This past weekend Dailey Motorsports premiered our new Camburg/Hostyle TrophyLite at the SNORE KC HiLites Midnight Race in Ridgecrest California and with great results. Pat Dailey has been racing with SNORE for a several years in the 5-1600 class and the team has a special place in our heart for this particular race course because, whenever we have raced there, we have won our class. As we unpacked the trailer and let the world get a look at our new race truck we had high hopes for another victory.
Like with every race, the Dailey Motorsports team shows up with a very well prepped vehicle and this race was no different. The truck looked great with a brand new paint job and graphics and worked great with very special thanks going to Todd from Fox Shocks for enduring 117 degree heat a couple weeks earlier and getting us what can only be described as the “perfect tune” on the suspension. Being a recent acquisition, the truck was still fairly new to us so, as a team, we knew we had a decent amount of learning to do with the particulars of a new race vehicle. I don’t mean so much on how it drives but more about the little/big things that need to be studied and remembered like which side to fuel it on, jack placement for tire changes, fastest way to get the window nets open and closed and the various other knowledge necessary to make our pit stops as quick as possible. As a team, we take racing very seriously and know that seconds count so every thing we can do to get the truck in and out of the pit as fast as possible is time we don’t have to make up on the race course fighting for position.
After a few laps in the pre-runner on Friday morning the plan of attack for the weekend was cemented. The course was 55ish miles long and we would be racing 4 laps with Austin “Fish” Farner piloting the first 2 laps with Billy Baroody as co-driver and Pat would be the wheel man for final two with his long time co-driver Mike Loomis. All four of these guys are top notch racers and know their way around a vehicle and a race course. Fish is the newest addition to the the Dailey Motorsports team and as a collective we were confident his experience with racing and co driving off road trucks would be great compliment to an already successful race effort. He also did the shop prep and had spent the weeks prior to the race climbing all over the truck and was very familiar with the workings of the vehicle. Confidence levels were high.
Getting up early paid off and we were one of the first vehicles thru tech and we passed with flying colors. The last of the contingency/and sponsor stickers were acquired and applied and the truck sat on display in front of Greg Foutz’s trailer for a bit before we headed back to the start/finish line to get set up for qualifying that evening which was to take place just after sundown (but not before the cash changed hands for the various side bets within the TL ranks).
Eventually it was time to stage for qualifying and we got in line with the ten other Trophy Lites we were racing with/against. To save weight in this short 3.7ish mile section of dirt we stripped the truck down a bit. The light bar, tool bag, jack and excess fuel were all eliminated. The only spare part that remained on the truck was the wheel. After what seemed like years, qualifying finally got started and the cars and trucks were sent off of the line at 60 second intervals. The dirt was flying, the desert was ablaze with HIDs and the smell of exhaust and race gas encompassed pit row. When our qualifying session was all over we had earned a respectable starting position which would put us third off the line the following evening and after reviewing our competitors qualifying times we realized that we had some tough competition. You wont get me say we were nervous about the competition, only that we were concerned anything less than perfection on race day would keep us off the top of the podium.
Things were winding down in the pit while the calls, texts and emails went out to our sponsors when the decision was made to look into the fuel pump on the truck. On the qualifying “parade lap” there had been a little bit of a “sputter” so we switched to the secondary pump and completed the lap but, there was no way we were gonna let the truck go off the line the next day without knowing exactly where we stood mechanically. The hood pins came out, the front clip came off and the team hovered around the engine as we began to trouble shoot this little glitch. This went on for hours. We replaced the pump first but the problem persisted. Then we dug deeper into the truck and by the time it turned midnight we had gone over every single thing we could think of that would be causing our malfunction. Around 1 AM we had come to the conclusion that we were spent, both in the physical and mental sense, and it was decided that a few hours of rest would give us fresh eyes and that we would be able to readdress the problem in the morning with clear heads.
Bright and early on race day we were back at the track and back to work on the fuel issue.We tried everything we could think of one at a time and then we would send the truck out on a test run only to have it return on the tow strap. This happened over and over and over. I lost count of how many times we thought we might have fixed it only to find out we were wrong. The issue was a phantom we couldn’t find and the minutes were clicking away as the team rallied and worked their butts off despite the pressure of the starting time getting closer and closer. Greg Foutz and his crew spent most of his day working with us to resolve the problem and they were a huge help. We were even visited by our competitors and who lent a hand also. Louis, Shrek, Rick, and other guys from the Agave/Azunia team were there give us their insight and smash their knuckles in the engine compartment. The Finchum team lent us their spare coil pack/ignition module. Gary Messer had a fuel rail he brought down to our pit for us if we needed it. Karl Scanlan let us take a fuel pressure regulator off of a 3000 car he had on display for sale. The amount of outside help we had was immeasurable and well received. By the time our chase crews had to depart to be at their pit assignments and course worker/checkpoint spots the truck was still fighting the gremlin and we were joking that we should have just moved our whole pit next to the Kartek trailer because we had made so many trips over there in the last 22 hours. Literally every single wire, hose, pump, sensor, relay, filter, computer, etc. had been swapped in and out, replaced, borrowed, refitted, tested, adjusted, and reworked at some point during the day or previous evening and now the unlimited cars and trucks were leaving the starting line and the track was declared “hot” and we were still wrenching on the truck and scratching our heads.
If it was electrical or plumbing, we had reworked, replaced or rebuilt it and it made no sense that we were still unable to catch our ghost. Then, all of a sudden and for no reason at all, it seemed like it was working again which was really convenient because, we were supposed to be at the starting line in a few minutes. We put Fish and Billy in the truck and staged it while the team made sure to cross their fingers and hope by some miracle the problem was solved. Minutes later the green flag dropped and we were racing.
The truck came through pit A looking great. We had held our starting position and Fish was able to keep up a great pace as he chased down the leaders. The truck ran flawlessly until we made it to race mile 43 then sputtering began again and the truck died so, Fish pulled off the course and Billy jumped out. After a bleed of the fuel system they cranked the motor and it fired back up and we got back into the race. Unfortunately some of our competitors had gotten past us while we were doing repairs and we had some time to make up now. The truck was running perfectly again and Fish was able to fight his way through the dust as we got closer to the completion of the first lap.
It was a short pit stop at our main pit (around 3 minutes) while we re-bled the fuel system and splashed some gas in the cell and got racing again. The next lap was flawless and we were able to gain back some of the positions we lost.
The Trophy Lite made it all the way around the course and before we knew it, was back at the main pit and we swapped Pat and Mike took into the truck to finish the race.
Pat was able to hold a good pace on his first lap and brought the truck all the way around the course with zero issues (again) and we were hopeful our new luck would hold out. By this point in the race we had not been passed by anyone in our class except when we were stopped doing the repairs on the first lap and when we were doing our preventative fuel system bleeds at main pit on every lap. When we were on the course we were fast and were able to pick up all the positions we lost while the truck was stopped.
After four laps the race was over and we finished in third place behind Jim Rileys and Gary Messers trucks. We were about 18 minutes behind Messer on corrected time and about 20 minutes behind Jim Riley who had been hauling the mail the entire weekend. I don’t think it is appropriate to say things like “we woulda, coulda, shoulda beat ya if we had not had to do all the repairs we did”. Things go wrong and “that’s racing” and we can accept that but, I will say that we ran a damn good race and had a hard fought battle with our own truck. Considering the down time we had on a vehicle we are still “getting to know” we did pretty friggin awesome even though we were the bottom team on the podium. There is a lot of time between now and our next race against all you guys and I am here to let you all know we are hungry for the top spot.
Not enough can be said about how helpful Greg Foutz and his crew were in getting our truck to the starting line . Besides Greg, it seemed like all the other TL teams came by the pit at some point to lend a hand, a part, or some insight in an effort to make sure we were able to race that evening. Another special shout out goes to Nick Holt and the bountiful resources contained within his Kartek freightliner. He is a one man show and without him we woulda been in big trouble last weekend. These combined efforts of literally dozens of people from both inside of and outside of our camp made our race not only possible but also successful. We can’t thank you enough and are forever in your debt.
Dailey Motorsports would also like to thank its sponsors… Camburg Racing, Hostyle, BullyDog Performance, Ringers Gloves, Danzio Performance, Fox Racing Shox, KC HiLites, Richer Racing, and Desert Assassins.