Anytime you have two trucks that finish on the podium after suffering rollovers, you know it was a wild race. The Best In The Desert series, Vegas to Reno race is always tough. This year’s event was more brutal than anyone could have imagined after Northern Nevada was pummeled with rain.
PJ Guglielmo Wins Back To Back Vegas To Reno Races

Trophylite Racer PJ Guglielmo Wins Back To Back At Wild Vegas To Reno Race

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Reno, NV

Anytime you have two trucks that finish on the podium after suffering rollovers, you know it was a wild race. The Best In The Desert series, Vegas to Reno race is always tough. This year’s event was more brutal than anyone could have imagined after Northern Nevada was pummeled with rain. The rains left standing water in some areas of the 545 mile course and washed away the top layer of dirt to expose sharp rocks sticking up everywhere. There were also trenches, washouts and ruts that pounded the drivers and their Trophylite race trucks.

Trophylite, General Tire, Vegas To Reno, Abatti Racing, Bink Designs

The race weekend got off to a great start when Mark Lohrbach from Kreed eyewear showed up with a backpack filled with sunglasses for the Trophylite teams. Everyone was smiling and looking stylish at the same time. There is always something going on with any number of the great supporters of the Trophylite series including General Tire, FOX, Mastercraft Safety, Impact, Method Race Wheels, Metro Honda / Metro Acura, Maxima Racing Oils, K&N filters, Magnaflow Exhaust, PCI Race Radios, Currie Enterprises, Azuñia Tequila, Children of the Dirt Apparel, Tanimura & Antle and Kreed Eyewear by Fortress. When the teams were getting in on the customary side-bet, Colby Groom from Method Race Wheels showed up and put an extra $500 in the pot. There was also an additional $500 in parts bonus from Kartek up for grabs. Race winner PJ Guglielmo walked off with the trophy and some sweet bonuses that came with his win.

Method Race Wheels Trophylite Vegas To Reno Cash Bonus

PJ Guglielmo had a steady race; keeping it on all four General Tires for his second straight Vegas to Reno victory. Others were not so lucky. Right off the start, a 7200 truck stopped in the dust, causing a chain reaction pile-up that took out Todd Jackson and severely damaged the brand new truck of Megan Mcleod.

Megan McCleod, Trophylite, General Tire, Southwest Boulder, Impact, FOX

Megan was sore, but managed to continue on until her transmission failed later in the race. The back half of her brand new truck will need to be cut off and replaced, but it kept her safe after a huge impact and enabled her to keep racing after the crash. Todd Jackson had too much damage to the vital components up front to keep going; he too was not seriously injured.

Trophylite, Todd Jackson, General Tire, KC Hilites, Method Race Wheels

“I never saw Meagan all day and thought she had checked out on us,” said PJ, “The dust was blinding and we were fighting amongst a couple of classes all day. There were trucks and cars limping around the course and if you pulled out to pass you risked a flat tire. We could catch Jeff Proctor but could not get around him for 80 miles, including two pit stops. We finally passed him when they flipped on their roof. After that, we started checking out, but it was super rough. There were g-outs all over the course. We hit one that dazed me for a second. After 400 miles it started to hurt, but we kept putting time on them. We also hit some deep water out on a normally dry lakebed, sending a wave over the hood. We slide around until our Generals hooked up and we got back on the course. We would get a patch of clear air now and then and it was usually just before another huge rut. We were slamming into those g-outs at 70 mph all day. We put the truck together with no test time so we could not be happier with the win. The race was fun, but at the same time it was awful.”  PJ Iron-manned the entire race and finished an hour ahead of second place.

PJ Guglielmo, Trophylite, GT100, Vegas To Reno, Currie Enterprises, Children Of The Dirt, Bink Designs

Second place finisher Andrew McCleod started first off the line and had a similar opinion of the course. “It was brutal. We hit a rock in the dust at mile marker ten. We went from first to last place and had to battle back through the dust. I turned the truck over to Jacob Andrew at pit 8 and planned to get back in at pit 10. He was running in first place coming into pit 10. I was suited up and ready to go when the truck came into sight and crashed into the same spot that took out Bryce Menzies. The truck cartwheeled twice and landed back on the wheels facing the wrong way on the course. It was tough watching our truck flipping through the air. The worst damage was a bent spindle that slowed us down for the rest of the race. Vegas to Reno is always our best race. Something will always go wrong but you just have to work through it. I think we maintained our points lead but it’s getting tight, we will have to push hard during the last couple of races.”

Trophylite, Andrew McLeod, KC Hilites, General Tire, Vegas To Reno, Metro Honda, Metro Acura

Third place Jeff Proctor was happy with his results but his team also put the truck over during the race. “When relief driver Jon Krellwitz got in, I told him he would have to drive it on the ragged edge to maintain our pace,” said Proctor, “I guess that was a mistake. Jon did a great job bringing the truck home after we got it righted. We had a strategy to pit out of sequence so we could pass people in the pits as opposed to making risky passes in the dust. We knew it would take efficient pit stops and the crew delivered; I am really proud of our team. It was so dusty and silty we had to change the air filter three times but we had no flats all day and besides the flip, it was uneventful; Jimmy Sizelove did an excellent job prepping the truck. It was fun, we had a blast.”

Jeff Proctor, Metro Motorsports, Metro Honda, Metro Acura, Trophylite, Method Race Wheels, General Tire, Bink Designs

Jeff Mortis got off to a bad start when he blew a power steering line at mile 10. He was one of the last racers to leave pit one but eventually came back to finish in 4th place. At a point to point race like Vegas to Reno, the pits become very busy while cars are coming in. As the field heads north, the pit turns back into an empty patch of dirt in the desert. It’s a lonely feeling when your team and a port-a-potty are the only signs of civilization for miles in any direction.

An interesting story developed with the house rental truck and the team of James Dyess and Brian Gilmore from Austin Texas who were driving it. Dyess put in a full stint driving and Gilmore was completely whipped after rolling twice before continuing. They needed someone to do some driving. Russ Phillips had been racing his own Trophylite truck but lost a transmission outside Tonopah. He had just finished a meal when he decided to turn on his race radio to catch up on what was happening. He heard the banter about finding a driver so he offered to help. His offer was graciously accepted so he put his driving suit back on and finished the race with driver James Dyess navigating.

Trophylite, Jim Dyess, Brian Gilmore, Vegas To Reno

“I now have the driver who started the race in as co-dog,” Said Phillips, “We met 2 minutes before we took off. He gets in with a total stranger to race off into the night in a completely fouled up truck after a very long day. I had no idea what he would do as co-dog. Co-driving is extremely difficult, I will be happy to never do it again. I told him don't look down all the time or you will puke and do not yell no matter what. This fella is poker faced calm the entire ride (150mi). He called out every corner in advance and when entering the corner he had previously called out. I must have told him good job 50 times. I am sure he thought that was BS at the time but No BS, you can ride with me anytime.” Dyess was supposed to take the wheel again but they were going along great so why change it. They made it to the finish in 5th place.

Loren Worthington and his Abundant Water Wells team was the sixth and final finisher out of the 11 trucks that started the race. They stopped to pull others back on their wheels and landed upside down in a ditch themselves, but they crossed the line 19 hours after taking the green flag. In recognition of the team’s hard earned finish, they have been awarded the Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger award and $500 cash bonus. The Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger award goes to the team at each race that demonstrates the most determination to overcome adversity and/or the competition.

Metro Honda / Metro Acura Hard Charger Award, Loren Worthington, Tropylite

The next race for the General Tire Trophylite series will be in Parker, Arizona on October 8-11. The two-day, heat race format will be a full throttle shootout in the power robbing sands of Parker.

Photos Provided By: Bink Designs & Trophylite

General Tire Trophylite Race SeriesAbout Trophyite 
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, Magnaflow, PCI Race Radios, Tanimura & Antle & Kreed Sunglasses you can cash in on the prize money that is up for grabs during the 2015 season.

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About General Tire
For 100 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, World Cup of Softball, American Sprint Car Series, Tour, Zero One Odyssey, and Spec Tire of Trophylite and JeepSpeed. Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including Mikey Childress, CJ Hutchins, Doug Fortin, Harley Letner, Jim Riley, Macrae Glass, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Ryan Beat, Carl Renezeder, Robby Woods and Camburg Racing.

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