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Best in the Desert heads to Pahrump for last race of season

Off-road racing will return to the valley at the end of this month.

The Pahrump Nugget 250 races through the valley on Dec. 2 and will be the last race for the Best in the Desert Racing Association for the 2017 season.

Fans will get to see some of their favorite drivers race through the valley, like Jason Voss, who took first at the Vegas to Reno race this year and won the SCORE International Baja 1000 last year. Last year the race was won by Trick Truck racer Clyde Stacy out of Bristol, Virginia. Voss came in second.

Voss and Rob MacCachren will be going for another win at Baja this year, which started on Thursday. Voss is currently going for the Best in the Desert Racing Association championship and has 534 points going into the last race. Adam Householder is next with 488 points. A win could seal the deal for Voss.

The race will attract around 160 off-road racers (cars/trucks/UTVs) and will start in Johnnie and finish at the Pahrump Nugget. Residents will notice a surge of visitors to the town (an extra 3,000 people). Expect delays on Highway 95 between Beatty and Pahrump on Dec. 2 as the racers will follow Highway 95 part of the way.

Pahrump residents will also notice a surge of activity in the mornings at the gas pumps and convenience stores. Also, if people are looking for hotel rooms in town for that weekend, they are sold out. Rooms went for as much as $220 at Best Western per night, according to Expedia.com.

The racers will get a police escort from the Pahrump Nugget to the start at Johnnie and will cover some 255 miles through parts of Amargosa Valley. The race comes within a quarter-mile of Yucca Mountain.

Polaris, a longtime sponsor of off-road racing, said the race truly showcases the performance and passion of off-road racing.

“As a longtime partner of Best in the Desert, we are thrilled to present the 2017 Pahrump Nugget 250,” Matt Boone, marketing manager for Polaris said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Best in the Desert, and we wish our racers the best of luck and a repeat of last year’s dominating performance.”

This is the second running of the race since its return after a nine-year hiatus. Donald Jackson, the operations manager for Best in the Desert, is excited about the last race of the season.

“There are many class championships on the line and we can’t wait to see who will be displaying that very prestigious number one plate next year,” Jackson said. “The 250-mile racecourse will offer many new challenges for you. There will be seven pits for cars, trucks and UTV’s with easy access for your support crews.

“The Pre-Fun Run is a one-day event on Nov. 29. We’ve moved the pre-run from Thanksgiving weekend and hope to see more of you there this year. The time trials for Trick Trucks and Class 1500 will be on Nov. 30, and the draw for start positions is on Nov. 15.”

According to Howard Stutz, director of corporate communications for Golden Gaming, events surrounding the race take place Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 with the hotel-casino hosting several pre-race and post-race activities, including the Welcome Party on Nov. 30 and the Contingency and Tech Inspection on Dec. 1.

“Last year’s race was a tremendous success for everyone involved and the Pahrump Nugget was pleased to play a part in returning off-road racing to the area,” said Pahrump Nugget General Manager Jeremy Jenson. “Off-road racing has a rich history in Pahrump and we’re happy the legacy has continued.”

The inspection of their cars prior to the race provides fans with a great opportunity to talk to racers and take photos of their cars. Another opportunity for viewing the cars will be on race day. The parade out to the start line at Johnnie will also provide a good opportunity to see the racers, cars, and trucks. Johnnie is also an official viewing place. (Start times of the race to be announced.)

The Pahrump Nugget serves as the finish line for the race and that also is a good place to view racers.

Russ Turner, fall advertising and marketing spokesman, said the race will be a loop and a chase-style race. Turner defined a chase race.

“A chase race is usually a long distance point-to-point, like Vegas to Reno, or a long single-loop race, like the Pahrump race will be, as opposed to a short, multi-lap race, like the recent Blue Water Desert Challenge race in Parker,” Turner said.

“The ‘chase’ refers to the race support crew being able to follow, or chase their entered race vehicle from pit stop to pit stop. That offers the race team an option to having a stationary pit crew at each pit.”

Another exciting aspect of this race will be the finish, which will be in the parking lot of the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino. To celebrate this finish, the Nugget will have a beer garden in the parking lot from noon until 7 p.m.

Contact sports at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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