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PENALTIES CHANGE OUTCOME OF SCORE BAJA 500

JULY 2021

The Voice Of Off-Road Motorsports

ISSUE 7 VOL 2

LARRY WINS!

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: THE 1978 STROPPE CJ-7 RESTORED

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+ TECH: REPLACING SPARK PLUGS AND COIL PACKS + PIKES PEAK: A RACE TO THE CLOUDS

YOUNG GUNS: GRAY LEADBETTER

REMEMBERING JOHN LANGLEY

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TABLE OF CONTENTS REGULAR DIRT>

16

4

WORD

5

NEWS FROM AROUND THE DIRT

8

DIRTWORLD

28

11 12 62 63

KIDS KORNER

46

FEATURES>

CAPTURED CHAPPY’S PIT STOP CALENDAR

16 COVER STORY: LARRY WINS 24 SAMARITANS IN THE DIRT: SHANE REDLINE 28 REMEMBERING JOHN LANGLEY 33 CHAMP OFF ROAD: BREAKING THE STREAK 34 YOUNG GUNS: GREY LEADBETTER 40 ULTRA4 UPDATE: MONTANA AND TENNESSEE 46 PIKES PEAK: A RACE TO THE CLOUDS 50 FOUR WHEELS FOR TOBY PRICE

50

54 58

54 RESTORED: STROPPE CJ-7

TECH> 58 REPLACING SPARK PLUGS AND COIL PACKS Publisher DirtSports Inc. Editor-In-Chief Shaun Ochsner Associate Editor La-Chelle Halliday Sales and Management Dave Arnold Contributing Editors Chris James Steve Hanson

Contributing Photography Shaun Ochsner La-Chelle Halliday Amanda Fonferek Ultra4 Shane Redline Larry Chen Red Bull Media House Toby Price Racing Cops Racing Dave Arnold Wayne Schmeekle Toyota Motor Corporation Printed at: Sutherland Printing FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA DIRTSPORTSWORLD

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WORD

W

PENALIZED!

e all know about the finish line controversy that surrounded this year’s SCORE Baja 500. Luke McMillin stripped of his win after driving through someone’s camp. But take a closer look at the list of penalties. Almost the entire finishing field of vehicles were assessed a penalty. I counted 129 penalties out of 146 total finishers in the race. Luke’s disqualification was obviously the elephant in the room. A large percentage of the penalties were for violating speed zones or VCP’s. There were a handful of illegal rider

change penalties. This tells us SCORE officials are not messing around when it comes to safety. As trucks have evolved, they are faster than ever before. There has always been a debate about highway speed zones. The highways remain open during the race to local traffic and sometimes create a dangerous mix when a race vehicle is trying to get through. Should there be less highway sections? Should SCORE do away with highway speed zones? The lesson learned here is watch your speed because SCORE is watching you.

Shaun Ochsner Editor-In-Chief DirtSportsWorld

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NEWS Crandon and Lucas Oil Announce Partnership Crandon International Raceway and Lucas Oil have announced a new comprehensive partnership. The agreement brings Lucas Oil branding to the facility along with television coverage on the Lucas Oil-owned MAVTV Motorsports Network. The iconic roadside barn at the facility will be renamed to the Lucas Oil Barn. The barn is the only original building left from the early days when the property was a dairy farm. Over the years the interior has been updated to house the track’s office facility and VIP bar. The deal brings illuminated signage to the structure. MAVTV billboards will also be added in key

Forza Horizon 5 Launches

Pack your things, we’re going to Mexico! Forza Horizon 5 launches, unleashing drivers into the ever-evolving open world landscapes of Mexico, drivers get behind the wheel of hundreds of the world’s greatest cars. Featured in the game, Alumi Craft Class 10, the all new Ford Bronco and Bronco R Baja, Chevy Colorado, Funco Motorsports F9, and the ‘Penhall the Cholla buggy’. Additionally, new versions of the

locations around the track. The timing tower also takes on new branding as the “MATV Timing Tower.” Other Lucas Oil and MAVTV branding will be spread around the property as part of the deal. Lucas Oil has been a supporter of Crandon International Raceway in the past.

Corvette, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, will make their presence known. Forza Horizon 5 is available November 9th to all buyers on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 5


NEWS FROM AROUND THE DIRT

New Venue for Off Road Expo The Off-Road Expo is being moved to the Ontario Convention Center. Bonnier events says, “due to unforeseen circumstances at the Fairplex in Pomona, the Expo was forced to find an alternative location”. The Off-Road Expo will be held October 9th and 10th. Bonnier Events is working with the venue to figure out layout of the new space and will include both indoor and outdoor exhibit space. The Fairplex in Pomona has been closed to events since the beginning of the pandemic. Last year, the county of Los Angeles used it as a COVID testing super site. Currently it is being used as a vaccination site and one of the main convention buildings is housing migrant children on a federal contract.

SCORE Announces 2021 Schedule

Just past the halfway point in 2021, with two races left on the SCORE desert schedule, the 2022 race dates have already been announced. SCORE will run four races next year as expected. “SCORE continues to build the operational and marketing assets of the SCORE World Desert Championship and our 2022 schedule will include the SCORE Baja Triple Crown races along with our newest race—the SCORE Baja 400,” said Jose A. Grijalva, President/ Race Director of SCORE International. “Mexican races are the cornerstone of SCORE and to have all four races south of the border for the seventh consecutive season and seventh time in SCORE’s long history is a distinct honor and a wonderful privilege. We welcome the challenge to continue to add to the illustrious SCORE Baja racing legacy. And to finish the season with the iconic SCORE Baja 1000 always attracts racing extremists from around the world.”

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The series will kick things off March 29th with the San Felipe 250. The Baja 500 will be held in its usual June spot. September will see the Baja 400 in Ensenada and a loop race is planned for the Baja 1000. Fans and racers can expect to see the return of prerace festivities at technical inspection and contingency as it was for years in the prepandemic times.


Extreme E Postpones Final Two Events Due to COVID Concerns

The Extreme E Series is actively searching for two new venues to hold its final events of the season. The series was originally set to host the final events in Brazil at the end of October and Argentina in December. The ever changing COVID-19 situation has forced organizers to move those races to 2022. The series still plans on delivering the final two races that help make up its five-race calendar. “This was not a decision made lightly,

however current travel advice and restrictions have also meant we have been unable to visit the race areas in advance to undertake the necessary reconnaissance visits, which are especially vital due to the remote nature of our operations, “said Alejandro Agag, Extreme E Founder and CEO. Alternate locations have not yet been announced.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 7


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SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO The circus has arrived.

Everyone has to follow the mask mandates.

SEND US YOUR CRAZY PHOTO OUT IN THE DIRT AND WE MAY FEATURE IT HERE IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE. YOUR PHOTO WILL BE PUT TO A VOTE. THE BEST PHOTO WILL WIN A WINCH-2-GO FROM SUPERWINCH. SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: Dirtsports@dirtsportsworld.com DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 9


NEW PRODUCT

Cardo Introduces PACKTALK Headphones

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ardo systems has introduced its all-new PACKTALK headphone. The PACKTALK headphone works with the PACKTALK Bold and Black models. In non-helmet situations, users can stay connected. The headphones are built similar to gaming headsets. The headphones feature noise cancelling earmuffs along with a boom mic for clear communication. The built-in Cardo cradle allows users to transfer their PACKTALK unit from helmet to headphone. The unit operates as if it was locked into the side of the helmet.

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The headphones have a waterproof design and 13-hour battery life. Usage is perfect for situations where a riding coach may need to talk to riders on the track, spotters can communicate with their driver or a photographer can give instructions to a rider or driver through the PACKTALK system. Up to 15 people can be connected to the network. “Over the last several years, we worked closely with industry professionals around the world to understand the need for an accessory that would allow seamless communication in non-helmet applications,” said Dan Emodi, Chief Marketing Officer for Cardo Systems. The headphones retail for $129 and are available at retailers.


KIDS KORNER

Chaden Zane | Age: 13 | Jr.2/RS 1 Minder

PRESENTED BY:

Photos Courtesy: Mod Kids USA

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and any obstacles along the way: A: From the day I was born, racing has been a part of my life. I have grown up at the track and traveled with my family to watch my big brothers’ race. Looking back on those memories, I still remember waiting to be old enough to join in on the fun! There is something about the thrill of the starting line. Having all your adrenaline intensely building inside and just waiting for that green flag to drop! IT’S GO TIME! Racing is really much more than that to me. It’s a place to build new relationships with like-minded people, it’s a place to learn and conquer your fears, a place to pursue greatness on the track. It’s passion, it’s my fire, it’s my “leave it on the line after the grind. I am Chaden Zane Minder! I am a multi-disciplined driver in both short course Stadium Racing and Desert Racing. Q: What is it about Off-Road that brings you the most joy? A:I like the competitiveness of the sport. It excites me to get on the track and have a good battle. Q: What are your favorite tracks and Ultimate goal for 2021? A:This is a hard one right now, because most tracks are closed down. Otherwise, I would say Missouri and Arizona are my favorites. The goal this season is I’m hoping racing gets back to normal and all tracks get back on the schedule. Q: What are you going to change tomorrow to make yourself better than today? A:Practice Practice Practice. No matter what it is, I can always improve or do more. How does your school work help you in sports? A Not sure if school work helps me do better, but if I don’t do my school work then I don’t get to race. Haha! I will say Math does help with race calculations. Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? A:Oh, geez that’s weird to think about. So, in five years, I’ll be 18. I will be out of high school and working towards a career. I would love to still be racing and getting my feet wet in the Baja 500. Minder Shout Outs: My parents, because they let me get into the sport of racing. Grom USA, Rugged Radios, Self Made Training Facility Las Vegas, DXStarr Race Gear, Drink Chill H2O, K&B engineering, Surf Supply USA, Temecula Motorsports, Carr One Fabrication, GBC Tires, VP Racing Fuels, KMC Wheels, Impact by MCS, and Limitless Sports Academy. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 11


CAPTURED SENDERO DE CABRA: Rob MacCachren navigates his trophy truck down the famous Goat Trail at the Baja 500. Photo: Shaun Ochsner

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TEASED

T

oyota has been teasing us with the all-new next generation 2022 Tundra for the last couple of months. Official information has not been released, but at we least know what the truck is going to look like. The photos show us the truck has a an all new re-designed front end and will be packed with the latest advanced technology in the interior. We can expect the truck to be off-road capable like its predecessor. The iForce Max badging on the truck gives us a clue about a new powertrain. A release date has not officially been announced.

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LARRY WINS! Larry Roeseler awarded SCORE Baja 500 win after penalties are assessed. Story by; Shaun Ochsner Photos: Shaun Ochsner, LaChelle Halliday & Dave Arnold


COVER STORY

T

he 2021 SCORE Baja 500 is one that will go down in the history books and remembered for years to come. Penalties are nothing new to racers. A handful of racers usually end up getting assessed penalties for exceeding highway and pit speed zones once officials have had a chance to review tracking data post-race. After all, it’s a race and in the moment it’s sometimes tough to control your speed. Rarely is a winning driver completely disqualified from the race amid a ton of controversy. In SCORE history during the Sal Fish era, Gustavo Vildolsola was stripped of his Baja 1000 win just a week after video surfaced of him receiving outside pit assistance from a chase truck while traveling down a Mexican highway in 2012. Fast forward to 2021, Luke McMillin’s Baja 500 first place finish would cause officials to delay the announcement of the overall winner. Since the Vildolsola incident in 2012, an independent competition review board of racers was put into place to meet and review protests at the finish line.

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So, what was so controversial that caused multiple protests at the finish line this year? As Luke McMillin was finishing the SCORE Baja 500 in his brand-new Mason all-wheel drive truck, video surfaced of Luke blowing a corner and driving through the camp of some spectators. SCORE deemed this a serious rule violation and a disqualification was recommended. Luke’s cousin Andy had finished just seconds behind the younger McMillin. Andy was also assessed a thirtyminute penalty for passing under unsafe conditions in a controlled speed zone. The penalty kept Andy in second place. The competition review board met twice to confirm the validity of penalties for both McMillins. A statement posted to Luke Mcmillin’s facebook page read: Yesterday when battling to the finish knowing the race was coming down to seconds I made a big mistake. I got off my line and ended up behind a campsite. When we pulled up to the tents, the first thing we did was yell and point to see if anyone was in them, once the guys started to pull the tent out of the way and signaled no, is when we decided to go. I would not have moved forward if it was not clear. It was a

SCORE BAJA 500 LARRY WINS

big mistake and I’m very sorry. I’ve been in contact and made things right with the people there, fully replacing their belongings. Again, I’m sorry and the last thing in the world I want is for anyone to be hurt for a race.

Above: Both McMillins wait for results at the finish line, something that wouldn’t be decided until a few days later.

SCORE STATEMENT: “SCORE appreciates the diligent work of the CRB in assisting in adjudicating these more challenging situations that can arise during one of our SCORE Baja races,” said Jose A. Grijalva, SCORE President and Race Director. “SCORE will continue to review and enforce the rules that are designed to keep racers, crews and spectators all safe.” “Unfortunately, these two special decisions have impacted two of the most prominent and well-respected racers in the entire sport of desert racing and this is an example of the transparency SCORE has with the help of the CRB in these special situations.” DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 19


COVER STORY

With the finish line controversy sorted out, 64-year old Larry Roeseler added another overall Baja win to his extensive resume. Roeseler has won the SCORE Baja 500 twelve times. Nine of those wins were on a motorcycle. This however is the first time winning the event in a Trophy Truck. Roeseler won the Baja 500 twice in the iconic Class 1 Land Shark for Terrible Herbst Motorsports. Roeseler has driven a trophy-truck previously as the second driver for Roger Norman where they won the Baja 1000 in 2008.

While penalties and disqualifications were being assessed in the Trophy Truck class, other racers had a flawless and near perfect race. One of those racers was Broc Dickerson. Dickerson won Class 1 by fourteen minutes over Brian Wilson. Dickerson has spent the last year trying to successfully secure a win in the class. Dickerson made his way up to the front with several clean passes after starting 5th. Despite receiving a six-minute speeding penalty, Jeff Proctor cruised to an easy 20 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

finish in his Honda Ridgeline Class 7 truck. Proctor left his closest competitor, the 700 of Dan Chamlee hours behind in the dust. The other three trucks in the field failed to finish the race. Proctor and his team are coming off of a win at the SCORE San Felipe 250 and clearly kept the momentum going right into the Baja 500. Branden Sims won the UTV Forced Induction class¬– penalty free. Kaden Wells also finished penalty free in his Polaris, in front of competitor and team Honda Talon driver Zach Sizelove in the Pro-UTV Naturally Aspirated Class by just a couple of


SCORE BAJA 500 LARRY WINS

minutes. Jason McNeil and his team were back in Ensenada by midnight celebrating their first Baja 500 Trophy Truck Spec win. For the rest of the field, the 466-mile course was fun but challenging and very technical. It had a mix of fast sections where one could go wide open. The course went down the famous Goat trail in Valle de Trinidad, a route we haven’t seen from a SCORE race in years. Some would get caught up in some bottlenecks and silt. Specifically, the area just passed El Coyote. For hours racers would

pull each other out one by one. Their chances of winning the Baja 500 were slipping away as the minutes they were stuck ticked on and turned into hours for some. Other racers reported a “graveyard” of broken trucks scattered everywhere around the course.

The racers that actually made it to the pacific side, running up the coast was a breeze. Literally. The cooler evening temperatures was mother-natures air conditioning, keeping motors, drivers and co-drivers cool. The start and finish line was isolated once again on a newly built section of the not-yet opened Highway 3 with strict COVID protocols. The 2021 SCORE Baja 500 will definitely go down in the books as one with tougher penalties (a whopping 129 in total). It should be noted there were only 146 finishers out of 240 starters. Most were for speed violations, failure to hit VCP’s and of course the McMillin disqualification. Combine that with a rougher course and we can only imagine what’s instore for the Baja 1000. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 21


OVER THE AIRWAVES

Radio highlights from the baja 500

O

ne of the best ways to get a front seat to the racing action is to listen to the weatherman feed. If you are lucky enough to be in Baja, you can tune your radio directly into the channel. For those stateside, there are a few websites that will simulcast the feed. Always entertaining, here is what we heard on race-day during the SCORE Baja 500: “Leaders through “Huge shout out to mad RM14, we have a “Police chasing horse max Gordon turning 13 Menzies, McMillin, and donkey on course and riding with his dad after bike had left the McMillin race today.” Robby Gordon in TT line at RM 105” 77. Hope the unicorn weathers well for you.” “Stuck microphone “Someone get a phone number 3... let’s book so we can call the washing machine in San hope it’s a short one.” “Can someone get Luis and get them to get me a rocket launcher off of the radio. We can to make it to the hear them loud and clear.” laundromat because “I got a message they’re really pissing someone got ahold of me off.” the washing machine company and they will stay off our channel .”

“I just got a message on Instagram that 1078 is out of the race at mile 47. They need to be towed out, motor is junk as they said.”

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“If you see your car stopped on the tracker better get a four-wheeldrive and get in there.” <In reference to the bottle neck on the course>

“That radio has to be hotter than a pistol. Go send it in for service or get a new mic.”

“Wanna hear the rumors? There’s some rumors! Wanna hear the winner? Nothing official yet. Corky would be proud, that’s as unofficial as it gets.”


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Presents

Samaritans in the Dirt

Story by: LaChelle Halliday Photos by: LaChelle Halliday, Shane Redline

A

midst the chaotic world engulfed in the atrocious events occurring in the world among us, it is continually a burst of fresh air to hear and witness the astonishing acts of kindness, selflessness and human compassion for others. Within the off road community, the overwhelming number of events where an individual has stood out amongst others by assisting someone in need is astounding. While showcasing the best and greatest stories in off road across the globe, including in an attempting to highlight the unbeknownst tales and narratives that thrive upon the selfless acts of service to others. These are those stories.

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[Mexico] The inaugural SCORE Baja 500 was underway in the bustling fishing village of Ensenada, as competitors began making the treacherous trek down the Baja California peninsula before the sun would rise. As early as 0600 AM, motorcycles were leaving the starting line, engulfed in the dust becoming lost in a sea of cacti in their search for a win. The course would begin in Ensenada, run the length to Lazaro Cardenas, turn south winding through Mike’s Sky Ranch, passing Valladares at race mile 185, rounding around Rancho Los Pinos and finally follow the coastline back into Ensenada to equal a total of 466 miles. Shane Redline rose early on June 12th with one goal in mind, to race. As he throttled his yellow and black, Jax Transport supported Honda CRF450R off the starting line, nothing could have indicated the future torturing decisions he would have to make that day.


Shane Redline was competing in the Pro Moto Unlimited class, sharing seat time with 4 other riders, and after completing his section of mileage successfully, he handed the bike off to his teammate. With his adrenaline still pumping, he headed to the airport to assist his son on his own race in the trophy truck. Shane Redline grew up riding and racing dirt bikes providing him with the ultimate outlet for a typical child’s energy, while also instilling essential characteristics that would benefit him later in life. From dirt bike riding and racing, Shane learned the meaning of dedication and hard work that culminated later in his life when he started his own company. Out of Amarillo, Texas, Shane owns and operates Jax Transport, a trucking company named after his son Jax. Whilst managing his successful businesses, alongside pilots’ license in hand, he finds the extra time to share his passion of racing with his son, continually coaching and spotting for him in every racing avenue they partake. In his latest feats, purchasing a Robinson R44 to facilitate a watchful eye while Jax is desert racing.

SHANE REDLINE

After handing the #22X Honda off, Shane arrived at the airport and began his journey flying above his son, Jax, driver of the #22, bright yellow, trophy truck. Over the radio Jax yells NO POWER NO POWER as the truck comes to a halt. The brand new Geiser Bros trophy truck had become sidelined by a loose transmission filter. As Shane hovered overhead, he called to his chase team to alert them on his low fuel level, and he must return to the airport to refuel.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 25


SAMARITANS IN THE DIRT

Radio traffic began to cloud the airwaves as motorcycle teams were rounding the southernmost point of the race before making the trek up the coastline. Broken chatter flooded the speakers: [WEATHERMAN] Repeat, 5X Chase [UNKNOWN] down rider [static] 5X [static] on crossover road [static] two broken legs

Concern and confusion had set in on all sides as the chatter began to dim allowing the emergency to be received and acknowledged to determine the best response. [WEATHERMAN] I have 5X moving on the tracker, can someone confirm? [CHECKPOINT1] 5X through checkpoint one confirmed

As the broken radio transmission continued, the confusion thickened for everyone within earshot of a radio. [UNKNOWN] team member of 5X [static] on the crossover road [static] Tahoe to move him [WEATHERMAN] I have an ambulance at San Vicente, but they cannot go backward on a hot course.

After refueling, Shane began walking outside the door, when a girl yelled out to him. Turning around, Nic Garvin’s girlfriend Rachel, questioned if he had heard about Nic. Shane laughingly replied “Yeah! Y’all are kicking our ass with a 40-minute lead!” Rachel began to inform him about the accident as Nic is waiting outside in an ambulance waiting for a jet to pick him up. Shane instinctively decided to stick around, waiting to ensure the duo was taken care of. After 20 minutes had passed, asking the comandante after watching another aircraft takeoff was informed that no one was coming for him.

After enduring a femur break of his own, the possibility of a nicked artery or other [UNKNOWN] not on the race complications weighted Shane’s mind as he course [static] transition [static] pondered what to do. He thought back to previous incidents and had been warned if Jax A stretch of road named Calentura Road or simply known as the “Crossover Road” links runs someone over, to land the helicopter, grab Jax and fly stateside no questions asked. With Highway 3 at Valle De La Trinidad with a the fear of the unknown if someone would be “shortcut” through the winding mountains in Jax’ path, he called the chase team informing and Highway 1 just south of San Vicente. Continual radio traffic had indicated the badly them to have Jax lessen his hold on the throttle for a bit as he would be heading to the border. injured rider was hit head on by a speeding Knowing his son would counter in disbelief UTV around a blind curve and was being he explained his need to do the right thing and picked up in an SUV moving him to the ambulance waiting on the other end. The rider help Nic get to a top-notch orthopedic surgeon in San Diego while indicating he won’t be the was then moved from the SUV to a medical “eyes in the sky” for a bit. evac helicopter to be flown to the hospital. 26 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM


Shane hung up with his team, returning to the medics over Nic told them to put him in the helicopter. The medic knowing only broken English replied “How? It’s not possible.” Shane reiterated the importance of moving Nic, who’s still on a stretcher board, into his Robinson R44 and the possibility of worsening his complications if not treated quickly. They agreed and began to move Nic into the Redline R44 helicopter as Nic begins screaming in agonizing pain from two broken femurs, a shattered knee, and three broken ribs. Once he was slid into the backseat, he was forced to bend at the waist sitting upright resting against the door, compiling the pain from the continuous movement to another vehicle.

Filing a new flight plan, running across the flight line, calling ahead to the San Diego border praying for special emergency admittance over the border as Nic and Rachel only had passport cards, intensifying the complexity of the journey all while Shane continues to pray silently over his son’s safety. Flying without a passport is a $5,000 for each flyer, a decision Shane had to make swiftly and takes off. He began to feel the weight of his decisions as he waited on hold

SHANE REDLINE

for customs to determine his acceptance of emergency entrance to the US. He repetitively continued wondering if Nic will be alright, knowing multiple things can go wrong, simply wishing for the best outcome possible on all fronts. Customs finally approves their emergency crossing, landing them at San Diego Brown Field, clearing customs. They continue over the San Diego bridge, Shane calls 911 to have an ambulance meet them at San Diego International Airport, verifying a surgeon is waiting for Nic’s arrival. He is moved, once again, to the ambulance as Shane packs up and begins his descent back to Ensenada. Feelings immediately rush over him as he called the chase truck to inform them of his return, knowing the terrifying overwhelming fear of any parent that something could happen to Jax in his absence. The deep bond that Shane shares with his son, entrusting him at 16 years old, to ultimately be alone, racing a million-dollar truck, in a third world country where anything could happen but believing Jax would make the best decisions possible shows how close the Redline men are.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 27


DESERT RACING

REMEMBERING JOHN LANGLEY

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Story: Shaun Ochsner Photos:Courtesy of COPS Racing

H

e had a deep raspy voice, half combed wavy hair and looked like he hadn’t shaved in several days. He was always puffing on a cigar, and if you had caught him at a good time, he probably had a glass of his favorite wine in his hand– brimming full. If you sat down to talk to him, he would have poured you one too. “Hey kid…” was one of his favorite lines when you asked him a question or picked his brain about any topic. A kind soul that treated everyone equal and made you feel like you were just as important as him. He always had a good story to tell. That was John Langley, creator of the highly successful unscripted COPS television show. Langley was a visionary. The COPS television empire began in the late 1980’s. The idea came to John after spending time with a bunch of DEA agents while filming a documentary on the on the rising drug trade. The doc was called ‘Cocaine Blues’. He became enthralled with the work of law enforcement and realized there was a story to tell. With no scripts, COPS was raw, in-yourface, as it happened reality. There weren’t any reality shows in the 80’s. The concept took off


like wildfire in 1989 and is still in production today. Longtime friend of John, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo credits himself as being one of first “actors” on the show. Years later, John would invite Lombardo to ride with him in the race truck. John jokingly says “I have done every job with a “P” in front of it from Producer to Peanut Salesman. John comes from a background in show business. He has worked on several films, documentaries and television shows, many of them in the “crime arena.” In 2011, John got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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A neighbor of John’s had some brand-new race cars built and was heading to Baja to race. A very curious John asked the neighbor what they were up to. He was invited hang out with the team and experience the race. Like most, John was immediately bit by the magic Baja bug. Upon his return home he ordered a racecar to be built and got his sons Zak and Morgan Langley involved. In 2008, COPS racing was born. They began to enter races all over Nevada and Baja. He brought on friends to drive with him. The team would have everything from a Class 10, Class 1, Trophy Truck and Spec Truck in their stable. A brand new ES Motorsports Trophy Truck was built specifically for John in 2020. Sometimes John would drive a little too fast and over his head, especially during pre-runs and testing. He knew he needed help, so he hired motocross legend Ricky Johnson as his driving coach. Other racers such as Harley Letner, Kash Vessels and Steve Hengeveld would have opportunities on the team. It was

REMEMBERING JOHN LANGLEY

in 2017, with Hengeveld and Vessels, John won the SCORE Trophy Truck Spec class during the 50th anniversary of the SCORE Baja 1000. Ricky’s son Luke also had a huge opportunity to drive a trophy truck for the team. Luke, mainly known for his shortcourse success had never driven a trophy truck in Baja. He thanks John for giving him the “opportunity of a life-time.” Many others have

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 31


“After chasing around cops in high speed pursuits, I got into off-road racing because it’s the same adrenaline rush. In the case of off-road racing it’s to chase after the win”. -John Langley

also attributed their off-road career success to John, thanking him taking a chance on them and giving them an opportunity. John passed away from an apparent heart attack in Baja during the RECORD Ensenada-San Felipe Coast to Coast race. He was in Baja doing something he loved in a place he loved¬– racing off-road in Baja, in pursuit of a win. John Langley will truly be missed in his decade of involvement in the off-road community. He really did make everyone feel just as important as him. 32 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM


SHORT COURSE

G N I K A K E R A E B TH STRE Story: Shaun Ochsner | Photos: Amanda Fonferek

C

randon International Raceway is one of those tracks where anything can happen. It’s much like a motocross event with a land rush start. One lucky driver gets the holeshot in turn one and hopefully everyone else doesn’t crash fighting for a position as the drivers get squeezed through that first turn. Crandon is a fast track where drivers bring their “A” game. Twice a year, drivers look forward to racing at the iconic track located in the backwoods of Wisconsin. The Spring Crandon Brush run was Championship Off Road’s second stop of the season for Rounds 3 & 4. Coming off of weekend sweeps at the opening rounds in Antigo, several pro drivers had something to prove. Little did they know, Crandon would put the brakes on those winning streaks.

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SHORT COURSE

In Pro-Lite, Brock Heger was the one to watch after an impressive weekend sweep in Antigo. Kyle Greaves who won several rounds in the 2020 season wasn’t going down without a fight. Greaves missed the Championship last year after mechanical issues shut his truck down. The ironic part is that everything happened at Crandon. Greaves was back for redemption. Heger put major pressure on Greaves, but in the end, Greaves got the victory. Sunday’s Round 3 was a different story as Heger was back on the podium in his comfortable first place spot. Cole Mamer finished second and Greaves had to settle for third, still securing a podium position. Crandon is the hometown track for Keegan Kincaid. He has won Cup races at the track so naturally he is comfortable there. Kincaid also comes off of a winning streak at Antigo. The streak continued right into Saturday’s Round 3. The upset for Kincaid would come during Sunday’s Round 4. A very confident Ryan Beat grabbed the holeshot, leading the field from start to finish. Beat introduced a brand new Pro-2 into short course racing last

year and it seems he has struggled with it. Beat did manage to make the podium last year but hadn’t had a win in the class, until Crandon. Beat’s run was impressive. Kincaid had to settle for a 4th place finish, just outside of podium.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 34


BREAKING THE STREAK

CJ Greaves has had a lot of success at Crandon, but so has Kyle Leduc. Leduc also struggled with mechanical issues on his truck until Crandon. Leduc would go for the weekend sweep winning both rounds. Greaves wasn’t far off with a second-place podium finish. One can expect an extremely tight points battle between these two right down to the final championship race, right back at Crandon Labor Day weekend.

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YOUNG GUNS

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GRAY LEADBETTER BIG SPONSORS, BIG DREAMS

Story and Photos: Shaun Ochsner

S

ixteen-Year-old Gray Leadbetter hit a career milestone this year. Monster Energy came on-board to sponsor her racing program. Leadbetter was born just outside of the heart of NASCAR country in Morganton, North Carolina. There’s no shortage of positive influences to help advance her racing career around these parts. Leadbetter wasn’t born into a racing family. It’s a passion she found all on her own. Her dad was snowboarder and had no intention of her racing. He bought her a PW50 and some friends influenced him to put her in a race. She has been racing since she was four years old. Growing up riding dirtbikes shaped her career for racing at the track. It wasn’t long before she was behind the wheel of everything from Karts, Legends and Mini-Outlaw Sprints. Leadbetter became the youngest driver and only female to compete in the America’s Rallycross Series. Leadbetter’s short course off-road career started in 2017 after her father got her a UTV to drive


YOUNG GUNS

around the parking lot near their house. They quickly connected with a local North Carolina team and were invited come do some racing. One of their car builders knew Johnny and CJ Greaves. They went to ERX Motorpark to do some testing with the Greaves and quickly established a parking spot underneath their tent at the races. Leadbetter has become part of the Greaves family. Away from the track, she gets to spend holiday weekends hanging out with them. CJ Greaves is like a big brother to her. While he has his own fame and reached some career milestones, Leadbetter says she doesn’t realize how famous Johnny and CJ really are. Johnny Greaves has 80-plus wins with 10 championships in short-course. CJ has 11 Championships on his resume. She sits back and watches them sign countless autographs and take pictures with fans. They are always doing press or TV interviews. Leadbetter is racing the Championship OffRoad series in a Yamaha Pro Modified Sideby-Side. This is her first year in the mod class having previously raced sportsman. Some of

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her friends have also moved up in class as well. She is friendly and approachable in the pits, but don’t count her out on the track. She is just as competitive as every other driver


GRAY LEADBETTER

“Signing a contract with Monster Energy, it was crazy to think about” -Gray Leadbetter

chasing a championship. Leadbetter says ERX is her favorite track. She points out having the most fun in the rhythm section. Having a motocross background, one could compare such terrain to a motocross track. While a UTV handles a lot differently than a dirtbike, watching her race in Antigo, you could tell she wanted double through the whoops much like a bike. Her goal this season is as many top finishes as possible which will help her stay consistent with season points. Leadbetter says seeing that big Monster Energy Logo on the side of her car with her name on it puts things into a different perspective. She says she is thankful for everyone that helped get her to this point. Her future sights are set on moving up to Pro-Lite

and eventually the coveted Pro-2 class. Leadbetter is a busy girl. When she is not racing or testing UTV’s on the short-course track, she is racing sprint cars. Her 500 horsepower V8 IMCA 305 RaceSaver Sprint car gives her pure adrenaline. The thing goes sideways on the dirt track at over 100 miles an hour. The car has more power than a standard corvette. She has already found herself a podium at her first sprint car race. Leadbetter credits her motivation to getting her where she is today. Leadbetter sits sixth in season points at Championship Off Road. As for that future Pro-2 or Pro-4 ride, she will need to talk to Johnny about that. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 39


ULTRA4

ULTRA4 D E H S A UNLE

Story: LaChelle Halliday Photos: Courtesy Ultra4

DATE: JUNE 15TH 2021 LOCATION: BROADVIEW, MT COURSE: BIG SKY 200 LAP: 45+ MILE LOOP

from the local Yellowstone Off Road Racing (YORR) organization in a joint racing event.

The morning race featured 48 cars across multiple classes from Ultra4 and YORR including Modified, Stock and UTV classes. s the Ultra4 competitors dug themselves Following a notable qualifying session, Josh Smith of the Can-Am 4900 class followed up out of Mexico, a new mission was his last two pole wins, (Moab, and San Felipe) center front on the horizon allowing little winning another pole position advantage in time to recover. Next on the journey was the quaint town of Broadview Montana just Broadview. With blue skies above, the AM race north outside of Billings. With only a handful was underway, releasing each driver in 1-minute intervals to battle the vast open terrain within of citizens, our teams had ample room to stretch after a long trek to the treasure state. the given 6 hours. Combining the 4500, 4600, Joining the Ultra4 competitors were drivers 4900 and YORR classes, would prove to be an

A

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obstacle race to the finish line as teams were only able to utilize one main hot pit and one remote pit proving accurate navigation and pit strategy would become essential.

UNLEASHED UPDATE

The Can-Am 4900 UTV class, mixed with YORR racers, was the largest on the course. A course of two track course winding alongside mile long green fields, dusty hills and silt laden corners, was ideal for these machines. After winning the pole, Josh Smith executed his strategy effectively and stood atop the podium as the 4900 class winner. Following closely on his heels was Mike Slawson, seasoned racer and brother of the King, Randy Slawson, for the silver and Jacob Versey, the Las Bajas winner, rounded out the podium with a bronze third. Winning the Yukon Gear and Axle 4500 Modified class was Pacific Northwest racer, John Mathews, for his first season win. Alongside Mathews, John Grounds walked away with a second-place win.The Spidertrax 4600 Stock class pole winner, Alex Fleming, fought a hard battle against Joshua Patt but falling short into second as Patt outlasted the field claiming his first victory of the year. Following closely behind them was seasoned racer John Snell who finalized the podium standings for class. The afternoon race combined the 4400 Unlimited class, the Branik Motorsports 4800 Legends class and the YORR Pro classes. YORR officials waived the green flag, unleashing the beasts into the Montana landscape at 1-minute intervals. Racing was extremely competitive with multiple lead changes as pit strategy and fuel planning played a key role in each drivers’ success. Pole sitter and Team Yukon / Team Nitto Tire athlete, Bailey Cole came out of the gates strong charging through the hills, stumbling on his journey from alternator issues on lap one. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 41


ULTRA4

This, however, gave way for Kevin Porterfield to take over the lead, guiding the pack of hungry competitors looking for a way past him. With mechanical issues arising amongst teams, it wasn’t long before Bailey Cole returned with a vengeance passing teams, one by one until the checkered flag was flown. With his first Ultra4 US victory finally claimed, Cole was followed by Fly Offroad driver John Grounds, who had also taken 2nd in the morning 4500 class race and rounded out by Bill Kunz in 3rd. The 4800 Legends class, running a time nearly as fast as the winning 4400 car, Jeremy “Doc” Jones led from green flag to checkered flag. Long time Ultra4 competitor Steve Graff scored his first podium finish with a 2nd place finish and Jack Peterson placed 3rd in the Rock Ware car.

DATE: JUNE 26TH 2021 LOCATION: S. Pittsburg, TN COURSE: Tear Down in Tenn. LAP: 6.75 mile loop Just 11 short days after the Big Sky 200, the Ultra4 teams would meet again, however, this chapter of their journey would land them in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. The 2021 Method Race Wheels Tear Down in Tennessee would drop the Ultra4 teams deep into the dense woods to engage in a punishing endurance sprint that would eventually pound down a few competitors, and down a few drones. The thick single track woods race would include an increase in rocks as Race Director, JT Taylor stated, “I wanted to put the 4 back in Ultra4 for this race.” First off of the starting line, the Can-Am 4900 UTV class, led by Todd Beckett, began filing into the brush. While clean air was not an advanced card that could be played, drivers had to focus primarily on pit and fuel strategy as this field was known for eating tires. 42 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

Beating the odds, veteran Jamie McCoy performed impeccably as he climbed to the top of the podium for his 2nd Eastern series victory after winning the Battle in Bluegrass. Flying hot on the heels of McCoy


was pole setter, Todd Beckett followed by Jody Ford. The midday race was a combination of the Branik Motorsports 4800 Unlimited class, the Yukon Gear and Axle 4500 Modified class, and the Spidertrax 4600 Stock class. With a stacked lineup of nearly 25 cars in just the 4800 class alone, the smell of race fuel engulfed the lush, humid air as each competitor tore off the starting line. As the frontline of racers faced lap traffic amongst the slick hills and trees, Chris May was able to slide through the congestion taking home the win followed by two Casey’s. Casey Ryan (driving for George Schooley) claimed the silver 2nd place followed by Casey Gilbert took home a 3rd finish.

UNLEASHED UPDATE

Amongst the others who continued to struggle through the woods was the Spidertrax 4600 Stock class, proving that a full size was not a strong competitor in this terrain. Pole setter, Jon Schaefer was first off of the line, however battling mechanical and part deliver issues more often than competitors allowed Tyler Haggard, who worked his way to the front atop the podium. Anthony Vanoy battled into a 2nd place and familiar victor Jon Schaefer held strong to a 3rd place finish. After the carnage was removed, the roar of the Unlimited 4400 class began echo through the hills as one by one each took their chances in the woods. Cade Rodd, pole position leader, showed his skills, ripping through the woods leading the pack of beasts for 7 challenging laps. Pit crews became as important as the drivers themselves. Team Erik Miller changed a power steering pump in under 10 minutes, getting him back onto the track and into contention. Losing precious time, Erik Miller shifted to another level furiously chasing down Cade Rodd who refused to give up the physical lead. On corrected time, King Josh Blyler had barely edged out Cade making up enough time on the final lap to win by less than 3 minutes. Finishing the podium standings, 3rd place was awarded to Erik Miller who set the fastest lap of the day on his 7th and final lap. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 43


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RALLY

A Race to the Clouds 99th King of the Mountain is crowned Story By: LaChelle Halliday Photos By: Larry Chen

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A

legendary race, the second oldest in US history, is only 12.42 miles long. Sounds fairly simple, yes? What if, factored into those 12 miles was 156 corners, a 4,725 ft. elevation change, and a 10.5% climbing grade? If this were any time prior to 2012, that course would only be partially paved, guiding racers through dirt tracks as they wind against the mountain side. Would you race it? Could you be the next King of the Mountain? In 1806, Lt. Zebulon Pike first witnessed the majesty of the mountain, swearing that it would never be conquered by man. Pike’s Peak was named after the explorer, who never scaled the mountain himself, but in the years since, has been visited and climbed by tourists from around the world. A vast majority of its visitors are overcome by its beauty, including Katherine Lee Bates, who was inspired by the view from the summit to compose the famous lyrics to America the Beautiful in 1893. Lt. Pike could have never imagined the vehicles not the automobile racecourse that began shortly over a century after his first sighting. By 1915, Spencer


RALLY

Penrose, Colorado Springs’ major benefactor, realized the tourist potential of this beautiful landmark and finished converting the narrow carriage road into Pikes Peak Highway. In order to publicize his new road, and draw visitors to his Broadmoor Hotel, he devised a simple plan to hold an automobile race to the summit of Pikes Peak. August 10th, 11th, and 12th of 1916 marked the birth of a prominent challenge of man and machine that would endure two world wars and pandemics. The race would foster the curiosity of a multitude of racers and automobile tycoons, eager to claim the title of “King of the Mountain” within their lifetime. In that initial year of 1916, Rea Lentz was crowned the winner with a time to beat of 20:55.600. For the 99th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, was one for the books, despite no records would be set. On race day, Mother Nature had no intentions to let up, causing the final 3 miles to the summit to be coated in ice. Thus, causing a one-hour starting time delay while equipment and personnel staged lower on the mountain from the 14,115’ summit down to Devils Playground at 12,780’ instead.

After all the moving pieces had found their places, the 2021 Acura TLX Type S pace car, piloted by “Wheeler Dealer’s” Ant Anstead, drove off the starting line to make the trek up the mountain. Behind him, competitors began staging on the grid while flagman, Dave Jordan, held tight to the custom printed green flag. This year the flag had been printed with a tribute honoring PPIHC Chairman of the Board, Tom Osborne, who had passed away in March. Along with the starting flag accolade, Tom’s wife Amy, waived the first car off the line with the special green flag. With the Exhibition division rumbling off the starting line, Randy Pobst, behind the wheel of the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid, swiftly captured the division win. Following Pobst’s lead standing, Nick Robinson and Jordan Guitar, both representing Acura, finished second and third, respectively.

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PIKES PEAK: A RACE TO THE CLOUDS

The One-Make Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama was the next division to tackle the course. Four competitors made the run to mile marker 16 with Tanner Foust edging Pikes Peak rookie, Cameron Ingram by 21 seconds. 2020 Rookie of the Year, Kathryn Mead returned to the mountain to claim a third place in the group.

NOTABLE DRIVERS Mario Andretti | Larry Ragland | Rod Millen Jerry Daugherty | Ivan Stewart | Curt Leduc Mike Childress | Ryan Arciero | Roger Norman Dave Mason | Travis Pastrana | Scott Dunlavey

Multiple divisions took their chances against the mountain to claim their titles and while no records were outdone, division standings shifted. Time Attack 1 Division crown was handed to the overall course record holder and Porsche factory driver, Romain Dumas, in the Champion Porsche. Rhys Millen in the eye popping 2021 Bently Continental GT3 chased Dumas to a second-place finish. Three-time King of the Mountain, Paul Dallenbach, claimed victory in the Open Wheel division in the 2006 PVA003 Dallenbach Special. The best action of the day came from the competitors in the Unlimited Division as 2019 King of the

Mountain, Robin Shute of the UK reclaimed the top award and overall win, with the fastest time of the day in the 2018 Wolf GB08 TSC-LT. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 49


FRESH BUILD

FOUR WHEELS FOR

TOBY PRICE

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Story: Shaun Ochsner Photos Courtesy of Toby Price Racing & Red Bull

ormally you will find Australian Red Bull athlete Toby Price tearing it up in the dunes on two wheels aboard his KTM 450. Don’t worry, he is not giving up that ride. Price recently extended his KTM deal for another two years keeping him on the bike through 2023. He has won the Dakar Rally twice and starts his seventh season with KTM. But, Price has another set of wheels now in his stable. Four of them. With the help of Mitsubishi and TSCO racing, Price unveiled the first of its kind Trophy Truck modeled after the Mitsubishi Triton GSR and Triton Concept Truck. We have to admit it looks amazing. The truck is powered by a Dougans 6-Liter V8 motor. The body is from Jason McNeil’s team at Fiberwerx. John Vance at TSCO worked on the design which features a 6-speed sequential Albins gearbox, Paddle Shift and Motec System. The suspension consists of 50 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

Fox shocks. Method bead lock rims and BF Goodrich tires complete the build. Just one year in the making, Price, Mitsubishi Motors Triton Design team and TSCO collaborated on the design to make the truck a reality. Price admits there were some challenges with COVID-19 and shipping times.


FOUR WHEELS FOR TOBY PRICE

Toby Price became the first racer in the history of the Tatts-Finke Desert race to win both the two wheeled class and four-wheeled class. DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 51


FRESH BUILD

So where was this truck destined for? The TattsFinke desert race held in June. With minimal test time, Price went to work at the race doing what he does best. Win! Price has six wins at the event on bikes. His four-wheeled trophy truck win marks the first time in history a driver has won in both classes. Price brought on navigators Mark Dutton and Joe Weining. Dutton comes with an impressive resume. He is an Australian moto engineer and Team manager for Triple Eight Race Engineering, a team that races the Supercars Championship across Australia and New Zealand.

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“Thanks so much to Mitsubishi Motors for working with us to bring this project to life, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been able to do and I’m in love!” -Toby Price

The two-day race goes from Alice Springs to the remote community of Aputula known as Finke and back to Alice Springs. The course crosses the Finke River which is believed to be the oldest river in the world. The course is approximately 142 miles. It runs

much of the old Ghan railway line which was rebuilt in 1980. The Finke is known as one of the biggest annual sporting events in the Northern Territory. The race started in 1976 as a “there and back” challenge for some local


FOUR WHEELS FOR TOBY PRICE

motorcycle riders. The event took off and gained popularity and now it is held annually on the Queen’s Birthday weekend. Trucks and buggies were introduced into the event in 1988. Price wants to continue to write the history

books in Australia by running both classes simultaneously. “Now that we gotten this one out of the way, we might come back and try and do the double,” says Price. We know he can do it, but we have one question? When will he bring that Mitsubishi to Baja?

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 53


RESTORED

The Stroppe 1978 CJ-7 Jeep Restored

Story by: Shaun Ochsner Photos by: Wayne Schmeeckle

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t is always exciting when someone takes piece of history and restores it to the original condition it raced in back in the day. It takes us through an immediate time machine. There are some of us that may not have even been around in 1979 when Bill Stroppe built a 1978 Orange CJ-7 Jeep, just one of his many famous builds. The CJ-7 is the only Jeep Stroppe built. The Jeep was originally a magazine build. It was meant to race Baja and the Mint. Stroppe had already built many winning vehicles including a 4x4 Dodge pick-up driven by the late Rod Hall and a Blazer for Frank “Scoop” Vessels and of course the legendary “Big Oly” Ford Bronco Stroppe raced with Parnelli Jones. Stroppe was the go to guy at the time for a race-winning vehicle.

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STROPPE 1978 CJ-7

The Jeep started as a stock CJ-7 with a 304 cubic inch V8 automatic transmission. It had all of the stock parts that typically came from the factory on Jeeps of the late 1970’s. Stroppe reinforced the frame to be safe in the event of a rollover. All of the tubing had to be of a certain thickness to conform to the then SCORE rulebook. The intention was to race Class 3, a four-wheel drive stock class. The build took a whole two years to complete from start to finish. Once completed, the Jeep raced for a couple of years and then sat around. John Siorek and David Stisack from S&S Racing bought the Jeep from Bill Stroppe and raced it before it sat again, this time for many years. Last year, Wayne Schmeeckle acquired the Jeep and went to work on restoring back to its original condition.

When Stroppe built the Jeep, he had the gauges mounted on the co-driver side seat so that individual could monitor everything that was happening. The CJ-7 has the original KC Daylighter round lights from the late 1970’s. The Jeep went through a complete nuts and bolts restoration including a new paint job and powdercoat. The Jeep was stripped to its frame and rebuilt.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 55


RESTORED

Schmeeckle took things a step further, acquiring the original Stroppe Semi and Trailer from Bill Stroppe’s son, Willie. The Semi and trailer is a Mercury C-Series Stroppe transporter with all of the original Stroppe logos painted on it. The trailer went through a full, one-year restoration by Level One Restoration in Arvada, Colorado. The company specializes in bringing muscle cars back to life. The inside of the trailer has beautiful wood flooring and the original wall panels.

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STROPPE 1978 CJ-7

Most recently the Jeep traveled to the Carlisle Ford Nationals where 30 Stroppe Ford Broncos were on display at the “Stroppe Bronco Reunion Exhibit.” The Jeep and Semi will be on display at Schmeeckle’s family-owned indoor gun range (Liberty Firearms Institute) in Johnston, Colorado. We thank Wayne and his team for keeping a piece of off-road history alive for the rest of us to see.

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DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 57


TECH

routine maintenance: replacing your spark plugs and coil packs Story and Photos: Dave Arnold

One of the most overlooked maintenance items on your vehicle is usually the spark plugs and plug wires. On most modern vehicles coil packs which are over each cylinder. When your engine is functioning correctly, spark plugs should last between 20,000 and 30,000 miles. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the average annual mileage for American’s is at 13,476 miles. The life expectancy should be 1.5 and 2.25 years. Many coil packs don’t require a service for at least 120,000- 150,000 miles 58 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

With that being said, if you aree still running a conventional distributor, there are more chances of failure because it is submerged in the engine. Even coil packs that have been thoroughly doused with water will continue still to work without malfunction. Not everybody wants to take this job on, especially with new vehicles, but with the right tools and parts, even the amateur mechanic can accomplish this task. We took on a 2015 Ram 1500 with a 5.7 Hemi Engine which is now common through the Ram line as well as jeep vehicles.


REPLACING SPARK PLUGS AND COIL PACKS

This Ram is now going on it’s second set of spark plugs which we milked a few extra miles out of the vehicle, having 108,000 on it and a misfire code showing in cylinder eight with a secondary coil wire failure code also showing. So, with this being a Hemi engine, it requires 16 spark plugs. We decided to go with the NGK iridium line, but always check your manufacturers manual for the correct plug and gap setting. Since the RAM is over 100,000 miles, we opted all of the coil packs.

First, remove the engine cover and air intake. Our Ram has a key and cold air intake. You may need to remove the wiring harness from its mount, which is usually a plastic clip. Undo the plastic clips on the heater core lines and relocate them to get to the passenger side coil pack and spark plugs. Once this is done its time to loosen up the two bolts that hold down each individual coil pack. Once the bolts are loose, you should be able to pull up the coil packs. The Hemi has two spark plugs per cylinder, and there will be two boots attached. Once you remove all the coil packs, it’s time get out your spark plug socket. We purchased on one on Amazon with a swivel and is also magnetic. Some have rubber O-rings to hold the spark plug but our preference is a magnetic one and works very well.

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 59


TECH

After you have removed the spark plugs from the passenger side of the truck, it’s time to install the new ones. We purchased pre-gapped NGK plugs. We still checked the gap of the electrode to make sure it had not pushed in. It is important not to bend the electrode. Insert the spark plug into the plug socket, re-insert into cylinder and tighten down. You don’t want to over tighten it, but make sure things are snug. Repeat with the rest of the spark plug holes.

to get back to the back cylinders and more than likely a few bloody scratches as any backyard mechanic calls a badge of honor. Now it’s time to repeat all the steps with the reinstall, same as the passenger side make sure to reattach any hoses or connectors that were disconnected. Reinstall the intake and engine cover and you are good to go. You just saved yourself $150-$200! Once this is done you’ll be very happy with the performance re-gained in your vehicle

Once you have installed and tightened all of the spark plugs, it’s time to reinstall the coil packs. Move on to the driver side of the motor and repeat the same steps by removing any wires or hoses that are in the way. O¬n some vehicles, the big brake booster might be in the way and making it tougher to install the spark plugs and coil packs. Exactly why we purchased a special spark plug socket and extension. You may have to turn into a contortionist

DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 60


CHAPPY’S PIT STOP

GOD IS MY SPONSOR A

s racers, we are always looking for a sponsor to help us continue our racing addiction. A sponsor that will help pay our entry fees, insurance, race fuel, travel cost, crew expense, parts, service, race prep and all the other necessary expenses required to put forth for a winning effort. Getting on the podium and having a good sponsor use to go hand-in-hand. When you won, the sponsors came easy and were happy, but when you lost, the threat of losing that support became real. Nowadays, we all know that our relationship with our sponsor does not just hinge on our track performance. It is about exposure and being able to track that exposure to prove you increased their bottom-line. Sponsors do not support race teams just to have fun and burn through some cash anymore. Their support needs to equal an increase in sales which leads to an increase in stock value and more importantly increased dividends to the owner(s). If we learned anything this past racing season in our turbulent economy, it is how to keep our sponsors satisfied even without racing. More emphasis is put on social media, entertainment, and clicks to drive customers to a point-of-purchase with a sponsor. The realization that our sponsorship value ends up in a spreadsheet on a CFO’s desk and with less on emphasis on our racetrack performance and more on the company’s ROI. Have you ever thought of your relationship with Christ like you do with your sponsors? The Creator of the universe put together a FULL SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE that is all inclusive, and costs us nothing but to decide to receive it! It has to do with the most important race of our lives, how we will live our days, and what prize we will WIN at the finish line. I would rather have Jesus Christ as my 62 | DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM

Words: Steve Hanson Master than anyone else. He loves me, He knows all about me, He made me, He knows the future, and He gives the power I need to serve Him acceptably and fruitfully. When I fail, He forgives me and helps me start over again. He never leaves us or forsakes, and He rewards graciously, though I do not deserve it. Could you want a better Master then that? Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will receive a Full Sponsorship Package. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” So, when we finally get that evasive full sponsorship from a big corporation, do we stop working on our relationship with them? Of course not, it is the beginning. We need to continually contact our sponsor to cultivate a meaningful win/win relationship. Let them know how well we are representing them. The number of impressions we are making for them (not ourselves). Every chance we get we give a testimony on how their product/ service is helping our race. The same is true in with our relationship with Christ. It is ongoing; it is not put on automatic nor is it a safety net to catch us when we fall or an insurance policy to cash in when our time is up. Just because we are “saved” does not mean stop cultivating a deep relationship with Christ. We must continue pursuing Him because He never stops pursuing us! Follow @rfc_dirtsportministry


CALENDAR

UPCOMING EVENTS JULY

Championship Off-Road ERX Motor Park, Elk River, MN July 9th-10th

EVENT TO ATTEND M.O.R.E Freedom Cup

DP4 Hot Nights at Ridgecrest July 10th VORRA Desert Open Series- Fallon, NV July 9th-10th SNORE Midnight Special- Jean,NV July 16th-17th UTV Takeover- Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure Grundy, VA July 28th M.O.R.E. Freedom Cup- Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino, CA July 31st-August 1st

AUGUST Ultra4 Black Hills Throwdown- Sturgis, SD August 6th

Racing is back at Glen Helen with the M.O.R.E GG Lighting Freedom Cup. The bugs are also back with the EMPI Triple Crown Series. Watch all classes battle it out on the short course, then head for the hills for plenty of tight twisty turns on a 4.5 mile course over two full days of racing.

Best In The Desert Vegas to Reno August 11th-15th Championship Off Road- Bark River Bark River, MI August 14th-15th Off Road Nights Westfiled North County Escondido, CA August 28th Have an event for our Calendar? Send us an email: dirtsports@dirtsportsworld.com DIRTSPORTSWORLD.COM | 63


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DirtSportsWorld Magazine July 2021 Issue 7 Vol 2  

The July Issue of DirtSportsWorld Magazine features coverage from the SCORE Baja 500. Other coverage includes the PIke's Peak Rally, Update...

DirtSportsWorld Magazine July 2021 Issue 7 Vol 2  

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