Minus the traditional winner's circle revelry associated with motorsports, Las Vegas' Troy Herbst methodically mastered his hometown desert, somberly capturing the overall and unlimited Class 1 title in the 6th Annual SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300 desert race in Primm, 35 miles south of Las Vegas.
In one of the only sporting events being held on a weekend filled with national mourning, Herbst covered the rugged, dusty 279.2-mile race in 4 hours, 53 minutes, and 29 seconds, averaging 57.08 mph in his Ford-powered Smithbuilt open-wheel desert race car.
"With everything going on in America this week, it was really hard to stay focused today, and while I'm pleased to win, all the awards and trophies just don't seem to mean as much right now," said Herbst, 35, whose race car had an American flag attached to the roof and had the phrase, "God Bless America," painted on both sides.
A total of 139 vehicles from 14 states, Australia, Japan, South Africa, and Mexico competed in 17 classes for cars and trucks as America's foremost desert racing series made its only visit of the year to the Las Vegas area for Round 4 of the five-race 2001 Duralast SCORE Desert Series. The start/finish line for the 69.98 race loop was located in the special events compound on the grounds of Buffalo Bill's Resort & Casino in Primm.
Nine of the classes were required to cover four laps of the 69.8-mile race course within an 11-hour time limit to become official finishers in the 279.2-mile race. The six slowest classes were required to cover three laps for a total distance of 209.40 miles within the 11-hour time limit to become official finishers. The race had a total of 77 finishers.
Seventh after the first of four laps, Herbst took the overall and Class 1 lead at the end of two laps and kept it the rest of the day, and his final lap time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, and 4 seconds was the fastest lap of the day turned in by any vehicle in the race. His final lap helped give him a victory margin of 2 minutes, 58 seconds in the overall race and 4:30 in Class 1. For the four-time defending SCORE Class 1 season point champion, the win was his first of the season. Herbst, like many racers, will donate his purse and contingency to the American Red Cross.
Second overall to Herbst, and winning the marquee SCORE Trophy Truck division for the second straight race, was the team of David Ashley and Dan Smith, both of Riverside, California, who clocked a time of 4:56:27 in their Duralast Ford F-150.
Third overall and second to Herbst in Class 1 was Bob Lofton of Westmorland, California, with a time of 4:57:59 in his Chevy-powered Jimco, while Fourth overall and Third in Class 1 was Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, California, who covered the extremely dusty and silty course in 5:04:26 in his Chevy-powered Jimco.
Completing the Top 5 overall and finishing Fourth in Class 1 was Doug Fortin Jr. of La Mesa, California, with 5:07:06 in another Chevy-powered Jimco.
Second in SCORE Trophy Truck and Eighth overall was Las Vegas' Brian Collins - 5:15:58 - in a Chevy Silverado. Troy Herbst's older brothers Tim and Ed struggled to finish Third in SCORE Trophy Truck after the mid-race leaders' transmission went out in their Ford F-150 for the second straight race.
Las Vegas' Rob MacCachren, the SCORE overall and Class 1-2/1600 point leader, won his class for the third time this season with a flawless race and a victory margin of 22 minutes in his VW-powered Fraley.
Driving a Chevy S-10, defending SCORE Class 7S point Champion Cory Susag of Dana Point, California, won the special Mini-Metal Class 7S Shootout, which carried a supplemental $10,000 purse for the 21 stock mini-trucks that competed. Second was the Ford Ranger co-driven by Michael Coleman of La Jolla, California, and Las Vegas' Steve Olliges, owner of Team Ford automobile dealership.
Remaining undefeated with his fourth win of the season, Cisco Bio of Spring Valley, California, won Class 9 in his VW-powered Tubular Design race car.
George Seeley Jr. of Glendale, California, won Class 5 in an unlimited VW Baja Bug for the second time this season and the fifth time in the six-year history of the SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300.
Other class winners Saturday include: Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, California, in Class 7 (Ford Ranger); Billy Bunch, La Quinta, California, in Class 3 (Jeep Cherokee); Japan's Ikuo Hanawa, in Class 3I (Mitsubishi Montero Sport); Chris Harrold, Chula Vista, California, in Class 10 (Jimco); and Kory Halopoff, California, in SCORE Lite (Comfort Chassis).
Class 1 for unlimited open-wheel desert racecars had a race-high with 28 starters. During a pre-race memorial service, held as the sun rose over the Southern Nevada desert, racers remembered the recent tragedy with patriotic music, several minutes of silent meditation, and each driver attached a small American flag to his race vehicle.
6th SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300 Desert RaceRound 4 of Five-Race 2001 Duralast SCORE Desert Series279.2 miles * September 15 * PrimmTOP Finishers
Total entries: 147Total starters: 139 Total finishers: 77
Pro Cars & TrucksTrophy Truck (Unlimited production trucks)1. David Ashley/Dan Smith, Riverside, California, Ford F-150, 4:56:27 (56.51 mph) (Second Overall)2. Brian Collins, Las Vegas, Chevy Siverado, 5:15:58 (Eighth Overall)3. Tim & Ed Herbst, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 8:02:10 (3 Starters, 3 Finishers)
Class 1(Unlimited single or two-seaters)1. Troy Herbst, Las Vegas, Smithbuilt, 4:53:29 (57.08) (First Overall)2. Bob Lofton, Westmorland, California, Jimco, 4:57:59 (Third Overall)3. Ronny Wilson, Long Beach, California, Jimco, 5:04:26 (Fourth Overall)(28 Starters, 18 Finishers)
Class 1-2/1600(Single or two-seaters to 1600cc)1. Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Fraley, 6:06:32 (45.70) 2. Rick Boyer, Bakersfield, California, Lothringer, 6:28:243. Brian Jeffrey, Acton, California, Jimco, 6:38:27 (17 Starters, 8 Finishers)
Class 3(Short-wheelbase 4x4) (209.4 miles)1. Billy Bunch, La Quinta, California, JeepCherokee, 7:33:47 (27.69)(4 Starters, 1 Finisher)
Class 7(Open mini-trucks)1. Craig Turner, Yorba Linda, California, Ford Ranger, 6:11:04 (45.15)2. Ernesto Cervantes, Ciudad Insurgentes, Mexico, Ford Ranger, 10:39:07 (5 Starters, 2 Finishers)
Class 7S (Stock mini-trucks)1. Cory Susag, Dana Point, California, Chevy S-10, 7:11:11 (38.85)2. Michael Coleman, La Jolla, California/Steve Olliges, Las Vegas, Ford Ranger, 7:22:203. Craig Stewart, Santee, California, Ford Ranger, 7:32:39 (21 Starters, 7 Finishers)
Class 8 (Fullsize two-wheel-drive trucks)1. Jesse Jones, Litchfield Park, Arizona, Chevy C1500, 7:22:04 (37.90)2. Nick Vanderwey, Buckeye, Arizona, Chevy Silverado, 7:35:49 (4 Starters, 2 Finishers)
Stock Mini(Stock mini-trucks) (209.4 miles)1. Bob Land, Lake Forest, California, IsuzuVehiCROSS, 9:41:20 (21.61) (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)
Stock Full (Stock fullsize trucks) (209.4 miles)1. Marc Stein, San Diego, Ford F-150, 6:30:30 (32.17)2. John Griffin, Mission Viejo, California, AM General Hummer, 7:02:26 (3 Starters, 2 Finishers)
Protruck/SS/Truck(Limited-production trucks)1. Scott Steinberger, Cypress, California, FordF-150, 5:41:58 (48.99)2. Ryan Herzog, Long Beach, California, Ford F-150, 6:52:103. Rich Hoffman, Lake Forest, Illinois, Chevy C1500, 7:28:214. Alan Pflueger, Honolulu, Chevy Silverado, 10:49:00 (4 Starters, 4 Finishers)