RIVERSIDE, California (March 25, 2014) – The results were good, but it’s what those results indicate is possible this season that has the MAVTV/SolarWorld/Toyo Tires Stronghold Motorsports team most excited after the opening round of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series March 22-23.
“We’ve shown we can play with them a little bit,” said Stronghold Pro 4 driver Brandon Bailey, who overcame a variety of problems to finish 9th and 5th in the two rounds of racing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona.
Bailey’s teammate, Larry Job, who was 5th and 11th and felt like a target in a video game at times in the two Pro Buggy contests, said “the car’s running good and I can’t wait for the next race,” at Lake Elsinore, California, April 25-26.
It was the youngest team member, Brandon’s son Madix Bailey, who provided the perfect coda for the weekend with a wire-to-wire win in the Junior 1 Kart race on the final day.
The results are an indication that in addition to having well-prepared vehicles both Brandon Bailey and Job are benefitting from the team’s increased activity in the long-distance desert races. Job said the driving he had done in the desert had helped get him mentally and physically ready for the short course campaign and after a rough-and-tumble race on the second day at Wild Horse Pass Bailey said he could see the gains he has made, too.
“I’m feeling really comfortable,” said Bailey, who was the Pro 4 class rookie of the year in 2013. “I’ve been driving a lot lately, and the more I can drive the more comfortable I’m going to feel. It’s all experience. The more you get thrown out there, and you go through a race like that one today, you still learn about just pushing it no matter what and making sure you’re finishing races.
“A lot of what I’m learning in the desert is coming over to this. It’s all going good. I’m happy.
Bailey’s crew was busy throughout the weekend, first with a driveshaft vibration caused by a bolt backing out of the yolk to the transfer case and then with the front differential after the first race, and Bailey’s second-day effort was hampered by having to run the final laps with a flat right front tire and no brakes after he and Kyle LeDuc got together.
Bailey also had one of those moments he knows he’ll “hear about forever.” That came in the first race, when the driving glove on his left hand somehow got caught in the belt on his safety harness.
“I don’t know who that happens to. Only me, I guess,” the Riverside, California, resident said with a laugh.
Bailey said he felt that with better luck he could have occupied one of the three places on the winner’s circle podium both days. Job could have had a pair of top 5s, too, if not for a second-day midair collision with first race winner Garrett George. Job said that “threw me off the track and we almost rolled. Then we went from last (in a 22-car field) back up to 11th,” which was where he started the 14-lap race.
Bailey raced the opening weekend in an improved version of last season’s truck, but may have the team’s new truck ready for next month’s event at Lake Elsinore.
“I really want to feel comfortable in the new one before we even bring it out, so we’ll make sure that we’re ready to go,” he said. “It could be at the next one, as long as we get some test time. I want to make sure we’re faster in it, too. Now that we’re starting to get it to live a little bit more, as long as it’s not a crazy show like that one (on Sunday), I think we’ll be all right.
“We’ve shown we can play with them a little bit.”
STRONGHOLD MOTORSPORTS 2014 SCHEDULE
Jan. 31-Feb. 2 Best in the Desert BlueWater Parker 425 desert race, Parker, Arizona
(Finished 2nd in Class 1, 16th overall)
March 14-16 Best in the Desert General Tire Mint 400 desert race, Las Vegas
(Finished 5th in Class 1, 16th overall)
March 22-23 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Wild Horse Motorsports Park, Chandler, Arizona
(B. Bailey 9 & 5, Pro 4; Job 5 & 11, Pro Buggy; M. Bailey 1, Jr. 1 Kart)
April 25-26 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Lake Elsinore (California) Motorsports Park
May 2 – 4 Best in the Desert Canidae Tap It SilverState 300
May 30-31 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Wild West Motorsports Park, Sparks, Nevada
June 21-22 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
August 1-2 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Glen Helen Raceway, Devore, California
August 14 – 16 Best in the Desert General Tire Vegas to Reno
August 22-23 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Wild West Motorsports Park, Sparks, Nevada
September 19-20 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
October 10 – 12 Best in the Desert BlueWater Desert Challenge, Parker, Arizona
October 24-25 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Challenge Cup, Lake Elsinore, California
November 12-16 SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
December 5 – 7 Best in the Desert Henderson 250, Henderson, Nevada
STRONGHOLD MOTORSPORTS SPONSORS
MavTV * Lucas Oil * SolarWorld * Toyo Tires * Stronghold Engineering * Lamb Energy
VP Racing Fuels * Go Pro * Kroyer Racing Engines * Pro Power Racing * K&N Filters *
Pro Am Racing Products * Power Steering Solution * Motive Gear * MSD Performance *
Boot Campaign * Protect the Harvest * Fiberwerx * Sign Pros * Inland Powder Coating *
Eibach Springs * KC Hilites