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  1. Riot to start fifth in trophy trucks, 13 overall at Silver State 300

    As the crew drove up to Apex Thursday afternoon for time trials dark clouds hovered over the mountaintops. Driving into the grey mist everyone’s confidence remained high. Riot had strong faith in the truck that is a month in the making and their stand-in driver, Rick Geiser. A little rain wouldn’t dampen their spirits.

    Shortly before the pre run the clouds finally dissipated and the sun came out to greet the spectators. Jets flew overhead from the nearby Nellis Air Force Base as the trucks lined up before a magnificent view at the start.

    Rick pushed the truck off the line moving swiftly in the long downhill straightaway decked out with whoops. The three-mile course was very tight, starting off hard packed and shifting to more of a soft, silty texture. The truck only reached high gear once and then quickly Rick shifted back down to second.

    “We didn’t blow any turns. We didn’t screw up. I thought we pushed pretty hard,” Rick Geiser said about the run. “I think we did really good. We will be in a good starting position.” Riot placed thirteenth overall and is the fifth trophy truck starting in Saturday’s race.

    With time trials under their belt, the crew has their eyes and minds set on race day. Friday will be packed with Contingency and Technical Inspection at the Aliante Casino and Hotel in North Las Vegas. Riot will be there selling their new t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. By 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in Alamo the real fun will begin.

    The first 100 miles of the course will consist of track similar to grated roads that will create a fast running pace. “We need to keep track position,” Rick said of Riot’s strategy for the race. “We’re probably going to push very hard the first 100.” Those miles and pit strategy will be critical for Riot to make a strong finish. The next 200 miles become very tight and technical, making it more difficult to pass. Still, Silver State will be very exciting and action packed from start to finish.

    While this course will be challenging, Rick is excited to be a part of it with Riot Racing. “I was already coming to help out at the races, and to drive the (Riot) truck and qualify put the icing on the cake.” As a builder of this truck he will be racing Saturday, Rick has confidence in its ability. “To drive one of our trucks that’s top notch and good, that makes it even better,” he said.

    “I’m excited to drive for a good team and all the people that help.” Riot, as well, is thrilled to have Rick piloting their race vehicle for Silver State. It’s going to be a fun ride, and fans can track everything Riot on their Web site,

    • Thursday April 22, 2010
    • By Riot Racing

  2. Riot readies for Silver State 300

    Coming out of a rough ride at the Mint 400, Riot Racing has rebuilt and transformed its team for Best in the Desert’s next race. With new hands on board and the truck freshly prepped, the crew will head out to Alamo, Nevada this week hunting for a strong finish. Rick Geiser, of Geiser Brothers, will be piloting the #68 trophy truck this weekend to fill in for Marc Ewing, who is unable to attend due to air travel delays in Europe caused by volcanic eruptions in Iceland this past week. We are very grateful that Rick is stepping in and are excited to have him on board.

    New to Riot’s crew is Sammy Zaranti from JS Pest Control Motorsports. He is now the lead mechanic on the trophy truck last raced at Parker 425. He brings with him a wealth of racing experience from a number of programs in the Las Vegas area. Also joining the team is Mike Lucey, a fabricator from Baldwin Motorsports, and Jerry Walker, a mechanic who has worked for a number of race teams. Steve Sloan came to Riot in February from Collins Motor sports and has been lead mechanic on the truck that will race at Silver State 300.

    On Thursday, April 22, Riot will be prepped and ready for time trials. The team drew 18th for qualifying, and they hope to capitalize for a great start position on Saturday. Friday will kick off with contingency and technical inspection at 9:15 a.m. Riot will be there selling their new t-shirts, hats and sweaters. Come check our stuff out! By Saturday we will be ready to stage at 8:30 a.m. and roll off the line around 9:30 a.m. Silver State 300 is a point to point race, which creates a limited number of pit stops and makes every second count. Riot will need to be on the top of their game for this challenging, fast-paced and action-packed race.

    Throughout the race fans can follow the team’s progress on where there will be live tracking provided by IonEarth and IRC. Video will be streamed live on Tracking International’s Web site on Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the start on race day. Look for Riot in the mix. Follow the team on twitter as well for the latest updates leading up to the race and on race day. Keep an eye out for Riot’s post-race videos, photos and news.

    • Wednesday April 21, 2010
    • By Riot Racing

  3. Mint 400 ends after 200 miles for Riot crew

    Luck is a funny thing, sometimes hard or even impossible to find, but painfully obvious when it is present. As the Riot team waited our turn to run in the time trial for the Mint 400 starting position, we were not really thinking about luck. With a new truck, or next to new, freshly prepped by both Geiser Bros and our own team, confidence in the machine was high. The weather was cool and bright, and the SNORE team had put together a great loop for the trial that had a little bit of everything: high speed, potentially huge air, technical ridge top running and some molar chattering g-out chassis twisters.

    After what seemed like a very long wait, #68 rolled up to the start box and got the green. Marc Ewing’s new machine exploded off the line and into the first straightaway like a scalded rabbit. With a conservative game plan for the jumps and the sketchy ridge line, the flatter sections were seeing no reservation at all. The lap fell away in a blink and as Marc charged down the last straight section. He yelled @#$%&* and the truck started to veer left. A marker stake jumped right up in front of the truck, and Marc yelled, “No STEERING!” He lifted and every warning light on the dash turned on. This was not good. The truck was quickly shut down and after a very quick chat Marc started the truck back up and moved it off the track.

    Under the hood we found the crank pulley assembly lying below the motor and the drive belts for the oil pump, alternator and steering pump all spread around like Mardi Gras beads. Not a good look. Luck though, was there. This was not race day. Hard to imagine after multiple test sessions and the careful inspection by many skilled eyes that this had happened, but it was repairable. While starting 44th rather than somewhere in the top 20 was not as desirable, we were not stuck 15 miles into the rock garden on the race course thinking about all of the other places we could be. Luck.

    Race morning came and after a long night that left all a little wanting for sleep we shuffled around the Riot camp with the usual list of pre-flight jobs to do. Laura Ahlquist rocked the griddle and hot pancakes with maple syrup and bacon for some unexpected comfort. After a long day of repairs at Kroyer Racing and then tech inspection at the last hour and then more thrashing at the Riot shop, the truck was ready and the team rolled it towards the staging area with high

    The start came and the webbed clad truck rocked off the line and into the infield chicane. These first turns were no more than a blur and the desert opened up and the real course called for the ante. Miles three to nine were fast and fun with some high speed graded road, some wash action and a few road crossings. Then the coin dropped. The rock garden that rolled for the next 15 odd miles is hard to describe. Imagine a dry mountain riverbed with a single lane scratched out in it designed to give the racers a photo op of each large boulder. We passed a handful of vehicles either fixing flats or wisely picking their line at a less grinding pace. The hail of rocks coming into the cab as we closed on a couple of rigs was pretty impressive and a little scary as 10 pounders flew around like confetti. We tapped the #44 truck once or twice, and in a spot that was almost wide enough to pass we caught an unlucky bounce off of a rock on the front left and sort of side swiped the whole right side of their truck. Sorry, guys.

    Eventually, we came out of the lunar mine field and into better running— this was short lived. With dust trails to chase #68 blasted into a straight section somewhere around mile 35 that at first glance looked like endless small whoops of high speed fun. The reality that was quickly revealed was a bit different. The interval between bumps was painfully short, the whoops were square-faced and every quarter mile or so a gotcha peek-a-boo truck flipper was hidden in the dust cloud like the mythical Halloween apple razor blade.

    Marc charged on but had reported that the throttle had stuck on once or twice. Huh, that is not good. The sight of another truck’s dust will do wonders for forgetting about sketchy terrain. The track braided out into two or three pretty equal lanes with two rigs ahead of us in the far right lane. We took the left and caught up quickly. A moment after passing the other two a g-out appeared just ahead of us. Without time to really check up the truck compressed into the hole and launched out like a jack in the box on steroids and crack. Nose down and almost vertical with the throttle stuck wide open we both were damn sure the next part was going to hurt. Somehow though, Marc kept driving and with some violent correction as the ass end bounced side to side and in a second it was over and we were cruising through the desert again. Marc dialed the speed down for a minute and then poured the coal back on and started flying again. No sooner had the truck regained race pace when the exact same sequence played out a second time.

    We were flying through the air, nose way down and really, really hoping that Marc could squeak it out again. He did. Cool. Maybe we should slow down…. Nah. The sticking throttle thing was a concern. We hailed Pit B and gave our Pit Captain Jeff Edwards as much information as we could. The guys in Pit B dove in and inspected everything they could think of and sprayed WD-40 on each link and ball joint between the pedal and the throttle body. They reported a hose that could have been causing a snag near the throttle body. This was zip tied out of the way, and we blasted out of the pit and into the back half of the course. The course alternated between hellishly rough to just flat and treacherous over the next 30 odd miles. The service road that followed under the power line would open up in straight sections just long enough to lure you into speeds, just big enough for a good pucker on the next loose hairpin turn with high stakes for blowing the turn in the form of a 150-foot drop on one side or the other for miles.

    Between the throttle still sticking and a distinct feeling that the rear suspension was not quite right, a bit of the competitive ferocity had faded. Unable to predict the next crazy Ivan that the truck was going to throw, Marc dialed the volume down from 11
    to about a six. We pitted at D for another inspection of the throttle and same intermittent sticking. The last 30 odd miles back into the main pit were long and down speed. Designed to absorb the dynamic energy of high-speed induced loads. the suspension
    system was throwing us around like a rat in a terrier’s mouth at the slower pace. Reaching the main pit the crew hit the truck with everything they had and in a minute or two the truck was back out on the course and flying. Somewhere around mile six or seven the throttle stuck again for a second— just enough to keep the thought of it close to the front of Marc’s mind as he picked his way into the hellish rock garden. We ground through the waterless riverbed, and just before the end of the worst we tagged an erratic boulder that was big enough to take out the left rear tire. Marc carried on to the beginning of a wash before we stopped for a quick tire swap. Rolling again and glad to be out of the relentless rock pile, Marc started to stoke the speed.

    No sooner had we established a good pace when the throttle stuck wide open. Marc tried to pull the pedal up without success, and we spun out and stuffed up into a berm on the right side of the wash before the ignition could be ripped down to cut the motor. Stopped perpendicular to the course with the nose of the truck up on a bank and the rear end sticking out on the track was not a comfortable place to be while Marc feverishly worked to free up the gas pedal. In 10 seconds that felt quite a bit longer the linkage freed up and we started. Unable to go up the bank we had to back into the course and get moving forward fast. This spin out was a game changer mentally. Most of the other throttle-related events had been at mid range revs— this one was full bore. Pit A was not that far down the track, and we immediately hailed them to let them know we were inbound.

    Entering the pit the thing stuck again causing us to overshoot the ready crew by about 100 yards. Marc stopped and we rolled upstream to the waiting pit, wanting to exit right way around we went to spin around before stopping. About two-thirds of the way through the turn the damn throttle stuck again and with people diving out of the way and Marc simultaneously standing on the brakes and trying to free up the pedal under his right foot we nosed into the open tailgate of another team’s support truck parked in the pit. Pretty scary for everyone both in and out of the truck. Darryl Putman and about four others worked intensely to sort out the gremlins in the linkage. Adding several return springs and replacing the existing ones with heavier versions seemed like the best option as nothing else looked obviously wrong. The guys gave us the thumbs up, buttoned the hood back up and sent us. Not 200 feet out the pit and it happened again. Marc hauled it back around for another look. After further inspection and the addition of another spring we were on course. The gas pedal could have had a Bowflex sticker on it as it required about 70 pounds of pressure to move the thing with all of the return springs pulling it up. This solution was not going to be a sustainable one. Working along to pit B was slow. Jeff and the others in B jumped back in. Marc hopped out to allow a more complete inspection of the area around the pedal and the linkage within the cab. A couple of new springs were removed and everything was hit with WD-40 again from stem to stern.

    We rumbled back out onto the course just as the green Ashcraft TT #78 rolled through. Still down speed and questioning when the next convulsive burst of power was going to appear we humped along and put miles behind us. Pit C cheered and called for more speed as we passed them. The course between Pit C and D was a gyroscopic carnival of monster holes, steroid-grown moguls and ragged trenches of silt. Climbing up onto a narrow ridge without any really standout hits, the brake pedal went to the floor. Marc pulled back into first gear and pumped the brake like mad as we descended a 30 degree hill. Reeling the speed in as he found a bit of pedal, Marc hauled over and I hopped out. A quick glance showed brake fluid all over the left side of the rear axle housing. We repositioned the truck and I grabbed a cap out of the tool bag thinking we had just torn a brake line. Crawling under for a closer look and to throw the cap on I realized that our problem was bigger than just a torn line. The left track rod was broken exactly in the middle. I worked to wire the two ends away from other things they would damage as they flogged around, and Marc radioed in to Pit C/D and explained the trouble. With no rear brakes and the back end flopping back and fourth like a fish that had met the priest we hobbled in to Pit D.

    Jordan Poole, Todd Salazar, Graig Dickinson, Skylar Nielsen, Smitty and a few others all jumped in and started the work of swapping the track bar— not a common failure and definitely not a quick fix. Eventually, with the help of a boom truck from a neighboring crew the new rod went in and the truck was back on all four and sitting a little more squarely after about an hour and forty-five minutes. Still with no rear brakes we rolled back out onto the course. The two or three miles we rolled before reaching the pit after the rod had broken had hurt the sway bar link rods and had definitely caused some alignment issues in the rear end. Speed over 70 mph created a heavy vibration, and with no rear brakes the cornering was a bit spicier than normal. Traffic was pretty light on the last 30 miles to the main pit. We traded positions with BJ Baldwin as he passed us like we were parked, only for us to roll back over him as they changed a tire. Baldwin hunted us back down about four miles from main in another uncontested pass at speed.

    Riot rolled back into main and the guys dove right in to address the brakes and a handful of other smaller jobs, but sadly we were done. Grossly out of the hunt for a finish that was not in the cheap seats and uncertain still about more than a few components, a brief meeting led to the decision to retire. The truck could have probably made it around the last 200 miles of course, but in an effort to manage the time on the engine and on a course that had already proven to be a complete wrecking yard the towel was tossed as damage control trumped completion.

    • Wednesday April 14, 2010
    • By Ira Conn

  4. Update from IRC

    Update from IRC: The #50 of Jason McNiel rolled over near pit B. #129 rolled over on their side in the course. Weatherman got a retrieval crew and got moving again. According to IRC, there have been some injuries, but nothing critical.

    • Saturday March 27, 2010
    • By Riot Racing

  5. Current Mint 400 running order

    8- Roger Norman
    96- Bobby Baldwin by BJ Baldwin
    71- Rick D. Johnson
    170- Harley Letner
    07- Bryce Menzies
    100- T.J. Flores
    124- Terry Householder
    22- Damen Jefferies
    24- Adam Householder
    60- Michael Voudouris
    125- Richard Boyle
    65- Rusty Stevens
    85- Scott Whipple
    13- Edward Stout
    41- George Rosenbaum
    5- Todd Wyllie
    107- Becky Wick (Leading Class 10)
    39- Ron Whitton

    -Information provided by George Antill, Mint 400 announcer

    • Saturday March 27, 2010
    • By Riot Racing