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Riot takes sixth place at BlueWater Desert Challenge

After two days of intense racing on a new, punishing course, Riot secured a sixth place finish at the BlueWater Desert Challenge in Parker, Arizona on October 16. The race will count as Riot’s dropped race for the Best in the Desert series. The Riot truck, driven by Marc Ewing, started in the ninth position on Saturday. “Marc drove really well, and after the first lap we established a pace that was keeping us in the hunt for sure,” co-driver Ira Conn said.

The #68 was running hot most of the day in the high temperature and heavy conditions. On the last lap out of the dust a class 8 truck appeared stuck in the center of a the track.

“We almost got around them, and then we got bogged down too for about three or four minutes and this cost us two position spots. Pretty frustrating,” Conn said.

While Ewing enjoyed the course and the new format, it had its challenges. “The only problem with that course is that it’s so silty and dusty and the opportunities to pass are in blinding silt are definitely tricky.”

By the end of the first day the Riot truck rolled in seventh place. Ewing’s rib injury from the Primm 300 rollover was becoming a concern and he wanted to spare himself for the Henderson race. He asked Josh Daniel to take over on Sunday with Jordan Poole, Riot’s crew chief, co-driving. Daniel had driven the second half of Vegas to Reno for Riot, and this was Poole’s first time co-driving in a race.

“It’s nice to have (Daniel) there to take over. I want to be good for the next race,” Ewing said of the change up. Ewing still planned to watch the race from above in a helicopter the next day.

Daniel was excited to be in the truck again and on a course he enjoyed.

“I had a blast on it. I like that kind of short course. It was rough, dusty, full of holes. I saw John Wayne,” he said.

Poole was thrilled to co-drive for the first time. “The course was awesome. It was super sandy, silty and pretty rough. I don’t think many people have seen this before,” he said.

After running a more conservative race on Saturday, Daniel was determined to make up some ground. “We were able to get around McGillivray’s truck pretty quick and we caught Rick Johnson but couldn’t get around him because of the dust. He’s good enough to not let me by.”

On the last lap again Riot encountered some trouble. The drive shaft took an unexpected hit and forced the truck to pit, putting Riot behind a couple positions.

“We didn’t hit the drive shaft on anything that was centered in the course. It was just bad luck,” Daniel said.

Despite that setback, Daniel drove well. “Josh handled the truck great. He was really smooth. There’s no question the dude can drive,” Poole said.

“I was able to learn a few more things about the truck. Getting more seat time always makes you better,” Daniel said.

Daniel as well was pleased with Poole. “He did a great job. I couldn’t ask for much better. He seemed like he was having a lot of fun,” Daniel said.

Riot finished in the sixth position Sunday, putting Riot in sixth place overall for the race. “That’s a pretty fun finish considering we had one issue each day,” Ewing said.

The team was proud of their drivers. “Marc did great. He drove a conservative race to save the equipment. Josh did a good job too. It would have been a whole different story if it weren’t for the drive shaft,” Sammy Zaranti, lead mechanic said. “It was a good learning experience in different conditions.”

“I’m glad that Best in the Desert has a race like that as miserable and brutal as it is at times. It’s a cool format and it’s fun to go to,” Ewing said.

Many teams really enjoyed the race and the two-day setup. “The teams had a great time and loved it,” Diane DeLauer, coordinator for Best in the Desert said.

The new race came to fruition when Manny Esquerra, an off-road racing legend from Parker who passed away, told Casey Folks about private Native American land that no one knew about, DeLauer explained. Folks took the opportunity and used the land to create the course for the BlueWater Desert Challenge.

“Parker is becoming an off-road mecca,” DeLauer said. “They wanted another race and we wanted to go back down there, so BlueWater welcomed us.”

The race is on the 2011 series calendar.

“The crew came away feeling pretty good about how the truck ran and how the drivers performed and now we’re putting our full focus on the last race of the year,” Harvey Knapp, team manager said.

The final race of the season is the TransWest Ford Henderson 250 on December 3 to 5. With Riot now tied for second place and two teams tied for first in the Best in the Desert points series, the final race will be the determining factor for the championship.

“It’s going to be right down to the last mile of this race. This is probably one of the most interesting scenarios. There’s four trucks who can take it all. Hopefully the cards are in our favor and we hit the royal flush,” Zaranti said.

The entire crew is thrilled to be in the race for the championship. “I’m psyched,” Ewing said. “At the beginning of the year you hope you’re in this position by the end. Every one of these teams who are up there have to finish well to win. It’s going to make for an interesting race.”

Before the season comes to a close in Henderson, Riot will attend the SEMA show for the first time with Riot’s truck on the outdoor Ford display. “It’s definitely really cool to have the truck at SEMA. It shows that what your working on is important enough for everyone else to see,” Zaranti said.

The show runs from Tuesday, November 2 through Friday, November 5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Henderson.

Follow Riot on Twitter and RiotRacing.com as they prepare for the final race of the 2010 season. Fans can watch the BlueWater Desert Challenge teaser video by VitaBrevisFilms. The full race video recap will be coming soon.

  • Monday November 1, 2010
  • By Riot Racing


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