Mike Ryan & Chris Miller Racing Break At Baja 1000!
Bahia de Los Angeles, Mexico- After attending the largest SEMA show in history in Las Vegas Nevada, Mike Ryan and navigator Tony Deno of Stewart Raceworks joined members of the Chris Miller Racing Team to compete for the first time in the Baja 1000. Known as the most dangerous race in the world, less than half of all racers finish the race.
Truck owner, Chris Miller drove off of the start sometime after 11:00 am with stunt man Brent Fletcher in the navigator seat. Fletcher and Miller switched positions at the first fuel stop at the Ojo's Negros. After spending several hours caught up in the bottleneck at the silt beds, they finally got back underway. The next obstacle was the white out on the El Diablo dry lakebed. The lake has minimal markers that were obscured in the dust. Finally arriving at the Baja-Pits pit stop in Bay of LA around 12:45 a weary Fletcher and Miller climbed out covered in silt and muck.
At the early hour of 1:00 am Ryan and Deno jumped in the #266 Miller Racing/Ivan Stewart ProTruck in Bahia de Los Angeles at mile marker 377 six hours later than expected. They had a quick run to their first pit. As they pulled in the low oil light came on and it was discovered they were 3 quarts down and the air filter was blocked by silt. There were no oil leaks anywhere on the truck which meant that the engine was burning the oil as it got past the rings or valve guides. With full oil, Ryan and Deno sped off once again into the dark for another three or four miles when a connecting rod knock signaled the end of the night for Miller Racing. The chase truck arrived at 11:00 am for the 40 -mile tow to the highway crossing at El Arco.
Unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances led to an early demise from a well-intended effort. Miller's new engine wasn't finished in time to be installed in the truck, which meant the race was started with an engine that had run in the Baja 500 and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The bottom line was that we learned a lot about Baja this week. Miller's success as a college basketball star, Fletcher and Ryan's years of racing and stunt work in Hollywood along with Ryan's nine wins at Pikes Peak didn't make the engine live any longer.
There has already been hours of conversation about next year and what it will take to ensure a finish next time. "Needless to say, we are hooked on the event, the challenge and the friendliness of the people of Baja. We'll be back." Ryan said.
NBC will broadcast a one-hour TV special on the Baja 1000 that airs on December 10th, 2006 at 11:30 PST. In addition Spyglass Entertainment is producing a full-length feature film.