Riot Racing- The 2010 Season in Review

2010 season started out with high hopes that faded quickly. The crew spent long hours struggling to prep the truck for the first two races of the year, the BITD Parker 425 and the SNORE Battle at Primm.

Marc Ewing managed to baby the race truck through the final half or the Parker 425, even though it was losing oil and threw a belt. A finish of 7th place was a relief. The Battle Primm was a full on disaster. The truck took a DNF on both days, and the crew spent a long night changing out the entire drivetrain in between races.

The BITD Silver State 300 in April was the turning point for Riot with a new crew and veteran driver Rick Geiser behind the wheel. Riot rolled home with a second place finish. Then it was a long wait and there was much work to be done for Vegas to Reno, but the confidence of a second place win kept the team moving forward.

At Vegas to Reno Marc shared the driver’s seat with Josh Daniel in the truck that had been completely rebuilt by Sammy Zaranti, Mike Lucey and the new Riot crew. Coming in 5th was a fantastic outcome in a big field of talented desert racers. It was also a huge relief to get such a great result in the race that meant so much to us all.  

The Riot team felt pretty confident going into the SCORE Primm 300 since we practice in that area ninety nine percent of the time. Sadly, the confidence was short lived. The truck lost power steering only a few miles in because a hosing failure that compromised the power steering pump. The truck rolled three and half times at around 80 mph. Considering how violent the crash was, the damage to both truck and the riders was minimal.

With that experience now checked off and under their belts, the crew turned its focus to the BITD BlueWater Challenge in Parker, Ariz. Marc qualified the truck on a day that saw wickedly high temperatures. It was one of the longest days of qualifying we have ever had. On the first day or racing we had to get the race truck to the start line an hour and half before the posted time, which caused many of us to miss the start, including our film crew and helicopter!

After that hiccup, Marc drove well until they got bogged down behind a truck stuck in a silt bed. This cost us a couple of minutes, but was the only blemish on perfectly driven race in conditions that challenged the best trucks. On day two the decision was made to let Josh Daniel get behind the wheel. Marc’s ribs were sore from the rollover crash in the previous race, and he wanted to be sure he would be fit for the final race at the Henderson a little more than three weeks later.

Josh drove the truck as fast as the conditions would allow. Jordan Poole, the new co-driver for Riot payed close attention to all of the gauges to ensure that the truck would reach the finish line. A heavy vibration had the truck in the hot pit on the final lap for a drive shaft change. The crew changed it in good time, but it definitely put us back a number of places. Because Parker was likely to be our drop race in the BITD series, we left feeling like we hadn’t really accomplished anything other than gaining some silt driving experience!

Going into the final race of the BITD series at the TransWest Ford Henderson 250, the Riot truck sat in a great position in the points. Two trucks were tied for first and two trucks, including Riot Racing, were tied for second. All of them with a chance to take home a championship.

The team decided to run both trick trucks. The second truck, #90 driven by Josh Daniel, would work as a helper truck. The hope was that if the #68 truck driven by Marc Ewing had an issue, the #90 truck would be within reach to help them on their way quickly. The team had some issues on qualifying day. The steering locked up and would only turn right. After the truck was towed back to the pit it was discovered that a simple rock had gotten stuck in the steering shaft. Marc and Jordan jumped in and got the truck around the qualifying course.

The race day started sunny with little to no wind. After a quick lap in the sportsman class for a final look at the course, hopes were high. Marc pulled off the line and into some of the dustiest conditions we have seen. The dust hung in great clouds that was so thick it felt as though you were standing in milk. The day went by in a blur with the truck running flawlessly. The one planned pit stop, which saw 70 gallons of fuel, two rear tires, a light bar install and two quarts of oil added all in a little more than a minute was fast and furious!

Marc drove the socks off the truck. The plan for the #90 helper truck plan didn’t really work out for us after it hit a big rock and broke an upper control arm, effectively knocking it out of the race. As the light faded and the darkness grew, the visibility for the racers was terrible. Marc and Jordan were struggling to see through the thick dust, which was compounded by a problem with the lights. They were passed on the final lap at the dry lake bed by BJ Baldwin, who was the eventual BITD series champion.

Everyone was pleased to see the Riot truck pull up onto the podium. Fourth overall in points in the second year of racing, after a difficult start to the season was a great way to finish.

The following Thursday the team arrived in Laughlin, Nev. for the SNORE Rage at the River race, the final race on the SNORE calendar. This two-day event it is one of the team’s favorite races. The first day there was little wind and the dust was thick. Race officials and the BLM were all over Harvey Knapp, Riot’s team manager because the team’s helicopter was flying at a very low altitude for filming. With the possibility of a DQ on the cards it was difficult to fully enjoy the day of racing.

Luckily, the SNORE officials and the BLM understood that this was certainly not intended and they let us off with a chewing. After the race the truck was being worked on and it was discovered that the bell housing on the transmission was cracked. A flurry of activity ensued and the transmission was changed in just over an hour in preparation for the next day’s race.

Sunday saw Riot draw pole position for the start. With clear air Marc was driving like a mad man. On lap two a controversial pass in 25 mph speed zone by Jimmy Knuckles put the veteran racer ahead of Riot, and we finished in second place in the unlimited truck class. The possibility of placing an official protest was quickly put aside because no one wants the team’s first win to come by way of a disqualification. So the Riot team headed back to Henderson with a feeling that 2010 had ended very well. Everyone looks forward to the 2011 season with high hopes and great expectations for the Riot Racing team, which has only begun to flourish.

  • Sunday January 2, 2011
  • By Riot Racing

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