For the third consecutive year, Jason Voss has won Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno. In one of the toughest, most competitive Vegas to Reno races in recent years, Voss jumped out to an early lead amongst a field of thirty eight other trick trucks and steadily built a gap between the other racers throughout the 545 mile race course full of silt, rock, severe wash outs and rain ruts produced by heavy rainfall leading up to the race. Mile by mile, Voss lengthened his lead until he crossed the finish line in Dayton, NV in just under nine hours, over thirty minutes faster than second place finisher, Luke McMillin.
Voss started the race in perfect position after a sixth qualifying run in Wednesdays Time Trials event in Jean, NV. Despite winning the race from pole position in 2014 (and out of the top 10 starting positions in 2013), Voss contently sat behind five of the top drivers in off-road, four of which have already won races this year, and devised his plan for the race. Even BITD race director, Casey Folks, said he wouldn’t want to start up front in this race.
MORE VEGAS TO RENO COVERAGE
Jason Voss Earns Three-Peat in Vegas to Reno Victory
The #1 Jimco Trick Truck wasted no time and earned a +00:01:27 lead on corrected time on #58 Tracy Graf by race mile 100. From there, Voss’ lead increased every hundred miles to +00:04:22 and +00:05:21, until race mile 400 where Voss appeared in total control of the race with a +00:17:05 minute lead over #97 BJ Baldwin.
Vegas to Reno marks Voss’ second and most dominating win of the 2015 season. Finishing 00:30:45 ahead of second place finisher, Luke McMillin, Voss not only three-prated as Vegas to Reno Champion but is on pace to three-peat as overall points champion in Best in the Desert as well.
Justin Lofton immediately dropped back a few spots after starting the race in second place position. Lofton’s “BadCo” #41 Trick Truck averaged a speed of 87.84mph at Time Trials, missing the top qualifying time by +00:00:03.493s.
As second driver on the road on race day, Lofton was one of the first to see exposed rocks, deep rain roots and all the other hazards on the race course. BadCo pushed the limits and hit a top speed of 144mph in the #41 JIMCO Trick Truck. “If I didn’t have to turn, we would have kept going,” later stated Lofton. The speed was short lived, however, with eight flat tires that put Lofton +00:53:34 at the finish line. Despite the unusual amount of flats, Lofton finished 9th place overall.
“Everything was great and the truck was faster than ever. We just had some unusual flats that set us back a bit. BadCo will be more than ready for the Baja 1000,” said Lofton.
#94 Steve Strobel and #92 Kevin Curtis earned solid finishes in the elite Trick Truck class. Strobel ran in to some early issues and blew serpentine belt a few miles from the start line. Steve and co-driver, Marc Starostka, hopped out and replaced the belt. From there, Strobel spent the entire racing making up the time lost right out of the gate and finished 21st in class.
Curtis suffered throttle linkage early on and got stuck in some silt trying to avoid a fallen bike rider. Still, Curtis pushed on to finish the race in 22nd in class.
JIMCO’s best showing in Class 1500 was #1532 Cody Parkhouse’s 4th place finish. Parkhouse entered Vegas to Reno first in points and should still hold on to the points lead, one point over Eduardo Laguna. Twenty-fourth off the line (seventh in class), he immediately rocketed to second Class 1500 on corrected time by race mile 100. Halfway through the race, Parkhouse found himself leading Class 1500 by over seven minutes and was under ten minutes off the leaders pace. Unfortunately after pit 14, Parkhouse got a flat and immediately another around race mile 524. Carrying only one spare, the #1532 was forced to limp in to the finish on a flat, ultimately costing them the final spot on the podium.
#1511 Erick Jacobs and #1549 Sam Berri were both plagued with their own set of problems but finished within seven minutes of each other in 6th and 7th place in class. A fuel pump problem temporarily delayed Jacob’s efforts and kept them towards the back. After Goldfield, one of Berri’s rear tires exploded and damaged a brake caliper. The #1549 made it to pit 5 where the team took all brake components off, plugged all brake lines, put a new fan belt on and sent it on its way. The two had a race between themselves in the middle of the pack and managed respectable 6th and 7th place finishes in class.
#1599 Todd Tulls and #1547 Pat McCarthy were among the other Class 1500 finishers. Despite power steering issues, Tulls finished 9th in class, followed by McCarthy in 12th place.
Twenty-four 10 cars came out to battle at Vegas to Reno but only sixteen finished. #1071 Jason Coleman came in to Vegas to Reno second in overall points in Class 10 and with his unofficial 4th place finish, he may now be the leader pending official results from Best in the Desert. Coleman kept it consistent and climbed to fourth in class on corrected time by race mile 300. Averaging 49.9mph, fourth in class is where he finished with a time of 10:55:07.
#1056 Johnny Buss earned himself a reputable 7th place class finish and despite rolling his car in Tonopah, John Langley drove the #1050 to the finish line in 14th place in class. Fifteen and a half hours later, #1025 Chad Dohrman was the final Class 10 car to make to the finish line after battling issues all day.
The lone JIMCO UTV, #1971 Wayne Matlock, came to Las Vegas hot off his win at the SCORE-International Baja 500. At the 500, Matlock proved JIMCO strong in the UTV game and beat the rest of the UTV field by over an hour and a half. Matlock started Vegas to Reno in thirty second position but moved up quickly to second overall at race mile 115. However, at approximately race mile 120, Matlock blew a belt and had to pull over to change.
Matlock handed the car off to Terry Hui at mile marker 150 pit 4. Hui made it to approximately mile 170 and in a long sweeping turn barrel rolled the car two and a half times. Nobody was hurt and the JIMCO UTV had minimal damage – only breaking a front spindle and crushing and upper A arm. The #1971 had around five hours of downtime between getting the parts in on the course and fixing it. Matlock got back in the car at pit 9. From that point on the goal was just to get a finish. Matlock finished in 18th place in the UTV class with a time of 18:37:56.694.