Our 2012 racing season is already under way with February immediately bringing us the first in the 6 race Jeepspeed series. The BITD Parker 425 is a fantastic race through the Arizona deserts and offers a great challenge to any race team. Team WP jumped into 2012 and is off to a great start with new upgrades to our race car and the forward most starting position.
The day began still under the camouflage of night and as our first driver team inched down the long line toward that General Tire Arch, the sun began to rise. Soon, Jeepspeed competitors were flying off the line and blazing down the streets of downtown Parker under the glare of a rising desert sun.
The race went well for us and was a new experience as we dealt with a loop style race for the first time. The most notable part of a loop race like this involves the Trophy Trucks and Unlimited Buggies catching up to your tail as you get into the tail end of your first lap. This makes for an onslaught of “bump-to-pass” scenarios if you aren’t careful.
We experienced our share of all of those exciting little things that make desert racing great: getting stuck in the silt, dancing with a tree after an unexpected jump, and losing fiberglass to the desert. We also fought some fun little electrical issues with lights and other components that would prove a challenge in themselves. It can be truly amazing how these conditions can wear on even the simplest electrical parts.
As we broke into the last 20 miles before the checkered flag we had an issue that was unforeseen by any of our crew. A bearing in one of our idler pulleys had seized at some point and popped off our serpentine belt. We were unable to get the belt to turn properly after changing it and this forced us to retire only 18 miles from the finish.
Overall Team WP considers this race a success. Our upgrades on the car are performing well, our drivers and pit crews are syncing well and communication is great. We’re continuing to improve our car and strategy and we’ll be leading ourselves into a successful 2012 race season with Jeepspeed and Best in the Desert. Look for us next out at the BITD Mint 400 in March. We have assembled a video of our race in Parker, hit play below and enjoy.