PRIMM, Nev. — You might say that the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts picked up with the annual Dusty Times Battle of Primm where it left off with December’s Rage at the River in Laughlin, Nev.
SNORE didn’t miss a beat to start the 2012 season attracting an official starting field of 208 entries competing over a tightly-wound 12.2 mile course so active the ground could be felt rumbling 35 miles to the north in Las Vegas. From Feb. 24-26, Primm was center stage; and SNORE, its officials and drivers were the stars of the show.
Complete with the robust field and just enough wind Sunday to clear the course, Buffalo Bill’s (which is part of Primm Valley Resorts and Casinos owned by Affinity Gaming LLC) was jam-packed with fun-loving off-road enthusiasts, not to mention a full field of slot machine tournament players who also invaded the hotel for fun and games during the weekend.
Now in its 43rd year that includes obvious rich history, SNORE met the call, delivered the product and handed out a purse of about $60,000 with boosts from all-important folks like Sonoco Fuel, Race Fuel Energy Drink and Dusty Times to account for $15,000 of the gold at the end of the rainbow.
It wasn’t hard to find fans and drivers satisfied with the final outcome which concluded a three-day blockbuster showdown that began with qualifying for the ground-pounding Unlimited vehicles.
Indeed, the course had a little for all classes including a lightning-fast straightaway after leaving the old stadium course. Especially the deep-throated Class 1 and Unlimited entries could be heard for miles as they drag raced their way north before taking a right-hand turn and going east.
Richard Diaz, a 54 year-old resident of Modesto, Calif., who ran a Class 13 entry, was happy Saturday even though mechanical issues forced him to watch the action in a chair near the end of the straightaway north of Buffalo Bill’s.
“We have been coming to the Battle at Primm since 2005,” said Diaz, who works for CalTrans. “This is fun especially considering that it’s out in the middle of nowhere. They have a lot of activities.
Las Vegan Bobby Leveck, who will soon turn 44, echoed Diaz’s comments.
“There is more for the spectators to see here,” said Leveck, a mechanic at Henderson Chevrolet, which is owned by former off-road racer Greg Heinrich. “You get to see a lot more of the action than at some of the other events (presented by other promoters). SNORE presents a real challenge for the racers with this event.”
Val Moon, director of sales for Primm Valley Resorts and Casinos, praised the weekend’s festivities.
“We love this event,’ said Moon, who has been in the hotel business for 40 years and involved in racing since the 1980s. “Racing is great for Primm and Primm is great for racing.”
Brittany Burgos, the energetic first-year president of SNORE, was happy with the Battle at Primm.
“It was an amazing race,” said Burgos, a native Las Vegan and a former racer. “I have received nothing but compliments from everyone. The tech went smooth and so did the race. We couldn’t be happier.”
Race Director Kenny Freeman, who stepped aside from his racing to take on a new role for SNORE, concurred.
“The race was excellent,” he said. “The turnout was great and so was the racing. We could not have asked for a better event.”
Off-road enthusiast and Las Vegas Sun editorial cartoonist Mike Smith spent one day with off-road racer Steve Olliges, who spearheads Team Ford in Las Vegas and also competed in the 1450 class of the Battle at Primm.
“What’s great about this race is that the spectator section has an excellent view of the major jump on the course,” said Smith. “It’s a perfect place to watch every vehicle catch some air.”
Among the drivers who were thrilled with the event was Unlimited competitor Johnny Greaves, a native of Green Bay, Wisc., who now lives in Southern California.
“I love coming to the Battle at Primm,” said the 45 year-old Greaves, who set fast time during opening-day festivities. “This was a blast. It’s my baby.”
Michael LaPaglia, a Murrieta, Calif., driver who finished behind third in Class 10 behind Roger Starkey and Becky Wik, competed even after having his second ankle surgery.
“I had surgery in November after crashing my motorcycle,” explained the 23 year-old LaPaglia, whose family owns a gravel company. “I had a little mishap yesterday, but it was great today.”
LaPaglia’s latest surgery was only a few days before the Battle at Primm, but the medical procedure didn’t slow him down any.
Las Vegan CJ Hutchins finished eighth in Class 1 and shrugged off the first day hampered by the loss of a power steering line before running well on the final day.
“Today worked out well,” said Hutchins. “This car was a lot of fun. Losing to any of these guys is certainly not a bad thing at all. It’s a lot of fun racing against guys like this.”
John Pellissier, who captured the Champ Class, was happy with the race and his victory. He was among a strong crowd that attended the awards ceremony at Whiskey Pete’s Hotel showroom.
“I had to beat a Freeman with a Freeman car,” laughed the 44 year-old Pellissier. “Then, too, Cody Freeman retired early with engine failure, so it would have been very close if he had stayed in the race.
“Overall, it was a great event for SNORE.”
Class winners included Marc Ewing (Unlimited Truck); Sean Meacham (Class 1); Roger Starkey (Class 10); Brady Wisdom (Class 12); Jordan Poole (Class 13); Steve Olliges (Class 1450); Eric Trondie (Class 15); Luke McMillin (Class 16); Pellissier (Class 18); Ryan Frisby (Class 3000); Ben Swift (Class 5); Tom Bird (Class 5-1600); Kevin Soder (Class 7); Richard Waite (Class 8); Eric Muller (Class 9); Jonathon Libby (Heavy Metal); David Cote (Stock Bug); and Bill Morris (UTV).
SNORE continues to rock on with its 2012 season with the PCI Radios 300 in Ridgecrest, Calif., April 13-15.
Other events in the rich $100,000 series include the Dusty Times 250 in Caliente, Nev. June 8-10; the KC HiLites Midnight Special Sept.7-9 in Lucerne, Calif.; the SNORE 250 Oct. 26-28 in Pahrump; and the Rage at the River Dec. 7-9 in Laughlin, Nev.
Further information can be found by visiting www.snoreracing.net.
Story By Mike Henle
Photos courtesy of Trackside Photo/Mike Stotts