Saturday, April 30th turned out to be a perfect day for desert racing in the scenic back country of eastern Nevada. Racers were greeted with cool temps and the windy conditions made passing a little easier. First off the line at daybreak were the Motorcycle classes, followed by the Quads and then the UTVs. Three and half hours later, the Car and Truck classes hit the challenging 303 mile single loop course.
In the wake of major international events that took place on Sunday following the race, it’s interesting to note that two Navy Seals entered this race to build awareness about the Seals to desert racing and adventure sports enthusiasts. Wes Richey from Coronado, CA and Andrew Wilkins of Winchester, CA raced in the Ironman Expert class. Through special provisions by Best in the Desert, they were allowed to start the race side-by-side. They then raced that way for the entire 303 miles. While they were finishing 7th and 8th in class late Saturday afternoon, their fellow Seals were in the final stages of a special operation that would shake the entire world…taking out the most notorious and wanted terrorist known to man, Osama bin Laden. Now that’s quite a way to gain attention for their cause. We salute these dedicated individuals and all of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.
Chuck Hovey was the fastest qualifier and took home the $1000 Team Ford Pole Award at the time trials held for Class 1500 car and the Trick Trucks. Only 15 seconds separated the top 20 qualifiers. B.J. Baldwin captured the 2nd starting position followed by Josh Daniels in the 3rd spot and Steve Sourapas/Rob MacCachren in 4th.
On race day, Chuck Hovey quickly encountered mechanical problems, opening the door to B.J. Baldwin. B.J. took full advantage of the situation and clean air to take and hold on to the first spot physically on the course for the remainder of the entire race. At the finish line waiting for the arrival of the competitors behind him and corrected time results, B.J. said he didn’t think he had taken first overall, but hoped to take top honors in the Trick Trucks. He stated, “This was a buggy course…extremely tight and technical. I don’t think we had the right set-up today to beat them (buggies).”
He was right. A couple of minutes after Baldwin took the checkers, Kyle Conlon came across the line, closely followed by Pat Dean. While it looked like Dean had reeled in Conlon, official corrected time showed that Conlon indeed had taken the first overall victory by a little more than a minute and half over Dean. When asked about Baldwin’s comment on this being a buggy course, Conlon stated, “He’s a truck guy. I don’t care about him. I’m here to beat the other Class 1500 cars.” As other finishers steadily came in it looked like B.J. Baldwin was going to hang on to the Trick Truck win. But surprisingly, after starting in the 28th position, Adam Householder had driven a steady, trouble free pace and ended up edging Baldwin by a margin of just 42 seconds.
In the Motorcycle classes, David Pearson and Trevor Ricci took the overall spot. Danny Prather and David Scott were the number one team for the Quads while Matt Parks and Mark Holz took first in the Pro UTV ranks.
The Silver State 300 also marked the second race for the Trick Truck Challenge. For his class win, Adam Householder took home $12,000 in addition to his race winnings, B.J. Baldwin earned an extra $6,300 for being second in class and Rick D. Johnson got another $3,000 for his third place finish. To date, $42,600 has been paid out in Best in the Desert Trick Truck Challenge bonus cash.
Top 10 overall car and truck finishers (driver of record listed):
1ST – Kyle Conlon, Class 1500
2ND – Pat Dean, Class 1500
3RD – Adam Householder, Trick Truck
4TH – B.J. Baldwin, Trick Truck
5TH – Rick D. Johnson, Trick Truck
6TH – Mike Childress, Class 1500
7TH– Steve Appleton, Class 1500
8TH – Corey Keysar, Class 1500
9TH – Steve Strobel, Trick Truck
10TH – Garrick Freitas, Class 1500
Car and truck class winners (driver of record listed):
Class 1000 – Mark Talla
Class 1100 – Bryan Folks
Class 1200 – Ryan J. Staats
Class 1400 – Adam Householder
Class 1500 – Kyle Conlon
Class 1700 – John Helton
Class 2000 – Patrick Nirschl
Class 4400 – Shannon Campbel
Class 5000 – Chris Lazenby
Class 7100 – Jayson Strachan
Class 7200 – Sean Backus
Class 8000 – Scott McFarland
Class 8100 – Tim Casey
Best In The Desert official sponsors: Ford Motor Company – official truck, General Tire – official tire, Lucas Oil – official oil, VP Racing Fuels – official fuel, KC HiLiTES – official light, John Deere – official UTV, KTM – official motorcycle, Fabtech – Official Suspension, Fall Advertising, Prerunner Maniac, McKenzies, PCI Race Radios, Azunia Tequila, and Sportsman Cycle Sales.