A Young Cobb’s Patience PrevailsSeptember 4, 2016

Reno, NV - The young gun Joshua Cobb did an amazing job executing the game plan, a plan put in place by his father Jason. As the last few miles clicked off for the KC HiLites backed TrophyLite, Josh had his sights set on his first series win. The 17 year old from Phoenix Arizona is enjoying his first year behind the wheel of a TrophyLite Truck and showing that he has the talent to run with the series veterans. Making his way to the top of the podium would not prove to be the easiest of tasks at this race. Two brutal days of nasty silt that the 2016 Vegas to Reno course had to offer, the young Cobb would claim a commanding victory over the 9 truck field in the longest desert race held north of the Mexican border. When speaking Jason, the team owner and driver of the KC Hilites sponsored TrophyLite, he said “Every time we race this truck we are more and more impressed. The competition is remarkable. The durability and performance is the best in the business dollar for dollar.”

The two day race format showed plenty of tight racing between TrophyLite teams which is the norm when it comes to participating in the TrophyLite Race Series. These trucks are so closely matched it is not uncommon for them to enter the pits or even cross the finish line within minutes or seconds of each other. This year the 6081 team of Larry Schmueser II would hold a strong 3rd spot for most of day 1 and pick up 2nd as the 6066 would be changing a flat, then the lead after the 6002 would have a nasty roll just 5 miles from the finish. Larry, Cobb and Jackson would hold down the top three spots on time followed by Brian Antle, new truck owner Greg Bragg and Jason Crabtree. Tony Sato in the Elite Laser Cutting TrophyLite would have some problems that would not allow them to finish day 1. 2nd in points Edmundo Chantler would not finish either after suffering a roll early in the race and Brandon Arciero would eventually wrap up his issues to be able to make the start of day 2.

“The plan was to not let the Schmueser truck get away and keep an eye on Jackson but not really worry about him because his truck was no longer straight or able to be driven hard at speed, so we thought.” said Jason Cobb. The 6066 was going to be pushing hard to get to the front and typical for the TrophyLite class, this was not going to be an easy task. After getting stuck in some silt and a quick tow from BITD, they began to be concerned about the 6002 truck, running in 3rd, was beginning to pick up some time on the leaders. Then over the radio they hear the 6081 has pulled off the course and the hood is off. Jason said “I instructed Josh to pick it up to 95% and get back valuable minutes while they were stopped”. Unfortunate situation for the 6081 would allow Cobb to make the pass for the lead and eventually for the win. The KC Hilites crew would change a flat at pit 11 and continue the rest of the race, maintaining the lead and across the finish line with very few issues. With the race win, Josh will take advantage of couple of awards that come with getting on top of the podium. The ‘Mash the gas for CASH’ award which comes in the form of $1000 cash from Elite Laser and the Metro Honda / Metro Acura $500 Superior Performance award. Thank you Elite Laser Cutting, Jeff Proctor of Metro Honda / Acura and Congratulations to the Cobb family.

The Schmueser & Associates entry would overcome the brutal test of day one with the physical lead and roughly 10 minutes on corrected time after 300 miles of racing into the town of Tonopah Nevada. “Day one truck ran great no flats, no issues whatsoever. We were thrilled to finish in the lead!” said Larry. The game of follow the leader is a well-known fact for the 640 mile trip across the Silver State, and the 6081 team was using it to their advantage sitting in the top spot with Larry’s son, Larry Schmueser III behind the wheel for on the second day. While leading the pack more than half way into day 2, Schmueser would suffer a mechanical setback that would end up costing him a finish for the event. Shortly before the climb to Gabbs, the team would have the transmission mount vibrate loose and consequently the bolts to the torque converter would back out and shear off snatching a chance for their first win in the TL Race Series. The team would frantically look for replacements while watching their race unravel right before their eyes. They would exhaust every option they had for nearly 4 hours before having to call it quits less than 190 miles from the finish. The Colorado natives have shown the speed and consistency to run up the front all season and are eager to show their prowess at the 5th race of the BITD season in Parker, Arizona, the BlueWater Desert Challenge.

Todd Jackson who came into this race sitting on 3 wins would ultimately have his own troubles spanning over the two days of racing in the barren Nevada desert. Knocking off valve stems in the deep silt, the 6002 truck would encounter several stops for low tire pressures throughout both days. The downtime would put the seasoned veteran in catchup mode, pushing his truck to its limits to gain back lost ground. The MOVEMENTsupplyco.com TrophyLite entry would end up suffering a violent wreck on Friday afternoon just mere miles from the finish of day one. Todd appeared to feel ok after the crash but co-driver Mike Slater didn’t feel as good. After being checked out by medical staff it was determined Mike suffered a grade 3 concussion and would be OK and opt out of the right seat for day 2. “Once we knew Mike was OK we focused on the truck. It was going to be a long night.” said Todd. The Jake’s Fabworks chase crew would work diligently through the night to get the current point’s leader back on the road for day two. 6 of the 9 TrophyLite Trucks entered would finish the brutal day one but the 6002’s plan for day 2 was to keep moving and hope to secure crucial series points. Jackson said, “It was a long night and I would love to say I was doing the work but I wasn't, it truly takes a team to win and for me I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys! Thank you! Thanks to TrophyLite for always having parts on hand to keep us running!”

Starting out day 2 Todd set a comfortable pace, after moving into 2nd position and really feeling some soreness from the events of the previous day Todd would hand the reigns of the 6002 truck to George Mortis. Giving Todd a short break from the desert, George, whom also frequents the TrophyLite series in his own truck would drive a steady pace and holding 2nd behind the 6066. With Schmueser’s mechanical issues Todd would hold on to secure a well-deserved second place finish completing a grueling 640 mile 2 day race.

Todd Jackson earns the $500 Metro Honda & Metro Acura Hard Charger Award. The continued support of Metro Honda & Metro Acura provides TrophyLite teams with the opportunity to pick up some extra cash with the Superior Performance and the Hard Charger Awards. If you are considering the purchase of a new vehicle be sure to check out Metro Honda / Acura in Montclair or visit www.metrohonda.com

The 6017 of Brandon Arciero and team were looking to bounce back from a pair of unfavorable races recently. After striking a rock in the Mint 400, and engine issues at the inaugural Laughlin Desert Classic, the team felt like Vegas to Reno would be their chance to shine. After catching three trucks in the first 50 miles, the FST Sand and Gravel would hit a rock while allowing a faster class vehicle to pass. A quick tire change would set the Arciero team up for a decent restart after the transit section near Rachel Nevada. After battling for the next hundred miles, the truck was running great but would start to lose voltage to the batteries signaling that an alternator was failing. After a quick battery and alternator change at pit 5, Brandon and his navigator Tom would voyage on only to have more voltage issues just 30 miles down the race course. Unfortunately the team would time out at pit 6 while waiting for parts. Another alternator was installed overnight from the generous team of Greg Bragg in the 6012 TrophyLite. After a systems check Saturday morning, the 6017 would have a great start on day two quickly making up time on the field. As luck would have it, after passing several trucks in the field Arciero would encounter engine issues that left the truck stumbling to run through the deep silt beds. After a brief inspection at pit 9, the truck wouldn’t restart to continue in the race leaving the FST Sand and Gravel truck dead in the water for the remainder of the race.

After a fantastic first day, and first race in his newly acquired Chassis #38, Greg Bragg would be sitting nicely in the top five among series regulars. The central valley California native gained his first few miles behind the wheel in the TrophyLite at the start of the race, looking eagerly to stand upon the podium 640 miles later in Dayton. The only thing standing in their way was the brutal Nevada desert with its unrelenting obsolete terrain, marred by cactus and the lone cattle astray from its dried up water hole. Learning the ropes while on the run, the new team showed their expert hand to the field early. Starting day two within the top half of the TrophyLite field, the 6012 entry would strike trouble early, just three and a half miles into the start. Just after the truck temperatures rose, Bragg would lose all gears and be stranded for several hours waiting for the entire field to pass by before retrieval. Due to the time needed to return back to a chase truck with a spare transmission, the team would have to forgo their chances at a finish in their first race.

Making the long haul from New Mexico, Jason Crabtree in the 6011 would show off their beautifully wrapped OFT Racing TrophyLite. After missing the Laughlin Desert Challenge, Crabtree and team would be looking to better their 9th place finish from the Mint 400. As day one would see the checkers, the team saw their trials and tribulations pay off with a solid top 5 finish. After being stuck in the first 50 miles, the team soldiered on looking to be in the hunt for day two. With only a few finishers from the first day run to Tonopah, the team’s plans were becoming a reality. Day two would see the team find themselves moving forward and making it into the top three positions. Luck would run out unfortunately deep into day two, where the truck saw a suspension failure after charging into a rain rut. The OFT team was unable to get a replacement to the truck in time, thus adding the 6011 to the growing list of trucks on the DNF list.

Sitting second in the 2016 points chase, Doc Chantler had high hopes for a great Vegas to Reno campaign. The 6098 PJ’s Performance truck was ready for battle, and was looking to capitalize on a great season thus far. The first 50 miles of this year’s race proved to be quite brutal to several competitors, including Chantler whom would have a severe wreck. After righting the truck and assessing the damage, the 6098 team decided to cut their race short.

Yet another competitor that had a challenging day one, was Tony Sato in the 6056 entry of Jeremy Kegher. Sato would take the Elite Laser TrophyLite into the top three through pit five and would be looking to close out a strong day one. After a mix-up in pit strategy, the 6056 would wait in pit five for what seemed like an eternity after finally receiving gas from a fellow racer. Once underway, Sato would be in heavy dust chasing down the TrophyLite field once again. A miscalculation in the dust would see Sato clip a boulder with the front of the truck and doing irreparable damage to continue for day two.

Vegas to Reno would also see the return of another long time class racer in the 6077 of Brian Antle. Day one would be an eventful day for the Tanimura & Antle entry, with a flat tire just before pit five and no spare on the truck after being hit from behind. After a third place finish on day one, Antle would be in position for a great day two heading to Dayton but had felt that his transmission was not performing correctly. After a transmission change Friday night in Tonopah, the 6077 found that the fresh transmission they had put in the truck was having an issue with first gear. Due to the high demand of low gear in the relentless silt beds the team decided that they would not be able to complete the final 340 miles at speed.

Next up for the TrophyLite Race Series, teams will travel to Parker, Arizona where drivers will take on another 2 day race, the BlueWater Desert Challenge presented by Polaris. Although a much shorter distance than that of Vegas to Reno this unique venue allows for spectating from the Colorado River! A loop-race format with a large central pit area makes this event very spectator friendly and is always one of the best races to participate in. We will see you all in Parker.
Driver Number Points
Todd Jackson 6002 346
Joshua Cobb 6066 321
Edmundo Chantler 6098 276
Larry Schmueser II 6081 275
Brandon Arciero 6017 275
Craig Spitz 6021 229
John Clark 6069 216
Russ McKnight 6025 178
Jeff Mortis 6048 160

About TrophyLite – TrophyLite.com

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.

Photo Credits - HighRevPhoto, KCHilites, Arciero Motorsports