Alamo, NV – The Best in the Desert Silver State 300 course offers plenty of elevation change. It winds through high mountain passes before dropping back down to the silt laden valley floors but the terrain was not the tough hill to climb that daunted Justin Lofton. He would start the race from the 24th position. Many miles of the course are on narrow twisty trails that can open into long fast straight-a-ways. When combined with the thick dust that normally develops, it offers perfect conditions to check out from the pack for those running up front. Starting farther back would be a huge challenge.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY ART EUGENIO, GETSOMEphoto.com
Qualifying for the Best in the Desert Silver State 300 was held today just outside Las Vegas in Jean, Nevada, on the site where the old Nevada Landing Hotel and Casino once stood.
Continuing the impressive entry list growth for 2014, as of April 22nd, 204 teams have already signed up, with more than 220 expected by race day for the next Best in the Desert Canidae Tap It Silver State “300” set for May 2-4, 2014.
Many of the world’s leading off-road dynamos are headed to challenge this tough course. In Trick Truck, watch for Jason Voss, Steve Olliges’, TJ Flores (last year’s overall winner), Josh Daniel, Steve Strobel and Scott Whipple (who also happens to be the race sponsor, Canidae).
Chandler, AZ April 24, 2014 — Luck of the draw? Just 10 days away from the Canidae Tap It Silver State 300 and Team DragonFire is ready to roll, despite drawing a starting position at the back of the pack and a pre-race change to a tougher course. Lessons learned at The Mint 400 and a chance to shakedown the all-new Can-Am Maverick have UTV Pro class racer Lacrecia Beurrier’s confidence at an all-time high and ready to show the boys how it’s done on May 2.
McMurrough Racing crew anxiously waited at the finish line of the 2013 Best In The Desert Silver State 300, as TJ and Stephanie were just mere seconds from making their last left hand turn of the race and coming into the checkered flag. Even though the finish is where winners are announced, it is not where the race is won. “They say the race is won at the shop and I believe it” said TJ, driver and owner of Champion Race Works. After the Mint 400 riddled the truck with a broken transmission, the crew had 6 weeks the turn the truck around and get it prepped and ready for the 298 mile race in Caliente, NV.
After qualifying 16th, TJ and Stephanie knew that they would need to drive smart and not over drive the truck. As the truck staged for the start of the race, the crew was setting up for their fuel pit at RM 148 and other visual pits throughout the course. Another key to winning a race like this is having a flawless fuel stop and no mistakes during the race.
The Class 1 car of Justin Lofton lined up at the start and at 9:30am sharp the race started. Lofton would quickly set the pace of the race and by the time the #80 McMurrough truck left the starting line, they would have 7 minutes and 30 seconds to make up on the leader. Hairpin turns and cliffs are apparent in this point to point style course and you also have to factor in the silt, dust and 135mph roads. It takes a talented and experienced driver to navigate this race.With half of the course behind them and no mistakes in driving, TJ and Stephanie pulled into pit-4 where the crew was ready. Two new BFG tires and fuel topped off, the #80 truck was on the gas and back on the course in no time. With a 45 second pit stop and no one passing them during their pit, they were now on the hunt for the win. Clear dust didn’t last for long as the top trucks started catching one another; Stephanie kept her eyes on the GPS and navigated TJ through the thick, heavy Nevada dust. “We have learned to work really well together inside the truck” Stephanie stated, “I really trust TJ to get us to the finish safely but also get us a win.”