The legendary Parker “425”, the historic Mint “400” and the panoramic Silver State “300”…what better way to start the 2013 Best In The Desert season. These great venues, along with the attention Casey Folks pays to make sure everyone in every class has the best racing experience possible, are just part of what makes “The American Off-Road Racing Series” so popular. Now mix in the world’s foremost desert racers, and you have the perfect formula for the tightest, most competitive and exciting racing that has taken place the first half of the 2013 season.
Super competitive is an understatement among the Trick Truck teams so far this year. With the first three races in the books, there have been three different winners. Jason Voss claimed the victory at Parker, Bryce Menzies took the top spot at the Mint, and TJ Flores grabbed his first Trick Truck win ever at last month’s Silver State “300”. This “anyone can take it” racing has really made for a fierce battle in the class points chase as well. Currently, Jason Voss and Gary Wheyrich are tied for first, with Steve Olliges sitting in second, only 22 points behind. Scott Whipple and Troy Vest are in great position as well, and are ready to shake up the chase should anybody stumble going into the second half of the season.
$132,000 Trick Truck Challenge Participating racers have also been sharing the wealth in Trick Truck bonus earnings. To date, seven different drivers have staked their claim on an extra $66,000. Jason Voss has collected the lion's share of the payout so far by taking home $16,000. Here are the recipients of the bonus payout for the first three races:
Parker "425" 1st - Jason Voss $10,000 2nd - Gary Weyhrich $6,000 3rd - Robby Gordon $4,000 4th - Steve Strobel $2,000
Mint "400" 1st - Mark Weyhrich $10,000 2nd - Rob MacCachren $6,000 3rd - Jason Voss $4,000 4th - Gary Weyhrich $2,000
Silver State "300" 1st - TJ Flores $10,000 2nd - Gary Weyhrich $6,000 3rd - Steve Strobel $4,000 4th - Jason Voss $2,000 "Camburg Best In The Desert Award" Jason Voss also sits atop the "Camburg Best In The Desert" standings for having posted the fastest average speed on all combined race miles. So far, Jason has averaged better than 57 MPH over 1110 miles of desert terrain.
Here are the standings entering the second half of the season: Jason Voss - 57.11 MPH Mark Wheyrich - 56.36 MPH Jon Walker - 53.59 MPH Justin Lofon - 53.04 MPH Steve Olliges - 52.67 MPH
The open Class 1500 cars have another tight chase going on where the top four drivers are separated by only 18 points. NASCAR Truck racer Justin Lofton currently holds the top spot followed by Jon Walker, Chuck Hovey and Shelby Reid. An interesting note is that Jon Walker comes all the way from Tamuning, Guam to race the Best In The Desert series. Jon seems to have definitely found the contrasting environment of the Southwest American desert to his liking.
In Class 6100 for the Spec Engine Trick Trucks, Jerry Whelchel, Chase Borden and Jason Ruane closed out the season’s first half with just five points separating the three. These trucks are rapidly growing in popularity and the extremely close competition is a primary reason. This class is definitely one to watch out for as the rest of the season pans out.
The Mini Trick Trucks of Class 7200 are another group to pay attention to the rest of the year. Al Hogan currently leads Sean Backus by 10 points. But Shawn Giordano and Randy Merritt are lurking not far behind and have their sights on shaking up the order before the end of the year.
Macrae Glass finds himself with only a two-point lead over Wayne Miller in Class 8000. Glass has claimed multiple Class 8000 championships, but it looks like he could have a real dogfight on his hands this year for the crown.
Aaron Hawley, Hank Winter and Jasper Dyer have distanced themselves from the rest of the Class 2000 ranks so far. These three drivers enter the second half of the season separated by a mere six points.
Manufacturer's Points At mid-season, Ford holds the lead in Manufacturer's Points for vehicle type and engines used in Classes 1000, 1100, 1200, Trick Truck, 1500, 6000, 6100, 7100, 7200, 8000 and 8100.
2013 Manufacturer's Points to date: Ford – 170 Chevrolet – 123 Volkswagen – 23 Toyota – 18 Honda – 9 Lexus – 6
Get Ready for a Thrilling Second Half You can be sure that racers in all of Best In The Desert's two and four-wheeled classes won't be sitting idle during the short Summer break. They'll be making adjustments in their equipment and game plans as they prepare to make the big push for season class titles.
Next up on the Best In The Desert calendar is the General Tire “Vegas to Reno”, the longest off-road race in the United States. Open to all Best In The Desert classes, this pinnacle of American off-road racing kicks off Wednesday, August 14, 2013 with the Time Trials. Contingency and tech inspection take place Thursday, August 15 at the Aliante Hotel in North Las Vegas. The race starts Friday morning, August 16, with the finish line open until Saturday morning just south of Reno, Nevada. The draw for starting positions will take place Wednesday, July 24. Casey Folks stated that they have already received commitments for “Vegas to Reno” from racers in South Africa, Australia, Canada and Mexico.
On the slate October 11-13, is the Blue Water “Desert Challenge” in Parker, Arizona. This is an exciting event with two full days of racing next to the beautiful Colorado River. The thrilling two-day format has made this race extremely popular with the race teams and fans.
The last race of the season is the Henderson “250” in Henderson, Nevada on December 6-8. This is a double points race for all classes and in years past, class championships have often been determined by a racer’s finish at this event.
With such an incredible first half of the season, the experiences that still lie ahead for Best In The Desert racers can only get better. As Casey Folks says, “Life is an adventure, come live your adventure with Best In The Desert.”
Best In The Desert is fortunate to have some of the best companies in the world as our sponsors. Thanks to Ford Motor Company, General Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Lucas Oil, KC HiLiTES, Fabtech, John Deere, Beta Motorcycles, Slime, McKenzies, Azunia Tequila, PCI Race Radios, Kartek, Rockwell Watches and Sportsman Cycle Sales.
The American Off-Road Racing Series…Best In The Desert! Further information is available at: www.bitd.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: (702) 457-5775
Photos provide by: Top photo: Jason Voss by RnR Photos, Justin Lofton by BinkDesigns.com Mark Wheyrich by MikesRacePhoto.com Steve Olliges by DirtFocus.com Justin Lofton by High Rev Photography Jerry Whelchel by BinkDesigns.com Shawn Backus by BinkDesigns.com Macrae Glass by High Rev Photography