2005 PRIMM 300 -- Recap
Thursday, 9/8/05 -- The first team members of Solar Racing heads East
past the California/Nevada state line to the 10th Annual Primm 300. High hopes
for a repeat of the last two year victories heightened the anticipation of
this years race. Also, rumors of land closures and property purchases threatened
the perpetuity of this exciting race. The drive to the race further increased
the adrenaline seeing fellow competitors enroute and seeing others testing
off the highway in Barstow.
Since the course had changed somewhat from previous years,
the plan was to Pre-Run the race course early Friday, with both my 4x4 F-150
Ignacio’s 4x4 Ford Bronco pre-runner. We shot for arrival at 7pm and
actually arrived at 6:45pm. Iggy didn’t have the same good fortune, the
tranny started leaking atop the last grade on the way, only a few miles away
In the meantime, all the early comers were congregating
around the infamous Tree Bar at the Buffalo Bill’s Hotel/Casino. It’s
always a great time socializing with both friends and competitors, or in
many cases both!
We enjoyed a great dinner with our tenacious competitor and friend John Griffin/Hummer
driver along with his whole team.
Friday, 9/9/05 -- It was time for the pre-run. Our one
and only chance to familiarize ourselves with the new course. Although we
have a GPS plot of
the course, it is still essential for us to know where each rut, washout, boulder,
cactus, yucca, etc is located. We hooked up with Tim Casey and Raul Flores
of the Unlimited Class 7 “Maxxis Tires” team. My prerunner was
made in Tim’s shop (by Jim Collins), and he has also driven with me in
the last two Vegas to Reno races.
Many parts of the course were the same, although some parts
were the same roads, just raced different directions. When I say “roads” I am
using that term very loosely. They are existing “roads” however
they seem more like trails or mining access. Both the race officials and the
Bureau of Land Management work to make sure our races take place on existing
roads. These “roads” maybe comprised of deep silt, or sharp rocks
between the boulders, or Both! It always amazes me how we can even get through
some places. It’s more amazing seeing people driving vehicles that cost
more than your average Porsche, Ferrari, or other prominent sports car. And
that’s just their Pre-Runner!
We came off the course just before noon with renewed respect
for the brutal challenges that laid ahead of us on race day. It was time
for lunch, then registration,
then Contingency and Tech. This is our chance to check out the other race vehicles
as well as an opportunity to gain new sponsors and fans. It’s great to
see legends of the sport with their half-million dollar, 800hp, state of the
art machines just in front of the privateer in a stock, VW beetle from the
The Solar Racing F-150 goes thru technical inspection without a hitch. As
the sun goes down the lighting lends way to a photo op on the lake bed. Our
webmasters from DesertRacing.com are on-hand to photograph the new paint job,
the new sponsor logos, and the tribute to our troops worldwide. See our website
at www.solarracing.com for photos.
Saturday, 9/10/05 -- Starting 4th in
the Stock Full Size pickup class, with a new paint job, new sponsors, the Solar
Racing F-150 would need to do two laps around this large
desert course. It worked its way to the front of the class within the first
20 miles. Since desert racing usually works on elapsed time, and vehicles depart
every 30 seconds, Solar Racing started approximately 1minute and 30 seconds
behind the 1st position truck. By virtue of catching the 1st place truck, Solar
Racing was leading the race.
Now 1st on corrected time, it was time to be 1st on course. Passing the relentless
Hummer of 4 time class champion now put the Solar Racing F-150 out front on
both corrected time and on course. Side by side racing action continued for
the next 20 miles over some of the most brutal terrain raced in any series.
Then, the left rear axle broke at the flange/bearing causing the entire wheel
assembly (tire, wheel, and brakes) to go flying away from the truck, forcing
the SR F-150 off course, buried to the axles in soft desert sand laced with
boulders. It took a bit of digging, rock moving, and multiple jack placements
to get the truck in a serviceable position. Is that ticking a bug or a rattler?
The axle, wheel and tire (no brakes) were replaced with on-board spares and
the SR F-150 was on its way now back in 4th place and over 1hr down. An unscheduled
pit stop was made to check repairs and replace spares. With the Pfleuger Trophy
Truck team helping our team, we were on our way in no time.
The truck continued around the course approximately another 115
miles until a big rock collided with the steering box, causing the bolts that
box to the frame to shear. Repairs were made with spare bolts and the truck
was once again on its way.
Unfortunately, the next and final checkpoint had closed
just moments earlier. Continuing the “drive every mile” mantra,
the team brought the truck around all the way to the finish line, just minutes
short of the official
time limit causing a DNF (Did Not Finish). However, the team still earned 3rd
place for their efforts.
Thanks to all of the volunteer team of Solar Racing: Mike Baldwin, Ignacio
and Kimberly Sanchez, Bob and Mary Childers, Mike and Midori Karp, Rick and
Laura Connolly, John Camacho, Chris Williams, Rob Eldridge, Dan Candler, Mike
Sedway, the ACE Motorsports crew of Mike McComas, Lorne Jercha, and Travis
Walser. And especially Race Girl Wendy
Also thanks to the Pfleuger Trophy Truck team
& the Maxxis Team for their assistance with unscheduled pit stops and letting
us share some of their pit
Special thanks to our sponsors: www.solarracing.com/sponsors
For more information:
please feel free to contact us directly
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-750-1907.
UPCOMING RACES: Vegas to Reno & Baja 1000
Sponsorship Information, contact: