Steele Survives First Round Monster Mudder and Borrows Truck in Round Two June 5, 2008 (Madison, WI) - Keith Steele and his Monster Energy backed Goodyear Tire Chevy Silverado came to Wheatland, Missouri and battled the weather conditions, ...
Steele Survives First Round Monster Mudder and Borrows Truck in Round Two
June 5, 2008 (Madison, WI) - Keith Steele and his Monster Energy backed Goodyear Tire Chevy Silverado came to Wheatland, Missouri and battled the weather conditions, mechanical issues, and the fierce competition among some of the nation's top full-size two wheel drive short course drivers. The layout of the .7 mile off-road course consisted of several jumps, a tricky rhythm section, a high speed back straightaway, and a multiple groove banked corner. This highly technical track brought all aspects of off-road racing to center stage for the enthusiastic Missouri fans to enjoy.
Saturday afternoon, the scheduled practice sessions went off without a hitch. Keith Steele and his crew made a few chassis adjustments and were ready to get racing. Shortly after practice, the rains began to fall. Undaunted, the Missouri race fans began filling up the main grandstands and all the skyboxes. Eventually the rain stopped, and the race program got underway about two and half hours behind schedule.
The Super Truck division was the first group on the track. The course workers did whatever they could to remove the standing water and minimize the mud on the track. Unfortunately the way to dry out the track was to go racing. This meant the Super Truck racers had the task of racing and drying out the track, while still putting on a great show for the large crowd that waited through the rain.
The track was so slippery, the two wheel drive Super Trucks had a difficult time lining up on the slightly banked front straightaway. Eventually the green flag fell and the Super Trucks went racing, immediately Keith Steele and his #229 Monster Energy Chevy battled with #210 Ross Hoek for second position. The two trucks fought traction problems and poor visibility as they went back and forth for the position. Then rain began to fall on the final lap as well. At the finish Keith Steele brought the Goodyear Tire Silverado across the finish, about 800 pounds heavier, and in third place.
Afterwards, WSORR officials cancelled the rest of Saturday's racing as a huge thunderstorm was moving through the area. The remainder of the first round races would be held in the morning before Sunday's scheduled second round festivities.
Just before the second race round of the Super Truck division. Keith brought out his truck to compete in the PRO-2WD division. Last year, Keith entered the PRO-2WD race and finished third against the higher horsepower trucks.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the case in 2008. Shortly after the start, the ring and pinion failed, ending the race and possibly the weekend for Keith Steele and his team.
Without enough time to replace the ring and pinion, Stock Truck competitor, Eric Ruppel, offered Keith the use of his truck. Ruppel's Stock Truck is heavier and typically slower than most Super Trucks, but Keith needed to garner as many points as possible to stay in the hunt for the season end championship.
The start saw Keith lineup the Ruppel's #837 stock truck at the back of the starting grid. Once green flag racing had begun, Keith initially drove around at a modest pace staying out of any trouble. Then as the race went on, a few competitors dropped out and Eric gave Keith the green light to push a little harder with the truck. At the finish, it paid off, as Keith came across the finish in fourth place.
"I can't thank Eric Ruppel enough," exclaimed Keith Steele. "The ring and pinion breaking before today's Super Truck race was a blessing in disguise. If I hadn't gone out for PRO-2WD, the ring and pinion would have broke right away during our Super Truck race. The result would have given the team very few points. Last night's race was one of survival, we wanted to finish higher, but we are pretty happy with our spot on the podium. Saturday night's track conditions and all the mud all over the truck definitely attributed to the part failure. Thanks to my crew for all their work this weekend and thanks again to Eric Ruppel and his team."
After two rounds of racing, Keith Steele is in fourth place in the 2008 WSORR Super Truck standings, just ten points out of the lead.
The next race for Steele Off-Road Racing is the Forest County Potawotomi Brush Run, June 21-22, in Crandon, Wisconsin.
One footnote, about an hour after Keith finished competing round two, Eric Ruppel went out and finished third in regular Stock Truck division.