A grueling finish for the start of the 2006 Pro Truck Season for Lucas Baja Racing The Terrible's Town 250 proved to be eventful for Lucas Baja Racing from start to finish for the Castrol entry. In the end, crossing the finish line was in and of...
A grueling finish for the start of the 2006 Pro Truck Season for Lucas Baja Racing
The Terrible's Town 250 proved to be eventful for Lucas Baja Racing from start to finish for the Castrol entry. In the end, crossing the finish line was in and of itself a victory for the team.
Early into the race, driver, Chris Lucas, lost power steering in the Baja Pro Truck. Man handling the 4,000 pound behemoth of a race truck to pit number one became a monumental task that Lucas was up to through the twisty and rough Nevada desert.
After a quick stop to fix the problem, Lucas and his co-driver Eric Place were soon back in the hunt. "We were steadily picking off car after car that had passed us while we were stopped in the pits," said Lucas.
In one such pass the team strayed off the narrow race course to get a clear view of the best way around another competitor. "The silt brought visibility down to about 50 feet when you were behind someone so you didn't want to stay back there too long. You have to make quite a mental effort to keep you foot on the gas pedal and trust your co- pilot to guide you with the GPS when visibility is that low," said Lucas. The Castrol Truck got around the competition in this case by passing off to the right side of the course where a cactus got tangled in a rear brake line and sheared it off.
With the brakes virtually non-existent on the truck, driving styles were adjusted accordingly to make sure that the truck would make it to the next pit stop for another set of repairs.
"I began calling out hazards and turns a tenth of a mile sooner on the course and Chris did an exceptional job of compensating for our lack of brakes. It was also pretty apropos that we were running on the only part of this Best in the Desert course that was up on a mountain ridge with no brakes," said Place
Again, thanks to the Castrol pit crew, the Baja Pro Truck was back on its way within minutes after capping off the rear brakes. Racing with only front brakes did not slow the team at all. Lucas said, "naturally the rear end of the truck had a tendency to want to come around on us when I used the brakes from this point forward because all of the bias was set to the front. Running with only front brakes seemed like a luxury compared to racing with no brakes at all." After the halfway point in the Terrible's Town 250 this issue became more prominent when the team entered a left hand turn at approximately 50 miles per hour. A combination of deeply rutted desert coupled with the rear end pitching forward under braking led to Lucas and Place flipping the truck over twice. After the dust settled, they were sitting right side up.
"As a co-driver, I just told Chris to keep the truck rolling over until we landed on the wheels," said co-driver Place laughing.
Other than losing the bodywork, the truck still appeared race worthy. Undaunted, the Castrol sponsored team fired the truck back up and motored on towards the finish.
Sixty miles from the finish line, the team was snake bit for the last time. The demanding course combined with the frame of the truck twisting after the "roll over" eventually caused a rear upper control arm to break in half.
"It took a while to get the new parts to us and for us to make the repairs, but we were determined to get a finish for Castrol, Off Road World.Net, Mac Tools, Earl's Indy and all of our other great sponsors," said Place. And that is exactly what the team did! Nine hours and seventeen minutes (9:17:26 exactly) after they started, Lucas and Place crossed the finish line!
"It feels great to finish always sounded cliche to me in the past, but is so true in this case. We had to endure and overcome a lot of obstacles in this race and although we did not win, there was a lot to be proud of in the end" said Chris Lucas.
Next up for the team is the famous Baja 500 in Ensenada, Mexico on June 2nd.
A special segment featuring the Lucas Baja Racing Team was filmed at the Terrible's Town 250 event and will air on the Outdoor Channel in late May. Exact air dates will be announced by the team as soon as they become available.