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Photo: Crowds Endure Extreme Cold and Pouring Rain
To Meet Overall Winner
Andy & Scott McMillin at the Finishline
Parker, Arizona - McMillin Racing returned to the desert for the season opener of the 2009 BITD Series. Driving the #31 Ford F150 Trick Truck, Andy and Scott McMillin set the pace for the 2009 season with a dominating winning performance at one of the most historic races in United States desert racing history, Best in the Deserts' Parker 425.
The first Parker 425 was held in 1971 by NORRA. The race almost saw its end when SCORE International dropped it from the 1998 season schedule 27 years after the first race. Whiplash Motorsports saved the race and continued to promote the legendary race until 2003, when BITD Promoter, Casey Folks, took over the historic race. This year's race saw 275 entries take the start line near downtown Parker, Arizona.
Qualifying in third position overall on Thursday afternoon, Andy began his race day near the front. However, before the first lap was in the books, the McMillin Homes racer had moved to the front and he never looked back.
After the second lap, the #31 came into the main pit for what was believed to be an electrical issue because the engine seemed to be missing. After a quick change of the main computer, they discovered that the air-filter was clogged and bogging down the airflow into the Kroyer motor package. Once the crew changed out the air filter, the #31 roared out of the Parker Python with full Kroyer power without losing a single position in the race.
Casey Folks created a challenging 142-mile race course that traversed some of the most demanding terrain in recent history. Coupled with a steady downpour of precipitation that began after the first lap, conditions deteriorated from the beginning. A strong winter storm enveloped the Mojave Desert Saturday morning, not long after all the race vehicles had left the start line in downtown Parker, Arizona.
Scott McMillin commented, "The Parker 425 has long been a favorite for our family. The weather conditions have always been unpredictable; it hampered all the teams, but it's part of the adventure."
As the race progressed, Andy continued to stretch out his lead between his truck and his closest competitors. The #31 Ford F150 crossed the finish line on the eastern shore of the Colorado River at the Blue Water Resort and Casino, captivating a dominant run and winning the overall at one of the most legendary races of all time, BITD Parker 425.
"Wow, what a perfect day! The truck ran nearly flawless except for an air filter problem after the first lap. I hit the biggest bumps I've ever hit in my truck and it could be no better. It's unbelievable what my truck can do. The FOX RACING SHOX and BFGoodrich Tires were punished today and they performed like none other. The entire team worked together to put the #31 truck in the winner's circle. From a great prep to perfect pit stops, this is as good as it gets," said a smiling Andy McMillin.
Not far behind the father/son duo racing in the elite Trick Truck class was Mark McMillin in the wicked fast Class 1500 McMillin Homes two-seat car. Daniel McMillin pushed his 1-2 1600 car off the line about an hour after his dad left the line.
Miss "Jessica" McMillin, piloted the #1831 McMillin Homes Trick Truck in the Sportsman class roaring from the start as the green flag dropped.
However, the McMillin Racing radio frequency wasn't quiet for long as the first incident of the wet day was a rollover reported from the #1831 race truck.
Co-driver, Todd Tenbroek, commented, "It was just as we began the race and happened super fast. We caught a short berm at the right speed and ended up rolling. When we came to a stop, the truck interior was filled up with sand and rocks. Once we shook it off, I jumped out and realized we were tangled up with another racecar and it took some work to get our bumpers unstuck. The other guys were gone as soon as we got all the tube unhooked. I asked Jess if she was okay and she said she was all good and we took off again," said Tenbroek.
"Jessica drove great all day long. The conditions were pretty rugged with the deep holes filled with mud. We suffered a radiator problem that took us out of the race on the 2nd lap near Osborne Wash where it crossed Shea Road."
In the meantime, Mark McMillin, racing the #1537 Class 1500 car through the harsh Arizona desert, suffered a transmission failure just before Pit 1 that ended his Class 1500 race. That wasn't the end of the day, however, for the cagey desert racing veteran.
His son, Dan, driving the #2037 1-2 1600 car, worked through the first 284 miles with a few minor issues including losing radio communications due to the extreme wet conditions, but before heading out on the final lap, Mark got in the driver's seat of the #2037 car giving Dan a well-deserved break after his 284-mile soiree.
As Mark trudge through the wet and rainy night, he lost the transmission, but was able to limp the car into the remote Mineral Wash pit where they changed out the transmission. After the transmission swap, Cameron Parrish got in at Mineral Wash and then handed it off to Chris Cortez as the rain continued to pour down in the barren desert. Cortez handed it over to Casey King after they broke a front torsion bar. While King drove, Cortez balanced out the front of the car with a one of a kind balancing act. McMillin Racing's ingenuity and perseverance prevailed as they finished only four minutes before the time expired.
About McMillin Racing
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