The second installment of W.E. Rock’s Western National Series was held at the historic rock-crawling site of Three Peaks Recreation Area, near Cedar City, Utah. For many years, various sanctioning bodies have set up cones on the natural sandstone formations to challenge the best rock crawlers in the world.
Making Battle Plans
Prior to the event, teams took to the courses to scout the best lines – lines that may lead them to victory at the end of day two. Pro-Mod teams, without question, were trying to figure out a way to beat the Lovell brothers (above), who took home a first- and second-place finish from Cedar City in the 2008 season. The Amsoil/Torchmate sponsored brothers’ stranglehold on the Pro-Mod class is undoubtedly becoming the frustrations of the many teams who continue to get beat by them.
“Arguably the Best Rock Crawling Team in the World”
Day one of competition saw the Lovells take an early, but not dominating, lead over the rest of the class. Obstacles other teams had trouble on, the Lovells were able to conquer with ease. Early on day two, however, the Monster-sponsored Pro-Mod driver Shannon Campbell (above) was able to overtake the Lovells’ lead and apply the pressure that may be needed to make them falter. But Campbell’s campaign fell short when a steering line gave way early on his last course of the day, all but ending his chance of defeating the efficacious brothers.
By the start of the shootout, only one team had a real chance at defeating the reigning champs, and that was Torchmate Racing owner, Bill Kunz (above), driver of the #28 Torchmate car. At the end of the shootout, the efforts of Kunz/Shaffer was not enough to topple the brothers, who went on to take their second win of the season and are well on their way to another championship.
Limited Competitors, But Unlimited Competition
Although the Unlimited class may not have the number of teams it has had in years past, names like Cody Waggoner (above), Jason Paule and Jesse Haines guarantee there will be fierce competition at each stop no matter how many teams have entered. This past weekend’s competition proved just that. At the end of day one, two teams were tied for first, and third and fourth were within five points of first place. The battle continued all the way through the shootout, where only six points separated the top three. After negotiating the seemingly endless shootout gates, Jesse Haines, another Torchmate-sponsored driver, was able to overtake Cody Waggoner and Jason Paule (below) and take home the first-place trophy and prize money.
Conflicting Schedules Mean Tough Decisions
W.E. Rock’s next event will be held in Reno, Nevada, at the Sands Regency Hotel. There, they will build a temporary man-made course that will be part of a Father’s Day spectacular. The location of this event should make it one of the most attended rock-crawling events in recent history. Unfortunately, it falls on the same date as XRRA’s annual Colorado Springs, Colorado, event. The conflicting schedule only affects a few teams, and you can be sure they are doing everything they can to keep their points chase going in both series.
1. Brad Lovell
2. Bill Kunz
3. Troy Bailey
4. Shannon Campbell
5. Tracy Jordan
6. Nicole Johnson
1. Jesse Haines
2. Cody Waggoner
3. Jason Paule
4. Brent Bradshaw
5. Matt Messer
6. Rick Mooneyham