The theme of the weekend was the heat in Southern California, temperatures around 110 degrees outside the car meant that it was going to be a battle just to keep hydrated, let alone race in a fire suit.
The Polaris RZR was setup great, and we had a good practice session Friday. After making a couple clutch adjustments and tightening things up, we were ready for racing Saturday.
Saturdays racing couldn’t come soon enough! We ended up still having some clutch issues in qualifying, so the car was only performing at about 80%, but we were able to qualify on the outside of the 3rd row in 6th position. After going through the checklist and making sure the RZR was ready, we were able to watch some of the great racing that Lucas Oil Offroad offers and see teammate Jeremy Merrell tear it up in the Unlimited UTV class, he battled up front all race!
After the sun set behind the mountains at Glen Helen, it was time for some racing under the lights. I was able to make some quick moves on lap 1 and 2 to get up to 3rd position and try and start pacing the leaders. Both of them had very fast cars and I wasn’t sure that we could push much more. I was able to keep pace until the mandatory competition caution at lap 6. When the green flag waved for the second half of the race, I knew it was time to drop the hammer. I made some quick moves to try and force mistakes on the leaders and was able to move into 2nd place. I was almost immediately passed right back at the end of the straight away before turn 5, at that point I knew that I would have to drive the car at 110% to keep pace with the faster cars in front of me. I kept pushing and was able to stay with the faster cars, but the RZR had other plans, and the front differential let go making me spin on the inside of corner 2, to enter back on the track safely I had to wait for all the drivers to pass. Late in the race and only having 2 wheel drive, I didn’t have enough time to move any further forward so we brought it home in 15th of 21 cars.
Just hearing the reaction from friends and fellow races letting me know how well I did and how they really saw a win in my grasp made a bad night feel much better. I can’t say that I am happy, but I know that racing is not just about winning, its also about learning, growing, and the support of others.
I know that we have to make our car faster so that it is competitive, and we don’t have to push it past its limits, then it’s all up to me and I welcome the challenge!!!
Thanks to my dad and Brian Lopez for all their hard work and dedication, all of the great racers and friends, the full Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series – SoCal team for putting on such great events, and of course our awesome sponsors, Supercuts, RideNow Powersports, UTV Wolfpack, Rockstar Energy Drink, UPR Racing Supply, GMZ Race Products Inc., M1 Off-Road, Trinity Racing, Custom Composite Mfg., element 7 graphics, Hoven Vision, Axis RodEnds
PC – Eric Minks at www.SnM-Media.com