Friday, August 28, 2009

News from Banning Motorsports

"The Long Way"
2009 Vegas to Reno is the longest point-to-point race held in the USA, and is a race that is on the top of the list of events that team Banning wants to out perform the competition. With the best crew and hundreds of hours dedicated to race notes and car preparation, Banning Motorsports was ready for this adventure that would start taking place months before the green flag would drop.
With half the team heading to Las Vegas, NV on August 18th and then the rest of Banning Motorsports filing in on the 19th, everything was set for contingency and the drivers meeting. With a good night sleep and an early rise team Banning was counting down till go time. There was three class 11 cars that where fielded by Banning Motorsports. The teams were set up with Rick Graf, Alan Dillemuth, Bryan Folks, and Chris Godfrey attempting to get car 1178 to the finish with Gary Williams Jr., Brian Hosford, Tom Shaw, and Jeff Rhodes looking to take that from them in 1156. The third car that was registered for the event was 1123 that was filled with Lee Banning Sr., Kyle Danielson, Lee Banning Jr., and Clayton Buttle. The thing about Banning Motorsports and fielding more than one car is there seems to always be a lot of betting going on between the cars to see who is going to place better than the others.

Day 1
camp v2r The race would start at 10:30 Thursday morning with Rick Graf and Alan Dillemuth leading the Banning cars in the dusty deserts of Nevada with car 1156 driven by Gary Williams Jr. and then 1123 of Lee Sr. The first portion of the race would turn out to be a good one with all three buggies running within 2 miles of each other for a hundred miles and all be in the top four positions. Pit 4 would mark the position were the drivers changes would take place with 1178 arriving first and Rick handing the wheel over to Bryan Folks and they were away, continuing to turn up dirt with the class lead. Next to stop was Lee Sr. who would hand it over to Lee Jr. who would keep the rhythm going for car 1123. Coming in behind Lee was 1156 and Tom Shaw would take over and be the man to keep 1156 up in the hunt. By the end of the first day 1178 was the first to cross the line with a 10 minute lead over second position. 1123 would cross the checkered flag with 1156 behind them. With only a few issues during day 1, it was an overall great performance and a great start to what is the most demanding race of the year.

Day 2
With the start of the second day and 1178 leading the field. With that advantage it aloud the team to make first dust in class starting the second day with Rick and Alan in the buggy. Tom Shaw driving 1156 would be the second Banning car, followed by Lee Sr. in 1123. Shortly after the start 1178 would make contact with another vehicle do to the extremely dusty conditions. They would limp the vehicle to pit one were repairs from Benny and Chris began. Tommy Shaw would have the class lead for a majority of the first half of the day. While leading coming to pit 4 were the driver change for the day would take place 1156 would have a tire go down allowing 1123 to go around him and come to the driver change first. Lee Jr. would take the buggy and keep the hammer down finishing 1st in class for the day. 1156 was having a good day and would have another tire go down but it did not stop the determination of the group to keep moving and finish 4th for the day just before nightfall. With two Banning cars running towards the front all day 1178 continued to have some issues with the motor expiring just after Bryan Folks and Chris Godfrey took over. The evening of repairs went a little long for 1123 which added 30 minutes to there time as they made the necessary repairs to ensure a flawless 3rd day. Great job to everyone that hustled on the wounded 1178 car and getting the front suspension back in working order.
Day 3
group shot With two Banning Buggies left in competition and the top five buggies virtually under a blanket, the whole team new what had to be done in order for a strong finish overall. With Tommy Shaw leading the Banning crew off of the line due to the 30 minute time addition to 1123. Some issues with the oil system on buggy 1156 almost deemed a dnf but again with hard work from the team at pit 4 and 5 and the quick thinking by driver Tom Shaw and Jeff Rhodes the buggy was saved and repaired for Gary to bring 1156 to the finish. Lee Sr. and Kyle Danielson kept a solid pace up and making up valuable time on the morning session until Lee Jr. and Clayton got in the vehicle at pit 5 and put the peddle to the floor which is second nature to Jr. At the end of the event both cars that started the day finished 2nd and 5th respectively on the 3rd and final day of the grueling and famous Vegas to Reno.
The entire team that included Cooper Ericson, Amy Perez, Robert Hosford, Gail Graf, Kathy Beeswy, Gilbert, Gerald Wiley, Tim West, Chris Miller, Scoop Godfrey, Benny Porter, Nicole Banning, Brandy Buttle, Dennis Plante and his wife Terri, Danny Foddrill and a big thanks to team captain Andy MeGaw who with his quick thinking and knowledge lead the organization to a successful event.

The entire Banning group would like to thank the following partners that make this possible. BFGoodrich Tires, Ionearth, Mendeola, KC HiLites, Foddrill Motorports, Fat Performance, Banning Motorsports, Weddie Gears, Action Auto Transmission, Fox Shocks, F&L Fuels, and Slime. Your help and support in supplying the best products on the market is what allows us to compete at the top level. Thank you again and we look forward to more success in the near future!

Banning Motorsports can not thank everyone enough for the effort and time that each and everyone put forth for this event. It is each and every one of you that make this all possible. Next event is the Silver State 300 in Sept. Always remember to put the Hammer Down and get them Elbows Up.

During the event we had Lee Banning Sr. celebrate his birthday as well as Gary Williams Sr.


Amy Perez-Banning
Banning Motorsports

Mark McMillin Unleashes the New #23 Trophy Truck at BITD Vegas to Reno 3-Day Stage Race: Finishes 8th OVERALL 6th in Trophy Truck Class of 20

San Diego, California (August 27, 2009) Mark McMillin unleashed the new 2009 edition of the Geiser Brothers unlimited trophy truck at Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno 3-day stage race last week. The 3-day race event featured a total of 997-miles raced over three full days of desert racing. Mark qualified the #23 Ford race truck in 20th position of the 42 trophy truck and Class 1 racers who attempted qualifying.

Mark has had limited test time behind the wheel of the new trophy truck. However, that did not stop him from running at full speed in Thursday's stage one of the race. Mark charged from the start line in Beatty, Nevada as Cameron Parrish handled navigator duties. The newest McMillin trophy truck features FOX Racing Shox and BFGoodrich Tires. After the first 333-miles, Mark was rewarded with a top ten finish after a solid performance on the course in the new truck.

Racing the McMillin 1600 car were Mark's sons, Daniel and Luke. Taking the green flag was the youngest McMillin racer, Luke, who was fast early before the unthinkable occurred. The alternator pulley failed and although the driver and co-driver worked nonstop at repairs for hours on end, the 1600 racers were forced to take a DNF penalty in stage 1.

While waiting for the 1600 in the main pits, the McMillin Racing crew determined Mark McMillin's truck needed to change out the rear end. This put them over the allotted one-hour of work time on the truck and penalty times were assessed for the start of stage 2.

The second stage of racing started in Tonopah and ended in Hawthorne, Nevada. Mark McMillin charged the #23 trophy truck hard all day long before handing it over to Brian Ewalt for the final 125-miles to the finish line. When the race truck crossed the finish line, they were in the 8th position overall and immediately readied for the start of stage 3 on Saturday morning.

Daniel McMillin started the second stage in the 1600 car and drove the entire 372-mile stage. Daniel found his way into a ditch with two flats, resulting in two hours of downtime while working towards extraction.

Mark McMillin commented, "We have to thank the JIMCO Strobel team for stopping and pulling the McMillin 1600 car from their buried predicament. It's nice to have good friends show up in the middle of a race and help out."

As darkness descended over the Nevada desert, the race was on as Daniel McMillin chased checkpoint closing times throughout the night, staying ahead of them by just a few minutes. Daniel finished stage 2 in 12 hours, 55 minutes and 15 seconds.

And although the night ended up in another late work party, the race support crew prepared 12 rib eye steaks for the hungry and worn out race team sometime around midnight.

The sun rose early as the final day of the 3-day race began with Brian Ewalt setting a quick pace in the #23 trophy truck. He made his way to Pit 5 in Gabbs, Nevada, but not before he endured a long flat tire stop that eventually ended up with them getting stuck. Mark McMillin stood by at Pit 5 waiting to get in his truck and prepared for the final push to the checkered flags in Dayton, Nevada.

The final 298-miles saw Daniel McMillin complete the entire stage from behind the wheel of the pounding 1600 car. Daniel was the third fastest among the 1600 cars, finishing with a time of 6 hours, 21 minutes and 54 seconds.

Mark McMillin ran a near flawless race in stage 3, finishing in 5 hours, 51 minutes and 38 seconds finishing 8th overall among 146 cars and trucks entered in the race. The #23 was 6th in the elite class of 20 trophy trucks.

Mark smiled and said, "It was a fun and great race with the new Geiser-built trophy truck. Daniel and Luke finished 12th in the 1600 class after not finishing at all in the first stage of the race, so overall they rallied and ran solid. Our good friends, Ryan and Ross Mattox finished in 10th position and Luke drove their car in the second half of stage 2. Thanks to every single one of the 50 people who helped us get to the race, qualify, push the cars thru 115 degree heat in contingency, and get to the starting line everyday with full bellies. You were there at all the pits and at the finish line with shade and drinks. You all worked well and fast in the work area and were impressive. You were there to feed us at night and sometimes very late at night. You moved our trailers and motor homes everyday and kept smiling. We were all having fun. All the chase vehicles and pit support planning worked well. Fueling was impressive. Spirits were high and it's off to our next race."

The next race on the schedule for Daniel and Luke McMillin will be the SCORE Primm 300 race on September 12th, 2009 in Primm, Nevada. There is a chance that Mark McMillin may race the SCORE Primm 300 in the #23 trophy truck, but only after the crew has had time to determine the condition of the trophy truck after 1000-miles of brutal Nevada desert.

About McMillin Racing
With over three decades of racing experience, the McMillin family represents three generations of accomplished championship racers. Founded by the late off-road racing legend Corky McMillin, McMillin Racing continues to be respected as a one of the most successful desert racing teams of all time. They are supported by a long list of dedicated family, friends and employees of McMillin Companies, all who make up an incredibly talented group of steadfast supporters. Since 1976, they have raced at the highest level of competition in the deserts of North America. Together as a family, they have multiple series championships, along with significant race victories in both the United States and Baja California.

McMillin Racing symbolizes the ultimate passion in off road racing.

Scott & Andy McMillin CROWNED 2009 Vegas to Reno 1000-mile Desert Race Champions

San Diego, California (August 27, 2009) Andy McMillin was crowned the 2009 BITD Vegas to Reno OVERALL Winner after three days of battles with many of the top off road racers in the United States. The 2009 edition of Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno "The Long Way" race featured a three-day racing format that covered 997-miles of Nevada's treacherous desert.

Racing in such an event set in motion the McMillin Racing Army of volunteers who all joined together creating a championship winning performance as the #31 McMillin Homes sponsored race truck finished the race in the top spot.

Scott McMillin commented, "We could not have pulled this off without the dedication of our family, friends and co-workers who make up McMillin Racing. It was a monumental task of logistics and coordination to pull this off and the entire team made it happen." While droves of McMillin Racing volunteers staffed remote pit spots, many others transported the entire McMillin Racing mini-city from point-to-point each day over the three-day race event.

The task at hand, however, was to allow father and son racers, Scott and Andy McMillin, the opportunity to run the #31 McMillin Homes truck at top speeds from start to finish and challenge the competition for the title of winning the longest off road race in the United States.

The daunting challenge of a three-day 1000-mile stage desert race is nothing new for McMillin Racing as the father and son duo have overcome obstacles and racing challenges for many years together. Andy continues following in his father's footsteps as Scott has met and conquered the difficult challenges of desert racing for more than 20-years.

Coming off of winning performances at the BITD Parker 425 and the SNORE Mint 400, Andy McMillin was poised heading into Tuesday's qualifying event held in the desert outside Primm, Nevada. This was terrain that Andy has raced on many times over his career and qualifying for perhaps one of the biggest races in his career was no different.

By the days end, it was announced that Andy had qualified the #31 Geiser-built race truck in the top spot heading into Thursday's first day of racing. Andy commented, "We ran clean smooth lines in our qualifying efforts and that put us on top. . I'm glad we're first off the line in clean air."

As the sun began to shine on the small town of Beatty, Nevada, the McMillin Racing pit was abuzz as pit crews began to ready themselves and their race support vehicles for the first 333-mile day of racing. Crew Chief Greg Williams attended to the many details facing the team as he and his crew readied the #31 truck for the initial day of racing.

Andy McMillin started the three-day event in the driver's seat and as the green flag dropped he never looked back. In fact, the first stage of racing was absolutely perfect. McMillin railed the #31 McMillin Homes race truck through the barren desert, hitting each of his pits with perfection, as the dedicated crew worked in harmony providing the best race support available.

"We had a perfect day. The truck was awesome. Todd Tenbroek (FOX Racing Shox Race Manager) has been working with us in test sessions all season long and the suspension is unbelievable. I'm so comfortable knowing exactly how the truck is going to handle that I can push the Kroyer Racing package even harder than I normally would," regarded the San Diego racer.

The #31 ended their first day of racing on top of the field and headed into Friday's long 372-mile challenge with a vengeance. Scott McMillin and daughter, Jessica, started the day in the truck and they suffered two flats in the first 100-miles forcing them to play catch up early in the day. The second half of Scott's race day was near flawless, as he and Jessica made up time and handed off the pristine truck to Andy and his co-driver, Brady Thompson.

Competitors braved triple digit heat on Friday as the race kicked off from Tonopah, Nevada at an elevation of 6,000 feet and headed down to near sea level to some of the hottest and most desolate land in all of Nevada. By the end of Friday's second stage of racing, many competitors succumbed to the hostile conditions, calling it quits miles before the finish line. That was not the case for McMillin Racing, as they continued to focus on the goal of winning the longest off road race in the United States.

Early in the afternoon the #31 McMillin Homes truck rumbled into the BITD finish line in Hawthorne, Nevada. Smiling wide while he removed his helmet, co-driver Brady Thompson commented, "We really didn't push that hard, Andy was very focused and we had a solid run. Once again, the truck was awesome and we're all glad that we made it to the finish unscathed."

Andy McMillin smiled and said, "That was another good day of racing. We made a couple calculated charges towards the front and we got into a good rhythm and pushed fairly hard. It's amazing what abuse our BFGoodrich Tires can take. I may have earned a couple flat tires today that didn't go flat and I've just got to shake my head at how those tires can survive our abuse."

Best in the Desert base of operations for the third and final stage of the race was located in Hawthorne, Nevada, which is situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. As the sun set and illuminated the Walker Lake valley with an amazing array of colors, many teams made a mad dash to repair broken components for the final stage of racing.

The final stage of competition began at sunrise as the McMillin Racing Army of race support departed the race camp for the 8 remote pits strewn over 297-miles of stage three. After two full days of racing and finishing the second day in the third position physically, day three was set to be an epic battle between the top teams. Andy McMillin began the final day in second position physically, but first on time and his job was to charge to the finish line, but do it very cleanly to maintain the chance to win the overall race on time.

Throughout the day, everyone was working on timing charts. The tension grew as the #31 Geiser-built and Kroyer-powered machine clicked off the miles pit to pit and in the end, it was another near perfect day as Scott and Andy McMillin claimed victory in the longest off road race in the United States in 2009.

After a total of 997 torturous race miles throughout the entire state of Nevada, Scott and Andy McMillin finished the 2009 BITD Vegas to Reno race with a total time of 17 hours, 47 minutes, 52 seconds winning the overall victory by a mere 3 minutes and 6 seconds to the Herbst Racing family.

Scott McMillin reflected on the accomplishment, "What a great event. Best in the Desert put on a wonderful race that was an enormous logistical challenge and it went off great. Andy drove a great race and the crew performed each time we called on them. We couldn't win without our family, friends and co-workers of McMillin Racing who make up our entire race support volunteer team. Many thanks to a long list of supporters that include McMillin Homes, Kroyer Racing Engines, FOX Racing Shox, FORD, BFGoodrich Tires, KMC Wheels, VP Fuels, Vision X, Geiser Bros. along with all those that help us all season long. The 2009 BITD Series has two more races this season and we hope to continue with our winning ways."

About McMillin Racing
With over three decades of racing experience, the McMillin family represents three generations of accomplished championship racers. Founded by the late off-road racing legend Corky McMillin, McMillin Racing continues to be respected as a one of the most successful desert racing teams of all time. They are supported by a long list of dedicated family, friends and employees of McMillin Companies, all who make up an incredibly talented group of steadfast supporters. Since 1976, they have raced at the highest level of competition in the deserts of North America. Together as a family, they have multiple series championships, along with significant race victories in both the United States and Baja California.

McMillin Racing symbolizes the ultimate passion in off road racing.