When it comes to racing, sponsorship is often the difference between experiencing the races as a fan or as a driver. With the growth of the Prerunner (aka 1450) class during the last few racing seasons, sponsors are taking notice of the class' growth. The class' minimal rules are attracting a new generation of racers - a generation for whom minimal rules mean maximum fun.
Beard Seats took notice of the 1450 trend, and decided that sponsoring a shootout was the best way to find out who had built a class-dominating prerunner. The terms of the sponsorship were unbelievably savory: Simply run a pair of approved Beard stickers in a prominent place on your 1450 truck and Beard would cover your entry fee. Period. Any brand of truck using any brand of seat inside qualified for the Shootout as long as the mandated stickers were in place on the outside. The Shootout arena was the M.O.R.E. Kartek 300 in Lucerne Valley, California.
With such generous sponsorship on the table, nearly 60 teams threw their hats into the ring. Names from Anderson to Zindroski were busy building and prepping their entries. For many teams, "build time" and "prep time" meant the hours between the end of a workday until the time neighbors began to complain about noise from grinders and light from welding arcs.
Race day dawned hot and dusty. The air near the starting line hardly moved, and the main pit area became a fog of fine dust that choked visibility and made it unsafe to navigate at race speeds. Later in the day, the breezes picked up. So did the temperature.
The course was everything a desert course should be. Steep hills alternated with deep whoops and powdery sand washes, with plenty of rocks strewn about for good measure. Winter rains had washed much of the desert floor's sandy covering away from the rocks, leaving their stony faces exposed and ready to tear into tires and sheetmetal. The Shootout winner would have to worry about the terrain and weather conditions first, and treat the competition as an afterthought.
When the green flag fell, 35 Prerunner-class trucks crossed the M.O.R.E. Kartek 300 starting line. Only 10 managed to finish in the allotted time. "It's just nasty out there," commented Giant Motorsports chieftain Geoff Falzone. "My truck rides like a Caddy, but I still felt jolted." Falzone's personal truck is a veteran of many a desert race, but Geoff's focus at the Shootout was to support racers using his products. "It's a lot of fun chasing and pitting for these guys. I've driven in a lot of races, and I enjoy doing the pit support just as much as driving in the race."