There is no doubt that the Inaugural American Rocksports Challenge will be the topic of conversation for a long time to come. Held at the Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City UT, this was the first all out race to ever to combine a dirt short course with rockcrawling. As expected, it made for dramatic racing and carnage. Unfortunately, the AMSOIL / Lovell team did not escape without major damage. The story in driver Brad Lovell’s words.
“We have never worked so hard in a weekend to keep the truck going. About five laps into practice I discovered that I had no oil pressure. Thinking our weekend was likely done, I got a tow to the pits and we started thrashing. We replaced the oil pump and a variety of other parts and it finally came to life just in time to qualify. The fact that the engine was not destroyed is a testament to AMSOIL. With a strong engine we qualified 3rd and got some rest for race day.
We won the first preliminary race but discovered that the transmission was cracked in half. Again, we thought we were done but broke out every bit of epoxy we had for a makeshift repair. I took it real easy in the 2nd preliminary race and won again putting us on the pole for the semi-finals. I rushed back to the pits and we started the long process of putting in a new transmission. Ultra 4 teams are like a big family and we couldn’t have done it without the help of other teams. Randy, Cotton, and Jeff were a huge help from Jimmy’s Outback 4×4, Al and DJ Frangione, and a lot of others pitched in. I was really proud of everyone who got me back out for the semi-final round.
In the semis, the front wheel drive popped out on the start and I lost a couple positions. Around we went and I picked them off in the rocks and dirt. The pace was a heck of a lot faster than the previous races and I blew out the front driveshaft mount on the final stretch. Finishing 3rd, I again hustled back for repairs. Both driveshafts were repaired and the team was beat from the pace of the day. I was set for the final round and a shot at the win.
A couple high horsepower trucks again jumped me on the start of the race and I was stuck in traffic. On the 2nd lap, an inexperienced driver charged me on the inside and couldn’t hold his line. I never even saw his front fender when he hit me and sent me into several airborne rolls ending my race and seriously damaging the truck. It’s frustrating to be taken out after the all the hard work that our friends and team put in.”
Not to be held down for long, Lovell climbed into the #44 AMSOIL Nissan Pro-light for some test rounds on Sunday in preparation for the Traxxas TORC race this coming weekend at the legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway in NC. Coming off their first ever short course podium finish in Crandon only weeks ago, the Lovell Racing team has high hopes for the new track in Charlotte. Follow the action on Facebook (Lovell Racing) and watch for forthcoming video of the crash.