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California 500, 2012May19

M.O.R.E. California 500

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Race #3 of 6 finds us at a different venue in the California desert about 60 miles southeast of Barstow, California. This race is in Johnson Valley just outside of Lucerne, California. Now that it’s springtime temps are going up with a high of 91°F and mild winds of 10 mph. ANJ Motorsports departs Garden Grove, CA with a new 26 foot-long enclosed trailer carrying the tools, pit boxes, work bench, spare tires, spare parts, race fuel and racecar on board. The new trailer allows for easier storage of all race equipment at home and easier access while at the track. The team arrived on Thursday with sometime to relax after weeks of preparation back at the shop. The team enjoyed the weather and a few rattlesnakes before our long day on Friday. We awoke to a nice surprise.  Jeff (Beanie) Alvarez, General Manager of Pierside Parts Unlimited www.piersideparts.net, (an ANJ Motorsports’ sponsor) arrived with his high performance four-seater pre-runner.  This vehicle can hit speeds over 100 mph and is a huge help with pre-running the race course.


Beanie’s 4-seater pre-runner with Jon & Bill Castrey.

The race course was a 57 mile loop. The Class 1600 cars would be completing 8 laps for a total of 456 grueling miles, the longest race of the season. ANJ Motorsports was the first class 1600 off the line, with a new Co-Driver, Phil Bojorquez and Driver, Joe Castrey on-board. This was going to be an interesting ride for both of them. On lap one at about race mile 10, ANJ Motorsports was hit hard on the right front side of the car by a Class 5u  (VW Bug with a big engine, weighing about 2800lbs) in the hairpin turn. Not knowing the damage to the racecar they continued on with the first lap. Now ten minutes behind the lead, ANJ Motorsports #1649 did not stop at the main pit to check the damage. After starting lap two, things seemed to be okay, speed was up and the car was handling great, we were making up time. At race mile 70.5 we realized that they were wrong, a major steering component had broken causing us to loose steering. ANJ Motorsports’ chase teams were called for help. Once the steering was repaired the racecar returned with Joshua Castrey, Driver and Mike Amling, Navigator, to complete lap two. After starting lap three, the racecar was not handling correctly due to a broken front end. We were out of the race and received our first “did not finish (DNF)” for this 2012 race season.  Despite the disappointing 5th place finish, ANJ Motorsports remained in the hunt for the M.O.R.E. Championship in points.Friday was going to be a long day of pre-running, testing, adjusting the racecar suspension and a long 100 mile roundtrip drive to Slash X (Ranch & Cafe) for contingency, sign-in and a safety/technical inspection of the racecar and drivers’ gear.

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