PRIMM, Nev. – Two races into the 2009 Best in the Desert Racing Association championship series and the top two drivers in Class 8100 find their rearview mirrors full of Randy Merritt and his Mongo Racing KC HiLiTES Ford F-150.
Following a strong third place finish in the Terrible’s 250 At Primm on April 18, Merritt’s Mongo Racing Team out of Parker, Ariz., has climbed into championship contention, or better put, into third place in the class standings.
“I am very happy with such a strong finish after all the problems we have been having,” said the former class champion following his effort in the Nevada desert in and around Primm.
“The steering problems we were having were gone; the new Goodyear tires were awesome; and the Mongo Racing team provided me with great pit support.”
Merritt finished in a time of 5 hours, seven minutes, 31.687 seconds, which was a scant 1 minute, 55 seconds out of second, and only 9 minues, 55 seconds out of first place.
“I set my own pace,” said Merritt. “On the first lap everyone was driving a pace that was too fast so I let a few trucks go by knowing that we would see them all later. On the first lap we were fifth, on the second lap we were fourth and then on the last lap we were in second and reeling in the first place truck. Each lap I was picking up the pace.
“But I made a mistake, and we got passed, and then we just ran out of race course.”
The “mistake” was a rock which Merritt said he hit, which caused a flat. “It was my fault, not our new Goodyear tires,” said Merritt. “I’ve been doing this long enough now that I know better than to make a mistake like that.
“Those new Goodyear MTR tires were awesome. And if it hadn’t been for me hitting that rock, and it taking us five minutes to change the tire, who knows what might have happened.”
Of course, he also battled brake problems on the first and third laps and was concerned about a pinion gear on the final lap.
“But when it was over, we moved up to third place in the standings,” he added with a smile.
The veteran was also happy to be using Royal Purple Synthetic Oil Products for the first time as a new sponsor.
“A big thanks to Royal Purple and their fluids,” said Merritt.
“Now we’re excited, and we can’t wait to get back into the desert and do this all over again.”
Merritt and his team will have to wait a while, though, because the next race on the calendar is the “TSCO Vegas To Reno The Long Way” event, a 1,000-mile race, which is scheduled Aug. 19 through 23.
“It’s called the ‘longest off-road race in the United States,’ and we’ll be ready,” said Merritt.
He also went on to thank his other sponsors for their support. They include Yukon Gear and Axle, which is a new sponsor; KC HiLiTES, Ford Trucks, Sway-A-Way, Ump, Camburg Engineering, Autometer, Bodyline and Mongomade Grafix.
“Also, I want to give a big thanks to my website,” said Merritt, where fans can get up-to-the-minute race day information, and other up-to-date news about Mongo Racing. The website is www.mongoracing.com.