Jason Voss says racing has been good to him this year. His team has taken two major races in the Best in the Desert series.
His team won the Vegas to Reno race overall and first in class on Friday. Earlier in the year he won the Parker 450 in Parker, Ariz.
Prior to the race, several drivers voiced opinions on their pole positions and how it affected their race strategy.
Racer Garrick Freitas, the overall winner last year said his team likes to start in the middle of the pack. “The only way you will get past the fast guys is if you catch them in the pits. So if you start from the back more, you have a better chance of passing those guys. We will start today in 17th place,” Freitas said.
Voss had a different opinion, “I would rather start closer to the front. The chance of getting clean air. We are starting from the 12th position. We qualified first but hit a cone and got a 15-second penalty. We had the time and the speed, so that sucks. I would rather start from the front. I don’t like to be in the dust.”
He talked about his well-trained crew and said winning a race like Vegas to Reno takes a lot of prep work.
“We have 20 guys. I don’t really think it makes too much difference in how much money you have. It’s all in the prep for the car and the planning and the logistics. If the truck is prepped right at the shop, we don’t need a whole army out here,” he said.
This was Voss’s fourth year attempting Vegas to Reno in the Trick-Truck Class. Before that he raced in the Pro-Truck Class.
Voss’s team came through on Friday. His truck had no major mechanical problems the entire race.
He took advantage of the pole positioning early and slowly passed his competition. He said it “took a lot of patience.” By the time he hit pit 8 near Tonopah, he found himself in fourth place.
“We had a minor mechanical problem at mile 13 and two racers passed us. We had to pull over. It was just a minute and 45 seconds and then we were on the road again. This dropped us back to 14th,” he said.
Voss said his biggest holdup was slower cars.
“We got stuck behind one of the class-one cars in the beginning and that’s where we had to be patient,” Voss said. “I didn’t want to pass on the rocks or the bushes, and get a flat tire or rip off some suspension. So, we were patient until about mile 275. At that point, the leaders were about to get further and further from us. We decided it was go-time and we decided to take all the stops out.”
He said some guys were easy to pass because they got flat tires. That was the big difference this year for him. His truck had no flats.
He said he knew he had a chance of winning when he neared the finish.
“It was really there at the end, where I could look across the valley and see Jesse Jones who was the physical leader out in the distance,” the winner said.
Voss described the last part of his race, “We chased him all the way up until we were right in his dust for the last 20 miles going into the finish line. I knew if we finished right in his dust we had it. He crossed in front of us and we crossed right behind him, but we took the win on corrected time.”
This can happen because Jones started in front of Voss, so the Voss team gets a time credit if they finish right behind Jones.
“Once I saw them in front, our pit crew told us we were only six minutes behind them physically,” Voss said. “So we were technically in the lead in time.”
Voss has a day job when he is not racing. He lives and works in Northern California in Cupertino, a town near San Jose, as a rock quarry operations manager. He started racing in the desert in 2005.
“I am quarry operations manager at our family aggregate plant in my town,” he said. “I don’t wrench too much on the truck. I stop by the truck daily but my day job is 12- and 13-hour days,” he said.
His crew is close and is composed mostly of friends and family. Voss is 26 and has racing in his blood.
His father raced sprint cars out of his garage and got his son started in racing.
“There are three guys on the team that work on the truck full time,” he said. “Everyone else has been pitting with us for the past six or seven years. They know the routines. Really, the only practice as a team they get is the day before the race.”
The team won before in 2010, when they took the Henderson 250 and the Silver State. This year he could win three big races and maybe four if they take the last two races of the season.
“This is a big race to win in class and win overall. It’s the longest off-road race in the U.S. Between this one and the Parker race, those are the two biggest car counts, and it’s the halfway point in the season. It’s also double points and it was the one we needed to win,” Voss said.
The team is primed and ready for the Bluewater Challenge in October They have already started stripping down the truck for that race.