April 1st 2012 – Chandler, AZ
It has been said; “Success is preparation meeting opportunity.” That theory is well proven however it is subject to outside influence. In short course off road, it would be fairly accurate to say success is attributed with preparation, funding, and luck.
The 2012 Lucas Oil Off Road season opener has welcomed a large field of entries into the ranks of short course racing. Most are seasoned veterans with legitimate resumes. Many are accomplished racers and some have cut their teeth in the developing classes, and now there is a new generation rising through the ranks based on their merit and accomplishment. Not their pocket book. Everyone is attempting to carve out an edge.
Hart and Huntington Off Road Driver, Josh Merrell is now a key player in the PRO-4 division. For Round 1, Merrell would vigilantly overtake one position after another. Staying clear of spinouts and wrecking ball competitors Josh stayed focused and would pass rather than be passed for 20 laps. Smart driving and consistency earned him a top 5 finish and another well deserved accomplishment for the MAVTV Hart and Huntington Off Road Team.
Hart and Huntington Off Road Team Mate, Ryan Beat is also one of the rising stars of short course. His proven ability to drive cleanly and competitively in a variety of disciplines is undeniable. Round 1 marked his PRO-4 debut and the opportunity to race at the top level, which was decidedly cut short after two laps. Decided by an accomplished PRO-4 veteran struggling to get around a rookie driver; the #11 bright orange truck simply steered his truck far over into a line already occupied by Beat. Video reviews clearly show the deliberate contact in mid air, crossing from the far inside to the far outside and forcing the #46 Hart and Huntington Ebay Motors Pro-4 to slam into the wall and wiping out the front end. Mangled suspension, bent steering and destroyed front wheel drive was the end result forcing a DNF.
Saturday’s chaos has ended and the repairs are done. As the hours tick down towards Round 2, the Lucas Oil Off Road Pits are filled with piercing screams of metal cutting metal, clanks and bangs from hammers pounding steel, the buzz of welded fusion, and the cranking cries of power tools. That’s right, race prep in short course off road is better described as replace, repair and/or rebuild.
These necessary preparations are required to prepare for the next round of racing. Short Course Off Road is typically paired in 2 Rounds, one day after another. The agent of damage is the result of horse powered, gravity defying, contact and collusion from the course obstacles. But, it could very well be more accurately attributed to drivers performance. Just sometimes it is the other drivers performance who has forced the outcome. With this forward thinking we can plan ahead, prepare, train, setup defense, race with etiquette, and plan to win.