Ben Abatti III had a great race at the Best in the Desert Silver State 300. He drove the first half of the race and then turned his Trophylite over to his father Ben Abatti II to complete the race. They built an insurmountable lead on the rest of the field, taking the victory by over 11 minutes. If the story ended there, most would be happy but that is not the case. The team was penalized 15 minutes for a race incident. It’s safe to assume that Casey Folks does not like to hand out penalties to his racers but the problem with most rules, they don’t weigh intent and in order to be consistent they have to be held to the letter, which is not always fair. The Abatti’s drove a great race and took the news hard when they learned of the penalty at the awards ceremony.
“This race was important to us,” said Ben Abatti III, “My Dad has been racing for a long time. There is no way he would break the rules on purpose. We had a big lead; we didn’t need that fraction of a second off our time. We were unable to talk with Casey before the penalty was applied, we had no idea we did anything wrong. If we broke the rules then give us a penalty but why not ten minutes instead of fifteen so we can keep the win that we earned?” The 15 minute penalty dropped the Abatti’s back to third.
Eventual second place finisher Mike McCarthy couldn’t have cared less about the penalty moving him up from third. “Second place or third it doesn’t matter to us,” said Mike, “We want a win. We had a flawless race and should have won but we put the wrong gear in the truck. We could catch up to the truck ahead when the course got twisty but on the long stretches, we just watched them pull away. We had a top speed of only 81 mph. We couldn’t even pull third gear. We made a good pass when we came up on several cars stuck in the silt. I went left and two other trucks went right. We made it through while the others got stuck.” This was Mike’s second race in the General Tire, Maxima Racing Oils, Azuñia Tequila, FOX Shox, Method Race Wheels, MasterCraft Safety, Impact, KC Hilites Trophylite series. He had a fuel issue at his first race, the Mint 400, and earned a podium in his second despite the wrong gearing. He expects to win at Vegas to Reno and judging by his results so far, the competition better take him seriously. Mike’s Trophylite is the first Ford powered truck in the series. The Ford motor gives him good horsepower and according to Mike, great gas mileage. Just the thing you need in a long race like Vegas to Reno.
The win goes to PJ Guglielmo who will admit he’s not the fastest but he might be one of the most savvy. He has two wins in a row in only three races. “We began the year just thinking about finishing races,” said PJ, “Now we are looking good for Rookie of the Year and a Championship contender. PJ learned his strategy racing Moto’s. You race as fast as you can but not faster than you need to. You have to run clean and finish every race. This was not the way we wanted to win but it is what it is. The race was so dusty and with rocks and trees lining the course you had to be patient. We tried driving by gps through the silt but I didn’t feel right without seeing where I was going. Sure enough, we backed down until the dust cleared and just then, we came up on a cattle crossing that we might have hit. At Vegas to Reno we’ll be doing the same thing, running as fast as we can when the opportunities are there.”
If they had a trophy for dedication, it should go to Azuñia Tequila Trophylite R8 racer Jim Riley. He drove 1200 miles in four days at the General Tire Mexican NORRA 1000, jumped on a plane and raced the Silver State 300 the following morning. His Trophylite R8 was faster and more comfortable than the 1971 Chevy Nova he drove at the Mexican Rally but the race might have left him a little sore. He finished second on the road but was bumped to third when Jerry Whelchel beat him on corrected time by only two seconds!
The finishing rate for Trophylite was 100% again with all trucks making it to the end. The remainder of the field finished in the following order:
1. P.J. Guglielmo
2. Mike McCarthy
3. Ben Abatti III
4. Perry Coan
5. Michael McLeod
6. Brian Antle
7. Charles Currie
8. Edmundo Chantler
9. Chris Wacker
Vegas to Reno, August 15-17 is going to be incredible. Ben Abatti III will be out for redemption, PJ Guglielmo will be chasing a third win in a row and Mike McCarthy will be stretching his fuel window looking for a win. Of course, the rest of the Trophylite field will be doing their best to knock all these guys off the podium. One thing is certain, Jim Riley will be looking to shave seconds off his time in every corner.