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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 pre-runner and 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 from Primm.

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 70’s.

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 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.

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 space.

Special thanks to our sponsors: www.solarracing.com/sponsors

For more information:
please feel free to contact us directly at info@solarracing.com or 760-750-1907.

UPCOMING RACES: Vegas to Reno & Baja 1000

Mark Handley
Solar Racing
Team Owner/Driver

For Sponsorship Information, contact:
  Mark Handley (760) 750-1905

Next Race:
June 5-7 2009: Baja 500

2009 News:
10/25: Score: We're back & Racing the Baja 500

News Archives:
10/25: BitD: HT400 Deciding Race of Season
10/24: SCORE: 18 True Grit Drivers Remain
10/20: SCORE: 300 Baja 1000 Entries Expected
10/17: Solar: Help-U-Sell Sponsorship
10/10: SCORE: Legendary Baja 1000
10/06: SCORE: Baja 1000 Draw
09/30: Solar: Bay Club Sponsorship
09/23: SCORE: 2006 Schedule Announced
09/22: SCORE: Baja 500 Prime Time Special
09/19: SCORE: NBC & OLN TV Schedule
09/16: Solar: Primm 300 Race Recap
09/16: Solar: Nevada Desert Takes Its Toll
09/15: SCORE: Point Leaders after Primm
09/13: Solar: Prime Synthetics Sponsorship
09/12: SCORE: Collins Captures Overall
09/12: SCORE: Primm 300 Notes & Quotes
09/07: BitD: Vegas To Reno Letter & Updates
08/24: Solar: Lincoln Electric Sponsorship
05/27: SCORE: Final Races to Appear on TV
03/25: SOLAR: Another Magazine Appearance

News Archives



For Finance Information, contact:

Mark Handley (760) 613-3122

For Sponsorship Information, contact:
Mark Handley (760) 613-3122

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