Randy Merritt and Mongo Racing start's strong and holds on for finish.
The inaugural 2010 Best In The Desert "Blue Water Desert Challenge" in Parker Arizona on October 15-17, 2010 was the place to be. The sun was out for this race in Parker, Arizona as 187 race vehicles took to the track. The 27 mile desert track BITD mapped out had almost a little of everything with a lot of sand.
The "Blue Water Desert Challenge" is the second car and truck race in Parker this year, but brought many new challenges. The first event scheduled for Mongo Racing during this race was the "Town of Parker Downtown Experience" where many of the residents and racers mixed and mingled in the block party like event held on Thursday afternoon.
After Friday's contingency held at the Blue Water Resort and Casino Randy Merritt was ready to go racing. Randy Merritt said, "I can't wait for the green light this weekend, we are only 13 points behind the leader in the points championship and we are ready to go racing." "We have signed on with General Tires since Vegas to Reno and I am excited to see what these tires can do, the new General Grabbers look awesome and in testing showed great potential with our set-up."
Randy Merritt in the KC Hilites Ford F-150 prepped by Mongo Racing was scheduled to start second in class during the second heat on Saturday October 16, 2010. At the starting line Randy was moved into the number 1 class starting position as racers started side by side and would hold that position for the first two laps.
Randy Merritt and his co-rider Chris Golding took the green light shortly after 9 am and quickly took the lead as the KC Hilites Ford F-150 raced out of the infield into the desert north east of Parker. Randy Merritt held his lead on class for the first two laps as the top three trucks raced a tight race. On the third lap things changed for Randy Merritt and Mongo Racing team. With only 13 miles left to the checkered flag Randy Merritt said he had lost power steering. Randy stopped as Chris checked out the truck, but couldn't find anything noticeably wrong.
After the race Randy Merritt said, "Normally at this point we would have been done, but with these new General tires and differing my driving we decided to go for it."
At the finish line Randy Merritt and the KC Hilites Ford F-150 crossed the line in second place, 3 minutes behind the leader.
Randy Merritt said, "We lost the power steering pump today, but we'll take it back to the shop and get ready for tomorrow."
On Sunday October 17, 2010, Randy Merritt lined up behind the class leader as the classes mixed in accordance with finishing times from Saturday's heat race.
Randy was set to go all out, but plans would soon change. Two miles into Sunday's race Randy's co-rider Chris radioed to the crew the power steering had malfunctioned and was due to loss of hydraulics in the steering rack. Randy decided to race with no power steering for the remaining 75 miles. At the end of the first lap Randy was able to stay with in 4 minutes of the leaders, but opted to pit in an attempt to fix the power steering. In a 3 minute pit stop to attempt to correct the problem the crew braved hot oil and metal to change a check valve. Shortly after Randy was back on track the crew was notified their effort had not changed the handling of the KC Hilites Ford F-150.
Randy Merritt and the KC Hilites Ford F-150 were now 8 minutes behind the leaders and would lose 2 minutes a lap to the leaders as Randy drove without power steering.
At the Finish line Randy Merritt said, "I am exhausted, I drove with both hands on the wheel as Chris shifted the transmission for me. We had never had to do that, but these General Tires held up great and allowed us to drive through the differing terrain without getting stuck. Other than the power steering issues we had a great race."
"This truck raced this weekend with just little prep work done to it after the "Vegas to Reno" race because of our team's schedule, but it has proven to be built Ford tough and the new Optima Batteries have proven to be reliable and very tough as we punish them in the desert as we get start after start with all electronics and KC Lights on this truck," said Randy Merritt.
Randy added, "Our goal is always to win the race, but today is still a good day because we gained points on the leader in the points championship."
Because of this weekends finish, Randy Merritt in the KC Hilites Ford F-150 has a chance at the 2010 BITD Class 8100 points Championship. Randy Merritt and the Mongo Racing team are now looking forward to the next BITD race in Henderson NV December 3-5, 2010 with great anticipation.
-source: Mongo Racing