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Nov 17

2014 M.O.R.E. KC HiLites Midnight Special

September 13, 2014-Lucerne Valley, CA

The ANJ Motorsports team was antsy to get back in the race game. The team energy and work level during the past couple of months to get the racecar in its best shape ever all added to the excitement leading up to this fifth race of the 2014 M.O.R.E. (Mojave Off-road Racing Enthusiasts) racing series. Besides the normal challenges of racing off-road, this 65 mile loop, 5-lap course (325 miles) is raced at night with a race start of 4pm and race end at midnight.

Although the team had not been in a race recently, there had been several trips to the desert for some fine tuning on racecar handling and the team was excited about several advancements that had been made.

The week leading up to the race had been record heat on the coast, nearing 100°F almost every day. The desert was actually getting some cooling from a monsoon coming out of Arizona and made race day somewhat comfortable.

Early Thursday morning our advance team was able to stake out a good location for our main pit near the start/finish line and large enough to house our team and all of our vehicles for the next 4 days. There was plenty of clean-up of the area needed including tons of nails from pallets that had been burned in campfires in the past.

Thursday evening, a majority of the team showed up.  Friday morning, drivers and co-drivers did some pre-running as they determined on how to best navigate the more treacherous portions of the track. Many notes were made to add to the navigation system.

Friday evening, began with a trip all the way back into town for Tech and Safety inspection. We then headed back to camp for some delicious carne asada and all the fixins.  It was then time for an early night’s sleep.

Saturday morning, was a little slower than normal due to the late start time of the race but the crew lowered the racecar out of the utility trailer and spent time making final preparations including mounting the lightbar.

After lunch, the two remote pit vehicles were loaded and all final preparations were completed.  Most of the team went to the 2:45pm Drivers’ meeting before heading to each of their posts for the race. In a final team meeting before the race, Owner Joe Castrey reiterated that safety is always the highest priority and that the team is to be courteous and comply with all of the rules and regulations.

Class 1600 had the most entries at 21 racecars in a total field of 179 racecars. ANJ Motorsports #1649 started second from the last position, with Joshua Castrey as the driver and Mike Amling as co-driver. The start of the race was delayed a half hour to get a BLM vehicle off the racecourse. It was stuck in a remote tight section. This shortened the remaining daylight. ANJ Motorsports #1649 got off to a great start and had moved up 5 positions by the time they drove through remote pit A (race mile 18) for the first time. Lap 2 saw similar advances until just before the main pit, the power steering went out. The team hurried to the racecar’s location only to find that it was not repairable on the track and it was the end of the race for team ANJ.

After the race Joshua said, “The car was handling great, as we were able to pass several cars.” It was an unfortunate end as everybody had worked so hard, but that is part of racing. Overall, after being away for a few months, everyone had a great time. They were excited about getting going again and the strides forward that have been accomplished on the racecar performance. The team was missing some of their dedicated members due to other commitments but it showed how much depth there is on the team.

We look forward to participating in our first S.N.O.R.E. (Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts) race on Saturday, November 14, 2014 outside of Jean, NV at the Gold Strike SNORE 250.

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