Wow, what a day...and night. Jake and I made it across the finish line, accomplishing our mission to finish the Vegas to Reno. To keep this blog shorter, I am writing an expanded version of my experience (for anyone interesting in a rookie's experience) and will post a link from our homepage. But here's the cliff note version - suffering a tough blow to the right front tie rod and wheel, we spent 2 hours at Pit 2 having the right front end rebuilt. In fact, we left the pit just 8 MINUTES BEFORE TIMING OUT. Needless to say, we were now in a position to just get it to the finish line and I could not afford to make one more mistake - we were now in a race against check point times. However, we had burned up our daylight and would spend almost 300 miles in the dark. One issue arose, we had one overhead light rack with 5 lights and our 2 stock headlights. There seemed to be an issue with the connector, and the lights immediately began to flicker on and off. We then lost 2 of our upper lights and one stock headlight. Needless to say, it was a disadvantage. In off-road racing, you drive what you see. Well, we couldn't see much. With night upon us, the dust hung thick and we often could only run on our 1 light, as our overhead lights made the situation worse - illuminating a total white out. But we did put a cushion between timing out, which provided some relief (we welcomed any break!).
When we finally pulled into the finish I was blown away to see the entire team waiting to greet us! Incredibly moved, I knew they gave us everything they had. Without them, it was impossible to finish. I've been with the team for some time now and have seen them in action in tough situations - they are the best at what they do. Period.
Let's talk about Jake Povey, my navigator, on loan from Rod whom he normally drives with. Jake instinctively knew exactly what I needed to accomplish our goal. It is much tougher to sit in the right seat for that many hours. He was my navigator, coach, mechanic, motivator and friend. It is much easier, motivating and more fun to run with other trucks. When nightfall hit, we were in for a lonely run. Most of the time, it was just us. I owe finishing to him - he is the man!
Thank you to everyone who made our run possible! I really wanted the opportunity to drive the entire race - start to finish - and it took many to make it happen. Thanks to Rod Hall for believing in me and providing me an incredible opportunity. To every team member, SamCo, GM-HUMMER, BFGoodrich (talk about tough tires - no flats!), Matt Laramie and Shannon Moore who were the first ones to jump under the truck at Pit 2, Darin Nelson & Austin Tischler (our main chase crew), Thad, Buffy, Doug Moore, Tom Heyl who always encourage me, and Chad, Hall, Josh Hall, Mike Winkel and Rod who set an incredible example. I would love to have half their skills behind the wheel! What an honor to be trained by Rod, and given the chance to be part of such an incredible team - the best in stock class racing.
Posted by Emily Miller