Olliges to Race Raptor
Swift to Defend 7200 Class Championship
Successfully piloting the No. 36 Team Ford Trick Truck, Steve Olliges with the help of co-drivers, Wayne Lugo and John Swift, earned a well-deserved second place podium finish in the Trick Truck class at Best in the Desert’s season opener. After battling the miserably wet and muddy conditions at the Parker 425, Olliges and Swift are currently second, trailing Andy McMillin’s lead by four points.
“Our second place Parker finish is probably one the hardest fought podiums in recent memory,” commented Steve Olliges of the first race of the 2009 Best in the Desert’s series. Steve further added, “Unfortunately our victory is bittersweet as my co-driver (John Swift) and I have reluctantly decided to take the remainder of the Trick Truck season off to focus our efforts on our other race commitments and opportunities.
After speaking with Team Ford’s co-driver, John Swift, it was easy to understand how difficult the decision was. “We have had a fantastic partnership with Team Ford Trick Truck owner, Wayne Lugo, and his Stewart Race Works race truck. Wayne’s contributions to our team and the quality of his truck are second to none. Canceling our Trick Truck program for the 2009 Best in the Desert series was an extremely difficult decision to arrive at however, Steve has a fantastic opportunity with Ford and their Raptor race program and I look forward to defending my 2008 Best in the Desert 7200 class championship with my son, Jonathon,” remarked Swift.
When asked about the future plans of the Ford Raptor program, Olliges was quick to shift gears and respond with enthusiasm. “The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor provides a niche product the general public and car dealers can really get behind and be excited about. I am honored to be a part of this program and look forward to getting in the driver’s seat of the Raptor for the remainder of the 2009 Best in the Desert season.”
Premiering at SCORE International’s 2008 Baja 1000, the Ford F-150 Raptor SVT already has quite the legacy. Steve Olliges and long-time Ford racers, Greg Foutz and Randy Merritt, not only shared seat-time at the 1000, they also contributed a great deal of the initial race modifications and input into the design. Finishing third at the legendary Baja 1000, the newest addition to Ford’s factory line-up is sure to make history.
Olliges teamed up with former Rough Rider cronie, Rob MacCachren, and both are set to race on April 18th at Best in the Desert’s Terrible’s 250 at Primm. Monster Truck driver Lindsay Weenk will also be shaking down the Raptor for a lap at this weekend’s Terrible’s 250 race and winning NASCAR driver, Greg Biffle, will be on hand during Friday’s contingency offering free rides in the Raptor.
So what was the motivating factor for Olliges’ partnership with Ford’s Raptor program, you ask? As principal owner of Las Vegas-based Team Ford dealership, it was a natural fit for Steve to jump on board and promote the launch of a new vehicle platform in a market he already has a passion for. “As a Ford dealer and a long-time off-road racer, it was obvious that I would want to be included in this project. I have a vested interest in the success of this program and think the Raptor platform will create mainstream appeal and acceptance of our sport,” remarked Olliges.
As for the future of the Olliges/Swift Team Ford driving duo, Steve reassured we haven’t heard the last of them yet. “It would be very difficult to campaign a three truck team during the current economic climate. That is another reason why John Swift, Wayne Lugo and myself decided to regroup and take a year off from the unlimited expense of the unlimited Trick Truck class and focus 100% of our efforts on the projects at hand. I can almost guarantee that you have not heard the last of us yet, and we are looking forward to giving the 2009 Trick Truck champion a run for his money in 2010,” remarked Olliges.
Team Ford Sponsors:
Ford Motor Company
BF Goodrich Tires
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Former Rough Rider, Rob MacCachren, will race with Steve Olliges and Monster Truck driver, Lindsay Weenk at Best in the Desert’s upcoming Terrible’s 250 at Primm race.