Nevada desert takes its toll on Mark Handley / Solar Racing
Ford F-150 Still Captures 3rd Place
Saturday, September 10th -- Primm, NV
(September 16, 2005) -- In the deserts of Southwest Nevada between
the California border and Las Vegas lies the brutal desert racecourse of
the Primm 300. It was the 10th running
of the event, and the third running for Mark Handley and Solar Racing, of
which the previous two yielded 1st place finishes.
Starting 4th in the Stock Full Size pickup class, with a brand new paint job
and 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
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. The truck
continued around the course approximately another 115 miles until a big rock
collided with the steering box, causing the bolts that connect the 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.
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