The Parker 425: Never Say Die

  Rob Shoffner   Feb 12, 2013   Blog: Tom's Chronicles, Team WP Racing   1 Comment

TEAM WP RACING – THE PARKER 425

Words by Tom Richardson

BestIntheDesertLogo The Parker 425: Never Say Die

PRE-RACE

On the day before the race, everything was running smoothly. We made it through registration without a hitch and cruised through technical inspection and contingency with no major problems as the car was well prepared. Going to the drivers meeting finished the day for us and now we were prepared to start the race in the early morning, never realizing that tomorrow would be a long day but a short race.

ParkerDay1 The Parker 425: Never Say Die

RACE DAY

We awoke bright and early on Saturday as Randy Peterson (co-driver) and I left our hotel in Lake Havasu City to meet up with the car at the staging area next to the Bluewater Casino in Parker, AZ. The car was running well and was well prepared for the beginning of the 2013 season. Our entire team was more than ready. We were staged in the 9th spot out of 22 cars in our class and 206th off the line. After a couple of hours wait we were set to go. Lining up on the main street of Parker, we left the starting line and drove about a quarter of a mile on the pavement before we made a hard left into the desert. With fans of the Parker 425 race standing on both sides of the street cheering us on, we began our adventure!

Parker 425 2013 6 The Parker 425: Never Say Die

The car was running well and handling extremely smooth as we caught up to a few cars in our class. We worked our way around them with little trouble and felt good about our start. Entering pit one , we found no problems and continued on. Congestion was heavy as we approached mile post 41 with five cars all lined up in a high speed part of the track. The trophy trucks were coming hard from our rear, with their speeds over 100 mph and we were doing over 70 mph. Heavy dust blocked visibility as we passed cars and others passed us. As a trophy truck passed me, the track looked to be going to the left around a big tree which was the only thing visible. I aimed for the left side of the tree accelerating to 80 mph. All of a sudden my navigator Randy is yelling through the head set that the track goes to the right of the tree! Now I’m caught in a bind. If I turn hard to the right at this speed, the car goes into a drift and into the tree, or maybe just missing the tree. A quick decision on my part to go off the track and around the tree to the left worked as we waited for traffic to clear then got back onto the track to try and catch back up. Lots of racing left to go this day… no need to press.

The car slid nicely to the left of the tree slowing to about 10 mph and upon seeing a small wash, I started to drive towards it as the entry point back to the race track and with Randy yelling “We missed the bush!” when WHAM!! A car that was behind us hit us at probably 60 mph just behind the passenger door low on the floor board seam. Our car lifted up, traveling about 25 feet in the air, slammed onto its side and onto the other side of the wash up against a short bank which probably kept the car from rolling over a few times. The car that hit us flew over us, landing upside down, to the right side of our car and facing back at us.

We got the car shut down, battery off, and started un-hooking the seat belts and looking for an exit. My side was down in the dirt so no way out there. The passenger-door was crushed shut too so out the window we went. Thanks to the Best in the Desert’s stringent safety rules, all of us were out walking and mostly in one piece. Our racing day appeared to be done, with a broken rear leaf spring, shock, and a blown front tire. The other car wasn’t going anywhere and would need a flat-bed to haul it out after the race. Our car, once put back on its tires, could probably limp back to a nearby pit. Interesting development occurred right then. The car that hit us was in the same class and had the same kind of car. The car’s driver and navigator out of Washington State, #1718, were great to work with and after some discussion, they agreed to loan us their rear leaf. During our work, we discussed what happen just before the crash. Number 1718 had lost its GPS and didn’t know which direction the track went. They were driving blind. Because there was virtually no visibility, they decided to follow our lights through the dust but had no clue we were leaving the track. Not good for either of us.

ParkerCrash1 The Parker 425: Never Say Die
ParkerCrash2 The Parker 425: Never Say Die
ParkerCrash3 The Parker 425: Never Say Die

After an hour of work, off we went back into the race. Because the rear shock was destroyed and taken off, the car didn’t handle very well in the bumps, but we were moving again.

The car was checked out at the next pit while Randy and I waited in the car and would continue to complete the first lap then a driver change. After pit four, tragedy struck again. We broke a front tire at the hub and watched the front wheel assembly pass us as we pulled the car off the track. We had a good spare and a good right side hub… over the next few hours we took both sides apart swapped parts and worked to make the car roll. Our work paid off. We were moving again but this time we were headed for the pits as our day had come to an end.

ParkerCrash4 The Parker 425: Never Say Die

We got the car back to the pit and on to the trailer by dark which Randy and I thought was an acomplisment in and of itself. All in all a very long Saturday to not even finish one lap.

The car will be ready to go by the next race, the Mint 400, at the end of March. Randy ended up with some minor issues for his chiropractor to straighten out. I had some very bad ribs and a few bruises here and there, but all should be fine in a couple of weeks. The Mint is just a few weeks away!

ParkerCrash5 The Parker 425: Never Say Die

About Rob Shoffner

Internet Coordinator Warrior Products

One Comment

  1. essay writer Says: April 17, 2015 4:20 pm Reply

    Awesome. That looks like a beast!

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