BITD: Nevada 1000: SMD Motorsports race summary

Heber's SMD Motorsports proved their drivers, pit crew and vehicles are "Built Ford Tough" during Best in the Desert's Nevada 1,000. The 1,000 is a grueling three-day off-road race through 1,000 miles of silty desert wasteland and treacherous ...

Heber's SMD Motorsports proved their drivers, pit crew and vehicles are "Built Ford Tough" during Best in the Desert's Nevada 1,000.

The 1,000 is a grueling three-day off-road race through 1,000 miles of silty desert wasteland and treacherous mountain passes.

Both the SMD Powerstroke Excursion and the team's Ford Pro Truck finished the race strong, matching or besting the times of their competitors on the final two days of racing.

Finishing was quite a feat as more than a hundred racers conked out, unable to make it to the end of what's billed as the longest off-road race in North America.

Some of the most astounding performances of the weekend were turned in by the Excursion's powerful yet cool-running Powerstroke motor and the BF Goodrich tires on both vehicles, according to Matt and David Scaroni of SMD Motorsports.

Despite temperatures topping out at 110 degrees the Navistar-International Excursion never ran hot.

Despite razor sharp rocks in their path and prickly shrubbery all along the course, the team didn't blow a tire. "No flats at all," David said.

Matt Scaroni said, "The Excursion ran really well the whole weekend. Nothing broke on it."

David Scaroni made his debut behind the wheel of the big black Nextel Wireless-sponsored SUV.

He was amazed at how well it handled.

During stretches, the Nevada 1,000 course wound through tight mountain passes as racers made their way from just outside of Las Vegas to Ely.

"Sometimes your hitting trees on both sides," David said.

The Excursion was able to make it through passes that claimed a number of racers due to its amazing steering capacity.

"It turns as tight as our Pro Truck," Matt Scaroni said.

He should know. At past races, Matt has driven the big ole Excursion.

During this race, Scaroni drove the Pro Truck, sharing time behind the wheel with Scott Steinberger, a five-time season champion and John Cole of Elite Auto.

David Scaroni, Tommy Watson of El Centro and Steve Scaroni handled the Excursion.

David was awed by the huge amounts of torque easily turned out by the Excursion when the team plowed it through silty spots of the course that made like quicksand.

In the next few weeks, the team will review its performance during those stretches and pass that information on to Ford designers.

The team has done such a good job of such testing and engineering development that Ford Motor Company recently awarded the team the 2001 Truck Motorsports Technical Team Achievement Award.

"It's the only technical achievement award in all of Ford Development and Ford Racing," Matt said.

According to Keith Takasawa and William Osborne of Ford, "Steve Scaroni of SMD Motorsports and Dave Currie of Ford have worked extensively with Navistar-International personnel to transform a stock Excursion into a viable competitor. The truck has raced in five events with a best finish of second (not including the strong finish at the Nevada 1,000.) Given the learning curve workig with a new vehicle this is a great record."

SMD's Matt and David are ready to do even better.

They said the team, including crew chiefs, "Holtville's Own" Rod Goodsell and Mark Cowen of El Cajon, showed great resiliency at the Nevada race, setting the stage for future success.

The next race for the SMD Pro Truck is the upcoming Henderson 250.

-smd-

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Series Offroad