Ryan Winner Prevails Against a Stacked TrophyLite Field March 21, 2018
PARKER, AZ – The 2018 Parker '425' kicks off the off-road racing season in usual fashion with a stacked TrophyLite field featuring 17 teams from several states in the US and Canada have come together to battle in Parker. 17 entries equals the largest truck count ever which happened 2 years ago at the BlueWater Desert Challenge but this year, there has been very little rain which caused the dust to be at “Factor 10” and no doubt challenged the veterans in the series along with the new teams who have joined the family this season.
2018 has not only brought new teams but new ownership as well. In 2017 we said goodbye to one of the most instrumental teams in the history of TrophyLite, Rick and Brenda Johnson. This duo was able to resurrect a brand that was losing the interest of team owners, series sponsors and fans. Over the last 5 years Rick, Brenda, Louis and Ashley were able to accomplish so much to make the SPEC racing class of TrophyLite what it is today. Everyone appreciates the hard work and effort the family has put into the class and we will all miss you. Thank you! New ownership is 3C Motorsports comprised of the Jason, Gretchen and Josh Cobb working as a team to continue to improve the TrophyLite brand and keep SPEC racing affordable as we move forward into 2018. The 3C team has brought some new sponsors aboard for this season and welcomed back others, all of which are excited to be a part of this amazing group of TrophyLite team owners and the growing popularity of the class.
Contingency day was busy to say the least; TrophyLite obtained a new amazing SPEC tire and wheel combination for 2018 and beyond so the crew at the TrophyLite tech booth along with the crew from Yokohama and Ultra Wheels were busy mounting new Yokohama Geolandar M/T tires on sets of awesome Ultra X103 Beadlock wheels. Tech also gave us all an opportunity to see the other new TL sponsors such as PRP Seats, Rugged Radios, Fabtech Motorsports and Factory Canopies as well as the new paint schemes of veteran teams and allowed us to welcome new teams to the gang.
At the end of an epic battle, Ryan Winner in the Fabtech Motorsports #6068 entry found himself on the top of the podium. Ryan and Barry started 12th of the 17 teams and quickly moved their way past several trucks before sitting in the 5th or 6th position physically after the 1st fifty miles. By the end of the first lap the 6068 would be running 3rd on corrected time behind Craig Spitz and Josh Cobb who had set a blistering pace early in the race. Near the end of lap 2 Ryan was able to get around the 6066, who was having some steering issues and was off the course making repairs. Now running in second place starting lap 3 the team was running a solid pace but still down 10 or more minutes on the leader in the 6021 and just over 2 minutes ahead of the 6012 of Greg Bragg. But half way through lap 3, the 6021 lost their brakes and had to pit which gave Ryan and Barry the opportunity to get in front and put a little time between him and the 6012. Just 6 minutes separated the two at the finish and Ryan Winner would go on to take the win at the 1st race of 2018. Congratulations to the Fabtech Motorsports crew on their win.
Greg Bragg Racing in the #6012 Chevrolet started 8th and battled through the pack all day with Ryan and Cory Winner as they worked their way to the front. Never running higher than 3rd or 4th on time for most of the race, Greg waited until it counted before making his move on the last lap to move into 2nd on the day about 6 minutes behind the 6068. This team continues to grow and is picking up where they left off with another podium finish.
The #6067 entry of Cory Winner picked up a 3rd place finish in his first race with the TrophyLite class. Cory started in the 4th spot and was smarter than his years as he stayed patient and allowed the race to come to him as the dust and the deteriorating course was claiming victim after victim. Cory was able to stay clean toward the front of the pack all day and finish on the box his first time out.
Spitz Motorsports #6021 took home a 4th place finish. Starting in the 7th spot next to the 6012, Craig and his son Jacob got out in front quickly and had Josh Cobb right behind him. Craig said "We knew we had to make time quick and around 1/3 of the first lap we had the lead, fighting the dust and taking a lot of chances but it had paid off." By the end of lap 1, Craig was less than 2 minutes ahead of the 6066 but had more than 10 minutes on 3rd place. Lap 2 the 6021 went smooth and team would continue to grow the lead, banking time in the event any issues would arise later in the race. This was a good strategy as the truck would lose functionality of their brakes just after starting the final lap. Craig and Jacob pulled off and tried to tighten some fittings that had been knocked loose rocks but this didn't correct the issue. Limping into Pit 1 trying not to throw away their hard work and position, the team found the TrophyLite team pit and added some much needed brake fluid and assisted with repairs to the braking system. Heart breaking to watch their lead and possibility at their 1st win evaporate while watching 3 trucks go by. "Once we left the pit we drove like crazy to catch up but ran out of time to catch Cory and got fourth place finish" said Craig. Look for this father/son team at the MINT to give everyone a run for their money.
TrophyLite awarded the Vison Hype Hard Charger Award to Craig Spitz and the Spitz Motorsports team for their effort early on in the race.
Rounding out the top 5 was the #6061 Vision Hype TrophyLite driven by Kyle Ahrensberg and Adrian "Wildman" Cenni. Starting in the 13th position Kyle was looking to make some moves early but may have been a little too aggressive when he bumped another competitor and broke the brackets off of the front light bar ... the only light bar. Driving in the dark and dust with no lights for the first 45 minutes of the race took some skill and once the sun came up Kyle began to push. By the end of lap 1 the 6061 was running in the 6th spot and still gaining time on the leaders. With a solid and consistent second lap it wasn't until the end of the 3rd lap when they saw the 6066 stopped off course when they picked up the 5th spot. Kyle said, "The TrophyLite class is so close you need to have a perfect day to take home the win. We had a great weekend with great friends and super fun racing!".
Elliot Slavic had a great day on the Parker course and continues to show improvement behind the wheel. Elliot took the #6069 Slavic 401k Desert Race School TrophyLite to the finish line in 6th position. TrophyLite often sees father/son race teams but in this case, Elliot races against his father who drives the #6076 TrophyLite, also part of the Desert Race School program. Be sure to keep an eye on these two trucks at the MINT 400.
The 6066 TrophyLite is driven by Josh Cobb and at this Parker race he was on a mission. Determined to keep pace with the 6021, Josh was close enough to strike in the event Craig experienced any problems. Starting in the 9th spot had some work ahead of him, drivers like Arciero, Spitz, and Bragg were sure to challenge him if he wanted to get the 6066 to the front. Once Josh started his second lap the Cobb team was only 1 minute 35 seconds behind the leader and closing the gap slightly. But toward the end of lap 2, Josh lost a steering servo just before the infamous “goat trail” section of the course and had to wrestle the wheel for the next 20+ miles into Main Pit. Later, after a lengthy repair, the pair of bolts that were holding the new servo in place, backed out of the servo causing it to lose fluid and subsequently lost steering again, this time south of the Midway Pit. Unfortunately, Josh had to stop the truck quickly or wreck and when he did, it was in some deep silt. Once they were able to get some steering back, now they need to dig out of the silt and get to the finish line. The 6066 got their checkered flag roughly two hours after the class leaders but was still very happy to bring the truck in for a finish.
Chris Wardle had a plan at the beginning of the race in the ex-Jackson TrophyLite and that was to just go out and get much needed seat time and pace himself throughout the day. Once his confidence began to grow, he picked up the pace and was enjoying a top ten run when he got the great looking truck upside down on the last lap. Never quitting, he labored on and even helped some Trick Truck guys on the way to the finish line and finished 8th in his first race with the TrophyLite class.
Jason Crabtree finished 9th this year in Parker. Jason and crew have put a ton of work into this already competitive truck during their break from the class as they also upgraded from the 2.2L engine from last season to a new 2.4L Eco-Tech. Jason said they had a blast at their first race back and will be in the mix during the course of the year and the Cobb’s ran a great program for their first event. They like how fast the #6011 OFT Racing truck is, now they are looking to get some suspension work done before the next race.
Trevor Harvey from Colorado decided he wanted to be in the TrophyLite class just a few days before the Parker 425 and found one in Tucson, AZ and bought it sight unseen. He literally acquired his TrophyLite on their way to race! This is such a great story and a perfect example of the great people in the TrophyLite family and even better yet, this team went on to finish in 10th in their very first attempt. These guys will certainly be contesting for a win before long.
John Slavic decided late in life that he needed a challenge and has jumped both feet into off road racing and drove the #6076 Slavic 401k, Desert Race School, TrophyLite to a 11th place finish. He is on the fast track to learn the ropes and head to the front.
Wyatt McMurray from Canada came down from the great white north and while the team had a pretty rough day out on course getting the truck upside down, they would still bring the truck in for 12th on the day.
The #6017 entry driven by Brandon Arciero and co-driver Tommy Payne had a tough start to the season and to say their day didn't go as planned would be an understatement. Brandon started first off the line and had plans to stay up front and contend for the win. Unfortunately the brutal Parker course had other plans. Early in the race the dust was horrible and the 6017 hit a rock and picked up a right front flat. "Tommy busted his ass getting the tire change done but we watched top 4 trucks pass by." said Brandon. On lap 1 the team was coming into pit 1 and somehow broke the rod-ends on the upper link bar of the 4-link which in turn took out the brakes at the same time. Upper link fixed but still no rear brakes, the 6017 left pit 1 and had a good run for the rest of the lap for the most part... Brandon said, "As we were getting close to the python (main pit) there was a left handed sweeper with some camera guys so we came in hot (under control) to put on a show at that time we broke the other rod ends and blew right rear tire!" Repairs were finished and while leaving main pit Brandon knew he had a fresh truck under him to go out and make up some time.
The 6017 was getting around trucks and moving along at a good pace but the team experienced another bit of bad luck. In the rock garden they sheered the wheel studs off of the rear axle. Now off the course again and because of their position Brandon was able to hike to Shea Rd and get a replacement axle from the Arciero Motorsports crew while Tommy began work to get the axle pulled. When he returned, they were able to install new axle and get the truck back around the rest of the lap and took a grand prix finish. This team typically runs with the lead pack so with some luck the 6017 could be in a podium position at the MINT.
Jim Rossi had a great run in his first race driving in the #6099 Anasazi Racing TrophyLite. After the first lap the team was running 9th and halfway through lap 3 the 6099 was running 6th trying to chase down the 6061 of Kyle Ahresnberg. But Jim would run into some problems with the rear-end and possibly damaging an axle seal which lead to some issues that ultimately ended their race, just 30 miles from the finish.
Todd Mozden and his son Tyler had a good race going and ran solid with out any flats or issues. But an error by BITD officials would end up giving him a DNF for the day. The 6010 had finished thier 2nd lap after the 1st class 10 car crossed the finish line which should have resulted in a grand prix finish. Instead they were waved through to start thier 3rd lap and when they arrived at the first BITD checkpoint, Todd was told they couldn't continue. Keep an eye out for this team through the season.
John Ferrari and Gary Hull would team up to drive the #6013 Wild Powersports TrophyLite but engine problems would end their day early while on their 2nd lap.
KJ Hawkins and Mike West were driving one of our house rental trucks but transmission issues would take them out of the race just after they started lap 2.
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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.
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