Wes Miller’s DWT Bomb Squad RZR Team
#989 Pro UTV Turbo Race Update
Carlsbad, CA (4/20/17) - We are 3 races into the 2017 season and we have had flashes of brilliance mixed with moments of extreme frustration. I am proud of the team that we have assembled and believe we have one of the best UTV’s in the field. None of this would be possible without the great group of companies that support this program. We truly have the best of the best on this RZR. We have already garnered quite a bit of attention, but my goal is to translate this into results. At the end of the day, the scoreboard speaks loudest and that is why we are 100% focused on winning races and competing for the SCORE Championship.
At the Mint 400, we were against the clock and barely had the car done in time. We didn’t have the time to test like we wanted and went into the race needing some luck to do well. As it played out, we had numerous clutch issues and had to call it a day early.
Going into San Felipe, we made some changes and brought on Airdam Clutches. Adam at Airdam helped dial us in and we were good to go. We also had some CV problems at the Mint and decided to make the switch to Summers Brothers axles. We spent a week pre-running and shaking down the race car. I was feeling extremely confident and felt we would be right there competing for the win. The course was one of the roughest that I have seen. My game plan was to set a good pace, but go just fast enough to stay with the lead group. There were 13 Pro UTV Turbos and I started 8th. Off the start, I didn’t want to push too hard but we were moving pretty easily through the pack. By race mile 15 or so, we had already passed towards the front and were running with the leaders on adjusted time. About that same time I noticed we had lost a right rear CV. We were fairly close to our first visual pit, so I decided we would get it to the pit and change the axle there. We made it 2000 feet from the pit and lost the front differential. Luckily, we were close to the pit and had the parts to fix it. My crew did a great job of fixing the car and getting us back on course again. We were quite a ways down now and went into finish mode. We made it to race mile 72 and lost the left rear CV. We had a spare on the car and fixed it on the side of the track. We got back going, but now had no spare. I drove at a very conservative pace with the single goal of crossing the finish line. We fueled at race mile 130 and gave the RZR a once over. At race mile 200, we stopped to do a quick visual and saw that we were about to loose another rear CV. There wasn’t another spare, so we plugged it and did the last 70 miles in 3 wheel drive. In the end we were 10th in our class and finished much later then I wanted. But at least we finished and earned those points to stay in the hunt for the Championship.
There was only 8 days to get ready for the UTV World Championship after San Felipe. The guys over at Rhys Millen Racing did a great job getting the RZR prepped in time. The team worked with Summers Brothers and made a few changes on our axle/CV set up. I went out early and met Adam from Airdam to tune our clutching for the Laughlin race.
The UTV World Championships are a one off race that is totally different from the rest of the races we do. It is a dead engine land rush start leading into 10 laps on a 16 mile course. The race has a reputation for aggressive driving and lots of carnage. My goal was to get through the first few laps clean and then see where we were and adjust accordingly. I felt confident with this style of racing because of my years of racing quads in stadiums, motocross, and gran prix. My team had the DWT rig set up in the pits and also displayed in contingency with both my race and pre-run RZR’s. The race was a who’s who of the industry and it was awesome to catch up with so many people.
I drew 26th out of 50 plus Pro UTV Turbos in the desert race. That put me on the 3rd row with some very well know racers. When the flag dropped, I got a great jump and came off the line 2nd. I started towards the outside and Dan Fisher in the LSR car got the holeshot. Jacob Carver showed me a wheel, but I was able to box him out and had a comfortable 2nd down the first straight. We went through turn 2 and over a rise towards turn 3. There were 2 cars stuck in the inside of the turn and a flagger waving a cation flag. I slowed a little and set up to the outside to take a high line through the turn to avoid the wreck. To my surprise, another car tried diving to the inside and passing under caution. I knew he had no where to go since the inside was blocked by the wreck and I was already ahead on the clear line. I thought we were good until about midway through the turn I felt contact to my left rear and we immediately went on our side. I was shocked since I felt I had already established myself in the turn and this was all under caution. Because there were 2 other cars already in the turn, the course workers wouldn’t flip me back over. Snake Livernash was on his lid below me and they had to move him first. It ended up taking them about 8 minutes to get me turned back over. The entire time, oil was leaking out of my motor. When we got going again, the check engine light came on and I had a boost sensor error code. I pulled over and my co-driver looked everything over. There wasn't much we could do, so we decided to just turn as many laps as we could and hope the error code cleared. The car cleaned out a little and we started rattling off some laps. As we continued, the course was riddled with broken and crashed cars. I felt like with the rate of attrition, we could still end up with a respectable finish even in limp mode. I think we had worked our way back into the top 10 in our class. Midway through lap 7, I noticed I was having to counter steer and thought I had lost another CV. We radioed to the pits to look at it. I backed it down a little, but the car started to lean over to the right side. My co-driver hopped out and gave me the signal that we were done. The RZR had a problem with the right trailing arm and wouldn’t be able to continue. We limped it back to the pits and put it in the trailer. So far this year has been tough. I really believe that we have the ability to be right there for a win. But that is why it is called racing and not winning. Overall, the RZR is the best that I have ever driven. There have just been one or two small things at each round that have held us up. But all of this is going to make it that much sweeter when we finally win one.