A ‘Race for Gold’ and a New Class Champion December 22, 2016

Pahrump NV, - The final race of the 2016 TrophyLite Race Series takes teams back to the Nevada desert and the return of the Pahrump ‘250’. After a 9 year hiatus, BITD participants will race a new and improved Terribles Town ‘250’. Titled as the “Race for Gold”, 11 TL teams will battle for one last time through rock gardens and nasty silt beds to crown a new champion. The Nugget ’250’ pre and post-race events would take place at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino. Tech & Contingency was located in the parking lot and the Azunia Tequila after-party in the Pahrump Nugget Sports Bar.

After parading through town out to the start, cars & trucks were off the line at 8am. For class 6000, Josh Cobb driving the KC Hilites backed 6066 won the draw and would be off the line first. Followed closely behind by the 6025, Metro Honda/Metro Acura backed entry of Russ and Austin McKnight. Austin would assume driving duties for the start and get around the 6066 pretty early in the race. Now with clean air, Austin was able to keep the position in front of the pack and take the win. Russ McKnight as seen how Austin and Daniel can wheel the TrophyLite through a course that presented many challenges but credits the chase team and General Tire Grabbers for getting the team’s 1st class win. “The chase team was on point and had perfect pit stops and fuel dumps”, said Russ. “This course was tough which made it challenging to navigate around all of the silt pockets and rock obstacles. I can’t say enough about our General Tires, we raced all year (5 Races) rotating 8 used tires that Proctor gave us when we bought the truck. We never had to change a flat all year.” Congrats to the 6025 team and with the win McKnight Racing picks up the $1000 Elite Laser “Mash the Gas for Cash” award. Elite Laser Cutting has awarded $6000 to winning drivers in the 2016 season.

The Pahrump course took its toll on all of the trucks, Russ said “The truck took one hell of a beating. We hit the diff so hard after Pit 7 that we broke the skid plate clean of the truck”. The durability of the Currie Enterprises rear-end housings and differentials was on display here that enabled the truck to finish the race on top of the podium. “The ruts were deeper than anything we have driven in before and more silt than we could imagine. I think every body panel has suffered some damage” said Russ.

Additionally with a class win, Russ & Austin also pick up the $500 Metro Honda/Metro Acura Superior Performance award. Congratulations to the McKnight Racing team! Russ said, “This has been a great experience for Austin and I and the entire Team. I can’t begin to thank to Rick, Brenda, Louis and all TL teams for the wealth of information and help to get us up to speed. I also want to thank Metro Honda/Metro Acura for all their support this year. McKnight Racing made to right choice when we decided to buy and race in the TrophyLite Series.”

Finishing the race in 2nd place and yet another strong performance was the FST Sand and Gravel sponsored entry of Brandon Arciero. Considering the 6017 team was still in a points battle with Josh Cobb and Larry Schmueser II for 2nd in the overall in points standings which would be determined at the finish of this race. The teams plan was to run a comfortable but decent pace however starting toward the back of the pack in 9th position meant they would still need to make up some ground and secure valuable position points. “We had a great run going passing 6 trucks before pit 2 and the 6017 was running fantastic. Our pits strategy was to pit at pit 3 to take fuel and give truck a once over, when we pulled into pit we saw the 6048 fueling up, while stopped in the pits the rocket ship of Todd Jackson passed us. We exited pit 3 behind the 6048 truck and had a good race with them for the next 5 miles or so” said Brandon.

As the 6017 approached pit 4 Brandon saw the 6002 stopped and took advantage of an opportunity to get out of their pit before Todd. “I felt I needed to turn up the pace a little to try and stay out in front of him. While running in some deep silt we came into a slow right hander where the left side dropped into a rut putting us into a bicycle, I tried to steer out of it but because the silt was so thick it literally stopped our truck on two wheels and laid over onto the driver side door,” said Brandon. Todd initially drove by the 6017 where he and Mike made the decision to come back and check on Brandon and his co-driver and got stuck in the process. The two teams have not had the best ‘on-course’ relationship in 2016 but now found themselves in a situation to work together and get back on course. Once the 6017 was upright, they figured out how to pull out the 6002 and off they go.

Back at it after a stop at pit 5, Brandon began the run to the finish line where they brought the FST Sand and Gravel TrophyLite in the 2nd position. Brandon said, “I pushed hard the last 100 miles to try and reel in the 6025 truck but their fast, flawless pace was too much for us and we crossed the finish line 10 min back in second place. Our General Tires took a butt kicking and didn't let us down at all getting us to the finish line without any flats.” Congratulations to Brandon and the Arciero Motorsports team for finishing the 2016 season strong. Brandon has yet to grab the elusive class win but we know it won’t be long before he is standing on the top of the box. During the season the team picked up 3 podium spots, (2)Second Place and (1)Third Place landing the 6017 in the 3rd spot in the overall TrophyLite Race Series Championship Points.

Still new to the TrophyLite race series, Greg Bragg also made the trip to Pahump toting Quest Nutrition as a new sponsor as well. Greg and his race team have shown they are able to run up front with the series veterans and keep getting better with each race. Greg brought two first time co-drivers, one being Mike Osborn of Quest Nutrition and his son-in-law Nick Chivello.

Feeling like they were running the race conservatively Greg picked up a flat around mile 30. Greg said “Stopped at pit 2 for new tire. We pulled out in the dust and the first silt corner we found a 6100 stuck right in front of us. Fortunately we only lost 5 minutes as BITD pulled us out”. At pit 4 the 6012 changed co-drivers and ran pretty much trouble free, driving a conservative pace to the finish. Greg and the GB 12 Racing team rounded out the top 3 in Pahrump, a podium in only their 3rd race in a TrophyLite. Congratulations Greg and we cannot wait to see you bring your 6012 to the podium in 2017.

As the season came to a close the season points were still close but it was pretty clear Todd Jackson could take the 2016 points championship with a finish. Starting 5th, the 6002 Movement Supply Co. team was looking to keep an easy pace and put in some good miles until the flat tire issues began. Co-driver Mike Slater, with his quick tire change skills and the crew at pit 2 were able keep the truck toward the front. Another flat and Arciero gets by and now the 6002 is running 3rd. Todd says, “Staying out of his dust we settled in only to find them on their side in the silty uphill section. We didn't see team Arciero out of the truck so we circled back to make sure they were OK. Turned out everything was OK but we ended up getting stuck in the process. We got their truck righted and they in turn pulled us out of the silt.” After the 6002 gets back on the course, another flat, spare is flat and with 12 miles to the next pit they drive on 3 wheels to get it there. “Our crew borrowed a couple tires from Louis Chamberland and one from Team Cobb. In the pit we heard Josh was struggling with a drive shaft issue so we gave them our spare and continued on”, said Todd. Although finishing 4th was not exactly where they wanted to end up they were able to gather some valuable information about the truck, setup and equipminet going into 2017.

We would like to congratulate Todd Jackson on winning the TrophyLite Race Series Championship for 2016. The Todd and Mike duo combined to win 4 of the 6 races this season. Winning Parker ‘425’, The MINT ‘400’, Inaugural Laughlin Desert Classic. Finishing an amazing 2nd place at Vegas to Reno – The Long Way, after a nasty wreck just before the end of day 1, performing repairs through the night to get the 6002 to the start of day 2. Winning BlueWater Desert Challenge by just seconds over Craig Spitz and finishing 4th at the final race in Pahrump, Nevada. Todd will dawn the RED 6001 plate for the 2017 season previously held by some tough competitors and it appears that will continue. Truck counts are on the rise and the competition is getting tougher, will the team of Todd Jackson and company continue to keep the bar at such a high level as they defend the title?

Past Champions: 2015 – Andrew McLeod | 2014 – Ben Abatti | 2013 – PJ Guglielmo | 2012 – Troy Messer | 2011 – Troy Messer | 2010 – Gary Messer | 2009 – Louis Chamberland | 2008 – Louis Chamberland

Taking note of the speed, durability and safety of the TrophyLite chassis we are proud to announce there are 2 TL’s featured on the Camburg ‘Best in the Desert’ award list. The award goes to the fastest driver to complete every mile of every race during the 2016 season. This year Jason Voss won the award in his TT. Finishing 5th was Todd Jackson in the 6002 with an average speed of nearly 46 mph for 1899 race miles. Finishing 7th was Josh Cobb in the 6066 with an average speed of 42.7 mph. You can see all of the results in more detail HERE .

Rounding out the top 5 is Kyle Ahrensberg. Kyle is another satisfied rental customer and has returned to the series in Pahrump driving the FasTLine Driving School rental, Vision Hype wrapped TrophyLite #6061. Kyle drew the 8th starting position and starting from the back he felt confident yet unsure of what to expect from the old Terrible Town course. Looking to start strong and keep a consistent pace Kyle and crew would re-evaluate after about 100 miles to see how they would plan the rest of the race. Noticing vehicles strewn about the course early in the race, Kyle began to realize this is going to be a tough one. “During the first 20 miles of the race I hit a rock that created a bad vibration at around 70mph so we had to keep it under that speed for the whole race”, said Kyle. Getting their 1st of 4 flats after about 40 miles but without a good spare until the next pit, Kyle was looking to be a bit more cautious. Off and running with a good spare and starting to move through packs of vehicles the 6061 was holding a good pace. Then, Kyle says, “Once it all started to feel good, disaster struck with 2 front flat tires at the same time! This unfortunately was in a very bad spot which caused us to drive with a flat tire at 10-15mph for about 30 miles until we came up on a stuck TrophyLite. They were nice enough to offer us their spare tire as we were pulling them out from being stuck.” Now back on 4 good tires, and realizing they are down about an hour on the leaders, the 6061 crew looks to get this truck to the finish. Racing clean the rest of the way the Vision Hype TL crosses the finish line in 5th position.

With this 5th place finish TrophyLite would like to award Kyle the $500 Metro Honda & Metro Acura Hard Charger Award. Kyle nearly picked up this award at BWDC and really earned it in Pahrump. As always nearly everyone on course encountered many issues through the duration of the race, but Kyle and his crew were determined to see the checkered flag at the end of this one. “This race was a big accomplishment just to finish with it being so rocky and dusty. Louis prepped a great truck that kept us moving throughout the entire race. Congrats to the McKnight Racing team on the win. I look forward to battling with everyone once again in February at the Parker 425” said Kyle.

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 or you can bring in your Honda or Acura for service, be sure to check out Metro Honda / Acura in Montclair or visit www.metrohonda.com.

TrophyLite House Truck Rental team of Mike Zuendel would start the race in the 7th position. Mike and last minute co-driver addition Louis Chamberland got out to a rough start. Hit a rock at about mile 3 causing a front flat and put them behind early. Louis changed the tire and they were back at it but driving a little more cautious. Picking lines and navigating carefully through the rocks Mike kept passing trucks that were having issues of their own. No incidents on their way to complete the 250 miles however they did make one stop. Louis said, “We stopped for the Cobb truck just 10 miles before the finish to lend a tool for their sheared wheel studs and on our way we went. We would cross the finish with a slow leaking tire from a stick flat in the last few miles, but it held together just enough to edge out Schmueser at the finish for 6th place.” Mike rented one of our house trucks at BWDC and picked up a finish there as well. Great Job Mike, we hope to see you some more next year!

If you are looking to get off the sidelines and out of the spectator areas get into one of these trucks! Get out in the dust and race with the newbies and veterans in the TrophyLite class.

Schmueser Racing went into Pahrump with high hopes. Looking for a strong finish and securing 3rd in overall points for the season. However disaster would strike at mile 3 putting those hopes in jeopardy. Larry said, “It was a freakish event. A rock must have gotten into our u-joint but it broke the u-joint and the yolk on the third member. Great job by my Son and co-driver to get it back together but we lost a lot of time.” The crew at pit 3 was able to repair the third-member and the truck ran flawless for the rest of the day. “It was a rough course and we fought our way through the slower classes dust. Ended up with a 7th place finish. Thank you to TrophyLite and all of the teams who made this an exciting year. We are still working on our schedule for next year but we will definitely be at the Mint.”

We would like to thank Larry and his family for their continued support of TrophyLite. Being that they are from Colorado and making the trip to all 6 races this season is an amazing feat in itself and they end the year with a season best 3rd place finish. Larry and his son will claim the 4th position in the overall season points.

Brian McCaslin made the trip from Tenino, Washington to take part in the final race of the season and picked up an 8th place finish. “Thanks to Rick, Brenda, and the entire TrophyLite Family for continually impressing us with your opening and welcoming support as we strive to find work/life balance to achieve consistent attendance and maybe, just maybe, make more than one race a season”, said Brian. Thank you Brain, Pam and family for joining the series and hope to see you again at a race or two in 2017.

Finishing in 9th position, the KC Hilites backed entry of Josh Cobb. Cobb, family and friends all joined together to rebuild the 6066 after its terrible crash on Sunday at BWDC. Jason said the plan for this race would be to keep the truck at 75% all day, finish the race to secure a spot in the podium for the championship. Pit 2, fuel and check every pivot point along with every nut and bolt in sight. Starting the race in front Josh would give up the physical 1st position with a front flat just before pit 2 and with a long pit at pit 2 they realized they were quickly moving to the back. On the way through pit 3 and starting to move back up in the pack, Josh and Matt get a nasty vibration limiting the truck to only 44mph. Changing the driveline only made it worse, realizing the driveline was damaged in the BWDC crash. At pit 6, Todd Jackson loaned them a driveline and once installed the truck was at its best. “For the first time all day, Josh had a great truck. Holding back to 75% seemed harsh but we stuck to the plan and held the kid back for the finish”, said Jason Cobb.

He continued, “Not so fast. It seems the right rear wheel studs sheared off and Josh and new co-driver Alex were dead in the water almost in sight of the finish line. Back to Pit 7 we went, put a care package together and gave it to the next racer we saw. It was a class 5 car and he looked to be in a hurry….until we gave him our bag. Then they started working on the car and 40 minutes later he finally left the pits. In that time a TrophyLite team, Jeep Speed, 2 UTV’s and a 7100 truck came by but we had made our bed and had to sleep in it. To make matters worse, when the Class 5 car finally arrived to Josh and Alex, they hit the 6066 TrophyLite and knocked it off the jack! Ugh!!! Finally dug out and back underway, the duo finished in 9th place”.

A historical finish for Josh as he is the youngest (17 years old) class winner, podium finisher and points championship finisher in TL history. Josh, finishing each race of the season picks up 12 bonus points from BITD which put him just over Brandon Arciero for 2nd in the overall championship points. Congratulations Josh, Jason and the Cobb family and crew on a great 2016 season. Thank you Jason and KC Hilites for supporting TrophyLite and we look forward to the battles to be held for the podium in 2017.

Jeff Mortis started of pretty quick and by pit 1 they were second on course. Jeff said, “Race started well truck was very fun and predictable to drive. The rocks reminded me a lot of Baja just huge boulders and rocks all over the place. A lot of very technical turns and a lot of very quick reaction needed to avoid the rocks.” Feeling good and holding a solid pace though the fast sections it was at rm132 there was trouble. “Some real quick switchbacks in some very thick dirt and silt berms. Took one a little too deep and fast and laid the truck over on its side. Got pulled over in about 15 minutes later by a 10 car and trying to turn the engine over but it wouldn’t start. Not sure what happened but we could not get it to re-fire, ending our day”, said Jeff.

Another new comer to the TrophyLite Race Series Mark Harber took on the Pahrump course. Mark entered to make sure he could drive a good pace, check pit crews etc. Starting 10th they were off to a good start getting around some vehicles and working through the rock and silt found all over this course. After fueling at pit 3, Mark tipped the truck over in the first turn just past the pit. Good to go after getting back on all fours and a good run through pit 4. Just after the pit, a fan quit causing overheating and limp mode. Mark said, “I pulled over around mile 135 next to the Challenge Motorsports TL. He had some problems as well and killed his battery trying to restart. We swapped out my second battery to his truck. After I cooled down enough he told me his pit 5 crew had a fan we could borrow. When I got to pit 5 my crew had scored two fans, one from Challenge, and one from Rick(I believe). We installed one and off we went”. The trouble didn’t end here though for the 6073 team. A short time later they lost a real wheel seal, overheating the third-member and pretty much destroyed it. Mark felt they were not really up to locating the parts to rebuild the rear-end and decided it was time for some Coronas! “I would like to thank my crew and sponsors. Thanks to you Louis and your family for all the help. I LOVE TROPHYLITES!” said Mark.

The 2016 race season has come to an end and TrophyLite would like to thank everyone who came out to race the series with us! The support for the class has been phenomenal this year and making everyone excited with anticipation for what is to come in 2017.

We would also like to wish every a very Merry Christmas and a safe Holiday Season. See you all in 2017!

Driver Number Points
Todd Jackson 6002 450
Joshua Cobb 6066 411
Brandon Arciero 6017 400
Larry Schmueser II 6081 383
Edmundo Chantler 6098 333
Russ McKnight 6025 325
Craig Spitz 6021 317
John Clark 6069 216
Greg Bragg 6012 207

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 - DirtFocus.com