Day 1 Event 3: Mud Pit
What it is: If there’s one constant with our Mud Pit competition from year to year, it’s that it’s constantly changing. We keep this event fresh and exciting by manipulating the mud density and depth so that competitors never know whether our 138-foot pit is going to be a high-speed sprint or a slow speed crawl. This year, we worked up a bunch of soft dirt and then pumped in thousands of gallons of water. Like a fine recipe, we let the whole works marinate until almost all the water had disappeared into the soil. It looked deceptively easy, but was a test of each rig’s cooling system, drivetrain beef, and tire traction. We also moved the starting line further from the Pit to give the competitors a 45-foot-longer run at the mud.
How it works: Rigs run separately and are ranked by their elapsed time. Those rigs that do not complete the course are ranked in order of their overall distance traveled. This year, five of the ten rigs completed the course and the Truck Class ran first.
Finish Line Quotes
“Easy.” -Mike Keller
“Pretty sticky stuff.” –Jeff Seely
“The first 12 years that’s all we did was mud bogging, so it’s nice to get back to home again.” –Tim Dallner
“Harder than it looks.” –Tony Montalto
”Loved it. I’m about ready to do it again.” –Alex Sanders
“It’s muddy. That’s home for us.” - Steven Montpas
Dallner’s S-10: Came to the Pit with a fresh bottle of nitrous and a tire and wheel borrowed from Team Hall. Fourth competitor to run in the Truck Class. Ended up trying to forge a new line through most of the course, which sapped forward momentum.
Hall’s Samurai: Their strategy was to hold the “foot to the floor” and try to ride up on a bank for more traction. It worked, and earned them the fastest time of the Buggy Class.
Keller’s F-350: First Truck Class competitor. Unleashed the 460ci big-block and hit the rut-less mud with some serious forward velocity. Hugged the wall on the left side of the track. Earned the fastest time of all competitors.
Montalto’s Bronco: Last competitor in the Truck Class. Could’ve used more speed off the start line, but stayed on the throttle for 1:37, slowly inching their way forward as the 54-inch Claws scratched for traction.
Montpas’ Willys: Second Truck Class competitor. Strategy was to put the 54-inch Boggers in the ruts made by Keller’s 46-inch Claws. It worked.
Sanders’ Chevy: First competitor in the Buggy Class and first competitor to choose the un-rutted right side of the track. Left the start line in Second gear and downshifted the Muncie 465 to First when the truck started to bog down. Strategy worked.
Seely’s Suburban: Third competitor in the Truck Class. Hit the mud with good speed, but ended up outside of the ruts made by the first two competitors and the 44-inch Boggers were quickly overcome.
Spencer’s FJ40: Co-driver piloted the rig. Great launch off the start line, but the driver tried to force the rig to the left side of the track, which rapidly depleted momentum.
Timson’s YJ: Ran with front-wheel-drive only due to a broken transfer case.
Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty”: Last competitor. The 54-inch Claws and the 502ci big-block seemed mostly unfazed by the ruts left by the previous nine competitors.
Results (ranked by overall time or distance traveled if DNF)
1. Keller’s F-350 12 sec.
2. Montpas’ Willys 16 sec.
3. Dallner’s S-10 83 ft. 7 in.
4. Seely’s Suburban 80 ft. 0 in.
5. Montalto’s Bronco 64 ft. 0 in.
1. Hall’s Samurai 28 sec.
2. Sanders’ Chevy 29 sec.
3. Vizenor’s “Li’l Nasty” 45 sec.
4. Spencer’s FJ40 83 ft. 0 in.
5. Timson’s YJ 64 ft. 5 in.