Victories are hard to come by, especially when they are in some of the most demanding race conditions imaginable. Any 500-mile race is a challenge for the driver and team but few match the impossibly tough conditions experienced at the HDRA, Eldorado, Fireworks 500 held on Roger Norman’s property outside Reno Nevada. The brand new course was created with a blade. Like a den of snakes, the blading stirred up embedded rocks making it torturous on anyone who dared to navigate it. It was narrow, had tight switchbacks and steep hills. The entire length is strewn with never-ending rocks and if you go off-course, the rocks get even larger.
A punishing race like this does not favor a relatively new team competing at the top levels of off-road, Trophy Truck and Class One. The Lone Star Racing team from Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada showed their tenacity with a victory in the unlimited truck class (known as open truck in HDRA) and third overall, for James Horvath and a hard earned fifth place finish in class one for Tracy Graf. “We proved if you take care of the equipment in a long tough race like this your chances for a great finish goes way up,” said James Horvath, “We tried to hold a fast, steady pace without any mistakes. Even the slightest error on this course can cost you precious time or end your day. We had to stop for tires every lap due to the incredible wear on them from the rocks. Aside from an alternator the pit crew changed on lap two and a wheel bearing that went out on the last lap, the truck ran flawless all day.”
For the fans on the ridge-top spectator area, the Lone Star Racing #50 Trophy Truck was a common sight as it clicked off the laps to the finish.
For Tracy Graf in the Class One it was a long hard struggle. “We had an issue with the power steering belt,” said Tracy Graf, “The belts were slipping off the pulleys. We started 13th off the line and passed four cars by mile 18 when the first belt came off. It was frustrating to overtake and pass cars on such a tight course and then have to stop for a belt. We lost track of how many cars we passed. We had a couple of flats due to the rocks but most of our time lost was due to the six belts we had to change. We knew we had to be patient and stay in control. It was a long day for us but it feels great to finish such a challenging race.”
This Lone Star Racing team has come a long way in a short time. For James to win on a course as challenging as this shows that he has what it takes to compete against the very best. He is making plans to go all out in 2013 with a new Racer, Trophy Truck that is currently under construction. Tracy has shown he can overcome whatever challenge comes his way. They might be new to desert racing but they have quickly established themselves as serious contenders. Look for them to be running out front whenever they show up to race.
Photography By Brian Binkert
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