This past weekend was my first Lucas Oil Race in my Maxxis Can‐Am Maverick 1000R X rs. As most of you are aware, the last couple of weeks leading up to this event has been difficult for me and my family with the sudden passing of my father. In order to get ready for this event, I had to make quit a few changes to the car as far as safety goes. My time recently has been spent helping family and dealing with business so that left me with little time to get the car ready to go. Two weeks before the race, I got a call from Mike Cohen @ Racer X/ Black Rhino. He knew that I wanted to race the Lucas Oil Series and he also knew that I needed help to make it happen. Mike and I had talked before and he had told me that Racer X and Black Rhino were interested in helping me out in 2013 and I was excited about that. What I did not know is that him and his staff would handle everything that it would take to get me to the races. They were on the phone with the people that run the Lucas Oil races in order to find out all the new rules so that my car would be ready to go. First on their list was to build the cage. Not only did they build the cage, but they did a lot of extra work while doing so. They took the stock seat out and put a new seat in from Pro Armor and they lowered the driver seat about 3″ from the stock seat height. They also did all of the sheet metal on the car including formed fitted number plates. On top of all that, when I got there to pick the car up they had a brand new driving suit waiting on me because they knew I only had riding gear for quads. I can’t say enough about Mike and the guys over at Racer X/ Black Rhino.
I picked the car up from their shop at 6:30 pm on Thursday night. The plan was to take it home and put on the new DWT wheels and Maxxis tires I got for the race. Well that’s just about where my plan started to come unwound. As I was putting on my new front wheel and tire, I spun the tire when I was just about done to admire my handy work, as if I had done a whole lot. When I spun the wheel it only spun about half way around then came to a grinding halt. My heart then sank because I knew what that meant. It meant that when I was used as a pinball at the start of the WORCS race the other weekend not only did my tie rod snap from getting hit in the side, I had also broken my CV joint. Even worse, it was now 10:30pm on Thursday night and I had no spare parts. So I thought about it for a while and then called my buddy Marc Burnett to see if he had any parts that I could use to get me to the race. Lucky for me, he was awake and working on his Baja car. I told him what I needed and he said no problem that he would take apart one of his other cars to get the parts and I could meet up with him in the morning. The next morning I met Marc, got the parts, threw the car back together, loaded the trailer, and headed off to the races…not before dropping the kids off at grandma and grandpa’s for the weekend.
Once we got to Glen Helen, I had to sign up and tech the car. The tech inspection line was a little over an hour so I did not make it out to practice until about 4pm. When I finally got out on the track, I did one lap around to try and get a feel for the tack. I was just starting to have fun on my third lap when the car went into limp mode because it was over heating. I drove it back to the pits to find out why, even though I already had my suspicions. Once I took the car apart I discovered that my suspicions were correct. The radiator was still packed with mud from the WORCS race even though it had already been cleaned. So, I spent the rest of practice cleaning the radiator out and working on the car.
The next day was showtime and I was excited to get out on the track. When it was time, I drove the car over to staging for qualifying . I was a little nervous about qualifying because I didn’t even get to complete three laps of practice. I drove out on the course and thought to myself, “Just go have some fun and see what happens.” And it was fun…a lot of fun! After qualifying was over my buddy Steve and I got the car ready for the main race and waited to see how I qualified. About an hour before my race my wife, Kristen, found out that I qualified first. I was kind of shocked and I was also super pumped at the same time. So I got ready and went over to staging and got lined up. Once I was lined up and ready to race the nerves started to come back. I told myself, “Come on you have started at the Baja 1000, you don’t need to be nervous over this.” But for those of you that know me you know that I have to try and win at everything I do whether I’m racing the Baja 1000 on a factory ride or racing a Honda 90 around a berm track in the desert…I have to try and win. So I was not fooling myself. I wanted to win just as much as I ever do. As the pace truck left the course I knew it was “go time” and waited for Steve, my spotter, to yell, “GREEN GREEN” over the headset. When he started yelling I tried to shove that pedal through the floor board. The guy next to me was in a modified XP and he got the jump on me. As we came back around into turn two I checked up a bit because I was afraid of being to aggressive and it cost me. My buddy Steve Beilman also in a Maverick 1000R X rs kept it pinned and passed me and the XP that was in front of me. Now I found myself in third and watching Beilman drive away. So I picked it up a little, passed the XP, then I set my sights on Beilman. I pushed it as hard as I could with stock suspension to catch and pass Beilman and in the end I would have to settle for just catching him. I crossed the finish line 1 second behind him for second place.
I felt pretty good about my race and I found out that I set the fastest lap time, but as they say “if you’re not first your last”. I’m looking forward to going out to the next round. The car will be a lot more dialed in by that round. This next week the car is going over to Alba Racing to get some motor work done and Elka is making brand new shocks for it. My long‐time suspension tuner Bob Bell of Precision Concepts will be spending some time with me up at Lake Elsinore testing with me.
I would like to say thank you again to all the guys at Racer X and Black Rhino along with Maxxis, Alba Racing, Elka, MB Motorsports, Pro Armor, Precision Concepts, DWT, KZ Trailers, Fly Racing, UNI, Tire Blocks, Baja Designs, Motion Pro, Baja Cycles, Galfer, IMS, Scott, Alpinestars, and Necksgen.
Posted in: Racing