- Published: Thursday, 20 March 2014 13:05
- Written by TSCO Racing
2014 BITD Mint 400 Race Report – TSCO Trucks have strong showing.
Both Mark and Gary Weyhrich would have a great start in this year’s Mint 400 race in the desert south of Las Vegas... The results were not as satisfying.
The conditions were perfect, mild temps, light winds and a 90+ mile loop course that was groomed and set up well by BITD and the Martelli Brothers.
The team would arrive early on Saturday at the huge main pit so the drivers could prerun the track with their custom raptor prerunners entered in the 1800 prerun class.
They would each do one lap to recon the course and mark dangers, racing along with the smaller class vehicles.
The 4 lap second race of the day would start on time at 1pm and included the trick trucks, unlimited class 1 cars, and 7200 & 6200 trucks.
All starting pairs would leave the line side by side, 2 at a time, 30 seconds apart. Top qualifier, Dale Dondel would start first by himself, an advantage given to the pole winner.
Gary & Justin Fantz in the red and white TSCO #98 would start 16th next to #85 Justin Davis. Gary would win the short start “S” section and blast in to the desert well ahead of the #85.
Mark & Ryan Williams, in the matte grey TSCO #9 started 25th. They would also gain a quick spot as they beat #1527 CJ Hutchins off the line.
A total of 95 unlimited vehicles would take the start. The largest unlimited field ever for a race in the US.
Top 50 Starters:
1. 7 Dale Dondel Hemet, CA Racer
2. 70 Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas, NV Ford
3. 77 Robby Gordon, Charlotte, NC Chevrolet
4. 1570 Harley Letner, Orange, CA Custom
5. 1577 Justin Lofton, Calipatira, CA Jimco
6. 6 Steve Sourapas/Andy McMillin Rancho Santa Fe, CA Ford Geiser
7. 65 Derrick Sproule, Pincher Creek, AB Ford
8. 21 Gustavo Vildosola Jr, Mexicali, BC Ford
9. 1575 Pat Dean, Las Vegas, NV Bunderson
10. 97 BJ Baldwin, Las Vegas, NV Chevrolet
11. 1 Jason Voss, Cupertino, CA Ford
12. 90 Josh Daniel Vista, CA Geiser
13. 32 Shawn Croll Corona, CA
14. 1549 Sam Berri Murphys, CA Jimco
15. 1529 Scott Bailey Riverside, CA Aluma Craft
16. 98 Gary Weyhrich Troutdale, OR Ford
17. 85 Justin Davis Chino Hills, CA Jimco
18. 1553 Ray Griffith Downey, CA Jimco
19. 60 Travis Pastrana Las Vegas, NV Ford
20. 1599 Todd Tuls Columbus, NE Jimco
21. 62 Ryan Poelman Orem, UT Ford
22. 83 Luke McMillin El Cajon, CA Racer Eng
23. 46 Troy Vest Molalla, OR Ford
24. 1527 CJ Hutchins Las Vegas, NV Custom
25. 9 Mark Weyhrich Troutdale, OR Ford
26. 4 Clyde Stacy Bristol, VA Ford
27. 33 Dan McMillin La Mesa, CA Ford Geiser
28. 1595 Travis Chase La Crescenta, CA Ford
29. 58 Tracy Graf Red Deer, AB, Canada Ford
30. 76 Jesse Jones Phoenix, AZ Ford
31. 16 Cameron Steele San Clemente, CA Geiser
32. 27 Steve Olliges Las Vegas, NV Ford
33. 1578 Loren Brown Buckeye, AZ Foddrill
34. 91 Troy Herbst Las Vegas, NV Smith Built
35. 94 Steve Strobel Clarks, NE Ford
36. 1542 Sam Baldi Yucaipa, CA Custom
37. 80 TJ Flores Las Vegas, NV Ford
38. 19 Tim Herbst Las Vegas, NV Smith Built
39. 51 Kory Scheeler North Las Vegas, NV Ford
40. 95 Scott Whipple Norco, CA Ford Geiser
41. 59 Craig Potts Scottsdale, AZ
42. 24 Adam Householder Anaheim, CA Ford
43. 63 Adam Bosch Aurora, IL MCM
44. 1510 Brandon Dawson Herriman, UT Custom
45. 1501 Jon Walker Tamuning, GU Kreger
46. 26 Jay Reichert Cottonwood Shores, TX
47. 1537 Eduardo Laguna Bristol, TN Custom
48. 42 Will Staats Valencia, CA Ford
49. 79 Eric Hardin Irvine, CA
50. 1508 Justin Matney Bristol, TN Geiser
Lap one would be impressive for both the TSCO trucks. Gary and the #98 would charge to 9th on the road by pit B, mile 82. Mark would drive the #9 up to 16th on the road at pit B.
Both trucks would head back to the Main pit at RM 98 completing the lap with no problems. Gary would have the 3rd fastest lap time on lap one, behind #7 Dondel and #6 McMillin. They would start lap 6th on the road and 3rd place on time. Mark and the #9 would charge into lap 2, 11th on the road, 9th place on time.
The TSCO Pit crews were standing by at Pit A, RM 43 and both trucks would stop for tires and fuel on lap 2. The #98 would be in & out in 36 seconds, a few minutes later, the #9 did it in 31 seconds! This would be a contributing factor helping Mark & Ryan set fast lap on lap #2. Gary would get a flat tire around RM 65 due to a rock puncturing the sidewall. Justin would get in changed within 5 minutes and they would head to pit B just one truck in front of TSCO #9.
Back into Main Pit, the #9 was now 4th on the road, but their fast lap time pushed them up to 2nd on time, just 2min 8 seconds off the leader, #6 Andy McMillin. Dondel would have motor problems and end his day midway through lap 2. Gary would still be a solid 3rd on the road, just seconds in front of his brother in the #9 and 3rd place on corrected time. The TSCO Team was motoring at the halfway point, dodging the pitfalls the other competitors were having. Reports had other trucks loosing drivelines, having motor issues, flat tires and electrical problems. The field was thinning quickly and the Nevada desert was becoming rougher with each lap.
The TSCO Trucks would start lap 3 in great shape, in 2nd and 3rd, and charging on. Pit strategy would be the talk of the crew as both trucks were scheduled to pit at pit B on lap 3. That would be tight with both trucks running back to back, and both trucks requiring light bar installment during that stop. Gary would solve that problem when the #98 went up on its side 6 miles into lap 3 in the quarry area. It was a slow tip in a soft corner on top of a hill. Mark and the #9 would risk track position and time as they would attempt to push the #98 truck over with their #9 truck. It would not work and the soft sand would cause them to get stuck as well. BITD Crew would quickly pull them free with a UTV, and then have to dislodge the #21 Vildosola truck that drove into the underside of the #98 and got stuck as well. All of this would prolong the up righting of the #98. The UTV was unable to get them over quickly due to the position of the truck on the hill. 45min later, they would be on their wheels, having lost all the oil from the truck. They would attempt to fire the motor, but it didn’t sound up to par. With victory out of reach, they decided to call it a day because of the down time and to save the motor.
Mark and the #9 would charge on toward their 2nd stop at Pit B, still in 2nd position.
Fuel, Tires and Light bar at Pit B, and the #9 was back on the road quickly heading toward Main pit and Lap 4. Mark and Ryan would again have “fast lap” as they beat all trucks on time on lap 3 beating the #6 team by just 4 seconds. Amazing driving considering they got stuck helping the #98, and had to pit during that lap. Great job all around!.
Andy McMillin, in the Sourapas #6, would hold the lead heading out on final lap 4 from Main Pit. Mark was just 2 minutes 4 seconds behind on corrected time. Lap 4 would be a battle for the win. All was normal as the daylight dimmed and the race was heading into the night. Mark and Ryan pushed on knowing they would have to make up that 2 minutes to challenge for the win.
Race #9 was running on the lower alternator only when the truck lost all power as the locked up the brakes coming into a stop check 20 miles from the finish. The truck would die and they were unable to get it started from either battery. After some diagnostics and a jump from BITD. They would again get moving but their shot at a victory had been dashed. The truck would stall again at rm 83 causing more down time. They would eventually get it running again, and finish the race 3 hours behind the leaders in 19th place. Gary, Justin and the #98 would finish 28th do to their strong run early in the race. Andy McMillin would take the win 14 minutes ahead or 2nd place Gus Vildosola. #33 Dan McMillin would be 3rd 17 minutes back.
See the entire results on the BITD site: http://www.bitd.com/images/stories/pdfs/Mint400/2014Mint400Race2-4Lap.pdf
A disappointing finish for both trucks, both Brothers and the team. TSCO challenged for the lead and the win only to come up short. Mark and Gary felt like they had the trucks to win thanks to the Prep from Ryan and Justin and the entire TSCO Racing shop. “BIG up’s” to the volunteer crew who are the best in the business. 30 second pit stops are incredible! Thanks to everyone that helped or cheered us on from the spectator area and via live feeds on the internet.
Next Race: SCORE Baja 500 in June.