Red Letter Day On General Tire Grabbers For Trophylite Racer Ben Abatti III
When Ben Abatti III lined up to take the green flag at the final Best In The Desert race of 2014, the Henderson 250, his fate was in his own hands. He was sitting in third place in the Trophylite standings but because it was a double points race, the entire top five all had a legitimate shot of taking the championship. Ben knew he would have to stay ahead of the contenders if the title was to be his. “We ran the General Tire Red Letter Grabbers for this race because we knew it was going to be rocky and we had to run hard without worrying about flats,” said Ben, “We started second behind Todd Jackson but got a great start to quickly close the gap. We raced back and forth with him all day; it was a tough battle. We were finally able to get past him on the final lap and go on to win. It was a tremendous year for our team. My navigator Roger Periera, who also preps the truck, does a great job and I have to thank my parents and Trophylite for the opportunity to race.” Ben also had support from his father Ben Abatti JR. and his younger brother Braden who is also following the Abatti family racing tradition. In fact, Braden will be driving the same Championship winning Trophylite truck in just a few days at a race in Laughlin, Nevada.
Not only did Ben win the race and the Championship but the entire Abatti Racing team was awarded the Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger Award that includes a $1000 dollar bonus that is so graciously offered by fellow competitor Jeff Proctor and his Metro Honda / Metro Acura dealership team.
The Hard Charger award is just part of the strong support offered to Trophylite racers by sponsors General Tire, Mastercraft Safety, Impact, Method Race Wheels, Maxima Racing Oils, FOX Shox, K&N filters, Currie Enterprises, Azuñia Tequila, Children of the Dirt Apparel, Tanimura & Antle, Baja Junkies and Kreed Eyewear by Fortress. Their strong support attracts good teams and fast drivers like Todd Jackson, who won the previous race in Parker, Arizona and challenged Ben Abatti so strongly in Henderson. Todd made it to the finish in 5th place moving him up to the third spot in the championship standings.
Second place in Henderson went to Eric Norris; his first podium. He has shared the wheel with fellow Stunts Unlimited stuntman Logan Holladay in the past but would be the driver of record this time. “We started 6th but passed enough trucks to finish on the podium in second,” said Eric, “We ran our own pace; we did it in the pits and on the track. The course was super fast. We had zero flats and the truck ran great all day. This is the most fun course I’ve run all year, it’s definitely my favorite.”
Third place on the day would go to Jeff Mortis. Jeff was the points leader coming into the event but with the double points up for grabs and everyone being able to drop their worst finish from the final tally, his championship points lead was surpassed by Ben Abatti, PJ Guglielmo in second and Todd Jackson in third. The podium finish was a great reward for a hard-fought day of racing but no doubt Jeff had his sights set on the championship title. In a great display of sportsmanship, Jeff actually stopped to help Todd Jackson on the course. Jeff gave him a spare wheel and tire that allowed Todd to continue. Jeff survived a digger at high speed that sent him end over end landing back on his wheels. “It was an interesting race,” says Jeff, “The fact that we battled back for a third place podium shows how fast our truck is. We stopped to help Todd; it’s all about Karma! It will come back to us in 2015.”
Defending champion PJ Guglielmo had a tough day of racing but still managed to end up second place in the championship standings. “We really wanted to win back to back championships but at the same time we are happy for the Abatti boys,” says PJ, “They fought hard for the title. We would like to thank all the sponsors that are part of the Trophylite series and the Trophylite crew. Without their help, racing would be difficult. We have only been racing for two years and are happy that we can be up there racing and winning championships against teams with years of experience. We will be there in 2015 to take back the number one plate for Children of the Dirt.”
First time racers in Trophylite, Brian and Pamela McCaslin, had a great run to finish 7th in Henderson. “We had a ball,” said Brian, “I wished I had bought a Trophylite in 2008 when I started racing. I was really surprised how bullet-proof the truck was. We put it through a lot of abuse. We were just out getting some seat time but I put it to the wood and had a blast. I am really impressed with the fabrication, engineering and the power on our truck. We can’t wait to get back out there again.”
Jim Riley’s Azunia Tequila team had a challenging season filled with some disappointments however, they are pleased with the work they are doing with Ford on the new engine package. They are looking forward to the continued explosion of popularity in the 6100 class and celebrating an amazing 100th anniversary with sponsor General Tire next year.
With the last race of the season behind us, the anticipation for another chance to mix it up on the course is already strong in the racers and their fans. “This is just the type of highly competitive racing we want in the Trophylite series,” says Rick Johnson of Trophylite Racing, “It’s truly a driver’s class with these racers going full out for every mile. At the Henderson 250, Tony Sato went up on two wheels in the first corner trying to get the hole shot off the start. Tony was testing a new torque converter design for next season. It’s just one of the things we have in the works for next year that will make the Trophylite series bigger, better and even more exciting.” Stay tuned for several new developments in the Trophylite series for 2015.
Photography By: Bink Designs
About Trophy Lite
The General Tire Trophylite Race Series was created to provide an affordable alternative to the high cost of racing. Drivers are pitted against each other in identical vehicles that provide the thrill of competitive offroad racing without the million dollar price tag. All Trophylite race vehicles are precisely constructed to maintain parity and use the finest quality components available. Trophylite allows you to compete in a fun, fast, race proven vehicle right out of the box. With generous sponsorship from General Tire, KC Hilites, Metro Honda, Metro Acura, Currie Enterprises, Mastercraft Safety, Impact
, Method Race Wheels, Azunia Tequila, Maxima Racing Oils, FOX
, Children of The Dirt
, K&N Filters
, Tanimura & Antle
, & Kreed Sunglasses you can cash in on the prize money that is up for grabs during the 2014 season.
Visit www.trophylite.com for more information.
About General Tire
For 99 years General Tire has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires to meet all your needs. General Tire is a proud supporter of Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, Best in the Desert Racing Series, Major League Fishing, Chili Bowl, Pro-Pulling, Late-Model Dirt Series, Drag Boat Series, American Sprint Car Series, FreestyleMx.com Tour, Zero One Odyssey, and Spec Tire of Trophylite and JeepSpeed. Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including CJ Hutchins, Garrick Freitas, Harley Letner, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell/Jerry Whelchel/ (Camburg), Jim Riley, Justin Lofton, Macrae Glass, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Steve Alexander, Steve La Roza, Ryan Beat, Carl Renezeder, and Robby Woods.
Visit // www.generaltire.com
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Bink Designs is a premier graphic design company located in San Diego, CA. Since 2003, Bink Designs has been committed to providing cost-effective solutions for clients’ high-end graphic needs. Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography & Apparel.
With provisional sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has more than 177,000 employees in 46 countries.
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