Our second race in the BITD series was the Silver State 150 following just a few short weeks after Vegas to Reno. Silver State is the shortest race for 2017 and was only for UTV’s, motorcycle’s and quads. Wow what a change of pace! The stress levels were way lower and everyone was just cheerful, relaxed, and easy going! The race was being held in Caliente, a quaint old mining town in Eastern Nevada. It was really cool to just camp and hang out with the other racers.
At the drivers meeting we found out that we would be starting this race 4-wide, dead engine start, with 1 minute intervals. Immediately I had a twinge of nervousness as I had never done this before. Oh well, I thought, I will figure it out like everything else lol.
Race morning, we wake up to a crisp cold and cloudy day. But it was a perfect race day! Going along with the slack pace of the town, we fired up the razor and drove it straight from camp to the start line. We got staged and had a few minutes to survey the start and see what we were in for. Unfortunately, we were on the outside line for the start. A short 50-yard run to a right-hand corner. Me and my co-driver Josh made a plan that if all 4 cars were neck and neck I would throttle back and let them go instead of being pushed off-course and into the wall.
8:15 and the first (4) cars roar off the line. We had a pretty good draw position so we were in the 4th group to start. The green flag was raised and I started the 10-second count-down to flag drop in my head. With 1-second to go I start to crank my razor. It immediately fires up and it’s foot-to-the-floor! We leap ahead of everyone else while Josh exclaims “holeshot!” I immediately cut over to the right taking the inside line and shutting the door behind me! The adrenaline is pumping for the next few miles as we race up the canyon twisting right and left with the other 3 drivers hot on our heels. We slowly start to pull away and I am having an absolute blast! In just a few short miles our mirrors are clear and I see a helicopter up ahead. This motivates me more as I know that means there is a car up ahead! I push it a bit harder and in just a few short miles we caught one of the cars that had a 1-minute lead on us! We get on their tail with the siren wailing and the quickly move over for us!
What a blast this race course is! It is very tight and technical! The trail, barely wide enough for the car, twisted through shrubs, trees, rocks, and cactus! All reaching out trying to grab the car as it flew by! I felt very comfortable and the car was running and handling perfectly. Within what seemed like a few short minuets we were already passing through pit 1. Back on the gas, we continued to charge forward. About halfway to pit 2, I notice something is wrong with the car. The front end keeps diving when I enter a corner and feels like it is going to tuck and roll. My first thought is a front flat but then on the straight line everything felt good. I did not want to waste the time to stop and check as I felt like we were doing good. I made the decision to keep going unless something drastic changed. We continued the charge to pit 2!
The race course opened in places and we reached speeds over 90 MPH! Did I mention how fun this course was?? Before long we see pit 2 and prepare to stop for our only schedule pit. Glancing down at the fuel gauge I see it is nearly empty! We had only planed on taking 6-gallons of fuel but with the pace we had been pushing, we were apparently using much more fuel than I had planned on. To make matters worse I had only loaded 1 fuel can as I we had decided to just chase with 1 truck and no trailer. We pull into the pits where my amazing wife and Josh’s girlfriend were waiting to get us handled! This go-around it was just them running the pits and they rook on the challenge with gusto! (thanks girls 😊!) As Jen started fueling some guys from S3 racing, seeing us shorthanded, ran over to see where they could help. Immediately one of the S3 guys tells me my sway-bar arm had broken. “Ah so that is why the car was tucking and rolling so bad!” I say. Quickly they get the broken pieces zip-tied out of the way for us, Jen finishes fueling, and we are on our way. As I am leaving I am telling Jen that she needs to see if anyone has any extra fuel we can buy as I am sure we are going to need it at pit 3!
We forge onward albeit a bit slower knowing the car is not 100%. The race miles fly by and the carnage has started taking its toll on other cars. We pass a rolled over car and see several more on the side of the road. Before long we are approaching Pit 3. I do some quick calculations in my head and decide that I don’t need to stop for extra fuel and I think I can make it! I jump on the radio and tell the girls that we will be driving through! Jen tells me the S3 guys had gone a step further at pit 2 and had given her 5-gallons of fuel, refusing to let us pay them for it! How cool are those guys! Nevertheless, I did not want to spend the time at the pit and I felt I had enough fuel to get to the finish.
It was only 20 miles from pit 3 to the finish so onward we pushed. We ended up catching a few bikes in this section. I don’t know why but for some reason I found myself checking my mirrors a lot. I think with the slightly reduced pace and the expectation that everyone was going so fast I thought the whole field was about to catch me lol. The miles flash by and finally I see mile marker 156 so only 1 mile left! I glance in my mirrors and see a car closing in fast! Crap! With so short to go I throttle down through this last section. Railing the corners hard the car starts to stumble as it starves for fuel! “yikes!” I think! “Come on we can make it!” Just as the car behind me closes up on my bumper we cross the finish!
I am proud to say we finished 12th in our class of 37 and 16th overall of 65 cars. For our second race, I feel like we have improved leaps and bounds and have shown that we can hold a competitive pace!
Once again, I am incredibly grateful to God for keeping me and my team safe and allowing us such an amazing opportunity in this life! I feel so truly blessed!
Thanks to Josh for calling to corners for me and thanks to my wife Jen and Josh’s girlfriend Gretchen for chasing us around the desert with support!
Thank you to RT Pro, HMF Exhaust, and KC Hilites for all the support you have given us.
It was such a fun race and I will definitely be doing this race every year I can!
-Kyle Miller, #959 Valor Racing