RPM off-road racing team takes the glory

The first Pahrump 250 in nine years was taken by driver Clyde Stacy from Bristol, Virginia of the RPM off-road racing team. He finished in four hours, two minutes and 36 seconds in the Trick Truck Division.

Second place went to three-time winner of the Vegas to Reno Race, Jason Voss (4:03:14) of the Trick Truck Division and third went to the teammate of Stacy, RPM driver Justin Matney, of Bristol, Tennessee (4:10:05).

The true class and racing spirit of the Best in the Desert racers was epitomized by racer Harley Letner of Youtheory Racing and a 1500 Class driver from Orange County, California. Here’s what happened in that class. Scott Bailey won the 1500 Class (4:28:17.7) and Cody Parkhouse of Long Beach, California took second in the class.

What’s interesting about that was Parkhouse was injured on Nov. 18 at the Baja 1,000 and didn’t race at the Pahrump Nugget 250 due to injuries. Letner, normally number 1570, put Parkhouse’s number on his car and raced for him so that he could win the championship. He was just two points ahead of Bailey and according to Russ Turner, a Best in the Desert spokesperson, he got enough to win the 1500 Class Championship for the Best in the Desert series.

Ben McMillan, who is part of the Best in the Desert family, congratulated Letner on his good deed.

“Now that is the off-road spirit,” he said on Letner’s Facebook page. “Good job, Youtheory Racing, for allowing Harley to represent Parkhouse. You have shown me why I am a fan of your team and will be for a long time to come.”

The Pahrump Nugget 250 was a challenging course and many of the racers said that race was won like any other — speed.

According to Tim Carolan, a 2400 Class driver with ICR Motorsports, this race was a sprint and those that had the perfect race would win. Of course, being in the desert cold didn’t help desert racers used to the heat of summer.

“Getting the engines warmed up in the morning for this race is crucial,” Tim Carolan said. “This is a sprint and we want to be on the pedal and looking to get through this race as quick as possible.”

This race, he said, differs from a longer race where drivers tend to be more conservative.

“In a longer race we will will run conservative and in the second half we will assess where we are at and put the pedal down then and really put the hammer down if we are in contention.”

Jason Coleman, from Huntington Beach and a racer with Pahrump ties, was racing for the Best in the Desert Class 1000 championship. His aunt owns Valleys Edge Feed.

Russ Turner said for him to win he had to race perfectly. It wasn’t to be. Coleman had a flat just before he got to Crater Flats. He said he was three miles out from the pit when it happened and knowing he had to have a quick time, took one too many chances.

“I had one flat coming into pit 3,” Coleman said. “I got a little anxious and charged some rocks harder than I should have. I drove on the flat for about three miles. It was faster to have the pit crew change it than if I would have stopped. We lost probably about three to four minutes with that.”

By then he knew that the race was lost.

“The guys who won didn’t have any problems and at this short of a race it takes a clean day to win,” he said. “Many others that didn’t win I am sure had flats.”

But for Coleman, he still ended up with a good year of racing, finishing second in points in his class. He was fourth in class at the Pahrump 250 and 24th overall (5:03.32). Chase Warren of Phoenix, Arizona won the 1000 Class (4:49:21).

Shawn Croll of Corona, California won the 6100 Class (4:38:23.5). John Angal was second in that class from Mesa, Arizona (4:39:19).

The 7200 Class winner was Al Hogan of Columbus, Montana (4:56:54). Chris German of Petaluma, California won the 8000 Class (5:23:45). Justin Lambert of Bakersfield, California won the 1900 Class (5:25:31).

The race had some moments where the buggies and Trick Trucks could open it up. The Amargosa Valley was filled with the racers’ dust as some racers were clocked going well over 100 miles on the straightaway. Then as racers approached the finish line in Pahrump, they slowed down considerably. According to Coleman, this last section was the most challenging of the course.

“The toughest part of the course was from pit 7 to the finish, extremely rocky and technical,” Coleman said. “It was very slow. We went from speeds of near 80 to 100 most of the day down to 20 to 40 in the last section.”

Most of the spectators had a great time. Hundreds of racers lined the course in various spots. Some race fans said though that next year that they would like better viewing spots.

“I had to go up to the end of Basin road because the area near the finish wasn’t close enough,” Joanne Baumgarten, a Pahrump resident said.

An unidentified resident said that he had to search for the spectator spots and once there didn’t feel that they were that great.

It is the first time this race was run in nine years and Casey Folks, president of Best in the Desert Racing Association, said it will take time and will only get better.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com