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Chili Cook-off 300, 2012Sep08

M.O.R.E. Chili Cook-off 300

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The start/finish line area is about 5 miles past where the asphalt ends down Camp Rock Road, in the middle of nowhere halfway between Lucerne Valley and Barstow, California for the fifth of the six races of the year.  This was a very unique race as S.N.O.R.E. (www.snoreracing.net) combined with M.O.R.E. (www.moreracing.net) for this Saturday evening event. There were 136 racecars that started the race and it made for a very crowded first couple of laps but the desert eventually took its toll as only 48 racecars finished the race.  This is very typical as most of the difficult off-road races result in a 60% attrition rate.  This day only 35% of the racecars made it to the end.

Although you would think temperatures would cool off going into September, it can still be pretty hot (it reached 105°F during the race) so the race was scheduled to start at 3:45pm with an anticipated finish time at 11:30pm would require teams to have their off-road lights installed.

ANJ Motorsports was coming off a lot of momentum from a third place finish in the M.O.R.E. Freedom 250 thrusting into first place in M.O.R.E. 2012 championship points for the season. There were high expectations coming into this race.

The race course looped 72 miles through flat hard pack areas where speeds can reach over 100 mph, to mountainous passes, deep sand and rocky canyons where speeds average 5-10mph to traverse boulders and tight clearances. The Class 1/2 1600 racecars were scheduled to do 4 laps for a total of 292 miles.

Friday afternoon, ANJ Motorsports was off to Slash X (Ranch & Cafe) for contingency, sign-in, and the safety/technical inspection of the race car and drivers gear. That evening the team returned to the main pit for some night time testing and to adjust the racecar’s lighting systems. As more of the ANJ Motorsports team members continued to arrive, it reminds us of the dedication of the team members that take days-off of work to participate in these long weekend events.

Josh Castrey, driver and Mike Amling, co-driver, started the race as the last Class 1600 racecar off the start line on Saturday.

ANJ Motorsports #1649 racecar was off to a great start passing many competitors early on but the traffic was heavy. Racecars seemed to be everywhere. The racecar was handling well and the power was solid. About halfway through the first lap, the car developed a hydraulic issue that made handling the racecar very difficult. Josh had to manhandle the steering wheel for 32 miles back to the main pit area where a driver team change was made as the pit crew assessed the problem. With Joe Castrey (owner/driver) now behind the wheel, it was determined to head back out on to the racecourse.  Unfortunately after about 8 miles down the racecourse, Joe realized the poor handling was a significant safety concern for the drivers and could potentially severely damage the racecar. So they pulled off the racecourse and returned to the main pit area. Although a disappointing finish to a lot of hard work, ANJ Motorsports is headed into the final race in December with a sizeable points lead for the 2012 championship.

From ANJ Motorsports Main Pit looking towards Start line.


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