BITD: Mongo Racing Terrible's Town 250 summary

Mongo Racing finishes "Terrible's Town 250" The Best In The Desert "Terrible's Town 250," held in scenic Pahrump, NV was round two in the five-race BITD season. The events began early Friday, April 23, 2004, morning with time trials. Teams...

Mongo Racing finishes "Terrible's Town 250"

The Best In The Desert "Terrible's Town 250," held in scenic Pahrump, NV was round two in the five-race BITD season. The events began early Friday, April 23, 2004, morning with time trials. Teams were competing for the top 20 starting positions and/or starting position in class. Mongo Racing's Driver Randy Merritt said, while watching the time trials, "our truck is competitive but we like our starting position and will wait to show everyone what we have tomorrow. Since the BITD Blue Water Resort & Casino "Parker 425," we changed just a few parts and since then we have been testing, tuning, testing and tuning. The 2004 FORD F-150 truck is race ready and we're confident our plan is to finish and take notes and learn more about this truck." Next on the schedule was contingency and technical inspection.

Contingency was bustling with race vehicles, racers and race fans. With trucks, cars, motorcycles and quads, there was something for everyone. While in the crowd at contingency Chris Golding, Co-rider and lead technician, said, "BITD is a class act with everything on time and conducted professionally. Our truck is ready and every time through technical inspection we are pushing BITD to update their rule book to keep up with 2004 Ford's advancements. The new 2004 Ford F-150 has features that make it unique to the class and forcing everyone else to keep up. We are looking forward to each time we take the truck out." After the technical and safety inspections were complete, the 2004 Ford F-150 truck was ready to race, but a stop at the 2004 Ford Trucks contingency display was in order to show off the truck and answer questions about the truck.

Race Day, Saturday April 24, 2004, looked to be a great day to race across the desert, teaming man and machine against the environment. The day began at 7 a.m. for Mongo Racing with a team meeting and Crew Chiefs Steve Solaiza and Steve Draper ensuring everything was checked, including all fluids, tire and shock pressures, water jug for the driver and co-rider, brakes and pitting. Both Steve Solaiza and Steve Draper stated, "if every one on the team doesn't know what's happening then there's confusion, we don't want that and it's a peace of mind to know we all can work together. The team headed off to the pits and Randy and Chris headed off to the starting line in the escorted parade through the City of Pahrump. The Mongo Racing 2004 Ford F-150 was 6th off the line in class and 69th over all, leaving the starting line at 10:38 a.m. The truck handles different terrain differently and driver Randy Merritt and Chris Golding chose to take the rough section slow and save the truck for later in the race. After allowing the Class 8100 2004 Ford truck of Mars Racing Driven by Mike Harris to pass them in this section, Randy and Chris were back into it and soon caught back up to Mike just before the first road crossing. At the first pit, Chris radioed in that the rear end was making a growling noise on deceleration. With an extended stay in the first pit, the rear end noise was fixed and the Mongo Racing 2004 Ford F-150 was back into the race, but 1 hour and 15 minutes down to the leader Charlie McDowell.

At mile marker 71, Chris radioed in they had been down for about 5 minutes changing a flat tire, but everything else was fine. Passing Class 8100 Hummer of Eric Henn out in the desert, the Mongo Racing 2004 Ford F-150 was again back in 6th position on the track. With a quick stop at pit 2 for a new spare tire, the Mongo Racing 2004 Ford F-150 was back on the track and making up time on the others in the class, but still was 1 hour and 22 minutes behind the leader.

The team watched at pit three as Randy pushed the new 2004 Ford F-150 to the limits through desert trying to catch anyone in the class. At pit 4, the crew decided to stop the truck and fuel to ensure Randy and Chris would not be left out in the desert wondering why, because of the changes made to the truck since the Parker race. The team was not sure on fuel mileage. At the pit was the Class 8100 truck of Mike Harris out with problems, the Mongo Racing 2004 Ford F-150 was now running 5th on the track.

By pit 5, Steve Draper had calculated the team had enough fuel in the truck to finish the race and drive to Las Vegas. Steve passed the information on the Randy and Chris as they passed through the silt impressing all that watched.

Before pit 6, Chris radioed in that there was a banging noise in the truck, but could not tell from where it was coming. About a half mile before the pit, the truck hit on more large whoop and broke the second main leaf on the passenger side of the truck. Realizing this Randy slowly made his way to the pit where the crew was waiting. The Mongo Racing crew went to work immediately removing the broken spring pack and replacing it with a stock 2004 Ford F-150 spring pack. Less than 25 minutes later Randy and Chris were back on the track, Chris radioed in that they were going to finish and that they were going to go slower to ensure it. Randy soon changed his mind. He began picking up the pace and could not tell the difference in the truck, so when Chris radioed in they were back up to full speed the crew was happy and went on to pit seven to watch as Randy and Chris passed by.

The Mongo Racing crew followed the Mongo Racing 2004 Ford F-150 from the highway as the truck passed through the final pit and made its way to the finish line. Randy and Chris finished the race passing six more vehicles in the last 33 miles as the truck was still working as well as it started the race.

Finishing 5th in class and 62nd overall Randy Merritt and the entire Mongo Racing crew were enthusiastic about a second top 5 finish in their new 2004 2004 Ford F-150. Randy stated, "to have the newest truck in the desert and finish its first two races is an achievement in it's self and shows the dedication this team and 2004 Ford has for this truck. With the problems we had today, we learned a lot. Just some aftermarket parts that had problems keeping up with this tough built 2004 Ford. However, I cannot say enough for everyone who has helped and we expected to have a few problems today, we are still testing and tuning. With out the problems today we were a top three truck in class, but we still haven't reached the potential of this truck."

-mr-

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