It seems that the twenty thirteen season had just ended and our team was already gearing up for this year. Time really does fly. I remember my first off road race was the Parker 400 in 1978. I co- drove in the T&J’s V8 powered Jeepster Commando, and it was truly a life changing event. That one ride laid the ground work or” planted the seed” that led me down a long, long road of racing. I have been fortunate enough to pay it forward and expose my friend Josh Reiter to the same thrill of driving a race car through the desert that I got when I was young. He has not disappointed the team. He has talent and drive and will go far in the sport.

Now I have another opportunity to help make a dream become reality for another one of our team members, Dylan Cochran (22). He was introduced to the team through mutual friends a few years ago and quickly began sharing the prep chores, going to the races and co-driving. On day I looked in his old beat up Ford Ranger (pre-runner) and saw a small label on his speedometer. It said: “Keep thinking about racing and some day it will come true” I never mentioned it to him nor did I mention it to anyone on the team, I didn’t want him to get teased about it, but it tells me a lot about him and how we weren’t that much different. So I kept that in the back of my mind while we raced on.

Eric Heiden

This season I have decided to take a step back, not a step away but just back a bit. I decided to roll the dice and see if these “kids “could run with it. So at this race I put Dylan in the driver seat for the first time with veteran driver/co-driver Mark “Sparky” Linder to guide him through the course. On the second lap it would be Josh Reiter (THE CLOSER) and rookie co-driver Willis Henson to bring it home. It worked. These youngsters gave the rest of the field fits. They were fast, consistent and steady.

Dylan and Sparky left the line in the eleventh spot and while the team of Randall racing set a blistering pace they kept there cool. They entered the last section (The python) of the one hundred and fifty mile first lap in second place. Randall had pulled a twenty plus minute lead on the field and the Warrior Products car was a close two minutes behind in third. Then it happened, a half mile from the main pit they ran out of gas. We hustled down the course and gave them fuel, but three cars had past them before the Jeep could be re-fired and nursed into the pit area. Josh and Willis hustled in the seats while we filled the tank to the brim. Off they went. We watched on the tracker as Josh went from fifth to fourth to third to second. Then we noticed the super-fast car of team Randall was not moving and they had been stationary for over twenty minutes. A few minutes later Randall was up and running again but at a slow pace. We sat in the pits waiting and watching the miles click off the tracker. Josh had caught and passed them for the lead. But it’s never over till it’s over. That warrior car was close behind them and the terrain in the last thirty miles is absolutely brutal. We gathered our belongings and headed to the finish line in hopes of a win. With ten miles to go a front shock came apart and took out the brake line. No shock and no brakes is no way to win in this class. You have to be flawless. The Warrior Products car got by us and took the win by two minutes (congrats to them for a well fought battle). We were let down but at the same time we were excited that the “Young Guns” did such an outstanding job all day long. We leave Parker in second place and we head to Vegas for the infamous Mint 400. And in case you were wondering, yes I will be driving the Mint. I may be old, but this old dog can still hunt!