Now that we are back home and most of the dust has been washed off or blown out here is a recap on our 2020 KOH race! Jack and I arrived on the lakebed on the 30th with the rest of the team coming on Friday and through the weekend. The first few days were spent getting our pit setup and fine-tuning the few new changes that we had made to the car. We took the car out on a quick test rip across the lakebed to see how the new suspension felt, we were amazed. The difference was huge, and we hadn’t even done shock tuning yet. Eager to get the car tuned in we met up with Karl from Shock Talk and ADS Racing Shocks and we spent the next day and a half fine-tuning the new suspension. With the extra 4” of travel on all four corners, JKS Dual rate coils and the addition of the Acos bumps up front we were able to make some huge changes and picked up around 15-20mph on average through the rough stuff. Along with the suspension changes was the Mudd Nutt Racing inspired steering setup, between the new steering and trackbar relocation we had zero bump steer or feedback coming through the steering wheel which is a big change from years past and made us that much faster in the desert.
We spent most of Saturday out in the desert loop beating on the car trying to find any issues or week points and we were happy to find nothing but smiles on our faces with how well the car worked. Sunday was a bit of a down day with the UTV race going on so we decided to address a small leak we found on the T case and give the car a thorough once over. Monday we went out to run some rock trails with our buddies and teammates Poor Boy Racing. We hit almost all of the rocky trails and the car felt solid, the new steering setup was a huge change in the rocks as well. We had the power to turn the tires in any situation we put the car in.
While prerunning the rocks we managed to smash a shock, bending the body and shaft. With our shocks being completely custom we knew this was going to be a bit of an issue. The guys at ADS had had the for thought to build us spare shafts but never anticipated us bending a body. After a few phone calls, they had the parts pulled from the shop in Tucson, AZ and on the road heading to us. The parts wouldn’t get there until around midnight on Tuesday, the ADS guys stayed up and when the parts arrived, they got our shock built and installed it on the car for us so we would be ready for race day.
This is one of the huge reasons we run ADS shocks, they are always willing to go the extra mile to make something happen. Try getting any other shock company to do that for you, I guarantee you will be sadly disappointed. These guys saved our race and we are very thankful. Tuesday was spent going through tech and contingency along with the pit crew challenge that evening. After the festivities 4693 went through a full checkup, the Dirty Chonies Race Support boys went through the entire car checking all fluids, every nut, and bolt and getting us set up with a fresh set of Falken tires for race day. Prep work is what wins races and our crew is always on top of it making sure the car is 100% for race day.
We lined up early Wednesday morning, we would be starting 17th in class and 107th overall. As we rolled up to take the green flag our nerves were calm, and we were ready to get it! When the flag dropped, we were off, the plan was to keep it easy through the first 3-4 miles of course since it is always super rough and lots of random rocks in the course. On the sandhill we found most of our class, we attempted it twice without success but after getting a good clean run made it up the third time. We were running in 2nd place at this point and started to put distance on the class in the desert. Coming into Cougar Buttes there was a bit of a backup so Jack got out and ran in front of the car to make sure we made it through clean. After clearing the buttes we bombed off in the desert trying to catch Schaefer. We ran the rest of the desert fast and clean, coming back into pit 1 we stopped and got fuel and a good once over. Everything checked out so away we went to finish lap one and start lap two. After pit 1 we had mostly desert and one rock trail, Guacamole, we cleared that with ease and moved on towards the main pit. We were full of fuel and having no issues, so we went past the main pit and started our second lap.
The first part of the second lap repeated the first 12-13 miles off the first lap then turned off and shot us out towards Emerson lakebed, we opened the car up on Emerson and hit 76mph and maintained that until the end of the lakebed. We cleared Aftershock without issue and that put us at pit 2, we drove past pit 2 with us having no issues with the car. I believe it was at this point that we picked up the physical lead of the race and continued to the rocky trails.
Everything was going smooth when we got to chocolate thunder we started to work through our lines, as we went to hit the final line out of chocolate we lost all fuel pressure. We tried multiple times on both pumps and still had nothing, blocking the mainline we went to work trying to troubleshoot the issue. While we were trying to find the issue multiple 4500 and 4800 cars worked around us, most running over our front bumper and fender, but hey when you are broken in the mainline that’s what you have to expect. After 10 min or so the first 4600 car had caught us and attempted to take the high line around us, Jesse rolled over and landed on our hood.
The recovery crew was quick, and we assisted in getting him flipped back over. While we were doing that Justin Reese attempted the other line around us and rolled over on the other side of us, chocolate thunder was now completely blocked by three 4600 cars. We all worked together with the recovery crew and got both rigs flipped back over so they could continue. While Justin Reese was clearing his motor of oil he kindly supplied us some fuel via a water bottle, this, unfortunately, did not fix our issue. After more troubleshooting, we found that fuel was not flowing through our pre-filter, the filter was clean but would not flow.
We completely bypassed the filter and boom, we had fuel pressure. The car fired and we jumped back in the chase. We had lost 3 positions with our breakdown and caught our teammates, 4696 at the bottom of Jack North. We worked together through jack north, bender alley and wrecking ball. After wrecking ball, we had planned to stop at pit 2 to get fuel but between us and the crew, we all decided to take the chance and make the run to the finish and try and catch 3rd place. We were going to battle it out with Brian and Sean through the desert but they turned to go to pit 2 so we jumped out and took off, they saw this and jumped back in behind us and we had a race! We pushed hard knowing that we had to beat them to the finish by at least 30 seconds since they started one row behind us. As we got out a little bit we saw Justin Reese, we made the pass on him and now we were sitting third as long as we could hold off the Poor Boys. We bombed through the desert and flew through guacamole and headed to the finish. As we crossed the finish we just sat and counted down the seconds as we saw them coming in. In the end, they were 41 seconds behind us, extremely close but it was just enough time to secure our third-place finish. It was awesome to have both of us finish right with one another, both cars are extremely fast and very comparable and I can’t tell you how cool it is to have team cars that can hang with each other and push one another.
To back up our finish and podium from last year with another finish and podium is just awesome! We want to thank our entire crew ( Dirty Chonies Race Support), I say it all the time but I can always say with certainty that we have the largest and the best group of people follow us around to all these races. It is with their support that we can continue this dream and have the confidence to keep pushing this car further and further to find just how fast it will go. We also need to thank every one of our marketing partners that supply us with what we need to keep kicking ass!! Next race is the Ultra4 Stampede and we still need to sort of some cosmetic fixes, so the car is ready to go, see everyone there!