Race days are always chaotic. It turns even more insane when it’s a point to point race. The 2020 Best in the Desert Casey Folks Vegas to Reno race is the longest race in the United States. Over 500 miles of brutal terrain and some of the roughest racing around, this race does not mess around.
The heat of the day started promptly at seven in the morning. It wasn’t long before everyone at the race was drenched in sweat. What made it even more brutal was the requirement to wear a mask. Remaining safe in the face of this pandemic is what is important, but that didn’t make wearing a mask in the middle of 90 degree weather any more fun.
With qualifying resulting in Justin Lofton in 17th position, the start of the race was important. With a burst of power, Justin’s Badco trick truck jumped off the start line and made his way down the track. He kept up a good pace, getting a flat tire just before Pit 2. His crew swapped out the flat with a brand new tire and he was ready to go.
At Pit 3, Justin stopped for a round of fuel and to swap out two more flat tires. Even with a few stops, he was working his way up the pack. He spent most of the race trading positions with Dan McMillan and Christian Sourapas. After battling his way up the pack, his transmission converter filter blew, sending pieces of metal up into the system. Justin’s race day ended at mile marker 313.
Adrian Orellana’s day didn’t turn out any better. He started in fourth place in the UTV Production class. They didn’t take off until around 11:30am and it was 117 degrees at the start line. Once Adrian got going, he made it into third place by mile marker ten. He spent the next few miles with the pedal to the floor board, making great time. The vehicle ran smoothly and all was well. The race was going so well that at mile marker 50, Adrian had moved into first place in time. While he was still physically in third place, he had made up so much time that he was in first. He kept a good pace and it looked like it was going to be a great race. Unfortunately, the Vegas to Reno track is not known for being merciful.
After hitting a particularly nasty silt bed around mile marker 70, Adrian knew there was some damage to the car done. He wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong, but they hit a hard G out and it caused the vehicle to shut off. Without the Buggy Whip on the back of the UTV, Adrian would have been hit in that silt bed. The visibility was so bad, he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.
They babied the UTV to Pit 4, where Russell Porter - President of Buggy Whip - jumped into the Navigator spot. The crew fixed what they could quickly. The plan was to baby the car to the next pit and take a hard look at what needed to be fixed. They needed to make up for lost time and positions. It was only another ten miles until Adrian and Russell’s day was cut short. They lost power at mile marker 177 and couldn’t start the UTV again.
Vegas to Reno is a rough course. It isn’t known for going easy on people. It is a hot, long, and brutal track that causes more than a few drivers to fall out of the race early. Finishing this race is a feat in and of itself. When a driver is stuck in someone’s dust cloud, broken down in the middle of a silt bed, or still on the course long after the sun has gone down - which are all circumstances drivers face at this race, they should turn to the Buggy Whip. Justin Lofton and Adrian Orellana both trust Buggy Whip on their vehicles. So should you.