Day 1, Event 3: The Mud Pit
What it is: In a pre-event Q & A, half of this year's competitors said they were not looking forward to the Mud Pit competition. Well, this inspired our sicko track builders to make sure our 138-foot Mud Pit would be extra special. With that said, they created a track filled with what could possibly be the best mud we've ever created. The consistency was extra-thick and gooey, and it had the delightful characteristics of industrial adhesive. It was a test of each rig's cooling system, drivetrain beef, and tire traction.
How it works: Rigs run individually, and the fastest elapsed time wins. Those rigs that do not complete the course are ranked in order of their overall distance traveled. This year, only one rig made it the length of the course, and it was the first one to run.
Barker's Ranger: Came to the event with the transmission case hastily pieced back together and the correct spark plugs installed in the engine. With the 598ci V-8 engine running correctly, he threw down a great run.
Gray's Blazer: Great launch off the starting line, thanks to liberal application of the 454ci V-8. The power steering belt fell off shortly into the run, which forced both driver and co-driver to combine their efforts to steer the truck.
Hale's Willys buggy: Did not back up off the line, and shut the engine down as soon as forward progress ceased.
Karwath's YJ buggy: Last competitor. Reversed as far as possible to gather momentum and hit the mud with so much speed, the TH400 transmission had shifted to Third gear. Traveled the furthest distance of the nine rigs that didn't finish. Co-driver operated the rear steering.
King's Power Wagon: Came to the event with a replacement intermediate shaft installed. The propane-fired 408ci stroker motor was screaming when he hit the mud. Ran with the adjustable frame fully extended. Lost momentum, but employed a tactic where he repeatedly extended and shortened the adjustable frame in an inchworm-like procedure to gain more distance.
Knoche's Samurai buggy: Co-driver piloted the rig, and Knoche monitored the gauges. The team added a mud shield over the gauges so they could be viewed when the flying goo covered the interior.
Kuether's "Fat Girl" buggy: While blasting through the mud at speed, mud encased the air cleaner on the Ram Jet 502ci powerplant, choking off airflow and killing the engine causing a premature end to the run.
Quichocho's CJ-7 buggy:First competitor, and the only one to complete the course. Reversed off the starting line and then nailed the 502ci big-block to gather forward momentum before entering the rut-free mud.
Simmons' Ford: Second competitor. Aired the tires down to 5 psi and unspooled the 575hp, 521ci V-8. Hit the mud with a good head of steam, but was quickly overcome by the goo.
Sinkey's Bronco: Backed up from the starting line to gather momentum and actually hit the mud airborne. The 46-inch Mickey Thompson Claws actually found a bite in the deep ruts.
Finish Line Quotes
"I wanted to go first and I picked a lucky number." -Joe Quichocho
"It's an awesome pit. I think if we would've had our steering the whole time, we might've been able to do a little better, but I don't know. It gets real thick at the end." -Jason Gray
"Nasty. I don't normally run mud, but this is a good experience. It confirms what I don't want to do." -P.J. Hale
"Mud pit was serious. I was hoping we were going to make it, but somebody else stopped right there." -Ryan Knoche
"Somebody made a big wall of mud at the end. I don't know who that was. I sure stopped fast." -Brian Barker
"I thought we did very well for all the ruts and holes that had been dug in there." -Mike Karwath
|(RANKED BY TIME OR DISTANCE TRAVELED)
| Quichocho's CJ-7 buggy
| Karwath's YJ buggy
||87 ft. 0 in.
||86 ft. 6 in.
| King's Power Wagon
||85 ft. 6 in.
|Knoche's Samurai buggy
||80 ft. 2 in.
||75 ft. 6 in.
||71 ft. 2 in.
||65 ft. 8 in.
||65 ft. 0 in.
|Kuether's "Fat Girl" buggy
||45 ft. 4 in.