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Rob MacCachren is hungry first Vegas to Reno win

Las Vegas off-road racer, Rob MacCachren, is living the dream. He is one of five drivers racing off-road that actually makes a living racing in off-road races in the Best in the Desert, sanctioning committee off-road events and the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.

Amber Malloy, MacCachren’s significant other, has been with Rob MacCachren for 10 years now. As well as running his household, she also works with him on logistics, along with four other employees.

“He has been racing for the past 30 years,” she said. “When I met him we were both working with different race teams. He has a passion for off-road racing.”

MacCachren has three SCORE Baja 1000 wins in a row and will be going for the fourth this year during the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000.

Although he has success with the Baja 1000, MacCachren has not yet won overall in the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race. The best he has done was last year’s second-place finish.

This could be the year for MacCachren

“I believe we are in contention to win,” he said. “I will be driving the whole 550 miles. I am good to go for 10 hours.”

Malloy says MacCachren wants this Vegas to Reno win badly.

“I am going for it,” MacCachren said. “There are a lot of young, talented drivers and very good people racing against us. The Vegas to Reno is different than racing in Mexico. You have to be much more disciplined in the Vegas to Reno race. In Mexico for example, if you run out of gas down there, you can call your crew out in the middle of the course to gas you up. In the Vegas to Reno, that’s not allowed.”

Discipline means planning every move you make in the 550-mile race.

“In the Vegas to Reno race we have two planned pit stops for fueling,” MacCachren said. “They change out the tires and fuel in 30 seconds. The crews follow us and leap-frog ahead just in case they are needed. In that race, there are 30 to 40 people in the crew.”

Vegas to Reno is not a sprint and MacCachren has to find a way to get his vehicle across the finish line in one piece.

“Every time your crew is constantly updating you on how far your opponents are ahead,” he said. “Basically you’re going slow to win. You have to take care of the vehicle. If you get a flat, it is time against you, or get into a rut and that can kill you.”

He recalled one Vegas to Reno where a flat cost him the race.

“One time I was going into Mina and I took my eye off the road and went into a rut,” he said. “I ran into the rut and got a flat. It took us 15 minutes to repair and that took us out of the race.”

Sponsorship has changed things

The longtime racer said most of his 30 years of racing was without being paid. Now he has full-time sponsors, Rockstar Energy Drink and Makita Tools and makes his living at off-road racing. To get paid, MacCachren races the entire Lucas Oil Off-Road Series, where he drives a short course truck and then he races in three SCORE races and three Best in the Desert races, where he drives a Trophy Class truck.

“When I was first starting I did a lot of the work on the truck myself,” MacCachren said. “At that time I worked hard at my business to pay for racing. I was always trying to figure out how to get the most money and most exposure.”

Things have changed for the better now and it is less of a struggle for him and his family to do what he loves most and that is off-road racing.

Sacrificing family time is tough, but to be one of the best off-road racers he has had to learn to balance family and work.

“With sponsorship, I have had to make myself more available to sponsors,” he said. “Which means a lot more travel. I have had to balance the travel with the family time. This is a huge passion with me and it takes a lot of time to be successful at it. It’s a full-time hobby and can be a full-time job.”

His sponsors take him all over the country and he finds himself rarely at home.

“I do a lot of meet-and-greets with people,” the racer said. “Working with sponsors has not been all racing. From June 20-July 20 I have been home in my own bed for five days. This makes it hard to manage my time with my four kids. It is different and means I have to work to try to include them in as much as possible.”

Different types of off-road racing

His sponsorship has taken him to short-course off-road racing with the Lucas Oil Series.

“I get a lot more exposure that way and that’s what the sponsors want,” he said. “This is why I am not racing the smaller races in SCORE and Best in the Desert. It may hurt the Best in the Desert and SCORE series, but I have to make a living.”

Although the Lucas Oil Series is a different type of off-road racing, he said there was more money in the Lucas Oil Series because of the TV exposure.

“Racing in the Lucas Oil Series is different,” he says. “The trucks are smaller and handle differently.”

It is pretty easy to go from one to the other.

“I adapt pretty quickly in the first few seconds of driving whichever vehicle I am in,” MacCachren said. “In short course, I throw all caution to the wind. That’s the main difference. It’s a sprint. In the longer races, you can afford to be patient and pace yourself. You just maintain a good pace.”

Viewing the race

The race will start on Friday at 5:45 a.m. in Beatty and finish in Dayton at the end of the day. The race will go through both Goldfield and Tonopah so heavy traffic can be expected from support crew. This year, there are 349 race teams and nearly 27 trick trucks racing.

According to Best in the Desert, the best viewing spots are from the pits because they are close to the highway and the race vehicles must cross the highway to get to them in most cases. They do this so the pit crews can access them.

For pit locations go to bitd.com and scroll down to Pit Book for the Vegas to Reno race.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

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