Riverside, California - April 28, 2014 - At about 6 in the morning on Friday (April 25) Stronghold Motorsports crew chief Nick Griner loaded the team's new Pro 4 truck onto a trailer and drove to Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park.
About 42 hours later Griner and the crew got ready for the trip back to the team's race shop with two fifth-place finishes in the Southern California Shootout and the knowledge that "we're headed the right way" in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
"These guys are amazing in what they did to get this thing together, and the strides that we made throughout the weekend are awesome," Brandon Bailey said after driving the truck to the pair of top five finishes in the 16-lap races that capped the racing both Friday and Saturday (April 26) nights.
"I think when we get a couple of test days in the car and I start feeling comfortable we definitely will have some game. It's exciting."
The second of eight events on the Lucas Oil Off Road schedule was a mixed bag for the other drivers on the MAVTV/Toyo Tires/Solar World team. Larry Job finished sixth in a strong 21-car field in Friday's 14-lap Pro Buggy race and Madix Bailey recovered after getting spun early to finish sixth in the 10-lap Junior 1 Kart main event on Saturday.
Job said his drive from 11th to 6th "went pretty good. I made a rookie mistake, though, and wore a new helmet that fogged up on me, so I couldn't see the whole race. I had to keep flipping the visor open and then I'd get a face full of mud. Other than that it was a clean race."
Unfortunately, Saturday's Pro Buggy race produced the only real disappointment of the weekend when a transmission failure sidelined Job after 9 laps and relegated him to a 19th place finish.
Overall, however, it was another positive step for the team, especially in the cohesiveness the crew displayed in dealing with the problems that developed with the new truck. That work started after Friday's qualifying, when Brandon Bailey's time was four seconds slower than that of leading qualifier Kyle LeDuc.
Griner said that between qualifying on Friday and Saturday "we re-valved the shocks front and rear and changed the front springs. We moved the track bars around to give it a little bit more traction. We also changed the ride height a little bit and lowered the thing down because we were a little on the high side."
Bailey's lap times in Friday's race were consistently two seconds faster than his fast lap in qualifying. That improvement continued Saturday, even though Bailey also had problems with his helmet visor fogging and was 'struggling a little bit to get the car to rotate.
"But to come out here and have a car that got finished at 5 o clock in the morning yesterday and finish in the top five both days, we'll take that," Bailey said.
"We had a reasonable run for bringing a brand-new piece to the race track untested and unknown," Griner said. "I think it went pretty good. We made some pretty big gains and learned some stuff this weekend and we're going to keep working at it and hopefully show up for Reno a lot better."
The next event in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series, the Reno Off Road Nationals, will be run at the Wild West Motorsports Park in the Reno suburb of Sparks, Nevada, May 30-31.
The next event for Stronghold Motorsports is the Best in the Desert Silver State 300 in southern Nevada this weekend (May 2-4), with Brandon and Scott Bailey, Matt Salgado and Job continuing the team's drive for a championship in the Unlimited Open-Wheel class (Class 1500).
STRONGHOLD MOTORSPORTS 2014 SCHEDULE
STRONGHOLD MOTORSPORTS SPONSORS
MavTV * Lucas Oil * SolarWorld * Toyo Tires * KC Hilites * Stronghold Engineering * Lamb Energy * VP Racing Fuels * Go Pro * Kroyer Racing Engines * Pro Power Racing * K&N Filters * Pro Am Racing Products * Power Steering Solution * Alumicraft * Motive Gear * MSD Performance * Boot Campaign * Protect the Harvest * Fiberwerx * Sign Pros * Inland Powder Coating * Eibach Springs * American Wiring Harness * Simpson Race Products * Corona Motorhome Rentals