On Friday, August 17, 2012, Randy Merritt and Mongo Racing finished 1st in their class for the 3rd time in the Best In The Desert’s “General Tire Vegas to Reno, The Longest Off-Road Race in the United States.”
The Best In The Desert Racing Association began putting on the “Vegas to Reno, The Longest Off-Road Race in the United States” in 1996 and Randy Merritt has raced 12 of the past 16 races, with 3 class wins and 6 finishes of 4th place or better.
Randy Merritt and Tracy Rubio teamed up for the driving duties for this great event. Tracy Rubio, designer and fabricator of the 2012 KC Hilites General Tire TNC Machine Mongo Racing Class 7200 Ford Truck, is known in the Off-Road Racing community for building and racing his TNC Machine Unlimited Trick Truck out of Kingman AZ; and started this year’s “Longest Off-Road Race in the United States” first in Class 7200 ahead of the other 20 official starters.
Tracy Rubio started the race with Chris Golding in the Navigator’s seat and stayed in the physical lead for the first 281 miles of the 534 mile Off-Road race. Of the 21 Class 7200 starters the top 8 broke out into three groups within minutes of each other.
At Race mile marker 281, or Pit 8 near the Coaldale Junction on US 95 in Nevada, Rubio brought in the KC Hilites General Tire TNC Machine Mongo Racing Class 7200 Ford Truck for its second full fuel stop and a driver change. Randy Merritt, Owner and Driver of the KC Hilites General Tire TNC Machine Mongo Racing Class 7200 Ford Truck, took over driving with RD Minor in the Navigator’s seat. During the pit stop Merritt was passed by truck 7205, who then assumed the lead. When Merritt exited the Pit he was in catch up mode. Within miles, Merritt was only seconds behind the lead truck and maintained a pace knowing there was still over 200 miles left in the race.
Near Race mile marker 335, Merritt passed truck 7205 for the physical lead and later found out the pass was also for the lead on corrected time as the race was over for truck 7205. Merritt now had an approximate 15-20 mile lead on the next 3 trucks, but Merritt maintained his pace knowing from experience that anything could happen and no lead is safe until the finish.
Merritt stopped for his last scheduled fuel stop near Race mile maker 389 and was out with an approximate 20 mile lead over the next 3 trucks.
The Mongo Racing team went to the Finish line in Dayton NV for the finish. The team was notified that the KC Hilites General Tire TNC Machine Mongo Racing Class 7200 Truck was stopped near Race mile marker 520 according to the IRC Satellite tracking system. The team waited at the finish line knowing what ever happened to the truck had to be repaired by Merritt and Minor and waited helplessly. After approximately 15 minutes the IRC Satellite tracking system showed Merritt moving at speed again, but the top 3 trucks were now within a few miles of each other.
At the Finish Line the Mongo Racing crew watched as the KC Hilites General Tire TNC Machine Mongo Racing Class 7200 Ford Truck crossed the finish line 1st while starting the stopwatches to count down the time required to ensure a Class 7200 win. The Mongo Racing team and fans waited anxiously for the next 11 minutes. Shortly after eleven minutes the next 2 Class 7200 trucks crossed the finish line and the IRC Satellite tracking showed Randy Merritt as the unofficial Winner of Class 7200 of the 2012 Best In The Desert “General Tire Vegas to Reno, The Longest Off-Road Race in the United States.”
After the race Merritt told the Dusty Times reporter, The KC Hilites General Tire TNC Machine Mongo Racing Class 7200 Ford Truck ran great and the Mongo Racing team did a great job with the pits and pre-race preparations. It was a long and tough race.
Merritt added the course was either fast or grueling and this was only the 3rd race for this truck and team; and to finish the 2012 Best In The Desert “General Tire Vegas to Reno, The Longest Off-Road Race in the United States” with a 1st in Class 7200 is a huge accomplishment.
At the awards ceremony, Merritt gave a lot of credit for win to the team and to Tracy Rubio of TNC Machine for design and durability of this new race truck. Merritt also thanked KC Hilites, General Tire, ICON Vehicle Dynamics for the shocks and all the other sponsors that support Mongo Racing.
The Mongo Racing Class 7200 Unlimited Ford number 7281 is sponsored by KC HiLiTes, General Tires, TNC Machine, ICON Vehicle Dynamics, Trail Ready Bead Lock Wheels, Kincaid Racing Engines, Yukon, Wilwood, Pro AM, EBC Brakes, Master Craft Safety Innovations, Lucas Oil, K&N Filters, Borla Exhaust, MSD Ignition, and Mongo Made Graphics.