The Best in the Desert race series began the 2013 season with one of the toughest races of the year, the BlueWater, Parker 425. Great results in Parker and a dominating season can set you up for a run at the championship. If you have a bad race, the season is far from over but it changes your strategy. “It would be nice to be sitting in the points lead but that’s not the case,” said Garrick Freitas, “Now, we just have to go for it; we need to go all out for wins. We will have to fight hard but my team never backs down from a challenge.”
The trouble started the week before the race. Race cars can be finicky and for whatever reason, that usually happens when you are nice to them. The team had just rebuilt all the components on the car and replaced the fuel lines, pumps, filters and coolers. While dyno testing after the overhaul, they encountered fuel pressure issues. With all the recent changes, the problem was not easy to pinpoint at first. They eventually got the car running and it worked well enough to qualify 8th in class, 18th overall on the Thursday before the race.
Friday morning the car would not start. With help from Kevin Kroyer at Kroyer Racing Engines, they spent hours troubleshooting the wiring, getting it to run and incorporating manual overrides if something failed during the race. Kevin is not only an accomplished engine builder but also an all-around great guy who enthusiastically supports his racers.
When they pulled into the Midway pit for the first time at mile 91 the crew thought the engine sounded strange as they fueled the car but nothing was out of place so they continued. They made their way around the course with no issues. They stopped after going through the Python to take on more fuel and fresh General tires on the rear. After their second pit stop, Garrick noticed a clicking sound, possibly a CV joint, when he steered to the right. He pulled over to let co-rider Steve Shahan take a look. Nothing seemed out of place so they took off again.
They were doing 110 miles per hour when their left rear General Grabber and ProAm wheel passed them, careening down the course. Garrick fought for control and got the car stopped. The wheel studs were sheared, the rotor was in pieces and the arm was damaged. Incredibly, Steve had the brakeline capped, the wheel studs replaced and the retrieved wheel and tire bolted back on in less than 15 minutes. When they pulled into the next pit, the crew members were in the box van trying to reach them on the radio; thinking they were still down.
When the wheel departed, they were running in the top five. Because of Steve’s fast work, they only lost a couple of positions and still had a chance for a good finish. On the last lap, the Motec Computer started sensing low fluid pressure in the torque converter. Garrick was hoping it was just an electrical glitch but they were not that lucky. Just after completing another trip through the Parker Python, the torque converter expired leaving them with no forward drive.
Anytime a team suffers bad luck like this you hope it’s over, you hope you got it out of your system. The Freitas Motorsports team has weathered the ups and downs of racing before. They know the other teams will have their fair share of misfortune in the long season ahead. Rest assured they will get it worked out and be back stronger than ever as they line up to race the BITD General Tire, Mint 400 in Las Vegas, Nevada March 20-23.
Photography By Brian Binkert
Bink Designs / www.binkdesigns.com
About Freitas Off Road Motorsports
Freitas Offroad Motorsports is a group of off-road enthusiasts who are committed to excellence and professionalism in competitive motorsports. The team’s success is contributed to a strong family based team that draws on the dedication and expertise of their many team members and volunteers. The team’s Jimco, Champion racecar can be found running at the front in Best in the Desert off-road racing series events held throughout the southwestern United States. The team receives support from General Tire, in their quest for race wins and championship seasons. Sponsors Include General Tire, Jimco Racing, Fox Racing Shox, Kroyer Racing Engines, ProAm, Dan Freitas Electric, SS Shirts, Cal State Distributing, JC Lansdowne, Mendes Calf Ranch & Johnston Trading.
About Bink Designs
Bink Designs is a premier graphic design company located in San Diego, CA. Since 2003, Bink Designs has been committed to providing cost-effective solutions for clients’ high-end graphic needs. Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography & Apparel.For more information about Bink Designs, please visit www.binkdesigns.com