Westhem Racing And BFGoodrich® Tires
To Bring History Alive At
2016 NORRA Mexican 1000
— “Return Of The Titans” Effort Surrounds Two Legendary Race Trucks —
April 18, 2016 — Led by veteran champion off-road truck racer Dave Westhem, the winning relationship between Westhem Racing and BFGoodrich® Tires has spanned a remarkable 29 years and numerous desert race wins and series championships. Next week, that long-standing partnership will be celebrated at the 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000; a vintage-flavored, four-day competition that takes place from April 23 – 27 in Baja, Mexico.
Dubbed the “Return of the Titans,” the effort is centered around Westhem Racing’s entry of not one, but two, historic BFGoodrich-shod Class 8 race trucks in two separate categories. With both trucks sporting the identical red, black and silver desert paint scheme Westhem Racing has made famous since its 1988 introduction, the project includes the vintage 1978 #804 GMC 1500 in the Legend Trucks category and the 1989 #803 Chevy C-1500 in the Historic Era class. Additional support for the effort is coming from Method Race Wheels and KC HiLites.
Formerly known as the “Timerider” truck, the original Westhem Racing Class 8 was built by legendary Precision Preparation Incorporated (PPI) and formerly owned by Michael Nesmith of “The Monkees” fame. Now nicknamed the Westhem Racing “V-8,” the truck gave Dave Westhem his first major victory at the 1987 Baja 1000, and was restored in time for the inaugural 2010 NORRA Mexican 1000. (Trackside photos)
Known as “The Happiest Race on Earth,” the 6th NORRA Mexican 1000 will take competitors over 1,300-plus miles from Ensenada in the northern portion of Baja to the very southern tip of the fabled peninsula in the Cabo San Lucas area. The unique off-road rally is an annual race using an international rally format that features vintage off-road vehicles and motorcycles, along with a number of modern desert and rally classes.
Before the advent of today’s-all conquering Trophy Trucks, highly modified production-based Class 8 trucks – many of them with factory support – were the titans of the desert. They often battling for overall victories at major races like the Baja 1000 and Mint 400 with unlimited open-wheel Class 1 buggies. Besides Westhem, such legendary names as Ivan Stewart, Larry Ragland, Frank “Scoop” Vessels, Robby Gordon, Walker Evans and Scott McMillin all made their mark behind the wheel of these powerful Class 8 machines.
Considering the company’s long investment in off-road motorsports, many of these legendary Class 8 machines rode to victory on BFGoodrich tires. In fact, the late Vessels drove his Class 8 Ford to the class victory in 1977 – the first major win for the brand in desert racing. BFGoodrich Tires is recognizing 40 years of racing in the Baja peninsula in 2016, and in its storied history has captured 87 overall race wins in Baja, by far more than any other tire manufacturer.
Westhem Racing’s thundering, and more modern, Class 8 — nicknamed “T-8” — has been a fan favorite for years. Extensively modified to meet current technology requirements, the high-powered race truck has won numerous Class 8 victories under the skilled hands of Dave Westhem, Randy Salmont and crew chief/co-driver Tony McCormack. (Westhem Racing photo)
Since its establishment in 1985, Westhem Racing has earned two season championships, 28 total race wins, including three Baja 1000 victories, and two recent class titles at the legendary Mint 400.
To aid in the two-truck effort, Westhem Racing is teaming with the Baja-proven Herzog Racing crew for additional resources and personnel. The “Return of the Titans” program is also being supported by TJ. Glidden Construction, Spindrift Foods, The Rennsport Group and B3Kreativ. Also joining the list of supporters is longtime corporate partner Justice Brothers, whose familiar colors have graced the Westhem Racing trucks for years.
A former GMC factory supported racer, Westhem will drive the newer #803 Chevy C-1500 (nicknamed the Trophy or “T-8”) with longtime co-driver Randy Salmont. Team crew chief Tony McCormack will navigate for the entire rally. The highly modified truck was rebuilt in 2011 to incorporate a 700 horsepower, 442cid Leon Patton race engine, state-of-the-art long travel suspension and rugged 39” BFGoodrich KR-2 tires.
The older #804 GMC (known as the Vintage or “V-8″) is being piloted by Westhem Racing team member Trevor Glidden and navigator John McCormack. Baja veteran and 2014 Off-Road Hall of Fame (ORMHOF) inductee Marty Fiolka – also a longtime BFGoodrich sponsored racer — will split time with Glidden behind the wheel with co-driver Rob Vegter. Undergoing a full restoration in 2010, the “V-8” took Westhem to his surprising Class 8 win at the 1987 Baja 1000 and remains fairly true to its original suspension and drivetrain specifications including 35” BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires. Westhem and Salmont have piloted the GMC to two previous NORRA Mexican 1000 rally victories.
The BFGoodrich and Westhem Racing story goes back to the late 1980s. The team was part of this legendary BFGoodrich group photo shoot (at top, lower left). A former GMC factory truck team, drivers Dave Westhem and Randy Salmont have earned many race victories and outright class championships, including two recent back-to-back wins at the Mint 400. Joining Westhem Racing for the first time will be off-road racing veteran, journalist and 2014 Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF) inductee Marty Fiolka (above), who will be co-driving the #804 truck with Trevor Glidden. (Westhem Racing, Marty Fiolka images)
“After all these years of competing in desert racing, to honor our team’s history with running both our Class 8 trucks at the Mexican 1000 is amazing,” shared Dave Westhem. “These vehicles represent a special place in the legacy of both off-road racing and BFGoodrich history. The NORRA race is the perfect venue to run them both for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win two classes and bring the past alive.”
“As BFGoodrich celebrates 40 years of racing in Baja and next year the 40th anniversary of its historic first desert racing victory, teaming with Westhem Racing to return these Class 8 titans to Baja made perfect sense,” added Tom Sullivan, manager, public relations. “Dave Westhem, Randy Salmont, Tony McCormack and their team have been winning contributors to our racing story. We are proud to support them in celebrating our collective history at next week’s NORRA Mexican 1000.”
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