The 2020 V2R was interesting to say the least… But man, what a ride. As all of you know, most of our race season has been cancelled or postponed due to C19. So with that being said we were pretty sure that V2R was on the chopping block and not meant for a green light.Well we were wrong lol. With a little more than a week to spare the BLM gave the final go ahead on the race and the frantic prep and planning followed. Last minute flights, hotels, you name it, we had it.

The trip down went exceptionally well and we made it through tech among the first few cars and were done around 9:30am if I remember. Now while this was nice it wasn’t without fault…normally we enjoy contingency as it is one of the best parts of the big events like this. This one was different as you had to essentially trailer your race car through, vendors were limited and masks were required even outside… Combine this with record breaking Vegas heat and it turned into an interesting day. After we got done with tech we realized we had a cooling issue to work out so the trips to Home Depots “racing dept” began as the team made quick work of tearing the car down in the parking lot. Topping it all off LVMPD came in at 3pm and did a full shut down of the event due to complaints from the public, cutting off an already ridiculously planned gathering of racers. Now this didn’t negatively effect our team since we were done but it did put some major stress on the BITD.

A little sheet metal and some duct work did the trick and we were ready to go test. Now since we couldn’t be anywhere near the course we headed south to the dry lake beds off of HWY95. Hotter that hades and dry as can be we unloaded and made a few pass’s, it was then we realized the car was as ready as it could be. Fast forward through the night and its was time to go racing.

Race day: A very relaxed morning had us focused and ready to get in the car and start our journey north. Tim and I were able to stay focus’d and calm until we started over an hour behind schedule and stuck in the car without support at the start line. It was so hot that the iPad we used for LeadNav shut down before the race due to heat. We were 61st off the line and started off with zero visibility and mile after mile of silt and dust. We began making up positions almost immediately while working our way to pit 1. We began to get into the groove after a clean drive through P1 and then hit our first snag. We had come through a bad rock section and picked up a rock that wedged itself between the inner driver CV and the frame. We stopped so Tim could try and find it but he missed it as it was hard to see and decided to proceed knowing we might cause some damage. A few miles later it had worked itself out so we were back at speed. Coming into our first fuel stop the crew led but our crew chief Joe Pavone straight killed it and the gave us a good bill of health and we were quickly back out on the track. The next issue we ran into was our exhaust V-band clamp and flange snapped off our muffler and we required another quick repair in the pits but luckily we had a spare and were back up and running with very little down time. Now we were feeling pretty good and moving comfortably through P6 where we did our driver change and I hopped in the right seat to assist Tim in our drive to the finish.

One of the things that slowed us down at the Mint400 was tire damage (among other things) and here at V2R neither Tim or I had to get out to change a tire or a belt… We did take a tire in the pit after one of the crew spotted a nail in a tire so they swapped it for good measure. Now while I can’t say its a pleasant or comfortable drive across the desert in a race car I can with confidence say I ABSOLUTELY fell more in love with Nevada… The views on views are nothing short of spectacular and awe inspiring to say the least. Driving into the night the team continued to nail every single stop and had us back out faster than we anticipated. Hour after hour and silt beds that never seem to end we fought over and over again for positions and by the time we made it to P12 we had snapped the exhaust yet again… Now this time it took Joe and Ryan about 20-30 min to “repair” it and send us home.

Tim handled the terrain and desert at night like a seasoned driver and as we made our way to the finish we started to reflect on our journey and it became apparent I was living a life long dream with arguably my oldest and one of my closest friends I will ever have in this life. How was it that a couple of kids from a small town most have never even heard of managed to evolve into a position that we now have a race program and are competing with the best in the world. Why this topic is another blog in its own I can say I’m proud of our accomplishments as friends, professionals and as a team. These accomplishments couldn’t be had without the continued help from our families, sponsors and crew.

So as we approach the 500 mile mark it stared to become oddly emotional for me as we can now practically taste the finish line… Tim makes great work of the very rocky and freshly rained on desert and its so incredibly dark its hard to explain.. That reminds me, we had lost one of our very important Baja Designs lights just before dark and the other was hanging on by a thread (zip ties) and pointed into the night sky. We ended up just calling it the “Bat signal” As we clip off the final few miles of our journey its quite surreal what we had just done as we have had a stoke of bad luck in previous races this season with parts failures that had kept us from a finish. Tim is now getting a little excited and is starting to speed up lol, as we make the last hill climb a sigh of relief came over me as we can see the stadium lights of the finish. It was then that we heard a loud noise and the right rear of the car dropped and it was clear we had broke something or lost a tire. At this point we knew we had already made it and we had no intentions of stopping so we kept on knowing that whatever was broke wasn’t keeping us from this finish and we limped Ares into the stadium and across the finish line. Our goal was to just have a clean day and get a finish as we needed it more than anything. We got it. Waiting at the finish line was most of our support crew from the day and even a few friends that made it there to see us cross. It was spectacular and intoxicating…

In closing we can’t have a team without everyones help that makes it all possible, honestly driving the car is easy. It’s the countless hours of prep and help by the crew that really makes it possible. As always thank you to Bikeman Performance, SkyHigh Car Audio, Bombshell Gear, Super ATV, KMC Wheels, BFG Tires, PRP seats, and countless others Im currently forgetting. We hope this year is done dishing out the punches and we can get back on track. Hopefully we can get it dialed sooner but our next scheduled race will be in Havasu at the World Championships In Oct. Thank you.

Rob-