Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno race is the longest and toughest, off-road desert race in the U.S., and Polaris Ranger RZRs were out in full force. In the starting field of 14 for the 553-mile race, was the four-time defending champions, Jagged X in its No. 1919 Ranger RZR XP 900 and Polaris Regional Sales Manager, Matt Parks in his Holz Racing Ranger RZR 4 800.
When the dust settled, Jagged X would have their fifth consecutive Vegas to Reno win with Parks finishing second. With only five Side-by-Sides finishing, Ranger RZRs would sweep the podium with a Ranger RZR XP 900 also finishing third.
The Jagged X team dedicated most of its summer race break preparing and fine tuning the No. 1919 Ranger RZR XP 900 race car. The XP has performed well since its debut at the Silver State 300 in April, but the team has been working on small refinements and adjustments to make this machine the best it could be. Jagged X, with much help from Chad Riccio of CR Designs, stepped up its game on the support side of things with two completely equipped chase vehicles.
All this work combined with some great drivers and co-drivers paid off when the flag dropped early Friday morning. The No. 1919 driven By Brandon Schueler with Mike West in the navigation seat took no time to take their seventh starting spot to the front of the pack. By Pit 4, they found themselves chasing the always-consistent Polaris Ranger RZR 4 of Matt Parks, watching for any chance to get out front for some fresh air. The two Ranger RZRs swapped the lead several times in the first 350 miles with both teams being plagued by minor problems. With an elapsed time of 13 hours, 27 minutes and 42 seconds the Jagged X Ranger RZR XP 900 finished 52nd overall out of 99 car and truck finishers proving just how tough Polaris off-road vehicles are. The win moves Brandon Schueler into the points lead for the 2011 BITD championship series with two races left to go.
Parks and co-driver Jason Spiess were fortunate enough to draw the first starting position and had a clean run and had a nice lead at the half way point in the race when Mark Holz and his co-driver Rob Utendorfer took over. Holz held the lead until he noticed that battery was losing voltage and at the next pit stop, they pulled the hood to get more air to the rectifier and returned to the race in second place. Holz and Jagged X swapped the lead several times and the top two cars were running nose to tail 425 miles into the race and still hadn’t been caught by the Trophy Trucks and unlimited buggies. Unfortunately, the car had a rear A-arm bolt snap which took them out of contention for the win. The team patched the car together to get him to a pit with the proper parts and Holz was on his way to the finish line.
“We came into Vegas to Reno with the points lead and knew that we had to finish this 553 mile race in order to stay in the hunt for the championship,” says Parks. “We had a blast racing out front and dicing with the Jagged X guys. Without the more than three hours of down time, we might have had a shot for the win, but honestly I am super stoked to finish this race and to get second.”
Matt Parks is sponsored by Holz Racing Products, Walker Evans Wheels and Shocks, Kroyer Racing Engines, Maxxis Tires, Tire Balls, OMF, Pure Polaris Lubricants, Valley Cycle, Utendorfer Graphic Design, Desert West Off Road Race Prep, Muzzy’s.
Jagged X is sponsored by Polaris Industries, Cutting Edge Manufacturing, Vision X Lighting, BF Goodrich Tires, Wicked Built, CR Designs, Summers Brothers, Simpson, OMF, Affordable Powdercoating, Mountain States Contracting, Total Auto Pros, Walker Evans, Elka Suspension, UTV Underground