Reinertson Johnson Racing takes home class honors at the BAJA 500! After a sixth place finish at the Best in the Desert -- Parker 425, RJR Racing was looking to get back on the podium in Baja. The team spent several weekends prerunning the rough...
Reinertson Johnson Racing takes home class honors at the BAJA 500!
After a sixth place finish at the Best in the Desert -- Parker 425, RJR Racing was looking to get back on the podium in Baja. The team spent several weekends prerunning the rough and sometimes narrow 424-mile trek through northern Baja California. The 2006 edition of this historic race saw a record 438 entries take the green flag with only 238 making it to the finish within the 18-hour time limit. Among the entries were 15 Protruck competitors, and every team had the ability to take the class win.
Race day had Rob Reinertson start the race, with Rick Johnson taking over at mile 211 -El Coyote at Checkpoint 3. At the start the truck was working quite well. The suspension changes the team made after the Parker event allowed the truck to use all the power the Ford engine offered. As the team made its way to El Coyote, the number of people lining the course was overwhelming. The Mexican Tourism officials announced that over 200,000 spectators were spread out along the entire route.
During the first half of the race Rob ran into a traffic bottleneck at mile 40 and later just before the driver change at mile 208. Several competitors broke down in areas where passing was extremely difficult causing the slowdowns.
At El Coyote the team made the driver change with Rick Johnson take the driving duties for that last 213 miles. The truck performed flawlessly. The only delays Rick experienced were three more bottlenecks and running out of fuel at mile 399. Fortunately their last pit area was just up the road. Quickly a chase team got them the needed VP Racing fuel and headed for the finish.
At the finish, Rob Reinertson and Rick Johnson were the fastest Protruck to finish. The#234 came home in 12:46:56 (33.19mph). The second place Protruck of Robbie Pierce finished over 25 minutes behind Reinertson Johnson Racing.
"As soon as we hit the dirt I knew we had set the Bilstein equipped suspension dialed in. Our Ford F-150 really handled the tight Pine Forest trail perfectly. Each time we stopped for service, all we did was gas and go. Even the driver change went without a hitch, -- commented Rob Reinertson.
"When I got in the truck, everything was running as planned. The bottlenecks were frustrating, but practically everyone in the class had to put up with it. We ran out of fuel just short of our pit at Ojos Negros (Checkpoint 5), fortunately we got on the radio and the guys got us gassed up for the short run to the finish. The Yokohama tires were just incredible, not a single flat all day," added Rick Johnson.
Next event, June 28 -- July 2, Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Colorado Springs, Colorado.