BITD: Lugo/Olliges/Swift Racing Team Mesquite weekend summary

LUGO\OLLIGES\SWIFT RACING ROARS TO TRICK TRUCK VICTORY AT BEST IN THE DESERT SILVER STATE 300 Mesquite, Nevada (September 27, 2008). Over 300 miles of awe inspiringly scenic but brutally unforgiving terrain, Team Ford ...


Mesquite, Nevada (September 27, 2008). Over 300 miles of awe inspiringly scenic but brutally unforgiving terrain, Team Ford #1 drivers Steve Olliges and John Swift out ran some of fastest off road racers on earth to capture their first win of the year in the unlimited Trick Truck class. The reigning Best in the Desert Trick Truck champions held off a furious charge from class points leaders Jerry Whelchel and Chet Huffman, whose lone flat was likely the difference in the win, as the Lugo owned, Stewart Raceworks built and prepared Ford F150 finished less than 3 minutes ahead of the Huffman Motorsports entry. Despite running at a blistering pace for 6 hours and reaching speeds of over 120 mph, Olliges and Swift had another flawless day in their BF Goodrich shod, Patton Motors powered truck, which has finished every mile of every race both this season and last.

"What a great race we had with everyone this weekend," said Olliges, who owns Team Ford in Las Vegas. "We had our best qualifying effort ever with a second in class on Thursday, finishing a few seconds behind Jerry Whelchel, who everyone knows is super fast. We were feeling really good about our chances for a first place finish in Trick

Truck in the race, and thought with our "secret weapon" John Swift driving the last portion, we might even be able to chase down the buggies for an overall. We just missed and ended up with a 5th overall." Sam Berri in a Class 1500 Unlimited Buggy claimed the best 4 wheel overall time both in the race and in qualifying, and won the Team Ford Pole award, pocketing the $1000 cash prize for the second time in his career. Berri and Olliges are both in contention for the 2008 BITD King of the Desert Championship, awarded at the end of the year to the driver who is the fastest to finish every race mile of the season.

"I am just so happy that John is racing with us again. He is not only one of the fastest and winningest off road racers ever, but also he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet." Olliges' and Swift's last win together was over 10 years ago, when they were teammates on the legendary Ford Rough Rider team. During those years, Olliges became the winningest stock full driver in history and Swift compiled a record as one of the best off road racers ever, capturing countless wins and multiple championships in both his Ford Rangers and the dominant Ford Explorer. Under the Swift Racing banner ( John, along with son Jonathon and Andy Waters, is the reigning unlimited minitruck champion in BITD class 7200 and their team currently leads the points chase after another win the Silver State 300 in their identically painted Team Ford Ranger.

"I want to first thank Wayne and Steve for giving me the opportunity to race with them this year. There is nothing like driving a 700 or 800 horsepower Trick Truck, and this one that Craig Stewart built is really a rocket," said Swift, who is no stranger to the podium. "We made a couple of changes during testing in preparation for this tight, technical and fast course, which this really truck likes. Steve's driving style is well suited to this type of course, and I really liked it too."

Based on their qualifying positions, the #1 started three minutes after Whelchel in the #40. "Steve had a great race all morning with Whelchel and they exchanged the lead a few times. When I got in, we were leading slightly but were second physically on the course. I got stuck for awhile behind a buggy that was a little slower than us, and after I got around him, I decided to stay within a couple minutes of Huffman all the way to the finish to ensure the class win," Swift reported, abandoning any chance for the overall. "My son Jonathon got a chance to ride with me at the end and he was a great help too. I had a blast in the truck with him and after I found out that our Ranger won too with Andy driving to the checkered...well.It was a really good weekend for all of the Team Ford trucks."

-credit: l/o/s racing

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