Trophylite Racers Duel To The Finish At Brutally Tough Parker 425
The Best In The Desert, BlueWater Parker 425, presented by Impact is a tough way to start the year. 425 miles of just about everything Mother Nature can throw at an offroad racer. Deep sand, silt beds, rocks and huge boulders all make up the Parker course. This year was free from the flash floods and mud seen a couple years back but the lack of precipitation yielded choking dust instead. The Trophylite teams would have to rely heavily on their General Tires, Method Race Wheels, Maxima Racing Oils, K&N Filters and FOX Racing Shox to survive.
Ten trucks would take the green flag. On the first lap, Ben Abatti set a blistering pace. He ran away from the pack building a 10 minute lead on the field. He got out front in clean air so he could hand the truck over to his 16 year old brother Braden on lap two. Braden got behind the wheel but soon developed an issue. The suspension pivots on the older chassis began to develop a crack. Braden made it around to the main pit but the pivots needed repairs. The crew set to work and with some help from the Trophylite team they got the truck repaired.
They had everything squared away so now it was up to Ben to get the truck to the finish. “The course was horrific by the third lap,” said Ben, “The crew did a great job on the repairs, the last lap was actually my fastest. We had some problems but we overcame them and salvaged some good points. Some of my biggest competitors had problems of their own. We will have the front frame section repaired before the Mint. It’s a long season, we have plenty of opportunity to get more points.”
Defending Trophylite Champion PJ Guglielmo got around a bottleneck when Robby Gordon rolled in a silt bed but developed a strange engine issue that ended his day.
Logan Holladay and Eric Norris were teamed up for this race. Logan was looking to take his third race win in a row but it was not to be. He and Eric were one of the casualties of the brutal course. Another Trophylite racer that hit some tough luck was Mike McCarthy. He had some issues during a pit stop and went out with less fuel than he needed to make it to the next stop. As he limped towards the next pit he got hit by a Trick Truck traveling at 100 miles per hour. The Trick Truck did not see him in the thick dust stirred up by another car. Mike was not seriously injured but the collision rendered his Trophylite unable to continue. Thankfully the integrity of the Trophylite chassis kept Mike and his codriver safe.
Newcomer John Nelson had a rollover during testing the week before the race. He repaired his Trophylite in time for the race and was greeted by one of the roughest courses many had seen. He did not finish the race but he has already overcome a steep learning curve and is making great progress.
On lap two it looked like Jeff Proctor would cruise in for the win. He finished lap two and handed the truck over to Kevin Davis. Kevin put in a great drive behind the wheel on lap three until they suffered a transmission failure. One of the crew went to the Trophylite pit to inform them that they were out due to the transmission failure. Rick Johnson of Trophylite asked them, “do you want a transmission, we have one?” The team went from being out of the race to hell bent on getting the truck fixed and to the finish line. With some help from the Checkers pit crew, they changed the transmission and made it to the finish in time. The transmission problem on Jeff Proctor’s Trophylite left Chris Wacker in Jeff Mortis’ truck in the lead on lap three.
Following close behind was Andrew Mcleod, Todd Jackson and Brian Antle who was sharing the driving with David Scaroni. “This was a much harder course this year,” said Andrew Mcleod, “There were so many Trick Trucks and unlimited cars it was torn up. There was a good breeze but the dust was bad. We had a great battle at the end with three trucks going for the win. We got stuck behind a class 8 truck with no way to get around. It allowed me to catch up to Wacker but Todd Jackson caught up to me. We had already done 400 miles and the last 20 would be a full throttle sprint to the finish. We pushed hard the whole way, I’m glad it’s over.”
The three trucks looked like a solid dot on the satellite tracking. They each raced to the finish but it was first time Trophylite racer Todd Jackson who won on corrected time. He started the day second to last after requesting a rear start. “I had about 20 minutes in the Trophylite before the race,” says Todd, “I owe a lot of credit to my co-driver Mike Slater who spent time testing and getting the suspension dialed in before the race. I guess we didn’t tighten the mounting bolts on the KC Hilites because I had lights pointing to the left and the right and up in the air but not ahead of me. They worked great but not where I wanted them. I got behind another car and followed them in. Had I known that was Mcleod ahead of us I would have chased him down but we had enough time for the win. We had some luck; it was the roughest Parker ever.” Todd ran a new 35 spline Currie rear end during the race that proved itself tough enough for Trophylite. Todd is the defending Jeepspeed Champion but chose to race Trophylite this season. A win in his first race is a great start.
The Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger award had multiple contenders. Ben Abatti for his team’s hard work getting their truck to the finish line, The Metro Honda / Metro Acura team of Jeff Proctor who changed their transmission to finish 6th, Todd Jackson who unbeknownst to many had his race trailer stripped bare by thieves prior to the race and newcomer John Nelson. John Nelson rolled his truck in testing before the race. He had to replace suspension components, do fiberglass repairs, disassemble his shocks to change the bent shafts and go over his entire truck. There was no way he was going to miss the race! John ran into even more problems during the race but his effort just getting to Parker exemplified the true spirit of the Hard Charger award. He will be awarded the $1000 dollar prize for his outstanding effort and refusal to give up.
After the race there was a celebration at the podium. Each podium finisher gets a bottle of Azunia Tequila and the winners were happy to share with their fellow competitors after such a grueling endeavor. It’s no wonder that the Trophylite series is growing in popularity with fans and racers. The competition is tight, the racing is fun and the support from Mastercraft Safety, Impact, Method Race Wheels, Azuñia Tequila, Maxima Racing Oils, FOX Racing Shox, Metro Honda / Metro Acura, Currie Enterprises, Children of the Dirt Apparel, Tanimura & Antle, Baja Junkies and Kreed Eyewear by Fortress gives competitors some great prizes and nice incentives. You can purchase your own Trophylite or arrive and drive one of the “House” Trophylite trucks. This makes it three wins in a row for the “house” Trophylite; arrive and drive is not a bad way to go. With the exciting new changes for 2014, Trophylite will continue the steady rise it has enjoyed since its inception in 2006. If you would like to compete, go to www.trophylite.com and find out how easy it is to get started racing in the Trophylite Series.
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
, 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 more than 95 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 Banning Motorsports, CJ Hutchins, Garrick Freitas, Harley Letner, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell/Jerry Whelchel (Camburg), Jim Riley, Justin Lofton, Macrae Glass, Mike Childress, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Rick L. Johnson, Sean Backus, Steve Alexander, Carey Hart/Josh Merrell/Ryan Beat/Rob Naughton (Hart & Huntington), Carl Renezeder, Casey Currie, Kyle Lucas, Robby Woods, Ryan “Fluffer” Hagy, Marc Burnett, and Johnny Campbell.
General Tire is part of Continental Tire the Americas, LLC. (www.generaltire.com). CTA, based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, is a company of Germany-based Continental AG. With sales of approximately €20 billion in 2009 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 enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has close to 160,000 employees in 45 countries.
About Bink Designs
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.
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