New Faces Look to Overthrow Veterans in 1st Race of the SeasonFebruary 10, 2016
Parker, AZ The Best in the Desert Parker 425 kicked off the 2016 TrophyLite race schedule with a dozen trucks ready to challenge the sandy Parker desert. The pre-race festivities kicked off with technical and safety inspection on Friday, which let several new teams display their 2016 liveries. For the first time in its 8 year history, TrophyLite produced the first KC HiLites TrophyLite Throwdown podcast which featured driver and team member interviews showing some insight to what it was that got them into desert racing.
The 2016 edition of the BITD Parker 425 would be the first that the race would be split into a two heat format, allowing the TrophyLite trucks to compete with similar paced classes. Starting at 6am, heat one would see the TrophyLite trucks lighting up the darkness with their KC HiLites for nearly the first 90 minutes of the race.
As dawn turned to daylight, the teams of Brandon Arciero and Todd Jackson would be battling hard for the lead to close out the first lap. Starting 7th, Jackson had the upper hand against the corrected time clock with Arciero starting 1st. The 6002 machine of Jackson would finish a smooth first lap thanks to the spec Fox Racing Shox that adorn each TrophyLite truck and take the physical lead away from the 6017 of Arciero. Craig Spitz, Louis Chamberland and Ed “Doc” Chantler would round out the top five after nearly 140 miles of racing in the cold Parker morning.
The second lap around the ever changing course would see several drivers wick up the pace as they would challenge each other for the Children of the Dirt apparel - fast lap award. After a driver change, the 6006 TrophyLite house rental truck saw Jesse Newton, whom replaced series veteran Louis Chamberland behind the wheel, fall roughly 13 seconds short of the eventual race winner Todd Jackson.
Making up ground after a rough first lap, the newcomers, 6091 of Sydney Schwab and Austin McKnight in the 6025 would turn in an impressive lap two as they battled for position. The pair would fall just minutes short of being allowed out on their third and final lap of the already grueling day due to a “grand prix” style finish; where after the overall leader of the heat finishes their 3 laps the rest of the contenders also receive the checkered flag. Just three minutes would separate the two at the line for the top ten in class.
Lap three would see the 6002 Premier Garage truck of Jackson continue to put the pressure on the rest of the field, with the 6017 FST Sand & Gravel sponsored truck of Arciero and the Tri State Equipment Rentals 6021 truck of Craig Spitz close in tow. After a second lap mishap, the new team of Jason and son Josh Cobb in the 6022 KC HiLites truck would break into the top 5, chasing down Doc Chantler in the PJ’s performance 6098 to the finish. The new team from Texas headed by John Clark in the 6069 Sundance Landscape and Pools truck would edge out Larry Schmueser ‘s 6081 for 7th place and round out the three lap finishers.
Brandon Arciero would comment after the race that the FST, Wild-fields.com, Impressive wrap, Gibson Exhaust 6017 1st place draw was extremely lucky and would play a crucial role in their successful 2nd place finish. After grabbing a splash of gas at pit three on lap one the 6002 of Jackson would sneak by and he and his navigator Tommy Payne just kept a comfortable and clean pace for the remainder of the day.
The 6025 entry of Austin McKnight had a rough start to the morning, losing a fuel pump while battling for positions on lap one. Thankfully their TrophyLite had a redundant system on board, but luck wasn’t on their side as shortly after they would start to develop a vibration. A quick diagnosis would reveal that their rear gear had failed and would need replacing before logging lap two. After about 45 minutes of downtime, they would be back on the road battling with the 6091 entry of Schwab.
Metro Honda – Acura is proud to support the TrophyLite class for yet another great year of racing. Todd Jackson takes home the Metro Honda Superior Performance award for his strong first place finish. The 6002 also brings home the brand new Elite Laser "Mash the gas for CASH" award of $1,000 for his top spot aboard the podium. Jackson commented after the race that he and co-driver Mike Slater had a nearly flawless day. Keeping mistakes to a minimum and a lap two flat made for a rather uneventful third Parker 425 win in a row. During lap three, Todd would take his son Ty for his first ride in a race and get him some great seat time out front! Ty would split lap three with new team member Aaron in the right seat and have a clean lap to the finish.
Sitting atop the last podium position was the Craig Spitz entry in 6021. Craig would have a 2nd corner bobble that wouldnt take but a few seconds to recover from and had a great day after that. After settling into a great pace, the 6021 was looking for the finish and banking on mistakes by the front two which did not come. Coming away from the grueling Parker 425 sitting in third place points was a great day for the entire team. The 6021 is looking forward to the Mint 400 next!
Bringing home the Metro Honda Hard Charger award is the Father / Son team of Jason and Joshua Cobb. After a lap two roll, the KC HiLites 6066 entry would fight back through the field after starting 10th to finish 5th. The newcomers to the series showed true grit and hunkered down for the remainder of lap two and three, finishing roughly only 8 minutes out of 4th.
The TrophyLite Race Series was created to provide an affordable alternative to the high cost of racing. Drivers are pitted against each other in identical vehicles that provide the thrill of competitive offroad racing without the million dollar price tag. All TrophyLite race vehicles are precisely constructed to maintain parity and use the finest quality components available. TrophyLite allows you to compete in a fun, fast, race proven vehicle right out of the box. With generous sponsorship from KC HiLites, Metro Honda, Metro Acura, Currie Enterprises, Mastercraft Safety, Impact, Method Race Wheels, Azunia Tequila, Maxima Racing Oils, Fox, Children of the Dirt, K&N Filters, MagnaFlow, PCI Race Radios, Tanimura & Antle and Kreed Sunglasses.
Make sure to tune into the KC HiLites “TrophyLite Throwdown” Podcast – Available on SoundCloud and in the iTunes store search TL Throwdown. An easy way to gain insight to the race series and the teams involved who continue to make this so much fun.
Race day images by HartMedia