed to come out and the clutch disk changed. The engine now in car came out of a car with a Weddle trans and the racecar has a Mendeola. No wonder it went in so easy. Had it out and back in 45 minutes with plenty of time before we needed to leave. Tony Wille and Steve Spear of 307 Baja Racing were to start and bring it to San Ignacio, with me and Marty set to take it to Loreto. Well that plan went to hell quickly. Already in Vizcaino eating lunch we get word that they are having the same problems again near MM40 and have been advised to head back to BOLA instead of pushing forward. We make the decision to send one truck back and the other on its way to Loreto. So after driving 170 to Vizcaino we head back 130 to the BOLA cutoff and back 10 mile before we run in to the boys who were wise enough to keep it moving towards us as much as they could. On the drive north we decide to check fuel related items in addition to electrical since it is a different engine with different electrical but the same symptoms. Turns out the fuel filter was severely clogged with material likely from assembly since the entire fuel system was new. Back together and she runs like a raped ape. Shame it took 2 days to diagnose. The boys drive it south bound on the highway for 40 miles before we call it fixed and load it on the trailer for the remainder of the drive to Loreto. A stop at Rice and Beans for dinner and we are off. We pass a couple friendly reminders of how badly our race could be going when we see a handful of loaded racecars headed north. We arrive in Loreto at 12:45 after nearly 700 miles in the chase truck. We turn in our road book and get a starting time for the next day. We are back in it. The guys who went ahead had the rooms setup, got the grocery shopping done and had an area setup for us to work in the morning. They even offered to work on the car in the morning to let us sleep in. That’s what teamwork is all about.

Race day 4 – Even on a bad day its not bad day waking up in Loreto.
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Driving plans were slightly modified with missing 2 days but we have a plan that everyone agrees to. We have had one goal in mind since day one and everyone has worked their ass off to make it happen. The Parr Boys start the day and bring the car to Insurgentes this time with Michael at the helm. They have a trouble free run and bring to us after passing many cars.
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A clean pit with our good friends Juan and Santiago helping.

Finally my time to get in and drive with Marty navigating. We have a fun run through the farms back to Constitution passing a few cars without issue including Palapaboy while navigating a missed turn on our part. Clean run to Santa Rita even saw Travisd on the lake bed. Got passed by our friends in the 136 when we both missed a turn. Almlost gave Jay (volks73) a nerf before we got back on track just to say hello but he wanted no part of it and roosted us big time. Good times my friend. In Santa Rita we pitted for fuel and new drivers. Tony and Steve got in and had a trouble free run to La Paz This is where our fun(really) begins. We were stoked to have a trouble free day and the crew that we were much closer to our ultimate goal.
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Never a bad day when you start and finish your day on the water
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Kevin Smith and Johnny Kaiser did a badass job of rebuilding DR2 chassis #2. Car still has torsions, smooth body shocks, a bus box and they were driving the **** out of it. Great job boys!!

My pops had flown in to Cabo earlier in the day and made his way to La Paz. At 72 and not 1 word of Spanish to his name there are many things about Mexico that worry him. But he was super excited to see the car finish and the whole crew was elated. An early dinner and back to prep the car. We had 2 outer CV boots to change, a linkpin to reshim and some regular prep stuff. Right before packing up for the night we noticed That the clutch pedal was not maintaining pressure so we changed the slave cylinder…same result. Lets work on it in the morning.

Race day 5 – Tony and Steve make a call to Andrea Tomba of Tanom Racing who preps their race truck in La Paz. Turns out the boys had exact same master cylinder in the shop and were willing to loan it to us. Problem solved with time to spare to get it to the start line. My brother and nephew in the car and the Chase trucks head out of town. We make it to Todos Santos just as the leaders are coming thru. We enjoy some tacos as they cruise by and then make our way out of town for our pit and ultimate team goal setting. The boys radio that they are 5 minutes out and we are suited and ready. The last leg into Cabo I am navigating with my Pops driving. He hasn’t driven in a race in nearly 35 years but reluctantly agreed to take the last leg if we got the car there. Well it's here so get in. He's been nervous for days and is asking a million questions while we complete the transit. I tell him in no short order to relax and have fun. I also tell him I have navigated 1000’s of miles, I love him like crazy, and I will take care of him…because if I don’t mom is going to kill me and my brother. We have a trouble free run to Cabo despite having to help Pops get his timing back. We got passed by a couple and passed a few others. Saw a couple on their lids but got thumbs up from everyone. When we get into the Arroyo near San Jose del Cabo I finally tell my Dad how many miles we have left. He can't believewe are almost done and starts to stand on it. Wow there big boy. We both start welling up as we near the finish line and this will last for awhile. We get to the finish line and are greeted by the crew and the NORRA folks. They were all treating Pops like a rockstar and he was soaking it up. He didn’t want to get out of the car and some old friends kept talking to him in the car. He even did our finish podium interview and thanked the right sponsors. Awesome.
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Best photo of the whole damn trip
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Tale of the tape

All in all this was the most downright BADASS experience of the 40 plus years I have been involved in offroad racing. Our crew had one goal in mind and that was getting the car to day 5 so Dad could get in and finish. That was it. One goal and we did it. To be able to finish a Baja race with my Pops next to me was a lifetime dream of mine. Sorry(kind of) and thanks to my brother Keith. I said I wanted to finish with Dad and you never argued with me. Meant more than you will ever know even though I hope I told you a 1000 time thanks.

Spent the next 2 days at our teammate Tony’s awesome house in Cabo, the awards and saw some of the sites.
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Our house
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Sometimes you just have to ride a Shark
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Pops and longtime friend Mir Lund (Chenowth Mike Lunds Wife). Broter and nephew photobombing
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Me with my bro and nephew at the awards

2 days driving north with or near the 136 team of Jay Bills and Kelly Foster was cool. Just don’t ask them to order Strawberry margaritas for you. I got you guys!! Wont even go into our border story

Need to thank many people for helping in various forms
Dad, brother Keith, Marty Seefried, nephews Tyler and Gavin (the 16 old with mad fab skills), Tony Wille and Steve Spear and Chris, Michael and Ken Parr. In addition we need to thank Border Tire for providing us our race tires. Same 4 tires went our entire distance. Chenowth Racing for including us in your festivities even though we could not make it to the party in Percebu. Jay Bills (volks73) of the 136 team for your kind words, encouragement and friendship on this trip. It meant alot to me

Until next time!!!
 

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CMA GUMBY

Well-Known Member
Great story. Watched the build thread all the way through. Car is beautiful. Fulfilling a lifetime dream with Pops is priceless. Congrats on the finish as well.
 

volks 73

Well-Known Member
Kevin it was great getting to know you and your team. Great group of guys who never gave up and had the best attitudes even with your set backs during the first few days. I have to tell you your dad is a great man, made me realize you never stop worrying about your children even when they are grown men. When I met him and he was showing me the car the week before the race, his only concern was you guys. He wasn't worried about the car, your skills or talent, he knew how much work you guys put into this and how bad you guys wanted it, he didn't want any of you to be let down. What he didn't know was you guys weren't going to be let down and were getting him in the driver seat at any cost. It was great seeing him cross the finish line. The best Strawberry margaritas in martini glasses I've ever had pretty sure they were triples.
 

Team Todo En

Well-Known Member
Great writeup and really sounded like an awesome time, especially being able to share it with your Pops! My dream is to ride with my daughter and son who both made it to Cabo this year to see me finish.
 
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