- Published: Thursday, 06 February 2014 17:05
- Written by TSCO Racing
TSCO Racing battles for the Win at Parker. Read on for the entire summary.
The TSCO Racing team, still riding the high of the pit crew challenge win, was optimistic come race day that they could have a strong race with both TSCO Trick Trucks. The 425 mile race consisted of 3 laps of 140+ miles. Mark Weyhrich and Ryan Williams, in the #9, would go off from the 7th position in the early am light. Brother Gary and Justin Fantz, in the #98, would start 21st. Mark would lead a "fast pack" of strong truck racers, including BJ Baldwin 8th, Gustavo Vildosla Jr 9th, Jason Voss 10th, and Shawn Croll 11th. He knew he would be pushed hard and would have to maintain track position on lap 1.
The wind was calm, as it usually is in the Parker am, and this would hinder all the drivers except the Dondel truck that started 1st. The #7 Racer Truck would pull a big lead early as the other drivers did well to pace themselves in the heavy dust. His lead would not last long due to a converter fail 45 minutes into the race. Mark would battle the dust and his motion sickness early on, but would slowly gain track position as the drivers in front of him would yield to driver error, or mechanical issues. Gary was held up a bit by the dust and by the unlimited buggies that were in front of him. It seemed everyone not in the top 10 was effected by the dry conditions causing them to fall back on the overall time. Conquering the first lap safely would cost the #98 some time.
As the race vehicles reached race mile 91 at the Midway pit, Mark was already 4th on the road, running with the leaders on time still ahead of the "fast pack" by 1:20sec. Gary was 16th overall, down 7 minutes on time with 3 unlimited buggies directly in front of him. Both TSCO Trucks would take on tires and fuel at the main pit at RM 141. The TSCO Crew performed flawlessly with stops in the 35 second range for the #9, and a bit longer for Gary as the attempted to repair his parker pumper fresh air supply to his helmet.
As they headed out of the Parker Python infield pit area, or shortly after, Mark would have his #9 truck 1st on the road. His second lap would be his best. Mark was able to put 7 minutes on the rest of the TT field as BJ Baldwin would holdup Vildosola and Voss with boiling brake issues. At the Midway pit RM 182, the #9 had a 4:30sec corrected time lead over Vildosola and 5mins on Voss. Gary and the #98 would clear the buggies and were up to 11th overall but were down on time 14 minutes corrected time to Mark. Justin Lofton, and Harley Letner would battle for the lead in the unlimited buggies, 11 minutes back.
Again, the TSCO Trucks would charge to the main pit, 282 miles into the race with out an issue. The volunteer pit crew would get them in and out quickly, filling fuel and changing rear tires. The #9 would run entirely on the new BFG KR2 race tire for this race. The #98 would use the original BFG KR tire throughout the race. #98 would have no flats.
Mark and Ryan would continue leading the field, but would have to deal with slower traffic on the course. 190+ vehicles would start the race, a lot of them now sharing the course with the ultra fast Trick Trucks. At one point, the #9 would catch and hook onto a slower class vehicle. Ryan said they all went on a wild ride as the two vehicles became tangled for a few seconds. Luckily, no one's race ended here and the #9 charged on. The #98 would tangle with a few slower class vehicles also. The front of the #98 truck was showing signs of contact on lap 3. Gary would battle on, but track position and the dry, dusty conditions would thwart any chance for a podium finish.
Mark's lead was slowly shrinking on lap 3. As the exited the Python area, Jason Voss was only 3:30 seconds corrected behind Mark. Vildosola, would stay in front of Voss, but they were both charging with reckless abandon on the final lap to catch the TSCO #9. Lap 3 made for great racing as the top three trucks were all running nose to tail for the entire 140 mile lap. Mark would maintain his physical lead... around 4 minutes to Voss, who was on Vildosola's rear bumper all day.
At RM 392, as the #9 plodded through the Midway pit on lap 3 (35 mph speed zone), the crew noticed the left rear tire was low. They were radioed and a quick scramble by the crew had them back on course... still out front, but only by 1 physical minute to Vildosola and 1:30 to Voss. For the first time all day, the #9 was behind on corrected time. Ryan was informed by the Midway crew of the time spilt. They knew they would have to race hard to win this thing. The only flat of the day was a costly one. Voss and Vildosola would have no flats.
The last 35 miles would be intense as the TSCO truck would gain and yield time to the hard charging Tavo and Voss teams. Reports had them slightly pulling away, only to be reeled back in. At the finish, the #9 would cross first, but would end up a disappointing 3rd. Vildosola would hold on for 2nd place, Jason Voss would get the win. The top three truck separated by a mere 32 seconds: