BITD: Team 71 Racing Vegas to Reno summary

Rick D. Johnson Earns Third Place Overall at Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno "The Long Way Race" Testing the endurance and determination of even the most experienced teams, Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno "The Long Way Race" hosted ...

Rick D. Johnson Earns Third Place Overall at Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno "The Long Way Race"

Testing the endurance and determination of even the most experienced teams, Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno "The Long Way Race" hosted an impressive field of over 250 entries for the longest point-to point race in the United States.

Looking to defend the overall and the class win from last year's Vegas to Reno, the General Tire/Lucas Oil sponsored Team 71 Racing Trick Truck took to the silty Nevada desert in search of a repeat performance. Qualifying for the 14th starting position, Rick D. Johnson and co-driver, Brian Sallee, maintained a consistent pace and despite a minor alternator repair, were able to gain two positions after the first day of competition. As the three day battle heated up, Rick continued to work his way through the field, running a nearly flawless race and finishing in the fourth position during the second stage. The final day of competition found the Team 71 Racing Trick Truck in a three-way battle for first place and with the hopes of clenching consecutive wins in the longest point-to-point race North of the Baja border. After running what Johnson described as nothing less than a "phenomenal" race, the General Tire/Lucas Oil sponsored truck claimed the third place overall with a total finishing time of 18 hours and 39 seconds.

Team 71 Racing's remarkable third place showing at this year's Vegas to Reno "The Long Way Race" adds to the team's already outstanding season. Claiming podium finishes (including two wins) in the last four races entered this year, it would seem as though Rick D. Johnson is an almost unstoppable force in the unlimited truck class for the 2009 season.

"Coming off a controversial win at the SCORE Baja 500, I have to admit I was anxious to race Vegas to Reno. I recognize there were a lot of mixed feelings regarding the penalties and how the final results played out so it was a rather unfulfilled and bittersweet victory. Preparing for this race, I was hopeful we could repeat last year's showing and rightfully claim the top finishing position again. Our final day battle with McMillin and Herbst was close, but racing is racing and I am content with our third place finish.," commented Rick D. Johnson on his performance at Vegas to Reno's "The Long Way Race."

As Team 71 Racing prepares for the final few competitions of 2009, Myrl Akerman, team owner and manager, is excited to announce their plans for the remainder of the race season. "With the full backing of General Tire and the generous support of our sponsors, Team 71 Racing will join forces with Lucas Oil/General Tire sponsored short-course superstar, Carl Renezeder, for this year's SCORE Baja 1000. This match-up will undoubtedly pair two off-road racing professionals from completely diverse competition backgrounds into one dynamic driving team. We are very excited about this partnership and look forward to this year's legendary Baja 1000," remarked Akerman.

Team 71 Racing's will be back in the desert for the 42nd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 in Ensenada, B.C., Mexico on November 19 - 22, 2009.

-credit: t71r

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